Dusseldorf and final thoughts

June 17, 2012 at 7:18 am 5 comments

What a busy week we have had here in Dusseldorf or as I affectionately call it “the Dorf.” so busy in fact that I have had a hard time making time to catch up on some blogging. Here it goes…

We arrived last Sunday and went straight to a modern Opera in the center of town. That evenign i was introduced to my wonderful host family for the week, Mr. And Mrs. von Schmettow. They are kind and welcoming hosts, who also have 5 great kids!

Monday was a day to explore the city and the famous “Ko” which is a high priced shopping area. But before exploring the town I was able to have a meeting arranged for me by my host family to meet with Christian Rath, a renewable energy market analyst for HSBC bank. Mr. Rath’s focus is on the solar energy sector, and we had a great and informative conversation about the history of Germany’s solar industry, the government subsidies which have made Germany the world largest producer of solar energy, and the future of this industry as government subsidies are reduced. Monday night was a BBQ with our host Rotarians in Dusseldorf.

Tuesday and Wednesday for me were spent with E-ON, which as of a few years ago was the largest private energy utility in the entire world. They have since sold off some assets, including some business they had in the eastern united states, and now they are the 2nd or 3rd largest utility in the world. On Tuesday I met with representatives of their Strategy Department, which helps the company executives beat predict what the future of the energy industry has in store for the company…. Not an easy job, especially with the energy industry so interconnected to political decisions, which are made and un-made on a regular basis. This in addition to market conditions impacting the costs of the energy, and so many other factors to mention on this “brief” blog. The point is that these gentleman have a tremendously difficult yet critical job for E-ON, and it was fascinating talking and learning from them. On Wednesday at E-ON I spent the day with two gentleman from their Technology and Innovation Department. This department has roughly 200 full time employees spending around $150 mil io euros annually researching and testing everything from wind and solar, to electric vehicles, smart grids, large batteries to store energy, and so much more. Very interesting vocational day for me!

on Wednesday evening we were able to watch the Germany vs Holland soccer game, which Germany won 2-1. Incredible atmosphere amongst the fans. The best part for me is when the restaurant started playing the Dusseldorf soccer victory song with about 2 minutes still to play. I love the confidence!

Thursday we had an amazing day in Cologne and visited the world famous Cologne Cathedral, which stands roughly 500 feet tall and takes about 20 minutes to climb to the top. The stone stairway is about 3 feet wide and is made for visitors climbing to the top AND visitors defending back to earth. Made for a tight squeeze all the way up and down. The Cathedral took roughly 600 years to build. Think about that for a second. America is only 236 years old, and this place took roughly 600 years to complete. Wow. Thursday was also a rotary presentation day for us at the Cologne club.

Friday was another Rotary presentation, this time to our Dusseldorf host club. Friday night was a classical music concert inside Barock style castle. It is difficult to describe how beautiful this music and the setting were. Just amazing.

Saturday we got up earlier and drive about 2 hours to the Rotary district conference in Rhiene. This was also our first opportunity to meet the GSE team from Germany who spent nearly 5 weeks back home in our region. It was great to share stories, review each others pictures, and talk about the great things we have had the opportunity to do in each others countries. One of the GSE team members from Germany even stayed with family member of a colleague of mine at Puget Sound Energy, and he took a vocational day tour of our PSE Baker River Hydroelectric Project in Concrete. Their team also visited the Anacortes Rotary Club, and had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, the Rock Fish. the district conference was also a great opportunity to catch up with some of the best friends I have made on this trip. grog or from Munster, Burckhard from Willich, my host family the Brauckmann’s from Willich, and some great friends from Gelsenkirchen as well.

Now it is Sunday and I am trying to repack my suitcase with the addition of several souvenirs. The Rotary Group Study Exchange program is an incredible way to bring peoples and cultures together, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. You cannot buy this experience at a travel agency. We have had the opportunity to truly develop relationships with people, by staying in their homes, seeing their culture, learning from their professional work, and breaking bread together. I know that at many of these relationships will last a lifetime. I will always be grateful to Rotary for making this program a reality, grateful to my fellow GSE members who I have bonded with and shared hundreds of laughs and memories over the past month, grateful to our German Rotary hosts and host families who have redefined for me the word “hospitality”, grateful to my employer Puget Sound Energy for encouraging and supporting my participation in this program, and most of all grateful to my family who supported me in this once in a lifetime experience. Vielen vielen dank!

– Cory

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Entry filed under: Team Blog.

Soccer, by any other name is…. Cologne & its Cathedral

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  June 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I can’t tell you how much i’ve enjoyed experiencing all of your adventures thru this blog. You almost have us at your side as you see the sights and interact w/ the local families and aquaintences. Thank you all for sharing (so vividly) your experiences and pictures.

    Reply
  • 2. Rob Martin  |  June 17, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Cory. Great job as one of the representatives of GSE in District 5050! We can’t wait to hear all about it. Rob Martin

    Reply
  • 3. billrobson1  |  June 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Once again, this is what GSE is all about. Well done Cory and, of course, all of the team. You have represented District 5050 in all its glory. Thank you for helping us be a part of your amazing journey. See you all soon.

    Reply
  • 4. Darren Patterson  |  June 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Very nice work on this blog!

    I am a Rotarian interested in learning more about your experiences in Germany. Our district is leading a team in the spring.

    I look forward to reading more about what you are seeing and learning.

    Reply
  • 5. Anthony  |  June 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Great Blog and absolutely wonderful experience!

    Anthony

    Reply

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