I had the privilege of speaking in the university city of Tübingen this past week at a seminar for doctoral students.

Tübingen is a university town - nothing much else around. The woman who picked me up at the airport noted that Pustefix is made in Tübingen - I joked that this is just hot air, too (it is German soap bubbles packaged up for kids to blow), but she didn't get the joke. The Wikipedia notes that Tübingen has the lowest average age in the population in Germany (39.8 years). And indeed, many of them were out with a beer on the warm summer evening, sitting around this fountain listening to a guy singing and playing the guitar. The Lord Mayor is only 36 and a member of the Green Party.

What a life it would be, teaching in Tübingen! Arise, rested, at a decent hour and have a leisurely breakfast with the newspapers; stroll from the old downtown area full of half-timbered houses across the old botanical gardens and a creek to your university building; give a seminar at ten to eager students; have a fast and efficient lunch at the mensa nearby, continuing the discussion with your students; back to the department for letters and coffee and some rounds with your thesis students in the early afternoon; then across the street to the library to pick up some material that you spend the afternoon reading before joining colleagues for a good discussion over a cold glass of local white wine before turning in.

Of course, if you are gossiping about a colleague, you have to look over both shoulders and quickly assess if anyone from the colleague's department is within earshot. I think I would go crazy within a very short time.

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