Wednesday, August 10, 2005

 

ICE is so Cool!

Went to the Stadthaus first thing this morning to see if they had found anything on the Schurmann or Borgmann families. Nope. No luck. Seems they have the records only for the city of Recklinghausen. Recklinghaussen is also a “District”, and apparently each town holds its own records. It would take a long time to contact all of them. As a result, the past 24 hours have been kind of a waste of time. Not totally as I drank some very good beer, ate some pretty good food, and did some photo editing on the computer. After leaving the Stadthaus, I took a few photos of the Farmers’ Market in front of the Rathaus, then packed my bags to catch the train to Stuttgart.

Took a moment to mail a package home, with some brochures from the Saab Meet, a couple of souvenirs, and some dirty underwear to fill the spaces. It cost 32 euro to mail it home!!! At least I won’t have to carry that extra weight around the rest of the week. The heaviest item was the Power Converter. As suspected, the computer power supply and the battery charger for the camera battery will both operate at 240V/50Hz, so I have located a simple connector to plug the US plug into a German outlet.

The trip to Stuttgart took two trains, the local into Essen and then the streamlined ICE (Inter City Express) the rest of the way. The fare was 94 euro ($120), not exactly cheap, but pretty relaxing. The ICE stops only at major stations, so the trip is less than four hours. As the ICE was traveling at its fastest, the speed was displayed on the info screen – 297 kph (185 mph)! That was only for a short burst, but it was while we were parallel to an autobahn, and the train was quite a bit faster than traffic in our direction.

The train had to stop for several minutes for some unknown reason, and was about 15 minutes late arriving at Stuttgart. I made my way to the Tourist Information center where they found a room for me near to the city center. By the time I had settled into the room it was 1530 (3:30pm) and a little late to make my way to the museums that close at 1700. The primary reason to visit Stuttgart is to see the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums. They will still be there tomorrow morning.

Tonight I am staying at another small hotel, the “Hotel Museum Stube”. The price for “Einzelzimmer, Etagendusche und –toilette*” is 35 euro (“Mit hund 5 euro Aufschlag”), plus 5 euro for breakfast and 3 euro to the Tourist Information center to make the reservation. Rather than walk the 12 blocks with my bags, I took a taxi for 6 euro. My budget is to find lodging for less than 50 euro a night, so I am just barely within that figure. The room is only about 7’ by 10’ with a simple bed and a sink, sort of like a prison cell but without the bars.

Had dinner tonight at Ochs'n Willi. I chose BBQ ribs with a tangy "Mexican style" sauce. A good choice! The waitress, Sara, helped me to make a dessert selection of various berries in sauce with vanilla liqueur poured over the top. She also directed me to a nearby Internet Cafe, the Level One Cyber Bar. Still have not found a place to use my wireless card, so the other notes that I have written and the photos will have to wait.

* Single room, shower and toilet on the same floor. With dog, 5 euro extra charge.

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