Sunday, November 29, 2015

Afternoon In Old Town

For those how have never been to Europe before, you need to know that Sunday everything is shut down.  Unlike the states where Saturday and Sunday are the shopping days here in Europe you need to get it down Saturday or during the week because everything is closed on Sunday.  As a visitor to the countries that poses a bit of a problem because there isn't a whole lot to do on Sunday, especially when it's rainy like it is today.  I walked up to old town and found a few restaurants and pubs that were open, and even one that was showing football.  Other then that though there wasn't much else to do.  Well tomorrow it back down to Donauworth for me to work with the customer for the rest of the week.

View From My Hotel Room

Being I've spent nearly 2 months in Marriott hotels this year I have managed to get enough "status" that I get a lot of complimentary upgrades.  This time I got a junior suite with a nice little outdoor porch.  Too bad it's too cold here right now to really enjoy it but I do have a really nice view of the river from here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Heidelberg Christmas Market

Today after a very long work week I got the day off and got the opportunity to go check out the Heidelberg Christmas Market.  Turns out they take Christmas very seriously here in Europe and especially Germany so there are plenty of things going on in Old Town.  There are a ton of people out and about in addition to numerous vendor booth's selling all manner of Christmas crafts.  Too bad Jen and the boys weren't here with me because I'm pretty sure they would really enjoy it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day!

Today is Thanksgiving Day back in the states and I got to spend my day in the office working here in Germany.  In fact right about now it's lunch time so I should be getting ready to enjoy a fine Thanksgiving Dinner but I'm probably going to have a Bratwurst and Beer instead.  I guess I knew that was the deal when I agreed to come over here last week.  Just need to avoid social media today so I'm not reminded of what I'm missing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Munich, Donauworth to Heidelburg and A Bunch of Autobahn Fun!

Let's just say the last couple days have been full of travel craziness.  It started when I left Cedar Rapids at 6am in the morning on a flight to Atlanta.  I sat in Atlanta for 7.5 hours waiting by my overseas flight to Munich, Germany.  After only getting around 3 hours of sleep on my overseas flight I got a rental car, 2015 Mercedes Benz C220 Diesel, to drive the hundred miles to Donauworth. I have to say I've never gone a hundred miles so fast in my life.  Once I got a bit north of Munich the traffic thinned out on the autobahn and there was a huge section with no speed limit so I could drive fast.  For about 50km I was able to drive anywhere from 110 mph to 136 mph down the road and let me tell you it was freaking awesome.  Like any red blooded american I've got fast before but never been able to go those speeds for that long.  What I figured out is 120 mph is about the limit of where I feel comfortable. Once you start to get north of 120 and into the 130 mph range the wind really starts to have an effect on the handling of the car.  Maybe if I was in a super car it would be different but that is about the limit that the C Series I was in feels like it has a good hold of the road.

After I got to Donauworth at 9:30am I worked a full day at the customer site and finally got to head to my hotel in a very tired haze.  After going out for dinner I was finally able to hit the pillow around 9:30pm here in Germany.  There is nothing like a good sleep after being up for a couple days, but after suffering through like that it does help get adjusted to the local time.

Today, after a set of good meetings yesterday, we decided that it would be far easier to do our demo coding work from the RC-D facility in Heidelburg rather than the customer facility in Donauworth.  So I jumped in the car and started the 3.5 hour drive across Germany to our facility.  Now here I am once in again in Heidelburg for the remainder of the week and with a plan to head back down the Danauworth this weekend.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Headed to Germany Again

After being up until nearly midnight last night let's just say 3:45am came really early this morning.  The alarm went off and I could not figure out what that annoying sound was but I knew one thing it was disturbing my sleep.  I did manage to get up and out the door to the Cedar Rapids airport by 5am.  I just got to Atlanta and have most of the day to kill until my plane takes off at 4:30 this afternoon.  If nothing else the view isn't too bad from the Delta Sky Club here in ATL and the wifi seems reasonably fast so it shouldn't be too bad.

Wine To Water Event

Last night Jen and I went to the annual "Wine To Water" event in Davenport.  This is a fund raising event to build clean water sources in Africa.  Every year Jen is asked to donate a piece of art to action off as one of the featured artists.  This year she made a "Plant Your Hope With Good Seeds" painting.  It was nice to be able to get out and enjoy dinner with Jen.  With all my travel and as busy as we both are we don't get that many opportunities to do those things.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Early Thanksgiving

With me being gone on Thanksgiving this year we decided to have an early Thanksgiving with the family today.  I was a little worried I wouldn't get any turkey this year so it was nice to get to have a big turkey dinner today.  After a little nap I suppose I better go pack my bags and get ready for my trip early tomorrow morning.  Need to be out the door by 4:15 am so I can get to the airport by 5:00am for my 6:00am flight.

First Snow Of the Year

Overnight we got out first snow of the year and I'm not sure I'm ready for this weather.  Good thing that most of the day will be spent at home having an early Thanksgiving before I head to German at 6am tomorrow morning.  Hopefully the roads get cleared up so Jen and I can go to the Wine to Water event this evening.

