4 Days in the US – Day 1 From Chicago to Fitchburg⁩

2017-11-29 at 18:21

Another Long Man mission. Fly to Chicago and deliver some parts – have a few free days to explore – fly back. I like those kind of missions. Got a car for 4 days and booked a few nice hotels. Spring was late this year so it was not as green as I hoped for but it was a free trip so why complain?? First stop ‎⁨Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩ via Frankfurt and Chicago.

Stuttgart Airport
Stuttgart Airport – even a decent time of the day. Usually when I do this kind of trips I am on the first plane out of Frankfurt to Chicago which leaves at 07:25. That means get up at 03:00 – drive to Heilbronn – pick up the goods and race to Frankfurt Airport to get the flight.

Stuttgart Airport

Nobody looks really happy today
Nobody looks really happy today

Not a lot of leg room
Not a lot of leg room

Lufthansa A320-200

Loook! An Air Berlin plane!
Loook! An Air Berlin plane!

Off we go - the Albtrauf in the back
Off we go – the Albtrauf in the back

It is blue over the clouds
It is blue over the clouds. I really love it on a rainy day. You have a gray day and go in a plane – it takes off and gets over the clouds – voilà! Sunshine!!!

Look - LEGROOM!!
Look – LEGROOM!!

But it is only the shuttle bus in Frankfurt
But it is only the shuttle bus in Frankfurt

The plane is somewhere - we do a sight-seeing tour of FRA
Usually I do not like it when they ferry you with the bus to the plane. But this time it was different. The plane is somewhere out there – we do a sight-seeing tour of FRA 🙂

Quite interesting
Quite interesting to see the planes from this site

The back turbine
The back turbine

A United plane
A United plane

Finally in my United plane - a bit better than Lufthans on the way to Frankfurt
Finally in my United plane – a bit better than Lufthans on the way to Frankfurt

I want to be able to do that!
I want to be able to do that! Board a plane and fall asleep – how nice would it be. No waiting for the food, no looking for the next movie – only a cruise in dreamland.

Stupid Premium Economy - the exit row in front of me was empty but of course you have to pay for it. And so was most of the Premium Economy part of the plane as well.
Stupid Premium Economy – the exit row in front of me was empty but of course you have to pay for it. And so was most of the Premium Economy part of the plane as well.

Vegetarian lunch
Vegetarian lunch

The wine was not really drinkable - the beer was!
The wine was not really drinkable – the beer was! I had two young Germans in my row. They where on the way to Vegas. And they had a few 1000 to blow. But no clue about beer. Lucky for me they wanted German beer – Warsteiner – one of our TV Beers – so more birds for me 🙂
The flight attendant was German and did look at me like I had a funny hat on – why would you drink American beer? Well she accepted my explanation with the TV beer and handed me a Goose. I told her later that this is a really good beer – much better than Warsteienr if you ask me. Turns out she does not drink beer in the first place.

But they only had a few of the birds so I had one of them as well
But they only had a few of the birds so I had one of them as well

Watched a few movies
Watched a few movies

Snack before touchdown in Chicago
Snack before touchdown in Chicago

Closer to Chicago
Close to Chicago

Close to Chicago
Closer to Chicago

Chicago

Immigration at O’Hare International Airport – the longest I had to stand in line was OVER 3 hours!! That was with the morning flight when a lot of planes come in. Now they have a different system with a lot of machines. Scan the passport, do this do that – do not smile for the picture and whatever. Since I brought some sample I marked the custom form for the goods. After that is was waiting waiting and waiting but not 3 hours more like 45 minutes. Finally it was my turn and I had to explain two times what I bring and after that I had my stamp and was off to customs. They X-Ray the bag and Adios! Good! Germany booked a car for me – at Hertz. So you go out and wait for the shuttle bus to bring you to the rental office.

