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.


Bolzano

We’re getting ready for our first trip to Italy — a long weekend in Bolzano (a.k.a. Bozen).

It’s 4ish hours directly South of Munich by train. It has only belonged to Italy since the end of WWI, and before that has belonged to Austria and been independent and stuff like that. So, I gather it’s not going to be all “old-country Italy” — probably more like that town where Pinocchio was from in that there might be a lot of people with Italian names and German accents (ever notice that?).

Or just a lot of German speakers in general. When we went to Prague in May to visit Molly, it was entirely swamped with Germans… but that’s kind of how they are, I guess.

Kraig looks really good with the longer hair! / “Stop pacing!”

Sarah and I just had a beer date with Kraig at the W.A.B.. He looks really nice with the respectable salesman tie without his usual mil-spec hairdo and goat.

Let’s hope that’s not the last we’ll ever see of him.

So, we snuck up on Ol’ Narg’s joint on whim after our shooting the breeze with Kraig (since we were in the area…can’t hurt to drive by, you know?) and called him when we saw lights on and people moving around inside. We were dropping all kinds of hints that we were within visual range (i.e., “Stop pacing when I’m talking to you!”), but he wasn’t getting them. It’s nice to pull a fast one on Ol’ Narg when you haven’t seen him in a long time. Fortunately, Miss Carrie Jo seemed forgiving of our no-warning drive-by.

We like her.