Archive for April, 2006

To Prague Saturday, April 15th, 2006

I did a tour of Munich this morning. Pretty cool. Met a Canadian on the train last night and he recommended a good hostel to me so I stayed there. Caught a free 3 hour tour today. I normally would shy from tours but it was actually prettz decent. I didn’t have time to research Munich myself so it worked out. I’ll post more soon.
I missed my first train to Prague because it didn’t say anything about Prague on the damn sign. So I am catching the next one in a few minutes here.
I just made a post about my day leading up to Zurich. I’ll post more later.
All’s well. Feet are hurting already and I want to save them for Prague which is why I’m spending my last hour here sitting in an internet cafe 🙂
More soon…

Munchen Friday, April 14th, 2006

So my pictures are on Andreas’computer from the Zurich and castle trip. I?l post some of the others as soon as I get a chance and do a better journal entry. for now, in Munich, and headed to Prague late tomorrow I think. We shall see.
Having a blast.

Castles and countryside Thursday, April 13th, 2006

I woke up at 5am to give John the luggage. Slept until 7:45am when I got my wakeup call (in German, as I requested). I asked the front desk to not wake me up in English each day I was there, but in German instead so I get the full experience 🙂 Its kinda nice waking up to something you cant understand.
I slept a bit more until 8:15am. Showered, packed up mz plastic bags worth of stuff and headed out. On my way to te train station, I stopped to buy a 34.99 Euro backpack. Kinda pricy, but I really needed it. Then to the train station to buy my tickets. Bought the just before the train and then headed out. The ride went through the forest and I started to see snow everywhere. Got to Hechingen and just missed the one bus that goes to the castle daily. I ended up grabbing a taxi for 12 E to the castle. Got to the castle and decided to hike up the trail instead of waiting for the shuttle bus. Ummmm, can you say COLD??? Only one set of footprints through the snow going up the stairs on the trail. Couldn’t even see the stairs, just had to trust that they were where the footprints were. Not sure if it was the altitude (I have no idea how high I am), or if I’m just out of shape, but it winded me for sure.
At the top of the trail, I bought my ticket for the indoor tour. Hung around for a while until the tour started. It was all in German, so I didn’t understand a word of it, but it was very coolen to see the inside. The present castle there really isn’t all that old, but it is the 4th castle on the spot. The first from the 13th or 14th century. They all got torn down during sieges.
I decided to pony up the 1.30 E for the shuttle down. Had to wait for the shuttle to show and it was CRAZY cold. I was getting nervous because it didn’t show until 14:00 and mz next train connection was at 14:27 and I still had to call a taxi, wait for it, and then a 10 minute ride into town. The taxi showed at 14:12. I asked him if he could make it in time and he assured me he could. I talked with him a bit. He didn’t speak much English but I learned that he was born in the same small town (Hechingen) and he hadn’t left. He sdai in the last 2 days they got over a foot and a half of snow (he showed me with his hands). So he got me there by about 14:19. Plenty of time 🙂 I got on the train and that’s where I am now. I’m hoping to get a chance to pick up a snow cap and gloves and a sweatshirt. Not sure I will have time until Zurich.
Off we go….

Stuttgart. And the adventure begins… Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

YAY! The training is done!! It went extremely well.
We have eaten some really great food here. The first night, we ate at the brewery, and I had fresh gnocchi. Monday night we ate at this AMAZING Thai restaurant and I had some kind of pad thai with tofu. Tuesday night we ate at a really good Greek restaurant and I had these little feta cheese pies, and greek salad, and tzatziki. And tonight (Wednesday) we ate at a restaraunt where we had NO idea what kind of food they served. No English on the menu, waiters didn’t speak English at all. I ended up with this kinda Noodles Romanoff/Mac n Cheese kinda thing, with a salad and french fries. The mystery meal!
We took a trip to Stuttgart today since we got out of class early. We walked around and saw some amazing sights. See below. Lots of cool stores and stuff. If you like shopping, that is the town for you!
So tomorrow I start the vacation part of my trip over here. I will leave in the morning via train to Zurich, Switzerland. There I will visit my friend Andreas. He stayed with us over the last summer in Austin for a couple days. It’s so cool to be able to visit him over here. Never thought I’d have the chance. On the way to Zurich I may try to find a way to stop to go see the Hohenzollern Castle. Not sure if I will be able to or not though. We shall see. Tomorrow night I’ll have dinner with Andreas and his girlfriend in Zurich and crash at his place. Friday we have some tentative plans to go to Rigi. Not sure on that either yet. We shall see if the weather holds. Oh yeah, Monday, during training it was snowing down cats and dogs outside! It was GREAT!
So we’ll do that on Friday and then I believe I will leave Friday night to go to Munich. I will spend a half a day or so there on Saturday and then either stay in Munich that night or continue on to Prague. I will spend all day Sunday and Monday in Prague. Tuesday morning I fly back from Prague to Austin.
I’m ditching my luggage with my coworker John since he’s been nice enough to take it back to Austin with him tomorrow. And I didn’t have time to buy a backpack before I left. So I’ll need to buy one. Only thing I’m taking with me is: an extra pair of jeans, boxers, socks, a jacket that I’ll wear, my camera, a hairbrush that I bought over here, shampoo, my ipod, and that’s about it. I need to pick up a cheap backpack because currently I just have everything stuffed in a plastic bag from the store.
Well I need to go do some research on potential hostels I might stay at in Munich and Prague, and I need to look at train schedules. SPONTANEOUS!

