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   Travel with us to Europe  Feb-Mar 2005  

 For Pictures of our Germany trip in 2003 Click here

 Mega thanks to Rail Europe, Northwest Airlines, the tourism folks from so many of our stops, along with the hotels, restaurants, bars, and attractions! Without you we be able to share the fun and information that we experience at each of our stops!  

Our Favorite ways to travel!
We've circled Germany on the Rails

Don't even think of traveling in Europe
without a Rail Pass, click here to know more
You've got to try it!  But you need to get your tickets before you leave the U.S. 
Europe is the source for rail passes and rail tickets throughout Europe.


 SEND US EMAIL:  CoolSite@theminute.com

ATT:   TOM CARL  Please email John@LNR.net

February 8 - March 3, 2005

Tuesday February 8   Departure Day  
United States flag  Netherlands flag  Germany flag
We did our regular radio program LIVE from Studio B at the farm.  Then with bags packed and gifts tucked away we were on our way to Grand Forks International Airport, then to Minneapolis, then to Amsterdam (Schiphol Airport) and then on to Berlin (Tegel Airport).  We got to Grand Forks about 12:30 and everything was a go, my first class seats all reserved and excitement in the air.  I love sitting in the "Shakespeare Seat" which is 2-B (Get it? 2 B or Not 2 B?).  It always breaks the ice with the flight personnel in the front of the plane.  I couldn't imagine doing what they do every day.  Serving people in a cramped confined space, people who often treat them as 2nd class citizens is not my idea of an exciting career, so I try to find a way to put a little twist into their day, and maybe a smile or 2!   So the trip to MSP was uneventful.  Time was short between flights in MSP and so I hopped an electric car from one side of the airport to the other.  Just got to gate F5 as they called the first class passengers to board so got on and got settled in my seat. 

There were lots of NON-REV's around me.  These are passengers that are flying under a status called NON REVENUE or no pay.  My seatmate was flying over to Europe to board a Northwest jet to bring soldiers home from the WAR in IRAQ.  It was a great flight, she talked about how hard it was to take them over to IRAQ (via Germany) but she really enjoyed flying them home.  She talked about how they have so much gear that it's ALL over the plane, and that there's just a narrow aisle for folks to walk through.  The overseas flight took off at 3:35pm and then cause you're flying into the night, it's a tough flight for me.  We're going to land in Europe at 6:40 the next morning, which is a new day with sunshine-or at least daylight and a lot of hours to be awake.  BUT flying on the 3:35 flight makes it really hard to sleep cause in Minnesota time you're on the plane till 11:40pm (my regular bedtime).  If you can take the 9:00PM flight, but the time the plane is up and you get a glass of wine and dinner it's midnight Minnesota time and so you can usually get in a 3 or 4 hour power nap which then get's you ready to meet the new day.  PLUS you get to Europe about noon the next day and so the time is shorter till you can put your head on a pillow again...definitely always try for a late evening departure!!

If you haven't flown across the oceans in First Class/Business Class, figure out some way to do it on your next crossing.  It's a DIFFERENT WORLD!  Not coming from a background of servants, and mostly being to cheap to stay in those four star hotels, I'm just not used to having people dote on my every wish and need.  I got to tell you that after a while I just tell them that I'll let them know if I need anything but in the mean time, "I'M FINE!"  I've been across the ocean now at least 10 times that I can remember, having the luxury of sitting in the front cabins.  It's been on TWA, Western, KLM, and Northwest.  Sometime you need to ask me about the TWA and Western flights.  TWA was back in the glory days of flying (83) and we went Las Vegas-Phoenix-NYC.  Then a plane change and a 747 from NYC to Paris, and return.  I was on a "fam" (familiarization) trip with the Mayor Protem and some of the City Councilmen of Las Vegas.  The highlight of the flight other than the nice wide seat, was that this was the first time in my life that I had had some good LAMB!  A rack of lamb and it was awesome and has keep me looking for the equal ever since. 

We landed in first class on a trip to Hawaii via Western Airlines through an accident and some quick thinking.  Lorie and I had tickets to Oahu (Honolulu) and hotels for a week as part of a trade out that I had done with a client in California ('86 I think).  We had seats on the bulkhead of the coach cabin, it was a DC10 and so we were just the two of us as the seats across go 2-5-2.  It's hell for the person in the middle of the center row.  No window to sit by and 2 people either way that will have to move so that you can get up.  God Bless the folks that end up in those seats!  I had heard that the airplane was overbooked and that they would probably be asking for volunteers.  We didn't even have a hotel confirmed at the Hawaii end (one of the "benefits" of trading out a holiday for work) and so really didn't have any reason to get to the "islands" on any time schedule.  I didn't even fasten my seatbelt.  We had already agreed that if they asked for volunteers that I would bolt for the gate and Lorie would follow with our carryon luggage.  Well they did, I did, she did, and it worked!  We got a six hour delay, a food coupon, first class on the next flight, and 600 dollars in vouchers to use in the future.   AWESOME!  So we got to fly to Hawaii First Class!  The food was great, the different Hawaiian drinks really put us in a good mood and we met Vern and Bonnie.   the Carillios were from the Phoenix area.  Vern was a janitor at the public school system and I don't remember what Bonnie did then.  Well they were on their 2nd honeymoon but had a bit of a quirk going on.  Bonnie's best friend had heard that they were going to Hawaii and so she right away booked passage for herself and her mother.  So here were Vern and Bonnie and the gal-friend and the gal-friends mother.   This was not exactly what they had in mind for a 2nd honeymoon.  On the other hand Lorie and I were out to have a GREAT time, so they spent more of our week in Hawaii dumping their friends and hanging with us.  We just laughed and laughed and laughed.  Went swimming and crawled out on a breakwater that was green and growing with moss.  A big wave came along and swept us off and threw us into the lagoon.  It was then that I realized the amazing power of water in motion!  Well enough of this, let's get back on the DC10 heading from MSP to AMS...  

