Monday, July 24, 2017

Paris (July 7 - July 25)

Continuing our adventure that started in Singapore, moved to Copenhagen, on to Hamburg and now, on to Paris...

Our AirBnB was located about halfway between Sacré-Coeur and the Louvre. Great location.


The entrance to 18 Rue Cadet

Inside our AirBnB (1)

Inside our AirBnB (2)

View from our window

Observations on Paris:
  • Rue Cadet was a good place to stay, as it was about equidistant from many of the sites we want to see.
  • Pastries are wonderful
  • A large cup of coffee isn't (see photo below). If you want a large coffee, order an Americano or better still go to Starbucks or McDonalds
  • Good city for walking
  • Crowded with tourists
  • Most French beer is bland
  • People speak English and most restaurants have menus we could read (one exception)
  • Transportation is good. Bus and subway fares are ride-based, not distance-based
  • Mostly we ate in Cafes, Bistros and Brasseries - but food choices were generally similar in each. Spend more, eat better - the 2 places we ate that cost over $60/each were very good. Others, just okay. Exception is bakeries!

Large coffee - untouched

Large coffee - not easy to hold with the tiny handle

Friday, July 7, 2017

Hamburg (July 5 - July 7)

Continuing the adventure that started in Singapore, stopped in Copenhagen, and now in Hamburg, Germany...

After arriving, Pat and I went to our hotel, Centro Hotel Boutique 56, across the street from the station; Jenny's family had and hour to look around before boarding a train to Berlin and the start of their adventure, traveling through Europe.

Our room at the hotel was at the front, facing the station. No air conditioning, so the windows had to be left open all night. Less than ideal, as the street noise (cars, police and the restaurant below our window) PLUS no lift!

Ever stop somewhere where you probably shouldn't have? Although we had wanted to visit Hamburg to see the Miniatur Wunderland, this was not when we should have done it. The city was preparing for the G20 meeting the coming weekend.

Our friends, Jim and Mary Jane, had visited the Miniatur Wunderland, a couple of years ago and recommended it to us. This is a fantastic model train - bills itself as the largest model railroad in the world. I have no problem believing them! As the brochure points out, there are:
  • 1,040 locomotives
  • 280 moving cars and trucks
  • 385,000 lights
  • 260,000 figurines
  • flight simulation of Knuffingen Airport
  • 15,400 meters of track (9.6 miles)
  • controlled by 50 computers
  • 9 areas 
Make sure to click on these photos to see a larger version and all their details:

The old wharehouse where the Miniatur
Wunderland is located







A concert being held in a large stadium

Look at the detail of the crowd at the concert

On the beach


The little white flags are visitors'
wishes for a better world

An invitation to leave a flag
with a comment on world peace

A Switzerland area

Busy sea port

Keeping an eye on operations

Some of the control cabinets

One of the many workshops

Monday, July 3, 2017

Copenhagen (June 30 - July 5)

After a 4 hour layover in Bangkok, our flight from Singapore arrived in Copenhagen at about 7:30 PM. Pat and I took a cab to our AirBnB. The driver was not one of the better ones we've had: seemed to have trouble using his GPS and had to reload it several times - each time I had to look up the address again. He had to pull over three times to reset his GPS, promising that he was not charging for these delays.

When we finally got to our AirBnB we met the owner who showed us her apartment and explained about the creaky floors and the neighbor below. We would be here until July 5. Our host is a painter so we got to enjoy some of her work. Pat especially liked the piece hung over the bed.

View from our AirBnB

Pat liked the paintings by the owner

Observations on Copenhagen:
  • Definitely cooler than Singapore
  • Very flat
  • Lots of bicycles being ridden all the time, even in the rain
  • Lots of rain
  • Bike lanes on all the main roads
  • Bike lanes were referred to, by one of our walking-tour guides, as "kill zones" - cars will often stop for you, but not bikes!
  • The neighborhood we stayed in was rather generic, almost industrial looking, but safe with convenient stores and a bus stop
  • Bus transportation was good - fares base on the ride, not the distance; therefore, it cost the same to ride one stop or 10 stops.
  • Parks had lots of things for children