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What a trip! Germany 
March 1-17, 2003

Thanks to:
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Producer Chris Peterson joined us on this trip...his first time flying!

We Left Grand Forks (GFK):  March 1, 2003 Saturday 1:20pm 
Left Minneapolis (MSP) 3:25pm Flight 42 changed to DC10 (747's used for military service.)
Arrived Amsterdam (AMS) 6:45am  Johan Ma met us and gave us a tour of the City of Amsterdam
Left Amsterdam 2:50pm     Arrived Berlin (TXL) Tegal 4:15pm
Picked up by Henry Förster (foreign student #1) and his family and went to his apartment for dinner and that first "get together!"  Ordered in Chinese food (hey it tasted German to me) and sat around and talked till late in the evening!

Rail Europe really came through for us!  We got to experience Regional German trains.  THE ICE (Inter City Express) AND the newest/fasted ICE in all of Germany, the run from Frankfurt (airport station) to Köln, 300 Kilometers per hour!  (186+ miles/hour) WOW  felt like going down a runway in a 747 just before the wheels lift off!
VISIT   Doing some traveling?  Email me and I'll tell you the ins-and-outs of your plans!   John (at)

Blue words are links for more info - if you'd like a large picture, email me and I'll send you a 2 megabyte size!  This page will LOAD SLOW, sorry, I'll get my web guys on it and have them do thumbnail images so that you will only need to wait for a download of the pictures you want to see!
Geographically this was our trip:  Berlin, Erfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Ottobeuren, Ulm, Homberg-Saar, Ramstein, Köln, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Chemnitz (driving), Berlin
March 2, Sunday We arrive Berlin 4:15pm  Berlin-Tegal Airport.  A small feeling airport with 30 gates or so.  Easy to get in and out.  The Försters parked about 50 feet from where our luggage came out.  Then on to Henry's apartment and German Chinese food!  It looked the same but the tastes were definitely different!  
3, Mon Berlin,  evening to Erfurt - a guest at the Kristian Stuebner home, Kristian was a student at Sacred Heart in East Grand Forks last year!   He'll be visiting Minnesota in April!
4, Tue Erfurt
This is the breakfast that I woke up to in Erfurt!  UNBELIEVABLE!  There's Caviar (red pot left of the meat) Jams, Jellies, Honey, and 6 kinds of meat!  Check the Quark Cheese Cake in the back, along with  Apfelkuchen
(Apple Pie/Cake) on the left.  And those Buns!!   Crusty on the outside, soft and chewy inside.  YUM Little did I know that I would need every calorie as the day went on! Here's a close up of my 2 favorites:

Hey, let's go for a little walk around Efrurt!

Downtown Erfurt!  We went for a "little" walk, later calculated at about 2 miles.  This is the part of the city that's been left the way it was after the rebuilding of WWII

Here's the Erfurt Dom (cathedral!) one of the largest in Europe.  I'm standing on a public square that in just a few hours would become a huge festival in anticipation for the next day being Ash Wednesday.

A typical Metzgeri (meat market!) notice the absence of little plastic boxes?  Most things are fresh and available to cut in the size you want, wrapped in wax paper, and sent home with your.  This was one of maybe 6 we walked past in less than 10 minutes.  The smoked meat smell just drew me in!

Kristian and I on a typical little side street in Efrurt!  

Say No to War said this poster in a window of the city government offices.  Other signs say things that translate to "not this America"  seeming to refer to the fact that although they are against what's happening now, there was no deep seated animosity.  Everywhere the folks who were against the war really tried to impress on me that although they were against what's happening at the moment (remember this was the start of March 2003) that they wanted me to know that we were still friends (USA/GERMANY) and they really wanted me to tell them that it was OK for them to have a different opinion.  

Evening Train to Nuremberg

5. Wed Good Morning Nuremberg         
6, Thu Nuremberg, late afternoon - Munich and the Hofbrahause, then 
to Franz Reitmeier/Sontheim/Attenhausen (near Memmingen)

This is the ICE (Inter City Express) train, just arriving at the platform to take us south to Munchen (Munich)!  If only there was more of this in the USA! 

Hey what's a stop in Bavaria without a visit to the Hofbrauhaus The beer comes in Liters and the Pretzels are great!  The man to my left is Franz Reitmeier, who invited us to come visit him and spend a night with his family!  It was AWESOME!  Wait till you see the pictures of the stops we made in Bavaria!  

Franz Reitmeier and his family!  Wilma runs here own home based cosmetic and wellness company, Son Peter is finishing school and in computers.  Perhaps he'll come to America for an internship with my company!

Don't have dinner here though...there's great restaurants in the area.  We went to the Paulaner Im Tal Restaurant!  They feature pork...roast, but not just any, it's a blend of a Wild Boar, and a domesticated sow ", which gives the pork just enough "wild" taste, yet such a good pork flavor!  

I had the Wild Pig, with red cabbage, and Klumpsa...sort of a dumpling.  

