Monthly Archives: March 2010

More Trip Notes

German Train ticket purchased at Munich Airport.

When we were waiting to board the plane in Portland a loud buzzer went off. The guy who was taking the tickets closed the door to the gate and turned around and said, “Sorry. The flight is already full.”

Then he smiled and everybody laughed. It was funny mostly because I don’t often see airline personnel that playful.

He opened the door and started boarding again. Maybe there’s an alarm if the door is open a certain amount of time? And as it turned out, the flight was only about 90% full and the service amazing.

72 hours of metro use in Amsterdam. You pass this ticket in front of a thingey when you board and exit and it beeps.

On the Düsseldorf to Munich flight half the passengers were hopeless amateurs. A lady was seated in the row ahead of us when we boarded. A passenger came to claim the seat and embarrassed, she moved to the row in front. A passenger came to claim that seat and embarrassed again, she moved back to the row in front of us. By this time the person who claimed the seat in the row in front of us had discovered he was wrong and moved. Then a woman and two daughters from a country we never figured out arrived to claim the row ahead of us.

The woman seated said: This row is D – B – F

Because that makes sense.

Finally there is more seat switching until she found her correct place in seat B, strangely placed between seats A and C across the aisle.

Air Berlin had, what seemed to me, to be extremely small seats. This coming from a person who my husband insists has no ass. I had to yank on the seatbelt to get it to click shut.

The flight was only 50 minutes but they did beverage service. The snack choice was wasabe chips or a chocolate-wafery bar thing. Bob waffled when offered a choice and the young lady whispered: You can have both.

On the drop down screens they showed fake views out of a fake cockpit.

Train ticket from the train station by the hotel to the airport.

When I was a girl they were called Madonnabes. And I think there was a time when No Doubt was huge and they were called Stefanabees. Now what are they called? Gagabes? I saw flocks of them in Düsseldorf. There’s probably a more clever word than “flocks” but I can’t think of it right ow.

– – –

In Bad Kissingen I thanked Tante Hilla (in her 80’s, she would flog me for mentioning it) for being so generous with us.

She says: Pam, you can’t take it with you. The last nightdress has no pockets.

– – –

Our train passes were for first class. There were a couple of times when we didn’t know where the first class cars were so we sat in 2nd which is still pretty nice.

On the way out of Bad Kissingen we found the 1st class section which was about 8 seats in the front of the train with a clear view to the conductor and the front window of the train. It was spectacular.

My last dinner on vacation Zeppos

I usually don’t like to ask the hotel or touristy places about restaurants because I assume they’re going to send you to some generic craphole. That did not happen on this trip.

In Düsseldorf the hotel guy sent us into the Altstadt and told us there were tons of great places but he gave us two names as well. We found one of the places he mentioned and it was perfect plus they set a beer in front of me before I even asked. If I could marry a Düsseldorf restaurant (click on that link, it’s awesome), this would be it.

In the Amsterdam history museum Bob asked the adorable ticket desk clerk for some suggestions telling her it was our last night in town and we didn’t want anything touristy.

It took us awhile to find the place but Zeppos was really fantastic. We had fries with three different sauces and my entree was something with shrimp that was great.

The place had a bar that looked like an after work drink spot. It was a great way to end the trip.

Here are more of Bob’s adventures after I left. Even if you don’t have time to read, there are great photos:

Haarlem Highlights.

Some dork Atomium thing

Clare and the Reasons

A Few More Haarlem Notes.

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Small Hotel Room

Here I’m standing on the bed and leaning against the window being unhelpful as Bob looks at a map and tries to figure out the plan. At this point I’d learned enough about the controls to make shower pod and toilet pod lighting green.

Before I do my post about our tiny hotel room I need to add something that I meant to put in yesterday’s post.

Yesterday when co-worker returned from the coffee shop he told me that the barista had randomly asked him if he liked Ratt. “You know, the heavy metal band.”

Co-worker indicated that he did not and the barista expressed great enthusiasm for this band.

I’ve been to this coffee shop a number of times and I possibly could have given birth to this barista yet I am impressed at his wide-ranging knowledge of 80’s music.

“I have Ratt’s greatest hits,” I told co-worker. “I can loan it to you.”

“That won’t be necessary,” he said, all grumpy and ungrateful.

“And you know what?” I added. “Last night my pajama shirt was my Ratt New Year’s Eve concert t-shirt from 1985.”

He didn’t even have a response for that.

This is the hotel closet meaning just a rack with two hangers.

This is the toilet pod. You pull those two “doors” around until they meet in the middle and hope your knees don’t bump. Nothing private in here. You can kinda see the sink at the right.

Here I’m standing with my back against the door. You can see the TV above the bed and the tiny shelf on the left wall. The shower was pretty cool. The toilet “doors” are frosted but not the shower. That round thing up in the center is the showerhead. There’s also a handheld sprayer. They provide two kinds of soap: daytime and nighttime. I preferred day. Bob used a blend.

I stupidly didn’t get any photos of the downstairs area with the bar and couches and work areas.

One night I sat downstairs and had a beer and wrote in my travel notebook which I did an overall crap job of keeping up with. There was another man working and he asked to use my pen.

When he returned it he commented on how old fashioned it was to be using a pen and paper.

ARGH! We live in a world where pen and paper is considered old fashioned.

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Don’t Stop Believin’

The Hamburg UBahn system map at best station name ever Straßburger Straße

Bob didn’t finish his EMusic downloads so he left me 19. I downloaded the Journey Escape album. I’m going to learn how to burn it to a CD and listen to it in my car and drive around for hours, just like when I was 17. I can’t wait.

