Hamburg to Leipzig to Hannover

This post is written by Katie, about her travel in Europe after IROS 2015.

Today I decided to make a day trip to Leipzig because most the the German SPL teams were playing friendly games at a trade fair in our 2016 venue!

I awoke at 6:20am, finished packing, checked out of Generator Hostel Hamburg, and got to the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof about 25 minutes before my IC train to Hannover arrived. The Generator Hostel Hamburg worked out well for me, as it was extremely close to a S-bahn station one stop from the IROS venue.  It certainly was more of a party hostel – this was particularly apparently on Friday night.  The crowd at the hostel was also very young – there seemed to be a lot of high-school groups.  Even so, I slept well with ear plugs.  My biggest complaint about the hostel would be the tiny in-room shower – it was too small to be usable.  I used it one night and swore to never use it again.  The single women’s shower on each floor was much better and worth waiting for when/if it was occupied.

Once at the train station, I took pictures and then easily boarded my train.  I worked during the 1.5 hour trip and then had a 35 minute connection in Hannover. I stored my luggage in a locker during the connection and then boarded another IC train for the trip to Halle (Salle). This trip went well until we stopped on the tracks for 25 minutes right before Halle (Salle). This delay caused me to miss my connection to the SX5 line, which only ran once per hour. Hence, I had to wait almost an hour for the next train, delaying my arrival to Leipzig Messe to 1:34pm. I stopped in the train station grocery store and bought a €3.78 lunch of yoghurt drink, pineapple, kiwi, and salad.

Lot’s of leg room on the IC train

An advertisement in the Halle (Salle) train station for the trade fair

The SX5 was an interesting S-bahn with multiple elevations of its one level cars and tables with S-bahn maps printed on them.

 The strange SX5 train car

Once at the Leipzig Messe stop, I walked about 10 minutes to the venue. Tobias from HTWK came to get me in with an extra ticket, and then led me along a crowded and windy maze to the RoboCup SPL area. They seemed to be really promoting RoboCup 2016 based on all the signs. When I entered the team area, everyone who knew me seemed extremely surprised to see me! 🙂

Two workers hired for the weekend to get visitors to take pictures with the NAO and backdrop

Advertisement for RoboCup 2016 in the walkway between two halls

We ate some pizza HTWK had ordered for lunch and then there was a half game at 3pm between HTWK and Nao Devils. The game was close, and I ran GameController. After the game I wandered around the exhibition hall 5 before returning to see the 4pm game between HTWK and Berlin United. They used the whistle start, and I ran GameController again. I chatted with people and wandered to some of the other halls before returning for the 5pm game between B-Human and Nao Devils. After the game I watched HTWK and Nao Devils work on tracking and kicking size 1 soccer balls (which we are considering using for RoboCup 2016).

Berlin United versus HTWK

A rather strange boat exhibit

The glass hall where RoboCup will hold ‘natural lighting’ games

B-Human taking a dive in their game against Nao Devils

 Another view of the glass hall

Tobias walked me to the front of the venue at 6:15pm so I could catch my 6:45pm train back to Hannover Hauptbahnhof (where I would then catch my night train to Munich). I got some work done on the train. Once I reached Hannover, I tried to have a grocery store dinner but the Lidl in the Hannover Hbf was very bare and there was no where to sit in the train station, so I opted for McDonalds which at least had enough seating.

 Entrance way towards the glass hall and between other halls

I would have loved to have stayed in Leipzig longer, but I’m happy I decided to make the short half-day trip to see the exhibition and all my RoboCup friends.  RoboCup really is about the connections and people.

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