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March 2009
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Dusseldorf, Germany: June 2008

Rick Barrett, Director of the Digital Media Unit and a member of the Curtin Print & Design Management Committee from Corporate Communications, travelled to Germany in June this year to attend a trade show for printing equipment.

Rick gives a glimpse of his trip....

DRUPA, the world's biggest printing industry trade show, is held every four years in Dusseldorf, Germany. I had never been to Germany before, and can't speak German, so the prospect of spending a week at this massive trade fair was both daunting and exciting. Dusseldorf, in the south-west of the country not far from the Netherlands border, is on the Rhine river, a surprisingly fast flowing transport highway where huge barges sail up-river, each with its own car on the cabin roof.


The whole area was heavily bombed during the war so not a lot of old Dusseldorf remains, apart from the AltStadt, a cobbled set of streets lined with outdoor restaurants and drinking establishments. The guidebooks say that this area of Dusseldorf at night ends up being effectively the world's longest 'bar'. The perfect place for Aussies, especially if you want a schnitzel the size of Tasmania!


DRUPA attracts over 400,000 people in two weeks and its 17 main pavilions cover an area larger than the Perth Showgrounds - all under cover. With so many people attending, the local hotels charge upwards of $1,000 per night or more. As a result my hotel was 25 km away in a small valley north of Cologne. Originally constructed from 1133AD, the complex started life as a monastery and rumour has it that it was once a haunt of Martin Luther. No monk's cell for me, one building had been turned into a 4 star hotel and was only $130 per night. Sure it meant a 1-hour trip to DRUPA each day, but many Aussies travel that long just to get to work. A mountain stream flowed past my window, and each morning the light mist hung around until burned off by the morning sun, and the noisiest sounds were the birds in the trees.

Fantastisch - Wish you were here

Rick Barrett

Europe in Summer

Laraine McClelland from Corporate Communications shares her holiday adventures.

Our trip took us to Bristol, London, Bristol for Paris and last but not least, Singapore. Walked everywhere for hours, the only way to see a city. I found Bristol quite cold, but the locals were obviously enjoying their summer walking around in various modes of summer attire. Being a dinky-di Aussie, I was in awe of the 'oldness' of the buildings in England - I actually walked through the old city gateway in Bristol that Elizabeth I went through. Bristol is a fascinating city with some beautiful cathedrals, quaint buildings and interesting-looking pubs. We were taken to Cheddar for the day and on the way had lunch at a 500 year old stone pub. We went to Portsmouth for the day to see the old ships and managed to get in a ferry trip to the Isle of Wight. Lovely little train takes you from the mainland out along the very long pier where the ferry docks.


We did the usual touristy things, but found our memorable times happened oft chance: when we visited the Tower of London we chatted to a group of people from Chicago and they offered us tickets to see the Key Ceremony. (It seems you have to write to get the tickets.) Every night for the last 700 years or so the Tower has been locked to protect the reigning sovereign and the ceremony has not changed. Made entertaining by the Yeoman (all ex-Army Sergeants) who explains what is happening. We were present when the Tower Bridge opened up to let a tall ship through. And I was surprised at my reaction to Big Ben (loved it.) Not too impressed with Madame Tussaud 's except the Tour of London on a London Taxi through very lifelike mobile depictions of the history of London.

Opera House
Opera House

Gay Paree, ah what can you say about Paris that hasn't been said before? Such grand buildings. The Opera House was unbelievably beautiful and Glenn managed to get a glimpse into the actual opera room which has lush red velvet seats and curtains before he was ushered out. We had many conversations with young French couples and found them eager to practise their English. Whilst travelling to Trouville Deauville we sat next to two Benedictine monks on the train who spoke Italian, French and very good English - an unexpected bonus. We mentioned we had been to Moulin Rouge the night before and they said "Moulin Rouge? Ooh la la!".

Laraine at Montmartre

Montmartre is beautiful and on the steps of the Sacre Coeur - a very peaceful church - we  listened to this fabulous young jazz band, with Paris at our feet.  

Eiffel at night
Eiffel tower at night

Had to see Tour L'Efffel, of course, and chatted to three American exchange students on the way home from Germany. One was terrified of heights, but still made it to the top. Lost Glenn, but that's another story.

Loved Singapore, so clean and green. And Glenn loved the food.

Laraine McClelland