Chris had his VERY FIRST Weiner Schitzel  Veal with breading!  Fried Potatoes and a typical German Salad,

It was raining and we left Munchen (Munich) for Franz's home area)  

This is the little town that we stayed in near Franz Reitmeier's home.  Visit their webpage, and see the countryside at  

Just a small alcove in the Benedictine Church where I played the Organ in OttoBeuren

Can you believe it?  Here I am playing this AWESOME organ.  It would cost perhaps 7 million dollars to create it new today.  It's just gone through a 1 1/2 million dollar restoration.  being able to sit here for an organ player is like a race car driver getting to take out the most expensive new race car for a couple of runs around the track.  My heart was pounding by the time I was finished!  

For some Perspective...the biggest pipe on the left is about 40 feet tall!  

7, Fri Late afternoon to  Homberg
8, Sat Homberg

FOOD FOOD MORE FOOD...A great Restaurant in the Homberg area.  This was the bread plate...Quark (soft cream cheese) and a spiced Goose fat to spread on the great crusty bread!

A special Saarland (the German state where Homberg is) Grill.  The circle is motorized and moves in a sort of figure 8 pattern so that the heat is perfect even across the meat you're grilling.... Pork Steak UMMMM 

The finished meal...SOOOOO GOOD
9, Sun Homberg
10, Mon Ramstein Air Base Programs  

Here I am at Ramstein Air Base!  Can you believe it?  Thanks to Sgt. Mary Davis, and all the folks that made my visit possible, along with the great airmen/women and staff that I interviewed! 

3 of my 4 interviews at Ramstein!  Thank you guys!  

depart for Köln

11, Tue Köln, evening car ride to Dusseldorf
12, Wed
Here I am in the worlds smallest production car  the SMART made by Mercedes!  It's less than 7 feet long.  I WANT ONE FOR FUN!

Depart Dusseldorf for Berlin

13, Thu Berlin and surrounding areas

from the train window pulling into one of the train stations in Berlin.  This is one of the more famous war memorials.  The church was bombed out by the Allies in WWII and left that way...the steeple jagged as a reminder of what war can bring. 

The German Parliament Building "the Reichstag"  I was on the roof just to the right of the dome when I did my program.

From inside the Honeycomb dome.  Chris Peterson on my right, Henry Förster (my first foreign exchange student) on the left.  Henry is a promotion/production guy for SAT1 Television in Berlin.  He creates their in-house promotions.  He has been awarded to world wide broadcast awards, "the PROMAX" for a movie trailer for Indiana Jones, and the second year for Beatlejuice.  My voice was on the Beatlejuice commercial.  Yippie, I'm famous in Europe! 


14, Fri Berlin More pictures/info about Berlin 

Couldn't resist!  Here's a picture of us eating at the Unsicht-Bar - the "blind date" restaurant that I've talked so much about!  Sevem (Seven but with an M) was our server.  She was AWESOME!  And we thank her so much for taking good care of us.   



(this from a newspaper review of the restaurant)
An unusual restaurant was opened in Berlin. Visitors of Unsicht-Bar (an invisible bar as translated from German) are offered to taste meals with their eyes closed. Owners of the restaurant say it is more important than that to concentrate on all senses except for the eyesight.

The room you are in is completely 100% dark!  No exit light, no glowing watches, no cell phones! and you  are served by, don't be astonished, blind waiters. The staff of the restaurant consists of 30 people, 22 of them are blind. There is no exact menu at the restaurant, guests are not offered some particular dishes. They are only asked about their gustatory passions: whether the guests would like to eat meat, fish or vegetables.

The restaurant was opened by the Organization of blind and people with poor eyesight. Chairman of the Organization, Manfred Sharbah, says the organizers wanted people to use their senses of smell, touch and taste under rather unusual conditions. “People are surprised to find out that their gustatory receptors send the same signals to the brain that their eyes traditionally do,” Manfred Sharbah says. Visit their website

unsicht-Bar Berlin
Gormannstr. 14
10119 Berlin   
Daily from 06:00 PM reservation recommended.  Here's another article: Good reading!

15, Sat Berlin

This is the former "east" Berlin television tower!  It was a good afternoon for a picture...yes that is the moon on the right!  Pretty cool huh?  We went up to the observation deck that's in the center of the Ball!  What a view!
16, Sun Berlin
17, Mon Departure 10:30am

Left Berlin Tegal (TXL) Monday March 17, 2003 
Well we missed the first flight, but thanks to a very nice KLM ticket agent, we were on the next one.  It was a matter of waiting in Amsterdam or Berlin... so it all worked out!

Departed Amsterdam (AMS) 4:40pm  Flight 55  DC10  
I must be getting older, those seats seem closer together every year!  But the trip was uneventful and we tried to get as much rest as possible!  

Departed Minneapolis (MSP) 8:55pm  
Arrive Grand Forks (GFK) 10:05pm  Wonderful to sleep in my own bed again.  For the next day's we'll be LIVE from STUDIO "B" from the farm!