University of Hong Kong * Department of Geography
FIELD TRIP TO EUROPE
15.-29. July 2006
France and Switzerland (Rhine Valley)
Teaching Assistant:Daniel Olivier
Welcome to the website of the 2006 field trip to Europe. The field trip is over. We have experienced a great trip with many memorable moments and survived the hottest July in Germany's recorded history (yes!). Now it is time to appreciate the memories, renew the friendships made on the trip (in Basel, Freiburg and within the group), share the photographs and - very important - work on the geography results.
As you know from my e-mail, the deadline for submission of the fieldtrip report has been postponed to Friday, 13. October, 15 h. A second e-mail was regarding the formatting. For details please refer to the two mails or ask me. Please make sure that all sources used by you are properly referenced. This also includes the oral explanations by the experts, who spoke to us during the trip. You can and should use the 2004 fieldtrip report, but you will be graded according to the value added by you and the reflection of your fieldtrip experience in 2006.
The preparation of your report contributions is the third phase of your work schedule. You were first supposed to acquire background knowledge and research questions. You have then, during the trip, had plenty of opportunities to observe, to collect material and to benefit from lectures and discussions. You should now structure your knowledge, write it down and search additional information from the sources you know (incl. the new information material in the map library) and may be by email from the experts we met. The last step after submission and grading of the reports will be their editing and compilation, so that finally we get our fieldtrip book and website ready.
Again, thank you very much to Daniel, Steffen, the host families in and around Freiburg, the Geography Department in Basel all the experts (and doctors!) consulted on the way and of course to the students from Hong Kong and Guangzhou who have contributed during the trip. Looking forward to your written contribution - so, work hard, sleep at night and be punctual! ;-)
14:00 Discover Mannheim game
16:30 General briefing
19:00 Free evening
|Sun||16.7.||Upper Rhine||09:00 Bus trip to
the Upper Rhine at Germersheim
10:00 Cross-section through the Upper Rhine floodplain by foot
15:00 Canoeing on the old Rhine at Insel Grün
19:00 Barbeque in Mannheim
industry (visit at BASF Ludwigshafen),
incl. Environmental Control Centre (Mr. Haag)
14:00 Speyer (old town and cathedral)
17:00 Schwetzingen (park and castle)
based industries: Technology park (Ms. Bogner)
and cancer research centre (Ms. Kohlstaedt)
14:00 International tourism in Heidelberg (field work)
Rail systems in the Upper Rhine Valley
12:00 Border city Kehl, binational park
16:00 Strasbourg: old town
Development of a city between two nations
(guided tour by Dr. Bernard Reitel)
17:00 European institutions in Strasbourg
|Fri||21.7.||Vosges||08:00 Bus departure
to Vosges mountains
09:30 Hiking from Champs du Feu to Natzviller (landscape)
12:00 Lunch at Le Haycot
14:00 Lac Noir (glacial morphology, power plant)
15:00 WWI memorial at La Linge
17:00 Fortification in Neuf Brisach
18:00 Kaiserstuhl (wine cultivation, volcano)
19:00 Chinese dinner, meeting with host families
old town, quality of life (with Steffen Grabisna)
14:30 Eco city: Bicycle station "Mobile"
16:00 Eco city: Quartier Vauban (by Ferdinand Biselli)
19:00 Picnic, football match (whole day with German host students)
|Sun||23.7.||Black Forest||10:00 Old silver
12:00 Coffee break with Black Forest Cake
13:00 Walk to the peak of Schauinsland mountain
15:00 Cable car to Freiburg
12:00 Lunch at University of Basel
14:00 Basel old town
18:00 Meeting with local geography students
|Tue||25.7.||Basel||09:00 Inland port
Basel, Switzerland (Mr. Vogelbacher)
12:00 Border city Weil am Rhein
13:00 Inland port Weil am Rhein, Germany (Ms. Rudigier)
15:00 Krembs: Hydroenergy and flood plain
11:00 Lecture about transalpine rail transport (Mr. Vetsch)
18:00 Arrival in Schaffhausen
|Thu||27.7.||Lake Constance||09:00 High Rhine
and Lake Constance (boat tour)
18:00 Farewell dinner (Baden cuisine)
|Fri||28.7.||Schaffhausen||09:00 Bicycle tour
11:00 Rhine water fall
14:00 Rheinau (by bicycle)
19:00 Farewell Party
of ZhongshanU students
09:00 De-briefing for HKU students
Costs and Payment
Please make sure
you have paid your fieldtrip fee in time, and refer to the General Office
for any questions regarding the payment.