  • Enterprise 11 times
  • Avis 10 times
  • Thrifty 10 times
  • Alamo 10 times
  • National 9 times
  • Budget 8 times
  • Dollar 8 times
  • Hertz 0 times

WTF??? Somehow I should bring stuff to Fitchburg⁩ in ⁨Wisconsin and not look at the shuttle buses from other rental companies! I see one upstairs – hmm since I waited now more than 30 minutes why not try upstairs at departure? – upstairs I go. Same same – but different! Now more National and Alamo and less Avis buses. I see one coming at arrival again. Running down like a rabbit runs from the fox I got in – let’s go and get the car!
Only 4 more customers in the bus – looks like I do not have to wait today. Ha Ha Hertz had a dirty trick up their sleeve! I dunno how they did it but there where about 25 customers in front of me. Hmmm they might send only one shuttle every 40 minutes or so – this way the line will not be all the way out of their office. Another hour and some minutes pass and finally I get the keys.
The nice thing with renting in the US is that you can choose your car at the parking lot. You rent a class and go and see what parks there. If you have time you even wait a bit if something better comes in. Lets see – I need a nice color and something I fit into. USB etc they all have so no need to check that. In the end I opted for a KIA with 349 miles on the clock. Who does not like the smell of a new car?

Finally in the rental car
Finally in the rental car

My ride for the next few day - a KIA whatever. Lots of plastic but it drives well
My ride for the next few day – a KIA whatever. Lots of plastic but it drives well. I was a bit confused about the toll system here. The last times I paid cash but some of the toll stations do not have an option to pay cash. And I had next to no coins as well so I stopped at a gas station to get something to drink and coins. Just in case. Next both I put my coins a man who worked there told me the car has an I-PASS thing on the windshield. You can open and close it and decide if you want to pay with it or with your credit card or cash. Ok – good to know….
There was not too much traffic and I got into ‎⁨Fitchburg a bit after 18:00.

Fitchburg⁩

Had to bring the samples to two technicians waiting for them in the
Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg. They where happy and I was tired. Of course there where no room booked for me but I was too lazy to find something else so I checked in the Wyndham. Nice place next to a small mall. So no need to take the car to get some food. To tired to go to a restaurant that has some vegetarian options anyhow.

Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩

My room at the Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩
My room at the Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩

Mini Bar, Microwave, Coffee Maker and an Ice Cooler
Mini Bar, Microwave, Coffee Maker and a Ice Cooler – looks like I need that little ice cooler later!

Sink opposite of the bathroom
Sink opposite of the bathroom

The bathroom
The bathroom – no space for a sink there.

If you ever go to Fitchburg⁩ use my affiliate link and stay at the: Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg

Went over the street and scouted for some dinner options. Hmm took me the longest time in front of that fridge!
Fuck - which one?
Fuck – which one?

The choice for today. Hummus, Avocados, Bananas and Baguette. And - BEER!
The selection for today. Hummus, Avocados, Bananas and Baguette. And – BEER!

House of Cards in real :-(
House of Cards in real 🙁

Here you find day 2: 4 Days in the US – Day 2 From Fitchburg⁩ to Mukwonago
Here you find day 3: 4 Days in the US – Day 3 From Mukwonago to Libertyville

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A weekend in Oberstdorf

2017-02-26 at 12:52

Mountains – mountains in fall! Steiner called for a weekend in Oberstdorf to walk and talk and have some beers in the evening. The forecast was looking good so Friday noon we hit the Autobahn and went over the Alb to the Alps!

House at Haldenweg in Oberstdorf
Arrived in the early afternoon so we walked a bit. Traditional house at Haldenweg in Oberstdorf.

Jesus enjoying the fall sun on the way to Moorweiher
On the way to Moorweiher we passed Jesus – looks like he is enjoying the fall sun as well.

Scared duck on the Moorweiher
Scared duck – did not expect somebody that last in the afternoon.

Schattenberg at the back
Schattenberg at the back – fall colours in the front.

View from our hotel
View from our room at Gasthof Petra in Oberstdorf. We had a big room with a double bed and two single beds, a table with 2 chairs, shower and a balcony with table and chairs. The warm afternoon sun on the balcony is great to relax after your hike. There is a Wienerwald restaurant downstairs if you are lazy you do not have to go far for dinner. The breakfast was average but enough.

A Maß of Dampfbeer
A Maß of Dampfbeer with dinner at the last German brewery before Austria.