But this time I didn't have the luxury and so I only got a few minutes power nap now and then, but no real REM sleep!  We got in Early because of favorable winds and so 6AM Amsterdam time, WELCOME TO EUROPE.  It's NOW WEDNESDAY MORNING.

Wednesday February 9 Germany flag
At least I didn't have a long layover in Amsterdam and was scheduled to be to Berlin by about 1pm.  I cross Schiphol airport and get to the area where the Berlin flight was departing from.  At 11:00 they start calling the flight and by 11:30 we're all onboard.  Just one little problem.  The main cabin door (it was a Boeing 737) refused to shut correctly.  Seems one of the hand rails hadn't got into the proper "attitude" for closing and got pinched and so now even though it had had an attitude adjustment, it wasn't possible to get a good seal around the door!   Here's comes a 40 minute delay as we all sit patiently.  Then they offload us for another 40 minute delay.  Then another, and finally they take off the luggage.  I interpret that as a pretty strong sign that I'm not going to be flying to Berlin on that plane on that day! 

A new problem to that was that

Then comes the announcement that we would be rebooked on other flights later in the day.  So, ironically, I end up waiting for several more hours before my passage was complete.  Instead of arriving in Berlin about 1pm I got in right during the rush hour.  Fortunately Henry, my first foreign student, good friend, and host in Berlin, had gotten a message from KLM in Berlin as to what flight I would actually be on!  He whisked me off to his 3rd story (no elevator) apartment right in the heart of the former East Berlin in a section called Mitte.  I got unpacked a bit and we were off to supper.  His NEW, FAVORITE, GOT TO GO TO, place.  A Viet Nam style restaurant just around the corner.  Although it was very good (cold spring rolls sort of) there just weren't enough Carbs to satisfy this Minnesota Farm Boy! 
Today's radio program will be coming from the Home of Henry Förster.  We'll just have arrived in Germany and will be getting settled in our home-away-from-home.

Thursday February 10 Germany flag

Friday February 11 Germany flag
What a fun day! Sven gave us a wonderful tour on an attraction in downtown Berlin called Sealife and the Aquadome. The Aquadome is the world's largest fishbowl in the center court of the new Radisson Hotel. Not only is the fishbowl 80ft tall but it has an elevator that takes you through a tube up the center of the fish-tank. Yes, even Dory from Finding Nemo is in residence. A great diversion and a great learning experience rolled together for an afternoon stop in Berlin. www.sealife.de

Saturday February 12 Germany flag

Sunday February 13 Germany flag

Monday February 14 Germany flag

Some hotels just feel right, like those old shoes you keep wearing.

The Hotel Fackelmann in Nuremburg is that way for me!  Claudia (the owner) takes great care of everyone!

 Visit their website
Reception / Fullsize - please, click on the picture

Tuesday February 15 Germany flag   Bavaria flag
Berlin Breakfast - Nuremburg Dinner
Today was museum day in Nuremberg. Nuremberg is the home to the first railway in Germany, introduced in 1835. This city features also cool architecture. Here's a great photo website of the many things you can see in Nuremberg along with some of its unique architecture :

Wednesday February 16 Germany flag Bavaria flag
The Hotel Fackelmann

Thursday February 17 Germany flag Bavaria flag
Nuremburg Breakfast - Munich Dinner
Panoramic pictures of Munich:

Friday February 18 Germany flag Bavaria flag
Munich Breakfast - Guest of the Reitmeiers Sontheim Evening
We made history with the first V.O.I.P. broadcast back to America to both north and south stations on our network. They say technology is at its best when it's invisible to the user. Instead of using the telephone lines, we were sending signals across the Atlantic through the Internet. What a day it was. Certainly it demonstrates that this technology will be quick to arrive and be in daily use by not just a crazy radio host that travels the world but by everyday people who would describe themselves as being un-technological. Picked up by the Reitmeier family and a snowy drive to Sontheim and a pleasant evening of catching up with the last 2 years.

Saturday February 19  Germany flag Bavaria flag Austria flag  Austria flag Bavaria flag Germany flag
After a typical Bavarian breakfast we headed to Austria and then to Switzerland- my very first time in Switzerland. Climbing and climbing at the side of the Alps we ended up in a  wonderful chalet village, had a great lunch and watched Swiss family bobsledding down the side of the Alps sometimes for a mile without any interruption. Back to Sontheim for dinner and an evening of laughter and fun with the Reitmeier family.