I also downloaded Ca Plane Pour Moi. No collection is complete without that song.

Bob is home. My souvenir cough has now moved into its last dastardly phase where I just have endless dry hacks that veer close to gagging. I’ll be happy to be done with this.

This weekend I need to finish Game of Thrones. Only 75 pages left. And I have 6 more Gilmore Girls Season 4. And a story to finish.

That’s it: 1 cough, 1 book, 1 TV series and a story.

Wish me luck.

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Amsterdam flower market

Tonight when I drove home I could see all kinds of tulips in the neighborhood. Even my next door neighbor has tulips.

None of my tulips have bloomed yet.

It seems like everything in my yard is always two weeks behind the neighbors. It’s not fair.

We found the Amsterdam flower market by accident and I was completely overcome.

I ran up to a giant bulb display and hugged it and told Bob: I want all of this.

I know, he said.

They had bulbs you could buy that were approved for the US but I was traveling with the world’s smallest bag and I would have had to carry the bulbs around with me for the rest of the day.

It was a tough choice but I passed. It looked like all the same stuff in the local catalog and I think all that stuff comes from Netherlands anyway.

Next year I’m buying a ton more tulips.

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Things to See

Davidwache police station on the Reeperbahn.. It was nice to finally be running around Hamburg on our own so we could look at all the stuff we wanted. My Dad’s family lived in this police station a long time ago.

I should be more organized about the way I’m doing this to avoid repeating myself later but I can’t get it together quite yet.

My Sweetheart has checked in and as far as I can tell he’s averaged about 4 museums a day plus churches, exhibits, government offices and a concert one evening.

I have a picture of him when he was a tiny baby and he’s holding his head up with his eyes wide open looking around. He came out of the womb not wanting to miss anything and he hasn’t changed.

The things that attract you to your partner are the same things that drive you nuts about them. I’m glad he’s getting to see all this stuff and I’m glad I’m not being dragged around with him.

For my ideal vacation I don’t mind a museum or two but then I like to sit around and relax. He thinks sitting around is boring. Even when we were in Reno he managed to find a museum.

He’ll be home on Thursday.

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Great Food Product

 We flew into Amsterdam and took a train to Dusseldorf.

The next day we flew from Dusseldorf to Munich and then took a train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

There was a huge snowfall and our flight was delayed so by the time we finally arrived at the Munich train station we were starving. We ran through one of the food shops grabbing everything that wasn’t nailed down.

I discovered this ingenious food product. It’s a little cup with a dollop of Nutella in one half and little bread-like sticks on the other.

At first it was too cold and the Nutella too hard so my sticks kept breaking. I put the cup on the heater in the train car and a few minutes later it was melty delicious. And the stick-to-Nutella ratio was perfect.

I wish I could buy this here and take it in my lunch. I guess it wouldn’t be that hard to make myself but that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

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Spotty Progress

Main Train Station in Hamburg

I’ve been trying to finish a story. This is the same story that I’ve been pulling my hair out over for the last 100 years. I think it’s coming together I’m just impatient.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on photos along with a bunch of stupid administrivia.

I’m back in the real world tomorrow.

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Woo! Up at 3am

We passed this creepy ad when were were on the train. “Did I just see a little blonde children-of-the-corn girl flipping me off?” I asked Bob. Later we saw it again in the train station and I grabbed a photo.

I stayed awake until about 2 minutes past 8pm last night. I got two solicitation phone calls in the evening and I was afraid the phone was going to wake me if I went to bed too early. One call wanted to know if I wanted to send letters to all my neighbors asking them to donate money to some cause that I guess I’ve supported in the past. How many ways can I say No?

Now I’m up and completely overwhelmed by all the photos. I have about 400 of mine plus 300 of Bob’s (from just the first few days). I don’t know where to start.

I’m enjoying my souvenir chest cold which is no doubt thanks to running around wet with cold feet and hours spent in public transportation. I hate getting coughs because they tend to stick around for weeks.

I made sure to cough on all the horrible children running around on the flight yesterday.

There’s a bus from the Portland International terminal to the regular terminal and there were three men who got on and sat by me. One of them said the flight wasn’t so bad and I must have made a face because another one said: You look like you don’t agree. Were you sitting near all the children?

Today’s plan is to drink peppermint tea and continue re-acclimation. Also do some writing and yoga since I just took two weeks off and I need to get my groove back.

Have I explained that Bob is staying in Europe for another week? Here are two posts from Bob’s first day without me. Haarlem Part I and Harrlem Part II.

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Honey, I’m Home.

Berliner Tor Hamburg Subway Station. In case you can’t tell: I’m sitting in the subway car taking a photo out the window of the station name on the wall.

I’m home. I’m tired but happy. I’m going to eat some soup and watch some Gilmore Girls and then stagger off to bed.

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Amsterdam: Vacation is Finished

Sadly, I haven’t secured a job as a towel girl for one of the Dutch soccer teams so I’m coming home tomorrow.

Another action packed day. I’m so tired I can hardly see straight. The hotel said that the airport shuttle will only take me if I bought the ticket in advance. That’s a stupid system for a hotel shuttle. I’m taking the train instead which is cheaper but I have to haul my bag over to the train station and now that it’s stuffed with candy I’d rather minimize the amount of humping it around.

Almost done.

Today we went to the History Museum. The guidebook didn’t make it sound like much but it turned out to be awesome AND not filled with squirrely teenagers. Every museum has been overflowing with squirrely teenagers and their skinny jeans and loud whispers and obliviousness.

I’m going to run upstairs and charge my iPod and try to stuff the rest of my goodies into my bag.

Many photos when I get home.

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