Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Karlsruhe is a large town (or small city?) in southern Germany, quite close to the French border. It is a place I’ve visited several times now, always for business purposes. I’ve never really spent much time looking at it though. My previous visits have been in more wintry months where darkness falls early, this combined with working with people who’re happy to stay in the office until late rules out most sightseeing. I was in Karlsruhe again all of last week and both these conditions were reversed, so I got to check the place out a bit.

All in all I think that I really like Karlsruhe. It’s big enough to have everything you’d want but not so big as to feel like just another city. Great features include:

  • The tram (light rail) system is amazing: goes everywhere, regular, and cheap.
  • Overall openness and spacyness of the city is relaxing (no super-hi-rise city centre).
  • Excellent range of food for eating out (amazingly there are many sushi bars – 15.90€ for all-you-can eat sushi that’s actually very good? Beats the heck out of London).
  • A good bit of history around (though most of it is probably reconstructed).
  • Yet general modern design and planning make it less haphazard than truly old towns (it’s actually very young by Germany standards, at only a couple of hundred years).
  • Highly amusing modern sculptures scattered around the place.
  • Great German beer everywhere. Germany is always the best place to be stuck in hotels thanks to hotels always having good beer. The local Hoepfner beer is pretty good, most interestingly they actually do a good porter!

Time to learn German and move there? Heh, after the pain and suffering of moving to the UK? I don’t think so. Maybe in 5+ years! 🙂

I took some photos while I was there, with the new camera we bought while stuck transferring Bangkok a couple of weeks back, and have used the opportunity to give Google’s online photo stuff another spin. No doubt my interest in online photo systems is obvious, having written several entries about such (especially when it comes to mapping of photos). I’ve never been happy with Flikr or Picasa Web Albums on previous trials. It seems that the Google offering has really advanced however! Including just the sort of mapping features I’m interested in.

So I’ve bunged my photos into Picasa Web Albums and mapped them. The drag-and-drop mapping is a refreshing breeze compared to all the overtly complicated methods I’ve played with before. The most significant disability is that it is geared to work with Picasa. This would be fine if the Linux version of Picasa had the bits to interface with Picasa Web Albums but, alas, it doesn’t (yet). This leaves me only able to upload photos in lots of 5 at a time, which really sucks.

I might finally be happy to move to a nefarious online photo service. I still don’t trust them, but I really hate using Gallery. Picasa Web Albums isn’t free if you want to store more than 1GB of photos, but I’m willing to place a reasonable value on not having to maintain and worry about Gallery.