Your field trip fees include all accomodation, entance fees and transport costs (as long as part of the field trip), but not the trip to the starting point and from the ending point and principally not the meals . I do, however, hope that the budget is sufficient to allow me to pay for some of the meals we take together.
If you are SAR
passport holder, no visa is required for any of the three countries
If you are BNO passport holder, no visa is required for Switzerland, but you need a Schengen visa for Germany and France.
The Schengen visa will be valid for most E.U. countries (plus Norway and Iceland). You are supposed to apply with the consulate of your main destination country. If there is no such country, the country of first entry should be considered main destination country. For our trip, you should normally apply with the German consulate general. Since we may re-enter Germany from Switzerland, you will need a multiple entry visa.
Swiss consulate (no visa required, just for information)For your visa application, you will need to present a round trip air ticket, your latest bank statement, a confirmation letter from me, a health insurance, a photo and your passport and ID card (for authoritative information, please refer to the German consulate general).
German consulate (visa information, application form)
French consulate (the Germany visa is valid for France as well, just for information)
Starting day, transport anddeparture day
We will meet on Saturday, 15 July 2006 at Mannheim Youth Hostel. You shall try to arrive between 12 h and 14 h if possible, since the first meeting is scheduled at 14 h. If you cannot make it within this time, please let me know your approximate arrival time. As our meeting day is a Saturday, some shops may close earlier than usual and some local trains may not run. In most cases, it should not be a problem, but better be sure your train connection is a daily one.
Tel.: +49-621-822718 (from within Germany: 0621-822718, from within Mannheim: 822718)
Mannheim is conveniently located in the German rail network. You can reach it by IC- or ICE-trains from most major German cities, such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich (München), Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne (Köln) and from other Places in Europe, such as Zürich, Paris, Amsterdam. There is especially a direct rail connection to Frankfurt Airport . Frankfurt is the closest international airport to the starting point of our field trip, whereas Zürich is closest to the ending point.
The hostel is nicely located at the river Rhine, our main field trip topic. It is also very close to the railway station. Upon your arrival you leave the station towards the southern exit to Lindenhof (not through the main station hall, which is the northern exit). From the southern exit, you walk straight via Lindenhofplatz to the park at the Rhine river. Please refer to the map you have received. You will also see signs pointing you to the youth hostel (something like "Jugendherberge" or "DJH"). It is really not far, and you do not have to take a taxi.
Air transport: There are many airlines connecting Hong Kong with the field trip region. You may want to check the details, especially the prices with your travel agent. Generally speaking the most convenient way is to take a direct flight with Lufthansa (to Frankfurt), Swiss (to Zurich) or Cathay Pacific (to both). Lufthansa and Swiss fly to the other airports as well, but you would have to change at their hub. You may check the special offers of these three airlines, but most likely your agent will suggest cheaper options with one stopover. This could be European airlines, such as Air France , British Airways , Finnair , Aeroflot , KLM but in my experience some Asian airlines, such as Thai Airways , Singapore Airlines , Malaysia Airlines and Korean Air are cheaper. They may however take longer time, due to routing and stopovers. Airlines from the Middle East, such as Gulf Air or Emirates are also cheaper, but you have to change flights in the middle of the night. For a complete list of airlines, please contact your travel agent. I would not recommend any specific airline. By the way, some airlines allow you to fly to Frankfurt and return from Zürich. Some airlines also offer free connecting flights to Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse or to Stuttgart, which are both between Mannheim and Schaffhausen. You would have to change in Frankfurt, Zürich, Amsterdam or Paris (not sure London...), but I think it's not worth the trouble of changing. You'll be faster taking the train from Frankfurt or Zürich.
Rail transport: Within Europe rail transport is very convenient.You might want to check offers like EurailPass , German Railpass or Swiss Travel System for your own trips before and after the field trip. Most of these tickets have to be purchased before going to Europe. If you have such a ticket, which includes part of the duration of our field trip, please let me know. This could save you some money (no guarantee!).
