Photos From My Visit to Germany in January / February 2006


Any opportunity to visit Germany is a welcome opportunity for me. In 2006, and in my official capacity as Assistant Professor of the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), I travelled to Germany with an official delegation comprising our University's Rector, Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, the Director of our campus in Lahore, Dr. Shaukat Hayat Ali, and our Project Director, Mr. Tahir Naeem. Accompanying us was Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Executive Director at the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, which is a federal body with jurisdiction over the entire higher education sector in Pakistan, and Professor Shaukat, formerly from the University of Punjab in Lahore. The purpose of the visit, which was organized by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and which lasted from January 16th - 21st, was to explore the opportunities for cooperation between German universities and CIIT as well as to apprise our German counterparts of the Federal Government of Pakistan's interest in establishing an engineering university in Pakistan on German lines. Our visit, which included visits to the universities of Aachen, Bochum and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg was productive and met its objective. Follow-up action is already in full swing and a high-powered academic German delegation, mostly comprised of our discussion counterparts, visited Pakistan in the first half of May 2006.

The photo was taken on January 17th, 2006, at the Ruhr-University Bochum where we were taken on an extensive tour of their incredible engineering departments. From left to right: Me, Dr. Sohail Naqvi (HEC), Dr. Junaid Zaidi (Rector, CIIT), Professor Dr. Gerhard Wagner (Rector, Ruhr-University Bochum), Dr. Shaukat Ali Hayat (Director, CIIT, Lahore Campus), Professor Shaukat (Physicist at the University of the Punjab in Lahore), and Mr. Tahir Naeem (Project Director, CIIT). 

After the official visit ended, I stayed on in Germany until February 5th. My reasons for doing so were partly official (for COMSATS), partly because I enjoy being in Germany so much and like to avail each and every opportunity to spend time there. In those few weeks, I lived in room 315 at the on-campus guest house of the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, and traveled extensively as I had never traveled before in Germany in such a short period of time! It was frightfully cold with subzero temperatures and icy winds most of the time. On my destination list were Bonn (again), Coburg, Dortmund and Koblenz. My visits to the first three cities were for official assignments on behalf of CIIT. On a personal side, I met up again and spent some time with some of my German friends. Those were delightful moments, many of which I have captured on photo.   


  The photo was taken from the bank of the Rhine river which flows past Speyer. The bare tree and snow piles contrast nicely with the water and blue sky in the background. A typical wintry scene in semi-rural Germany.  
  This photo on the left was taken in the covered area outside the main door of the Speyerer Dom - the magnificent one thousand year old Cathedral of Speyer. My friend Linda Heintz, with whom I've been acquainted since I studied Business Administration at the University of Trier back in the 1980s, came down from Frankfurt to visit me and we went off on a walk together through the town. Here you see her standing next to one of the statues of a medieval German King.  

In the photo on the right I'm standing next to a statue of a medieval German King. This one is positioned directly opposite the one in the photo on the extreme left. Note the statues in the semi-circular niches as well at the top of the photo. 

    These photos were taken in the Cathedral. The plants and scenes depicted are from the Bible tell the story of how Jesus was visited by the three Kings at the time of his birth. A typical German Christmas tradition.    
  Photos showing the main sections of the great Cathedral of Speyer. Built in the Romanesque style of architecture and the largest stone structure north of the Alps after its construction in the 11th century, it is over 100 metres long. You just can't visit Speyer without visiting this awesome Cathedral! It's a real priviledge to visit it.     
    After Linda and I left the Cathedral, we wandered a while through the streets of Speyer. This photo on the extreme left was taken close to the Cathedral. The tower-like structure in the background dates from medieval times and used to be a city gate behind the Cathedral. The second photo on the left was taken in close proximity of the Cathedral on a small bridge. Note the lovely period architecture of the houses. It's almost like stepping back in time. Linda and me pose in the photo on the right in which you can see the Cathedral in the background.  
  Taken against the backdrop of Speyer Cathedral, the photo on the left shows me standing next to the statue of the Jacob's pilgrim. The photo on the right was taken in the Maximilianstrasse in front of the department chain store Kaufhof. Often on weekends, musicians perform in the hope of getting handouts from passers-by. Here a band of South American Indians are performing a lovely melody which attracted my full attention.  



