Somewhere in Bavaria lies the city of Augsburg. Somewhere in Augsburg lies a Fujitsu-Siemens factory. Somewhere near that factory lies a conference centre. And in that centre, on Wednesday…
.. you could find this charming room, and me inside it. One conference keynote plus one interview plus one photo plus one comment from Greenpeace (and after factoring in about ten cups of coffee) you have one news story, and so before flying back out on Thursday I had time to check out the city. And here it is:
It’s all rather pretty, actually, with cobbled streets, trams everywhere and fountains. Fountains that, for some inexplicable reason, are all covered by pointy wooden hats, as if to protect them from the rain (because, as we all know, fountains and water don’t mix). And then there’s the Fuggerei:
The Fuggeri was founded in 1516 by the Fugger family who, being both breathtakingly rich and Catholic, wanted to keep in God’s good books and were able to blow vast sums on doing so. They did this by building a whole city district, comprising of really rather nice homes, and renting them out for a tiny fee – plus three prayers a day – to poor, Catholic residents of the city. It’s still running today, funded by tourism (4 euros to enter), the Fugger family and, to some very small extent, the rent (just 98 euro cents per resident per year).
So, once you’ve seen the social housing and the Fujitsu factory, what else is there in Augsburg in November? Not much. The worst thing would be this fellow, staring out of a hunting shop window:
And the best thing? That’d be the cake:
If you like cake, you will like Augsburg. We found dozens of cake shops, including the one above, whose cake counter must have been almost 100m long. Hedgehog shaped cakes, cherry cakes, fruit cakes, cream cakes.. it’s all a bit bewildering. So, we ate cake. And drank coffee. And bought more cake. And all very nice it was too. And then to the airport, through a slightly demented security check that took exception to my camera, and home.
So, Augsburg. Worth flying there? Not really. Worth a couple of hours if you happen to be nearby? Sure. Is that a glowing recommendation? I suppose not.