FROM the 18th to the 24th of September last the little town of Innsbruck wore an air of unwonted bustle and excitement. Its population, already augmented by the usual throng of summer tourists, was swelled by the advent of somewhere about 800 additional visitors—professors, doctors, directors, men of all sciences, often with their wives and daughters, who had come from all parts of Germany to attend the forty-third Meeting of the German Naturalists and Physicians. These meetings resemble those of our own British Association, though they differ in several very characteristic respects. One of the first contrasts to strike an Englishman is the entire absence of private hospitality. Everybody, so far as we can learn, is in private lodgings or in a hotel; and there are no such things as dinner-parties. Although our own customs in these respects are certainly very pleasant, there can be no doubt that the German fashion leaves the visitors more freedom, and allows them much more opportunity of seeing and talking with the friends they most wish to meet. With us it is no easy matter to get together a party of chemists, or geologists, or physiologists, to hold a social gathering after the labours of the sections are over. We are all either staying with friends, or invited to dinner, or engaged in some way. But at the German meetings such social reunions are one of the distinguishing features. One o'clock in the day brings with it the necessity for dining, and numerous dinner parties are improvised there and then; friends of like tastes, who have not met perhaps for a year before, adjourn to a restauration or kaffee-haus, and while eating the meal have a pleasant opportunity of comparing notes, and discussing questions which have in the interval arisen.
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GEIKIE, A. The Meeting of German Naturalists and Physicians at Innsbruck, Tyrol. Nature 1, 22–23 (1869). https://doi.org/10.1038/001022a0