In Germany - a bit of CA PPM and a bit on traveling:
Spent last week in our office in Dusseldorf, with IT-Design in attendance for three of the days. As a result, got to meet Sergiu Gavrila, someone I've known for a few years via this community site and through LinkedIn. Was a pleasure to finally put a real person to the internet presence!
Meetings with IT-Design went well - their functional experience backed up my experience, so was good for our company to see from an outside source that my ideas, knowledge and experience were good. And, IT-Design had several solutions and ideas that look very promising, including their Assignment Editor.
Yesterday, Sonntag (Sunday), I was in Cologne, taking the train from Koblenz. The first amazing thing is that one can board a train without anyone checking for a ticket. From my experience and from reading, appears that tickets are checked on an audit basis - and if found lacking a ticket, the penalty can be 40 euros or double the ticket price. Appears to be a lot of trust in this system and the people. Quite refreshing. However, was a bit disconcerting with no one official nearby to ask questions, as so much is automated. No problem - just ask anyone. All were happy to help. Most speak English, and if not, my broken German and their broken English was enough to get me to my correct destination.
Back to Cologne, I visited the Dom (cathedral), climbing the 457 feet to the top of one of the spires. This is a must see - awe inspiring. Outside, the Christmas Markt was in full gear. Bought some things for my family, had a Gluwein and Wienachtwurst, listening to Big Band music. Surrounded by Brits, Germans, French, Americans and a few Japanese - with the sounds of Chicago (25 or 6 to 4), Gershwin, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, "Birdland" and several Christmas songs in the air.
My father and several uncles were vets of WWII and I'm a bit of historian, so I couldn't help looking up, imaging the **** unleashed here by a thousand allied bombers - surrounded by the contrasting scene I was now experiencing. It was very moving, almost brought tears to my eyes, as the joy that was here now was as it always should have been - may it always be so in the future.
Frohliche Weinachten und glückliches neues Jahre (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year),