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The rest of Germany & since 
3rd-Jun-2007 02:19 pm
I think the last time I posted, we were about to walk out to the train station to take the rails to Salzberg. Let me pick up there...

Friday 25 May 2007 -- to Salzberg
The S-i-L bought a Bayern ticket that would allow I think up to 5 of us travel anywhere in "the area" for a set price.

About 12:15 (local) we hopped a train for München Hbf.

On prior trips it has turned out that if the spouse takes 1000 pictures and I take 75 I will be the one responsible for sorting through them, printing them out, organizing them, annotating them. Why? Because I will? Don't know. But the result has been that I am more or less completely unwilling to take a picture on a shared camera if we're traveling together. The S-i-L convinced the spouse that taking the big camera was probably not worth while -- we were trying to travel LIGHT -- so the large one ended up not taking any pictures in Germany or Austria at all. And the pictures I took were all in my head. I'll be noting a few pictures I would have liked to have taken as I go.

(1) As the train was crossing a river, a boat was winding its way down toward us, and I liked the way it looked.

(2) Sitting across from the Sister in Law, she was wearing reflective (yellow) sunglasses, and I am somewhat known for my mirror-shots, and the view in her sunglasses was interesting.

By 14:30 we were in München Hbf, and I was introduced to (but did not become intimate with) the McClean. Nice idea. For something like a couple of dollars (I think it was 1.30 (Euro) one could use one of a battery of toilets that was constantly being cleaned by a few people. On the male side, one could opt to spend a bit less and use a urinal only. (For some reason, I saw far more women in that facility than men.) There were various products on display, but I don't know how I would have purchased them, nor do I know what they are. (I expect one of the custodians could have helped me, but I didn't really care.)

About 14:50 the train left. It was VERY hot. (I was happy.) About half of the windows opened.

Sometime today, I made a gesture and my watch flew off of my wrist. I retrieved it.

(3) I think it was here that I saw a sign that I would have photographed. Partially because of my affiliation with the University of Michigan (and the fact that I despise sports) and partly because of my bizarre sense of humor. I don't know what it was advertising, but the sign read: Go Yellow.

By 16:45 we were in Salzberg. Took a taxi to our hotel, which, for the distance traveled, cost, including tip, a very reasonable 10 euro.

The hotel was a small one -- I think there were no more than 15 rooms. Room 7 was on the 4th floor, and room 12, where we were, was on the 6th. The elevator only went up to the 5th floor. The stairs most of the way up were cut stone. I took the stairs despite the bizarre gate across the bottom most of the time, but the others in the party preferred the elevator.

I would probably have gone a little nuts with the camera here:

(4) Decorating the hallway on the 4th floor was a 4-candle display, and the purple candles were pointing off in every direction the first time I saw it. Appealed to my sense of the absurd.

Visible from our room on the 6th floor:

(5) The bell-tower poking up above the copper roofs.

(6) A Castle(?)

(7) Radio (?) Tower on the mountain.

Everyone else wanted to take a nap, so we planned to meet up later. By then, unfortunately, it was raining. The most unfortunate part about that was that I hadn't brought a jacket. Silly. We walked a short way down the alley the hotel (Hotel Am Dom) was on, and found a restaurant.

I think we must have gotten an English menu, because I remember ordering "Venison stew" which was not what I would think of a stew as (a thick soup) but which instead was served on spaetzle (not quite as good as mine, but very good), with a garnish of some small red fruit (I think not cranberry) sauce and a twist of orange. I think I refrained from licking my plate, but I got as much of it up as I could with the fork. Don't remember what I drank. Probably a Radler. I definitely ordered the right thing. Whatever it was that the spouse ordered (that I also thought looked good) came with a bowl of bell pepper. (Makes me gag to think of it.) A condensed bowl. Indeed, the smell coming off of his bowl of poison was more offensive than the cigarette smoke coming from the other side of the table. (Self rolled cigs, while they're still noxious, are not as bad to me as American commercial cigarettes.)

It was hot, so we just had to open the windows. (The spouse likes things a lot cooler than I do.) But it was raining, so we couldn't open them much. I took my expensive (late last year, which started showing signs of wear about 2 months after I started wearing them but for that price I'm gonna get more use out of 'em) shoes, and mounted the window (which swung in like a door) atop the laces, held in place by the flaps, and this allowed us to keep the windows open a little but not let too much rain in.

