Athens to Stuttgart Road Trip Part 1 – Athens

February 14, 2018 at 11:05

Mitsos has some friends from Hamburg. They have the car from Germany on the island and are happy when somebody drives it back to Germany again. This year it worked well with my schedule. I took a flight down to Athens and we drove 3 weeks back to Stuttgart.

The first step is of course: A plane to Athens!

The last German beer for a while at STR
The last German beer for a while at STR

Nice day for the trip
Nice day for the trip

Time to bord the plane
Time to bord the plane

Good old Eurowings
Good old Eurowings

Eurowings at STR

Enough space
Enough space

The usual no thrills carrier layout
The usual no thrills carrier layout

Above STR Airport
Above STR Airport

Towards the Alb we fly
Towards the Alb we fly

Paid with miles this time - got free food.
Paid with miles this time – got free food

Since the flight was only 20€ for taxes I had a beer on top
Since the flight was only 20€ for taxes I had a beer on top of the “lunch pack”. And out of all the beers they have Warsteiner – grrrr

Somewhere over Montenegro
Somewhere over Montenegro

A Greek island
A Greek island – Athens is close!

When you arrive at the last terminal in Athens
When you arrive at the last terminal in Athens

You walk!
You walk!

And walk!
And walk!

And walk!
And walk!

And walk!
And walk!

And walk!
And walk!

Thanks for picking me up!
Thanks for picking me up from the airport!

Athens Bike Shop
The bike shop of Mitsos friend. We got some bike to cruise Athens for the day.

At the food place!
At the food place! I am in Thailand now and write this blog post. BUT – I want to be in Athens right now at this place for lunch!!

Happy Greek!
A happy Greek!

Lets fix the beer first
Lets fix the beer first

Graffiti
Graffiti

Hello Rebecca
Hello Rebecca! Long time no see 🙂

Not exactly greek food
Not exactly greek food

But Greek beer and a blue sky!
But Greek beer and a blue sky!

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

November 29, 2017 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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Back in Thailand – Winter 2016/2017

March 14, 2017 at 08:56

Enough of the zigzagging round Europe. Time to see some sunshine and blue sky. Mid November it was – time to fly to BKK. Did book the flight quite early this year after all the cheap offers in my mail box. 528€ with Lufthansa from STR over FRA to BKK. Back BKK over ZHR to STR. Of course the cheapest offer was 430€ with China and I got it after I booked the ticket.
So my Lufthansa flight was Wednesday the 23rd and Monday evening two days before the flight Lufthansa pilots announced they will strike. Starting Wednesday! Great news!
So Lufthansa has a hotline – but only one or two people working that hotline I guess – and after about 10 to 15 minutes the computer tells you to go to the web site and change the flight yourself. So I tried the web site and the phone at the same time. Guess a few more people tried that as well. Nothing worked – every time I had changed the ticket the server gave me an error – so I looked up the Lufthansa number in New York and VOIP them. 6 minutes later I was rebooked to Swiss from STR over ZHR to BKK the same day as the original flight. No sure why Lufthansa can not even deal with a strike that they know is coming? And it was not even the first time. I really have to change back to one of the Golf airlines again.
The first leg was quite nice – small plane and all. The second leg was impossible – I had more leg room in the small propeller plane!! Absolute no space to move – and not only me. That was a quite new Boeing 777-300ER – and do you think you can move the screen? If the person in front of you leans back your movie is over – unless you lean back as well. What a BS! Even the average customer was complaining. To bad I have the same plane on the way back 🙁
The small one to Zürich
The first leg – STR to ZHR.

Adios STR
Adios STR

En route to Zürich
En route to Zürich

Guess which Airport that is
Guess which Airport that is

Swiss No Space Inside Plane
Swiss No Space Inside Plane

No space Swiss Airlines
See the old guy? He was something like 166cm and he did fit into that seat. But you are better not over 170cm! And see the screens – you can not tilt them a millimetre. So comfort in this plane: Zero as in there is none!

Dinner
Had my Vegetarian Meal and two red wines. And after a movie and 2 sleeping pills I was finally sleeping a bit.

Little fluffy clouds
Little fluffy clouds

Breakfast
Breakfast

Over Thailand

Blue sky over Thailand
Blue sky over Thailand

A few seconds before touchdown in Bangkok
A few seconds before touchdown in Bangkok

Airport Transfer
The last few times I took the train down town and a taxi – this time I was lazy and took the good old mini bus again. Takes forever but you save the hassle with finding a taxi that turns on the meter at the place where they know that you are a tourist coming from the airport.

Pad Thai
My good old Noodle Lady in the park was on vacation so I had my first Pad Thai in the evening somewhere on the street.

Booze only from 11-14 and 17-24!
Booze only from 11-14 and 17-24 at 7/11! I know I do not get my beer here – I support the small shops – and they do sell the whole day as well. I was only here to get a new toothbrush – sorry small shops – only seven has it.

Leo at my favourite bar
Leo at my favourite bar: Nom Tung Loaw in the little alley next to Soi Samsen

Andy is the Man
Thank you Andy for coming over to my neck of the woods.

The boss man on the left
The boss man on the left

Possmann
The next day I went to see Scott. Ended up at a Couchsurf meeting at Silom. Later we passed this – ha!