Fellhorn

The next morning we got up way to early. Steiner must get up at 6 in the morning or before. I have no clue why. So he makes a lot of noise and even watches the news on TV! I hate it to get up so early. The result: we where ready for breakfast 30 minutes before the hotel was ready with breakfast. Great work!
After breakfast we took the bus to the Fellhorn cable car. I would have loved it to walk up but Steiner was lazy so up we went with the cable car. Up at the top station it was still cloudy and not too many people at this time of the day.
The hill station is over 2000 metres and it was cold in the night. The earth was still frozen which made it hard and good to walk. When we had lunch we saw many people pass us – mud everywhere.

Top of the Hill
Top of the Hill – ready to walk.

Heavy clouds over the mountains on the German side
Heavy clouds over the mountains on the German side

Cloudy towards the south of Germany. You can see the path on the rim below
Cloudy towards the south of Germany. But there is a bit of blue in the far distance. You can see the path down towards Oberstdorf on the rim below.

Path on the rim with Austria on the left and Germany on the right.  The mountains of Germany in the back
Path on the rim with Austria on the left and Germany on the right. On some part of the path you can stand with one leg in Austria and one in Germany 🙂 The valley on the left is in Ausria with the mountains of Germany in the back.

View towards Germany - blue sky :-)
Finally blue sky – view over the German mountains. This is why I like to sleep longer – blue sky. I trade it with a bit of mud. That is why we have the hiking boots!! Well well….

I can see our picnic spot
I can see our picnic spot

Steiner
Steiner – very happy – because foooood!

Picnic
Nice spot – sun, mountains and food

Old trees

Freibergsee
Freibergsee

Loretto-Kapellen in Oberstdorf

The Loretto Kappellen are tree small chapels next to each other at the southern end of Oberstdorf. The oldest one is the Appachkapelle from 1493. It is a really small building so in 1657 construction of the second one begun. Following the fashion of the time they named it after the Italian city Loretto: St. Maria Loretto.

St. Maria Loretto
St. Maria Loretto

St. Maria Loretto Oberstdorf
They change the cloths of the Madonna a few times a year.

St. Maria Loretto
He invented the Boomerang! I bet you thought it is an Australian thing…

St. Maria Loretto
The guy on the left invented the “Big Stick” and the guy on the right? Go figure!

St. Maria Loretto
They worked for the Stick Boys

St. Maria Loretto
The round painting is from 1877 by Claudius Schraudolph dem Älteren. In 1926 the other pictures where added.

Josefkapelle Oberstdorf

Josefkapelle Oberstdorf
In 1671 they started to build the Josefkapelle.

Josefkapelle Oberstdorf

Jesus riding on his donkey made 1729 from Franz Xaver Schmädl.

After that it was only a few more minutes to our nice balcony to sit in the warm afternoon sun. After the sun goes down it gets cold quick at this time of the year.

The next day Dr. Schwarz and his son from Stuttgart joined us for a short hike up behind the big ski-jumping area.

The old man gang with a young guy
The old man gang with a young guy

Schanze Oberstdorf
And back down around the ski-jumbing area.

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Trip to Lago di Garda – Part 1 – Memmingen to Nauders

2017-02-18 at 08:47

Coming back from Heidelberg I was still not motivated to start working. A few days more – only a few please. So I asked my boss and he was not really happy but in the end he said: Yes. Great! (It really does help when you are your own boss!)
Heike was never at the Lago di Garda so it was time to show her a bit of it. Some people have to work so we could not start before noon. And if you want to go down to the lake before nightfall you can only drive the highway. I like the smaller roads more – you see more and you can stop and enjoy the view more often. And spearing the Alps in the tunnel is no fun as well. You should take the pass to cross them. So the first stop was Memmingen for lunch.

Memmingen

A quick stop for a snack and a beer before the mountains begin. Blue sky and no cloud. Perfect for a stroll of the city center.
St. Martin Memmingen
The tower of St. Martin church in Memmingen. It is the highest building in the town with 65 metres. The church is over 1300 years old – that makes it one of the oldest in Upper Swabia.