Crazy upturned trees and “giant deer feeders”. Boeblingen.

The roofs are amazing. They’re extremely steep and this one even has ladders on it permanently!

A pretty tree.

German architecture.

Fountain.

The “cobblestone” work here is so amazing. I really like how it follows every curve and hump in the road.

Schtreetzenznarrowen.

John sitting on some whacky German sculpture.

Ahhh das Brau hausen!

There we go. This is where everyone found us on the first night.

This picture TRULY expresses how Germans feel about their beer. Does that guy looked pleased or what!??!

A liquor that would NEVER make it in the US.

A view from Das Ticketbar.

Rohrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

Flowers everywhere. It is so gorgeous. And it’s still freezing outside. I can only imagine once it warms up.

More flowenzenheimers.

Flowerbed.

We took a daytrip to Stuttgart and saw some really great old architecture and plazas.

Ominous rainclouds in the background.

Another flowerbed with a pretty flowering tree.

Tower.

This is one of their main shopping areas. There are stores upon stores. LOTS of people walking around. And because they are gearing up for World Cup, you can see little soccerballs hanging from the trees.

Some old architecture. Let’s take a closer look…

Amazing sculpture.

Look at that detail!

Up.

Smartcars are everywhere! This one was tricked out.

A delicious German meal. We had absolutely NO idea what we were getting here because the menu was in German and the waiter didn’t speak any English. Mystery meal! It was good!

So funny. a Mexican restaurant with Mexican food with German descriptions!

Another courtyard.

Mighty.

Horseman.

This is just one of many churches. These are amazing. This one had dates on it from the year 1130.

Olympics

I LOVE these courtyards. Check out all that stonework!

Up.

Train station.

Deutscheland! Monday, April 10th, 2006

OK… so first of all… the house is done, and we moved in Monday before last. It was exactly 6 months, to the day from the fire. It is REALLY REALLY so much better than we ever imagined it would be. Just great. I will post some final pics and all soon.
The funny thing is, I only got to spend a few days there because I was scheduled to come to Germany for work to do some training. So I flew out that Saturday, the 8th. Austin to Chicago to London to Stuttgart, then a taxi to Boeblingen.
We got to the hotel and immediately went out to try to keep the momentum and not go to sleep. We ended up walking around the lakes in town, checking out some awesome architecture and ended up (where else but) at the local brewery. We ordered some Mai Bock beers (their newest brew) and the waitress asked if we wanted small or large. When we said large she said “but it is VERY strong beer!!”. Well then, bring us two! hahaha not the thing to do. Challenging two Texans on beer. We drank a couple then in walk the customers that we will be training for the week. They sat down and ate with us and it was a really cool way to get to know them before the training. 30 minutes pass and in walks my father-in-law and his wife!! I had spoken with him just a little while before. He didn’t mention that they were going to try to come meet up with me. Boy, was it great seeing them walk in! I had a really good time chatting it up with them and drinking beers. Nice to see family that we rarely get to see.
We asked if they had anything stronger and the waitress turned us on to their Bock beer. It literally said in big block letters on the bottle “REAL STRONG BEER”. Not too bad!
After chatting and chatting we headed back to the hotel for the night and bid Bobby and Edith good night. And we were so exhausted and relaxed that we both passed out in our rooms around 6pm. Not a good move. I woke up at 11:30pm. Couldn’t get back to sleep until 4:30am and up at 6am. Not a good night’s sleep at all. The next day I was SOOOO tired. But the training went very well.


First day. Walk around the Boeblingen lakes.

There is art everywhere around Boeblingen.

It was some kind of fountain.

German pigeons. Also, German grass, and German concrete.

The church at the top of the hill in Boeblingen.

Closer picture of the towering church.

That looks VERY German, no?

Zee churchenzeinen.

.

This roof just looked awesome. They looked like metal shingles. Had to take a picture. The satellite dishes are a trip.