Whew, we’re back

Wow, that was a long trip. We flew from Munich to Hamburg, spent three days there, flew from Hamburg to London, spent three days there, and took a train from London to Whitstable, where we … (can you guess?) also spent three days.

We are back safe and sound after a marathon travel day starting around 3am this morning. Pictures are posted here.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip and we managed to squeeze quite a bit of mileage out of our Euros, despite the lousy exchange rate against the Pound. Details on the places we visited and stayed are forthcoming in a new project we’re going to start working on. Stay tuned…

London

Hey all,

We made it to London. I felt sorry for the lady from apartments apart waiting for us to arrive, because our plane from Hamburg was delayed more than 30 minutes last night. So she had to wait long after normal business hours for us to arrive. Fortunately, walking to the place from Paddington Station was a snap.

I’m writing from an internet cafe down the street from our apartment. Sarah’s planning our shopping trip (she desperately needs lip balm) prior to our viewing of The Producers this afternoon. After that, our schedule is wide open. I want to take advantage of our three-day travel card and explore. Maybe the Salvador Dali art museum.

If you’re ever in London and bewildered by the public transportation options, step right up to the ticket windows at a big station like Victoria or Paddington and tell them what you need. They’ll very patiently explain the options to you and make a recommendation. Loved that. Much thanks to the guy who helped us last night!

Greetings from Hamburg

Hi all!

Hamburg is a really neat town. It reminds us a lot of Boston in some ways. It seems a lot more modern than other places we’ve visited (like pretty much most of Bavaria). I suppose that’s due in large part to bombings during World War II, but it seems like there have been pretty destructive fires in large parts of the city not connected to wars. So that’s good. I guess.

We have been very busy taking in the sights and smells:

  • a spice museum in the warehouse district out on the canals
  • the [St. Michaelis](http://www.st-michaelis.de/) church
  • a harbor tour
  • a bus tour around the city
  • visited countless Christkindlmarktplätze

I’m writing from an internet cafe on our last day here before we head to London. We’re in a part of town where the university is and we’re headed to an art museum next. Then, if we have time before heading out to the airport, we’re headed to [Miniatur Wunderland](http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/) — a museum containing the world’s largest model train setup.

I’ll try to write again from London and I’ll post photos on the Regensblog when we get back.

Cliff and Sarah on a harbor tour in Hamburg

cheap flights on Air France

Hi all –

I must apologize for a misinterpretation on our parts. Sarah found flights to various European on Air France based on an email she got from [travelzoo.com](http://www.travelzoo.com “Travelzoo website”). The link to the Air France online booking site is below:

[click this link!](http://tinyurl.com/af9v8 “Air France online booking site”)

Our goof was that we thought those prices shown were for complete roundtrips…actually what they were showing was only the price for the outbound flight, and that got us all excited. Effectively, what I’d posted here was only about 50% of the total cost you could expect for roundtrip airfare.

Sorry for all the *hooplah*.

Don’t fear the Reeperbahn

On the way to England in December, we’re staying in Hamburg for a few days. I’ve just attempted to make reservations at a hotel in a notorious district of Hamburg called the *Reeperbahn* (pronounced “RAPER-bonn”) – somewhat equivalent to the red-light district of Amsterdam.

Hamburg’s supposed to be a fun town, but we’ve never been there, and though we’ve got our trusty Frommer’s Germany to guide us, any tips from the general public are welcome. Click the link to the Comments below to submit your € 0,02 about what to skip, what *not* to skip, personal horror stories, fond memories, etc. pertaining to Hamburg.

I mean, Hamburg was a good thing for the Beatles, wasn’t it?

Beefeating in December / Transportation

Hot off the presses – we just bought tickets for a week in December in England (a day or two in Hamburg first) as part of a special running this weekend only at www.germanwings.com.

It would be really nice to hook up with Ian & Michelle for a visit…I really hope that works out.

Note: we don’t plan specifically to eat any beef. We are specifically looking forward to Invicta Tandoori. As I recall, they don’t serve beef there, but lots of other good stuff.

I *really* wish we could take Transrapid train there instead of flying. My coworkers and I discuss this exciting piece of transportation technology every few months, and one of them recently got to ride in the only Transrapid train currently in use commercially (in Shanghai). I’m glad the management decided to make him go on that trip instead of me, but taking a 400 km/h (248.5 mph!) train ride would have offset that a little bit.

Now I see that the U.S. government is in the planning stages of introducing Transrapid systems there (according to this article). It’s a start, I guess, but the real power of the Transrapid system in the U.S. would be for travel between cities like Detroit and Chicago, or Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and maybe even Salt Lake City. Those are all destinations that take no more than a couple hours to fly to/from, but are a significant car trip.

L.A. to San Francisco requires 61/3 hours by car (thanks [Google Maps](http://maps.google.com)), or about 11/4 hours in the air (thanks [Orbitz](http://orbitz.com)). But figure in the 60 minutes you’re supposed to be at the airport prior to departure, and your air-route time cost balloons to 23/4 hours:

  • 1 hour sitting around waiting to board
  • 11/4 hours in the air
  • 30 minutes (on average?) to get off the plane and collect your stuff

At 450 km/h (290 mph), with 5 minute stops in Bakersfield, Fresno, and San Jose, the travel time (using the distance Google reported) is about 13/4. Figure on arriving at the trainstation 10 minutes prior to departure and you’re still talking about a trip less than 2 hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco. And it is supposed to be cheaper than a flight.

If the estimates for safety and efficiency and energy consumption are accurate, then in many cases, the Transrapid is clearly the way to go. There may be cases where the overall plane trip is still less time-consuming for the passenger than a Transrapid trip, but I know I would trade the extra time in transit for improved safety, comfort, cost and environmental impact in an instant.

Bozen Pics up, wish we could call and tell you about it

I’ve posted our pictures from our trip to Bozen, Italy, along with a short description of the stuff we did there: link

In other news, we switched from Telekom to Arcor for more DSL bang for our €uro, but a side effect of that was that our phone service has gotten knocked out temporarily. The Arcor people said it’s Telekom’s fault. The Telekom dude came to check and said it’s the equipment that Arcor sent me which is causing the problem. If you have tried to reach us since Tuesday morning, your connection didn’t go through because of this outage. Sorry about that. I am hoping to get this resolved early next week.

Good to know that red tape is an international phenomenon.

Bozen (Bolzano) trip, September 2005

We spent a long weekend in Bozen, Italy (map). We had a nice time tromping around in Ritten, but I think you can see from the pictures how much nicer it would have been had the weather been cooperative. While it was raining, we went to a modern art museum (which was kind of weird, but it was nice to have the whole exhibition to ourselves) and stopped in to visit Ötzi. Still, we enjoyed ourselves and were glad to take advantage of the train specials — €39 per person each way.

Check out the “Erd-Pyramiden” in the pictures especially. We took those photos from Ritten after taking the train up there from Soprabolzano (Oberbozen), which we reached via cable car.

Next time, are thinking about driving it. The view of the mountain passes from inside the train were breath taking. As luck would have it, the weather on both of our travel days would have been great for tromping around up in the hills.

Click on any picture below to view the whole set.