Sunday February 20 Germany flag
Sontheim Breakfast - Frankfurt Dinner

While in Frankfurt the cast and crew of John Reitmeier's Cool Site-Pick of the Day will be guests of the Bristol Hotel
Visit their website

Up early. Another great Bavarian breakfast and off the train station on Ulm. 2 hour train ride to Frankfurt, picked  up by Fabian. Dinner on the Kaiser Strasse, the main street that leads away from the great train station in Frankfurt and a wonderful evening of catching up with Fabian.

Tentative Frankfurt Broadcast Locations:  
1. Headquarter for Lufthansa Airlines
2. The Main Tower which is located in the heart of Frankfurt. From the 200 meter high viewing terrace of the MAIN TOWER you have a panorama view of just about all historical and modern sights, www.maintower.de. (The main tower was closed due to Ice on the upper railings)
3. Stadel Galleries

Monday February 21 Germany flag
Bristol Hotel

Tuesday February 22 Germany flag
Bristol Hotel

Wednesday February 23 Germany flag
Frankfurt Breakfast - Homburg, Saar Dinner

the Staedel Art Institute, StaedelMuseum.de  

Thursday February 24 Germany flag
The Official Web page of the city of Homburg is in German and French but not yet in English.  However, the photos are awesome! Visit their Website Here's a Google Translation

Friday February 25 Germany flag

Saturday February 26 Germany flag

Sunday February 27 Germany flag
Homburg Breakfast - Köln Dinner
High speed ICE  350 KPH, actually to fast, you giggle a bit. 

Monday February 28 Germany flag
Köln Breakfast - Train to Berlin - Berlin Dinner
Radio from Studio B with Dave Tucker sitting in the Guest Host Chair
(thanks Dave!)  

Tuesday March 1 Germany flag

Wednesday March 2 Germany flag
Berlin - Hamburg
In celebration of one of Henry's Grandmothers (Oma Kata) we are driving to Hamburg to attend a concert of Oma's favorite violinist.  Hopefully we'll leave early enough so that we can do the radio show from somewhere on the road, then dinner in Hamburg, then the concert, and then back to Berlin to pack and get some sleep.

Thursday March 3  Departure Germany  Arrival Home
Radio from Studio B with Dave Tucker sitting in the Guest Host Chair
(thanks Dave!)

Friday March 4 Germany flag


Saturday March 5  FINALLY ON MY WAY HOME     Germany flag  Netherlands flag  United States flag
Berlin Breakfast - Tegal 9:00am - Amsterdam - Minneapolis - Grand Forks ND GFK 11:09PM +7 hours

We're back but not on Thursday, but on Saturday March 5.  Amsterdam got a snow storm on Thursday that just shut down flying across Europe.  After 4 hours in a queue to get rebooked I couldn't get a flight that would get me all the way home until Saturday.  The extra couple of days were well spent with the Parents of a Foreign Student that lived with a friend of mine in Las Vegas.   Thanks  Peter and Ilona!  We'll be filling in details and posting pictures here in the next days!!

In Amsterdam we'll be joined by Philipp Reitmeier who's coming to America to visit us and see the USA on his time between high school and college.  It's funny how 90 days can seem like such a long time, but between fishing, traveling, family gatherings, even a fishing weekend with the Governor of Minnesota, I know that the time will go much to quickly!

Germany flag German Flag
Austria flag  Austria Flag
Switzerland Flag
Netherlands flag Netherlands Flag
United States flag US Flag

Bavaria flag German State of Bavaria
European Union flag European Union
City of Berlin, Germany



Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday



Radio from
Studio B
8 RADIO from
Studio B
Dep GFK 1:27P
9 Arrive BerlinTegal
Radio from Berlin
10 Berlin
Radio Berlin TV Tower?
11  Berlin
Radio Berlin
Aquadome and Sea life


12   Berlin
13    Berlin



14     Berlin
Radio Berlin
15   Berlin
Train to Nuremburg, Dave Tucker Guest host Confirmed
16  Nuremburg
 morning TRAIN
to Munich
18 Munich
evening: Drive to Sontheim
19  Sontheim Sontheim-Reitmeiers Overnight. Visited Austria and Switzerland
20 Mid-Day depart to Frankfurt 4 dinner


21 Frankfurt
Radio Frankfurt
22 Frankfort
Radio Frankfort
23 Frankfurt
Radio Frankfort
Afternoon to Homberg
24 Homberg
25 Homberg
Radio Homberg
the news that Aunt Barb had died.
26 Köln   
27  Köln? Henry flying down.



28 Travel to Berlin
Dave Tucker Guest Host, John By Cell phone from train confirmed
1 Berlin
Berlin Radio
2 Berlin
3 Dep Berlin-
SNOW in Amsterdam-flight changed to Sat.
Radio by Dave Tucker  confirmed
 4 NOPE Barbs  Funeral.  I missed it. 5 FINALLY HOME Tegal
9:00am  Arrived GFK 11:09P

Tom Karl (carl?)  Purser

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218 891 4357

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