Market square Memmingen
The market square

Memminger Ach
The Ach

Church of the Kreuzherrenkloster
Church of the Kreuzherrenkloster

municipality Memmingen
Town Municipality

Memmingen

Hexenturm Memmingen
The “Witch Tower” an old tower of the city fortification. It was used as prison as well.

Hexenturm Memmingen

Zugspitze

Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains. Took this pictures from the Austrian side.

Zugspitze
Zugspitze

Zugspitze

Zugspitze

Zugspitze

Nauders – Austria

Driving in the night is boring and you miss all the nice landscape. So we stopped in Nauders before the sun went down.

Our hotel: Apart Pension Bergfrieden – comes with a good breakfast, 2 bed rooms, kitchen, bathroom and toilet. A bit too much for two people but still good value for the money.

Castle Nauders

And we could see the sun go down from the kitchen window with a cold sun downer beer. Very nice! Later we had some steamed vegetables and nice Spanish red. A relaxed evening and good nights rest on the new mattress.

Kitchen
Lots of wood in that kitchen – Austrian mountain style

Kitchen
There was even a dish washer, fridge and micro wave in that kitchen. Plus all the tools you might need to fix a meal.

Sleeping Room
Had booked another apartment but the bed was not open at the end. They gave us another one with a new bed that was longer and open. Great! The owner said she did replace 3 beds already because the guest getting longer. 🙂

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A few Days in Heidelberg

2017-02-05 at 11:59

Back in Stuttgart from the Summer 2016 trip and the sky was blue, the sun was out and it was warm – very warm. Could not really start to work with such nice Fall weather. Julie and Kaveh where in Heidelberg to visit family. A good excuse to run from work for a week. Took a Flixbus and was in Heidelberg a few hours later. They picked me up at the bus station and we went to their place. Do not remember when I was the last time in Heidelberg. But it was a long time ago.

Here are a few pictures of the city:

The house with a face
The house with a face

Peterskirche Heidelberg
Built in the 12th century Peterskirche or St. Peter’s Church is the oldest church in Heidelberg. There is a cemetery outside the church with over 500-year-old tombstones. And an oak tree which was planted in 1883 on the 400th birthday of Martin Luther.

Fraternity House
Fraternity House – and I did not pick the only nice looking one. Most of them are in old buildings at prime locations overlooking the city. Even a nice garden is nothing special.

University Library
The University Library

At the University Library

The castle from the city
The castle from the city

Jesuitenkirche
Jesuitenkirche or Jesuit Church. Construction of the Jesuit Church began in 1712 and the last part – the tower was finished in 1872.

Jesuitenkirche

Jesuitenkirche

Hotel zum Ritter
Hotel zum Ritter St. Georg. In 2017 it will be 425 years operating. A hotel that opened in 1592 and is still going strong. Wow!

Heiliggeistkirche
Heiliggeistkirche or Church of the Holy Spirit is first mentioned in a manuscript from 1239. The church you see today is build over two older churches.

In the 14th century St. Peters Church became the church for the University of Heidelberg and the Church of the Holy Spirit took over as parish church.

Brezel Size
On the wall of the church you can still find old “Brezel size measuring devices”. If you went to the bakery and got a small Brezel you could go to the church in the centre of town and check.

Marktplatz
Market place

At the Nekar river
At the Nekar river

Providenzkirche
Looking down to the Providenzkirche. Construction of the Providenzkirche begun 1659. The name means something like “God will ensure” The church was destroyed in the 1693 war and rebuilding started in 1700.

At the castle
At the castle

View from the Castle
View from the Castle with the Heiliggeistkirche on the right.

Julie and Kaveh
Julie and Kaveh

Julie and the kid

Better living in Heidelberg
Better living in Heidelberg

Cleaning in the forest
On the last day I went with Kaveh for a walk in the forest. We took a big plastic bag each and look what we gathered after only 90 minutes. What you not see are 9 glass bottles that go into recycling or had deposit so they go back to the shop and a few PET bottles that go back to the shop as well. No need to go to India or Nepal to see trash everywhere!!

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