Elfie Is Back

This morning Elfie showed back up the scene for the Christmas Season and let me tell you Clancey was really excited.  Just like always he brought some of Mrs. Clauses best muffins, loving called "Muff Cakes" by Clancey.  To bad I'm headed out tomorrow, it's always interesting to see the things Elfie does.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Clancey the Early Riser

Lately Clancey has adopted the habit of setting his alarm for 5:30 to get up and get ready for school. He comes downstairs makes himself some breakfast, usually a toaster waffle or pop tart. Once he's done with that he gets himself through the shower and does all his bathroom stuff. Sure makes it easy on Jen and I in the morning to only have to try and push one kid to done and no two.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back To Germany Sooner Than I Thought

Well I was hoping I would get to wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday to get back on a plane to Germany but today I found out that is not going to be the case.  This Sunday morning I'm going to be getting back on a plane to head to Donauworth, Germany for the next two weeks.  Turns out that they don't celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in Germany, makes sense, and they want to get some work done next week.  Hopefully when I get back on the 5th of December I will be done traveling for the year and be able to enjoy the rest of the holiday season with the family.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nice to Be Home

After being gone for the past few weeks it's nice to have a day at home to bum around and work on some much needed chores that need done around house.  I'm still suffering from a bit of jet lag and am waking up at 2-3am every morning and struggle to get back to sleep.  Hoping to be over my jet lag before the next time I have to head back to Europe.  Sounds like it could be as soon as two weeks.  I guess either way the Sunday after Thanksgiving I'm getting on plane to head to DC or Europe for a couple weeks.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

First Lego League Competition

Today was the Lego League Competition that Marshall had been preparing for, for the past few months.  He was in charge of the presentation of the project and had really poured his heart and sole into creating a really great presentation.  His part of the presentation went great but I have to say everyone else's presentation went pretty bad.  Nobody memorized their part of practiced their presentation so it didn't turn out like Marshall wanted too.  To be honest I was really upset with the "coach" because the kids weren't prepared at all for the competition.  Next year if Marshall does the competition I'm the boys and I will form our own team simply to avoid the disaster it was this year.  Marshall and Clancey preparing the doing the work themselves I'm betting they could do pretty good!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Home and Out of Europe in the Nick Of Time

This afternoon I made it home and just as I was landing in Cedar Rapids after my flight from Detroit I started to get alerts on my phone about bombings and shootings in Paris.  I guess they even went as far as to shut the borders down.  Wow! I'm glad to be home today and not stuck in France trying to get a flight out of the country along with thousands of other people.  I guess things work out for the best in the end.  I'm home a day early, get to see Marshall's presentation tomorrow, and not stuck in France trying to find a ride home.

Ready to Head Home

After two weeks here in Germany I finally get to head home today.  It's been a tough week here but we finally got everything we needed to get done completed tonight so a group of us decided to head out for dinner and drinks.  As you can see it's quite late but I only have to get on a plane tomorrow morning and can sleep all the way to the US.  It's possible I may end up here again before the end of the year but for now I get to head home.  Yeah!  Family here I come.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cancelling My French Leg

I decided for a number of reasons to cancel my French leg of the trip today.  First it turns out we aren't as far along as we wanted to be at this point and I need the one extra day to work here in Germany.  Second, Marshall has First Lego League on Saturday and if I go to France I won't be able to make it because I'll be traveling back Saturday.  Now I get to leave one day earlier on Friday morning instead of Saturday morning.  Third, Luftansa employee's are on strike in Frankfurt and it's been hit or miss whether flights even make it out of Germany to go anywhere on the airline.  I hate to get stuck in Frankfurt and end up on a train to France instead of a plane.  If that was the case I might end up stuck in Paris and never even make it too Toulouse.

Monday, November 09, 2015

View From Breakfast

This morning as I was eating breakfast I thought I should shoot a picture out the window to show everyone what it looked like.  As I decided to take a picture it just so happened that a barge was going down the river at that time.  I'll say this it's a far better view out this window then the view outside of the hotel in Toulouse France.  I guess I get to see later this week.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Heidelberg Castle

This afternoon I decided to head up the hill to check out the Heidelberg Castle.  It was a pretty awesome view of the city in the valley down below from all the way up here.  It is kind of nice when your on travel and you can get some time to go enjoy some of the sites the city has to offer.  Sounds like Germany is like France so tomorrow everything is going to be closed so I was glad I got out today.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Heidelberg Castle At Night

This evening after a long day of work on of my travel companions went to a run along the Necker River here in Heidelberg.  We were a couple miles out when we saw this cool view of the Heidelberg Castle which demanded that we take a picture.  Thinking this weekend going up to check the castle out and get the picture down on the river.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Marriott Gold Elite Perks

When you spend a 3 months living in the Marriott a year there a some perks that come with it.  One of those is access the Marriott Executive Lounge.  Every night after work around 6-8pm they have a "Cocktail Hour" where they have snacks and free drinks for people with access to lounge.  For those who don't know me I'm a huge fan on gummy candy and I found they had a huge jar of these Haribo Gummies that I really like.  So what better thing but to get a bag of free gummy's and a beer and watch some Netflix this evening.

Made It Too Heidelberg

After a whole lot of hours on planes and in cars I made it to Heidelberg for my next couple weeks of work.  We didn't end up getting here until nearly 11:00 pm so after we had lunch we decided we would just wait to go into work until tomorrow.  That is always nice because it gave me a chance to get a SIM card for my phone so it would work this week and then just take in a few of the sights.  I've always learned that no matter how tired you are you need to stay up this first day.  If you go to sleep then you can't sleep at night and don't get adjusted to the new times zone.  The best way to stay up is to go out and walk around.  The old town area is pretty cool and worth a trip this weekend to check out again.  I've posted a few pictures of some of the things I saw.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Headed to Germany

Once again, I'm at the Eastern Iowa Airport getting ready to head off on a plane for a couple weeks.  Like I stated in my blog post from earlier in the week, I'm headed off for a 2 weeks in Germany with a stop off in France and Holland.  After this trip I only have one more trip to DC planned and then I should be home for the rest of the year.  Now I did knock on wood after that because it was just on Monday that I told Jen I had no travel scheduled for the month of November.  At least internet makes the world smaller and I'm able to talk to the family every day.