– Post by Nizar –
09.08.2018 – Work,work and work!
It has already been more than a week in Germany, I’m feeling very surprised that time is passing so fast. The good part is that when time is passing fast when you’re abroad, this mostly means that you are having a pleasant experience!
Starting with Thursday, all of us went to the Fab Lab, had our morning coffee (thanks Aydin for making it!), and then chilled for an hour until we went to Universität Siegen’s campus. We were going in order to visit the current VR/AR Labs (A.K.A Holospace) there. So Marios walked us there, introduced us to the rooms in that campus, and took us to the labs where we met Jasmin Kirchhübel and Florian Jasche (who are both working at the university and who are doing research and working in the VR/AR Field). We got divided into two groups, one with Jasmin and the other with Florian, in order to try and experience real AR/VR Projects. I started with Jasmin’s group and as a start, she briefly explained what the project is about. That project was related to mines and mine workers in Germany, (https://glueckauf.wdr.de) where you meet the workers there and they walk you around the mine, the visuals were pretty insane, the whole environment felt pretty realistic, but sadly the audio (speech) was in German.
Next, me and my group went with Florian, and he also briefly explained the project as well. It was a project that uses Microsoft’s hololens, which mixes the environment you are in (the room, the people) with another reality. In addition, you can manipulate the virtual reality with your hand as a controller, e.g play around with stuff, scale them, reorder them etc.
Shoutout to Jasmin and Florian for the amazing tour! Thank you!
Afterwards, we went back to the Fab Lab in order to work on our projects. I work in the Virtual Reality project so I knew I had to sit for a while, reflect about what I have witnessed in the University and try to interrelate it with our project work. In that period, me and my team were still discussing some choices regarding our projects. So we had a discussion with Marios around that, and finally found a common ground for all of us. We knew that nine days in a project is not a small time period, and that now that we have to seriously start working “technically” and move the scale a little bit from state of the art to actual prototyping.
After some hours of continuous hard work, I knew I deserved a good meal, most of the group went to the University’s cafeteria, but me, Mo’ath, Samer and Omar considered a Burger at “Want Beef?” which is one of the best (if not actually the best) burger restaurant around Siegen. So we went there, had lunch, chilled for a few minutes, and went back to work.
Finally, we call it a day. Me and Mo’ath are going to Paris for the next two days, therefore we took our handbags and went to Weidenau for shopping. Afterwards, we went back to the dorm, packed our luggage and ran to the flixbus stop that took us to Mannheim, where the next bus would pick us up and drop us in Paris!
10.08.2018 – First Day in Paris!
After a 10 hour trip by bus to Paris, we finally arrived. The bus delivered us to this beautiful park called “Bercy Park” on the entrance to the fancy Bercy village.
Me and Mo’ath are full of excitement, so we carried our luggage and went immediately to our airbnb apartment in order to leave our luggage there and start hanging around.
Why do people come to Paris? What’s Paris’ most important attraction? Yes, It’s the Eiffel Tower! So we finally
reached our apartment, googled how to get there by Wi-Fi (since our sim cards didn’t work for some reason in France), and then we went there, took a couple (actually much more) pictures. My opinion? It is much more beautiful, bigger than you can imagine and see from photos. We wanted to go up the tower, but since we went on a Saturday, it was really crowded so we decided not to.
Next, we went to Champs-Élysées. Every single person I’ve asked about Paris told me to go there since it is considered one of the most famous avenue in the whole world. The funny part is we got lost on the way there and had to ask many people on the street for directions and the funnier part is that we found no one that actually could help us since Paris in August is crowded with people from all around the globe, but Paris itself!
To end the day, we went the Musée du Louvre, one of the most meaningful art museum in the world, but since we arrived there around 6 PM unluckily the full-tour in the museum was closed, so we had a crepe at the outer surrounding of the museum and then took a small tour around the museum from the inside and had the most expensive Mcdonald’s meal of my life there (after a long trip, and walking a lot in the city I was really tired, so I couldn’t care less how much I would pay), and then went back to the apartment to rest, and wake up more energetic in order to plan for the next day and continue the journey!
11.08.2018 – Second and Last Day in Paris!
I have been told that two days are not enough for Paris, and I wanted to prove people wrong. That’s why me and Mo’ath woke up on the second day, made our plans, searched routes, and headed to continue our trip full with energy!
Our first go-to place in the second day was the National Museum of Natural History. On our way there, we found “by
coincidence, really” a really beautiful mosque called “Grand Mosque of Paris”, so we decided to take a look and a couple of photos there.
Afterwards, we arrived to the natural history museum, which is basically a very big 4-floor museum that you can find sculptures and stuffed animals with literally every single kind of them. If you are the kind of person that is into these stuff, this is a place you must go!
Now, after ending the museum tour, we thought that it’s our chance to go to Musée du Louvre again and do the full tour there, so we went there, and unluckily the line is really, really long (DAMN Summer season!). So we find ourselves sitting outside again. I start thinking of alternatives and suggest a walk around the city, Mo’ath loves this idea (he is the kind of guy that likes to walk, pfft) so we started walking in the parks, and the streets of Paris and
taking photos here and there. The most beautiful thing about Paris is that wherever you peek, there is something worth looking at waiting for you to check!
One of the things that are worth mentioning is the Seine river, we passed by a bridge where all the couples are sitting, placing their love locks and observing the beautiful scene.
To sum up, these three days were rather exciting, joyful and also tiring. On the way back to Siegen I was reflecting about how easy it is to travel between countries (hundreds of kilometres) in europe in some hours and how it is comparable with travelling a couple of kilometres in Palestine (sadly) with many obstacles and checkpoints, barriers, walls, limitation of movement and that moment brought me back to the painful reality back in Palestine.
So far, this experience has been amazing, thanks team YALLAH! for letting me be part of this student exchange!