Anyhow, the spouse wanted to sleep (at 8:30 pm!), and we had only one key to the room, so it was most convenient to stay together, so I crashed too. Didn't really sleep. The brain was running too much. And the bell tower was chiming. At one point I heard it ring once. A bit later I heard it ring twice. I thought it was way too early to be 2am, and indeed it was only 12:30 am. Ahah! I continued listening, and indeed at x:15 it rang once, x:30 it rang twice, x:45 it rang 3 times, and then at x:00 it rang 4 times, then perhaps chimed the hour, perhaps chimed a few hundred times, and perhaps played the same tune over and over and over and over. And over.

Some time between 2:45 and 3:00 I actually fell asleep.

Saturday 26 May 2007 -- Hallstatt
The S-i-L had arranged a couple of tours over the next 2 days through Bob's Tours. When we got back after dinner yesterday the woman at the desk called us aside to ask us if we were willing to swap days for the tours because of the predicted weather. We agreed, so today we spent driving to Hallstatt. This was an 8 hour tour.

We woke up early-for-us (6-something for me -- I washed my hair, 7-something for the spouse) and got breakfast. I was in heaven. They had hard rolls. Other than the last time I was in Germany, the last time I had those was as a child. Unfortunately this was the last morning they had them. We got done significantly before the tour started. The spouse went upstairs to read, and I wandered down by the river. I took about a 20 minute walk -- downstream to the next cross-over, and then on the other side upstream past a crossover, took the next one, then walked back to the lane I take to get near our hotel. My evil pedometer didn't give me any aerobic credit yesterday, so I used the trick I learned the last time in Germany and attached it to my undies. It gave me credit for 22 minutes on this morning's jaunt.

One of the optional tours to take was a tour of the worlds oldest salt mine. The S-i-L strongly suggested we do this, but I noted that a salt mine tour option on the other tour which we'd be doing tomorrow, and there were also 2 different cave tours here, including "Ice caves" which sounded wonderful. I had a wonderful fleecy thing that the S-i-L had sent me a while back, and that kept me more-or-less comfortable despite the 30-something-small F temperatures. The spouse, being the spouse, was comfortable in t-shirt-sleeves alone. We took a cable-car up the mountain and then hiked quite a bit further up. I think I got my further aerobic credit on the trip *down* the mountain after the tour -- at that point I had 34 minutes.

In Hallstatt there were more pictures I might have wanted to take.

(8) In a shop, downstairs, there were some roman ruins, including a tower and a portion of road. Very cool.

(9) In my love of the aesthetically bizarre I would have shot a glimpse of the stone coming through the walls of the house.

There was something else I saw that I don't think I could have taken a picture of. Nobody else in our tour was interested in going in, but I spent the Euro admission. Up by the Catholic church (quite a hike!) there was a building... ground is quite at a premium there, so when people are buried they are left in the dirt for about 25 years. They they are dug up, the skulls are cleaned (and polished from the look of it) and names and dates are painted on them. And they're displayed in this small room. And other bones -- I'm guessing leg bones -- are shoved underneath. It would seem somewhat disrespectful to photograph it myself, but I had no problems buying a postcard that had a photo from inside...

We eventually got back to Salzberg, and the S-i-L had a place she wanted to eat dinner. (They were a "known" restaurant, and, it turned out, near to a beergarten.) Got there, elected not to get the English menu. Saw something that looked yummy -- I was assuming it was some kind of meat, and they said it came with broccoli. They guessed it was goat (I like goat) but when we asked the waitress, she didn't have the English to translate it. Finally she said "Bambi". Ok, I can eat Bambi. S-i-L joked that saying that to us was okay, but she probably shouldn't say that to a child. I almost laughed when I saw it -- chunks of venison, served on spaetzle with a small-red-fruit-relish and a twist of orange. And broccoli on the side. The S-i-L had something that I forget the name of, but it was asparagus grown without sunlight, so it was all white. Interesting.

When we finished dinner, we learned that the evening had just begun. The S-i-L was going to aforementioned nearby Beergarten. We followed her, but discussed it, and the spouse would just as soon go back to the hotel room and read some more, and I would just as soon walk back along the river and get AWAY FROM SMOKE. So I told her we'd see her tomorrow, and we headed back. My other issue was that I hadn't realized we were going to be out so late, so I'd not brought my fleecy warmth with me and I was getting chilly.

