The week between Christmas and New Years turned out to be a busy one for us. We went to Switzerland and then we one of my sorority sisters and her husband visit us for a couple of days. They were on a European vacation that started in Turin, Italy and ended in Amsterdam. Quite a trip for only a week! We wanted to show them a little bit of Germany, and we were lucky to find the Christmas market in Speyer was still open. Coming home, they noticed the giant Lufthansa 747 at the Speyer Technikmuseum, and said they had to go (it's good to be friends with like minded people!). Despite living so close, Aaron and I had never been, so plans were made to visit the next day.
Before we left, the guys started watching the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer." I missed the first couple of episodes, but everyone was hooked. We could have easily sat there and binge watched the entire 10 part mini series. In fact, that night we were so hooked we stayed up until well past 2AM (quite a feat for this pregnant lady!) watching it. All I can say, if you haven't seen it, get a Netflix subscription and go watch it. I honestly can't believe the stuff that happened in the series was real life. Even the wildest writers in Hollywood would have trouble coming up with this stuff.
Ok, back to the main point - the Speyer Technikmuseum. Being engineers, this was totally up our alley. The first hall of the museum had a bunch of different displays that ranged from planes, trains, antique fire trucks, antique cars, to an old carousel, carnival organ, and steam powered trains. Many of the displays still worked and for a small fee (1 euro), you could "make it go." We were a little surprised to see so many pieces of technology from World War II on display. To be fair, Germany poured a ton of money into developing new technologies, many of which had non-military applications after the war, so it makes sense to include them in the displays.
Outside, there were a lot of planes and boats on exhibit. They even have an old 747 from Lufthansa set up. You climb a set of stairs to just under the belly of the plane, and then another spiral staircase to get into the plane. The back end is stripped so that visitors can see its bones, while the forward parts and upstairs are intact. On one side, there is a door that allows you to walk out on to the wing. Not many people can say they've been on the wing of a 747.
The whole plane had a bit of a fun house feel to it. It is on display as if it is banking into a turn, but also taking off. This made navigating the tiny spiral staircase to the upper level interesting and made for some cool photo ops.
There are other display halls to explore, one of which is focused on space. Inside, there is an actual Russian space shuttle. Unfortunately, this one was used for Earth-based testing, so it never went into space, but they did have other, smaller, craft that did. My inner child that dreamed of being an astronaut totally geeked out over this.
Back outside, we checked out a couple of the boats on display. One was a World War II era U-boat. This thing was ti.ny. and definitely had a bit of a coffin feel to it. Honestly, I don't think I could have survived living and working in one those for months on end. The most entertaining part of the U-boat had to have been when they showed a dummy actually sitting on a toilet, reading a magazine. Those cheeky Germans!
The other boat we checked out was a German coast guard-esqu rescue boat. It had a smaller, deployable dinghy off the back, and was mocked up as if it had just rescued victims at sea. There were victims, rescuers, rescue equipment, medical services, and even food, all set up inside.
For engineers, this place is geek heaven. It was cool to see and read about all the different technologies on display. Word of warning, if you really want to see it all, make sure to leave yourself more than a few hours. This place could easily warrant an entire day of exploring.