You can reach Mannheim by Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) directly from most major cities (map). If you travel from Frankfurt Airport to Mannheim on the starting day, you can take the direct and comfortable ICE train taking about 30 min and costing about 20 EUR, or you can take RE and RB trains taking about 1 h 30 min and costing about 15 EUR. With RE/RB trains you will have to change trains. You can check any connections and fares inside Germany at Deutsche Bahn. When selecting your trains, please keep in mind that IC/EC (map) and ICE (map) trains are fast and RE or RB trains are cheaper. Night trains with sleeping cars are convenient but cost more (find more about types of trains). You may also want to check the various national and international special offers, such as "Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket" (Happy Weekend).
"Schönes-Wochenende-" (Happy Weekend) Ticket: In Germany, up to 5 persons travelling together on Saturdays or Sundays on local trains (e.g. RB, RE) can travel on a very cheap ticket. In principle, you can travel the whole day (until 3 a.m. of the following day) throughout Germany, but it may be tiring as local trains are a bit slow and less comfortable. The ticket costs EUR 32,- at the counter, or EUR 30,- at vending machines and is valid for 1-5 persons. Since our first and last days are Saturdays, it may be an interesting option for some of you, especially if you travel in small groups from places such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt city or Frankfurt airport.
Local transport: In most cities on our route public transport is very convenient. Compared to Hong Kong, the fares might be higher and the payment procedures more complicated. Since they differ from place to place, there is no point explaining them here. Be warned that taxis are much more expensive than in Hong Kong, especially in Switzerland but in principle in all three countries. So, unless you are rich, better avoid taxis or at least check the approximate fare beforehand.
Departure date: The field trip ends on 29. July around 11 am in Schaffhausen (Switzerland). From the train station in Schaffhausen to Zürich Airport, you will need about 1 hour by train, to Frankfurt Airport about 4 hours.
Rhine Valley (only in German)
on Restrhein renaturation
excerpts for download at the bottom of the page (summary here)
City of Heidelberg
Heidelberg Tourist Office
on competitiveness of regions in Germany by prognos
(red colour: highest competitivity, full explanations unfortunately only in German)
Council of Europe
Schauinsland silver mine (only in German)
Port of Basel
Port of Weil am Rhein
Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine
Rail Project (NEAT) (only
in French, German and Italian)
related sites in English:
Verkehrshaus Schweiz (Transport Museum in Lucerne)
The assessment of
this course consists of 20% active fieldtrip participation (fieldwork,
discussions, asking questions, taking notes etc.), 70% contribution to
the field trip report and 10% contribution to the post-trip fieldtrip website.
Your contribution to the report includes:
physical geography (geomorphology, climate, hydrology, vegetation,
natural and cultural landscapes)
Environment and sustainability (sustainable urban development and transport, environmental impact of economic activities)
Transport (airports, railways, ports, road pricing, logistics centres, cross-border traffic, urban transport, cycling)
Tourism (international city tourism, recreation, winter sports, spa, economic and environmental impact)
Resources and economy (economic sectors, location factors, energy, resources, economic potential, regional/city marketing)
Borders and integration (impact of borders, cross-border traffic, planning of border regions, history, European integration)
Every student is responsible for one of the following 20 subjects. This includes, preparing this topic beforehand, following it throughout the fieldtrip to become our expert on the topic, doing deeper research in the process of wiriting up the final report and finally contributing the chapter on this topic to the field trip report.
The 20 subjects
01 Geology and landforms (Jacky So)
02 Landscapes (Carman)
03 Land-use and agriculture (Newton)
04 Rivers and lakes (Eric - Wai Kuen)
05 Environmental quality (Yanchap)
06 Energy production and consumption (Jacky Li)
07 Industries and environmental policy (Heyson)
08 Locations for business and industries (Kevin)
09 Settlements and urban structures (Gloria)
10 Individual urban transport (Eric - Tak Hin)
11 Public urban transport (Yutin)
12 Competing transport modes in the Rhine river axis (David)
13 Transport networks and borders (Carol)
14 Cross-border contacts and co-operation (Chapman Claude)
15 The impact of the European Union (Denise)
16 The history of the field trip region (Samson)
17 International tourism (Fanz)
18 Leisure and countryside recreation (Austin)
19 The people in the field trip region (Nancy)