On the way back we saw tents set up -- I'm guessing there's an art and craft fair going on here during the day -- perhaps related to the Dult.

My evil pedometer gave me credit for 15,825 steps today, 7,701 of them (62 minutes) aerobic.

Sunday 27 May 2007 -- Berchtesgaden
Our tour today started out at 2pm, so we had the morning to ourselves. Once again I'd not been able to fall asleep until it was pretty late. At 9:50 or so the spouse told me the time and I said "eep" and jumped out of bed. Breakfast is served until 10. We got down there with a minute or two to spare, but all the food was gone. I guess the owner, having seen the S-i-L and knowing that we were "together" told her that everybody who was going to come had done so. Oops. But we got brekkie, and then we went upstairs and did our baths. And then, (due to the single key aspect) I stayed in the room and read since the spouse didn't want to walk around. (We'd walked around a small bit yesterday on the way to the cab to take us to the restaurant, and I'd seen a lot of statuary I'd hoped to see again. Plus, I was hearing something that sounded a lot like a piano and as we walked along we finally got to the point where I could see it -- it was a piano that had been rolled near one square under a bit of a building so it wouldn't be rained on.

The spouse and I elected to not go to the salt mines. Everybody else was going to "Adolf Hitler's Eagles Nest" and that honestly sounded the most interesting anyhow, so we did that. The only complaint I have with that is that the recommendation (given by the bus driver -- we had to park much lower and take one of their buses up) is that one spend 2 hours there -- and we had between half an hour and 45 minutes.

I know the spouse took a picture of the one thing I really wanted to take a picture of:
(10) A fireplace that was a gift to Hitler for his 50th birthday from Mussolini.

Monday 28 May 2007 -- Back to Parsberg
My calves were *killing* me yesterday, and they're no better today. (Note: I would still have preferred to walk around a bit rather than read a book that I can read anywhere.)

We got breakfast at the hotel, and then, pretty quickly, checked out and grabbed a cab for the train station.

In the train station (with a bit of time before we had to leave) the spouse decided to go to the Burger King. I did have to giggle a bit -- they have a Western BBQ or Thousand Islands, or a Mexican Salsa Whopper. The spouse elected to get a sandwich we'd seen advertised a few times along the rail routes: "Long Chicken". I'm glad they're not serving pork products!

While in the BK, I looked at my wrist to determine how much time we had and discovered that I'd lost my watch. I found it over on the floor where I'd waited while the spouse ordered. The rest of the way home I kept it in my pocket.

Today on the train back I finished the 3rd book of the trip. The spouse's book was finished earlier, so suddenly conversation took over, and I had to put my book down for a while.

Walked back to the house. I think we napped, and then the S-i-L showed up with yummy sandwiches (mine without poison) which we ate. I also think we went to bed shortly thereafter.

Tuesday 29 May 2007 -- Day in Parsberg
The S-i-L went to work today, and we didn't. I checked lj for a while, and then when the raining slowed down a bit, I walked up to the Norma, leaving the spouse, who has a web interface, to do his e-mail. (I elected not to walk the mile and a half or so to the Penny Markt I went to last time due to the rain.) I bought some chocolate to share with my coworkers.

On the way back to the house I spotted a Smart car. I've seen some Smarts around here, and I've been fairly unimpressed with them. Now this was a FANCY beast. Very masculine. Quite sexy. DROOL CITY! I went back to the house where I explained my quandary. We finally decided that while I could make the spouse go out and take pictures of it, I could also act instead as a proxy, allowing the spouse to stay inside and dry while I went out and took the pictures (although not as many of them) that would have been taken. Ok, it's a cheat, but it worked.

Dinner was wonderful, but as always, the smoke, which is allowed everywhere, was a problem. I just now realized, while typing this, that I have one of those personal air purifier devices, which I didn't even think to bring. **sigh** I was amused that the S-i-L ordered the venison, and it looked just like my 2 venison orders in Salzberg had. (But tasted a little bit different.)

