Starting my 4 day Easter weekend.
01.04.2010 - 01.04.2010 50 °F
It has been an interesting week from the perspective of getting settled in even more.
I finally got my car yesterday. It is a T-Mobile fleet car - a BMW 318 wagon. No big deal here, but I was still pretty excited to get my first BMW, even if it is only for 3 months. The only catch is that it still has the winter tires on it and I can't get an appointment to put the summer tires on until next Friday. So until then, my entire "wagon" is filled with 4 tires. I can't complain, I just think it is funny.
On another settling in note, I have been trying to get the laundry situation figured out all week. First, I needed to locate the damn room. Nothing is marked, not even in German. I finally stumble upon it and figure out it takes 2 Euro/wash and 2 Euro/dry. Fair enough. So I go out in search of detergent and some 2 Euro coins. Gather both and head to the laundry room again the next evening. Put my clothes and detergent in the machine, close the door and go to put my 2 Euro coin into the slot and realize it only takes 0.50 Euro coins (DAMN IT) and there is no change machine. Not only that, the door locked on my clothes and I have no coins that will work. After a good string of old fashioned American swear words, I figured out which button would release my clothes. So, I am delayed another night. Today after work I make a mad dash to a bank before they close for the 4 day weekend, and manage to get a roll of 0.50 euro coins. Finally tonight at 10pm, I have clean clothes and now I am on a mission to find a laundry service that will prevent me from having to deal with coin-op laundry ever again. -enough of that.
I realize that this was supposed to be a travel blog, but I can only travel so much and the daily life is bound to slip in occasionally. On that note, the trip to Paris has been delayed. I had some issues getting a seat reserved for the high speed train for Easter weekend, so I decided to wait until a non-holiday weekend to make a trip.
Instead I have gotten some guidance from my colleagues at work around a couple of cool day trips in the area. Rather than butcher the names now, I will take pictures this weekend and post them appropriately. The concept is a drive down the Rhine for about an hour to a small town (Ramagen) right on the river that is supposed to be very scenic. Then cut over through wine country into another scenic town (Altenahr). After that I will travel to Nuremburg to visit a famous castle as well as a world famous race course that apparently they let the public drive on for a fee. (No I will not be racing my 318) This is not a traditional American race oval, this is long straightaways, hairpin turns, and switchbacks. Not Nascar, think Formula One. Anyway, they let the public watch all the crazy drivers in their BMW, Porche, and others try to see how fast they can go.
Beyond that, I will venture into Cologne for sure to see the famous cathedral during Easter time. Plus I hear they have US movies in English at the theaters there. Maybe I can catch Hot Tub Time Machine ;-)
Gaining a level of comfort daily, but I still feel a little dumb not being able to answer basic questions from the people at the grocery, gas station, or generally around town. But I am learning you can usually get through with the right smile, try to find common words, and the right hand gestures. (good hand gestures.....not rudeness) Many folks speak a little English, but are a little self conscious about using it. (I know how they feel)
That is all for now. I will post pictures and more comments during the weekend.
Happy Easter everyone!!