CeBIT, Hanover, Germany; and Munich, Bavaria
Mark your calendars: March 2008 will see the next incarnation of the world’s largest computer-technology show. If you manage to tear yourself away from the exhibits, the Laatzen Museum of Aviation offers a less crowded dose of technology. The History of Energy Museum blasts you back to a past of radio, lightbulbs, and other electrical devices.
But the real technical center of Germany is in Munich, Bavaria, home to Siemens, Infineon, and the European outposts of many American high-tech firms. It’s also a city that knows how to have fun. Where else could you quaff a liter of beer at HofBraeuHaus, then walk (please don’t drive) to the Deutsches Museum, where you could spend several days among its exhibits of mining, electronics, engineering, flight, and more? Another huge outpost of the museum houses autos, trains, and more. With an advance reservation, you can take the BMW Factory Tour and see (but not buy) more beer, available in vending machines on the shop floor. Check out the temporary BMW Museum in nearby Olympic Park, or wait for the grand opening of the renovated museum in spring of 2008. Don your lederhosen and come during Oktoberfest to see all of Bavaria dancing on tables.
Yes, you can take pleasure trips to Antarctica, assuming you're one to define a visit to the coldest, most desolate place on earth as "pleasure." It may not be hip, sexy, or urbane, but Antarctica certainly holds quite the travel cachet for its sheer remoteness and largely unspoiled landscape. Believe it or not, Antarctic tourism is a successful industry -- successful enough, even, to have its own association of tour operators. As for what you'll see and experience, well, that depends largely on when you go. There is, of course, lots of ice, not to mention mountains, which some tour packages will allow you to climb and camp on. You'll also get to see seals, whales, and, of course, penguins, among other flora and fauna unique to this part of the world. The most popular form of Antarctic tourism is a cruise. Yup, the same industry that promises to whisk you away to a tropical paradise also has a segment dedicated to the land of ice and snow. You can check out a FAQ and get some basic cruise info at the Antarctica Cruise and Travel Guide.