This is a series of photos I took from the communal kitchen of the guest house ("Gästehaus") at the campus of the German University of Administrative Sciences where I rented Room 315 for two weeks. I was thinking about making a panorama. It was frightfully cold as you can see and the whole place is submerged under a blanket of snow. The building featured in the second and third photos is a teacher training institute located on our campus but which is independent of the university. The building on the right of the third photo is the State Library of the Palatinate where I got much of the material I needed for my doctoral thesis. It adjoins the State Archives. The tall chimney in the distance of the fourth photo is from some industry located there. The building on the right of the fifth photo is one section of the Gästehaus. My room was situated there. Its shape resembles a snake and to get from my room to the kitchen to take these photos I had to walk along a long curving corridor.  The strange object in the front of the fifth photo is a modern-art sculpture. 


The first two photos were taken from the corridor of the third floor of the Gästehaus outside my room and are directed towards the rear of the building. The parking lot is clearly visible as is a tall microwave tower. The frost-covered trees are a pleasure to behold. Beyond the tower are a main road leading into Speyer, and some farm fields. The third photo was taken in my room 315 on the third floor. It was very warm and comfortable and had a built-in bathroom, a bed and basic furnishing. It was also equipped with broadband internet connection. From my balcony, I had a great view of the campus, the modern art sculpture and some major landmarks of Speyer in the distance. 


  This photo was taken in Bonn. It shows the administrative buildings of the University of Bonn. I travelled there to meet the Rector, Professor Winiger, and discuss prospects for cooperation between his university and COMSATS. Though I arrived late due to a problem with my train, I met my host and discussed in detail matters of mutual interest. 
Here you see me standing in front of a statue of the great musician and componist Ludwig von Beethoven at a square in the center of Bonn. The building in the back is a post office. It was bitterly cold day and I wasn't in the mood to walk around too much.   
      After my official engagement was over, I took the time to explore the streets near the city center rather than dashing back immediately to Speyer. These pretty structures on the left captured my attention.  Bonn is actually quite an old town and does have some places of historical interest. The structure dominating this photo resembles an old church and probably is one. In the photo on the right I was attracted by the harmonious coexistence of old (yellow building) and new (three-story building). After my walk around Bonn, I went to Pizza Hut for lunch :=)  
Returning by train from Bonn en route to Speyer. There is a stretch of track from Koblenz which meanders along with the path of the river Rhine and commands stunning views. The blotches in the photo are dirt stains on the train window caused by melting ice. In the last photo, note that at the base of the hills is a small town whose structures are quite visible. On the hilltop there is a small castle-like structure. The surface of the hill on the left  are being used by the locals as vineyards.


  So, I've left Germany's former capital city Bonn behind and have arrived on official assignment in the Bavarian town Coburg. The weather here was horribly cold but the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to me by my pleasant host, Professor Dr. Gerhard Lidner from the University of Applied Sciences at Coburg, did much to mitigate the chill. Here, Dr. Lindner and me went on a brief tour of the Coburg town center, passing by some quaint centuries-old buildings. Just look at the ornamental facade in the photo on the extreme right. What workmanship the builders and architects had in those bygone days.    
  An imposing building at Coburg. This was constructed in the British style. Coburg is the ancestral home of the British royal family, the Windsors, who were known before the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in the First World War as the house of Saxony-Coburg. One of Queen Victoria's descendants resides in Coburg.
    A square in the center of Coburg. There is a statue of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, in the square. Here you see me posing for a photo next to Prince Albert's statue.    


Another photo of the square taken from a different angle.




Now I'm in Koblenz where I had gone to meet my dear friend Sigrun Möller who teaches at a school in nearby Montabauer. This photo, showing me leaning on the statue of a drummer, just outside a cafe where Sigrun and I had spent considerable time engrossed in chat and consuming warm refreshments to arm us against the bitter cold outside. 

    This photo was taken in another cafe which Sigrun and I visited, and opposite of which, there stood this nice old church.      Here you see me standing with Sigrun and posing for a photograph. We spent sime time walking the streets and roaming about the shops of Koblenz on that February day, but the cold thwarted our intention to visit Fortress Ehrenbreitstein and the German Corner.


Egbert Eimers is a close friend of mine, with whom I been acquainted since my student days at the University of Trier from 1985. I've been in regular contact with him ever since and meet him every time I visit Germany. He lives and works in Mannheim which is 25 kilometers from Speyer. On February 5th I saw him for the second ime in a week. He came along with his wife Sabrine to drive me to Frankfurt airport for my return flight to Islamabad. Here you see me standing with them both in the lobby of the university guest house.
Egbert and Sabrine at Frankfurt airport. What a lovely photo of two very lovely and gracious individuals.



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