Wednesday 30 May 2007 -- Home
We got home about 6pm, got our car out of hock, and decided against stopping somewhere to eat. I think it was in the Schiphol airport where I saw an alcohol in the duty-free that seriously tempted me: It was in a Baileys-shaped bottle, and covered in a fuzzy leopard-like coat, and was named "Wild Africa Cream". I wasn't sure they wouldn't confiscate it, and I wasn't sure I wouldn't break it -- and it was a touch pricey. (We also ran into some local friends who were distinctly unhappy with the new laws regarding flight.) I watched 3 movies on the way back: Driving Miss Daisy, Finding Nemo, and A Bug's Life. I got many things accomplished, and actually got to bed before midnight in preparation for getting to work early tomorrow.

I looked at my watch one more time. Several dozen times I'd reassembled it over the last few days, only to have it break again. I reassembled it once more, and it has since shown no desire to fly apart.

Thursday 31 May 2007 -- Home & Work
Got to work not as early as I'd hoped, but not too late. Basically did nothing but read e-mail -- but went from about 500 unread to about 100, so that's pretty good. I couldn't stay too late, because my Japanese class is tonight -- ran by Taco Bell beforehand, as is my wont -- and then by the comic store to get the last 2 weeks worth. The spouse had said that he'd do the built-up laundry today, and indeed, he'd started before I got home at 10-something.

Friday 1 June 2007 -- Work & Yuck
Got to work early, got more caught up on my e-mail, and did a little more normal-work things (I think I had 80 unread mails when I left). At lunch I felt seriously cold -- goosebumps and all -- but that's not uncommon for me in AC. Back to work I realized I had chills. Then the real TMI symptoms presented. I hung on until I'd put 8 hours in, and then I left. I had really wanted to work much later, but that just didn't make sense. Got home and crashed hard. Atop the covers and all. A bit later got up and skied. Too exhausted to even watch a DVD while I skied. I think I'd had a fever, and I think it broke that evening, but I'm not sure. The spouse had finished the washing-part of the laundry today, and had mowed part of the front lawn.

Saturday 2 June 2007 -- Yuck and Cats
I expected to be mostly better today, but such was not to be. I had my alarm set to wake me at 8 to go to "the cat house" to give the cats whose people are traveling some love, water, and food, not necessarily in that order. Came home and mowed as much as the mower would let me. Then I crashed. A bit later I got up to mow some more, but the spouse had gotten out there first. That was it for the day, since the storm arrived. And the mower drained itself. The spouse had been hoping to leave on his "week-or-so" long trip today, but was asked to help out with something (I assuming Hammish) tomorrow, so I had the pleasure of company when I got back from the 2nd visit to the cat house. Plus more of the laundry got put away.

Sunday 3 June 2007 -- Cats and Yuck and I broke my car.
Out to the cat house in the morning again. I am feeling overall better, but the TMI symptoms are significantly worse. I finished mowing the lawn. And then crashed. Since the spouse indicated that departure would be around 5pm I didn't try to download pictures from the camera when I got home. Ooops. About noon I learned that the afternoon event that folks had wanted help with wasn't going to happen, and the spouse hit the road. When I got up a little bit later I realized the camera must have left at the same time. Oh well.

I have planned to take the mower somewhere to get the blade sharpened, and to hopefully find batteries for it. I loaded it into the car. This was baaaaaad. I am not strong enough to lift it. I didn't have room to horse it when I was aiming at the back seat, so I moved the front seat all the way back and tipped it, lay the shower curtain down, and tried to get it there. At one point I lost strength and it shifted and broke the visible part of my vent. I kept trying, and at another point, a sharp edge gouged my dash badly. In multiple places. Grumble. I took my console box off and tried again, and finally managed to get it all the way in. I'm sure the wheels aren't all on the shower curtain, so I don't want to think about the condition of my cloth seats. And when I went to the cat house later in the day I needed to roll my window down because the grass-stink (I'll bet it's decomposing) was way too strong.

Future & musing
Tomorrow, if things aren't demonstrably "all better" which I don't expect, I'll go into health service first thing. They open at 8.

I'm very disappointed at the damage done to my car. Yes, when I get out to the shop I'll beg for help from the folks working there so I don't have to get it out myself. Yes, this is another of those "I'll deal with it" things that the spouse was going to do, which I feel empowered to take on since I have about a week to screw with it before there will be the opportunity again for that to happen.

I don't know about the batteries. Some web sites claim one battery, some claim two. Nobody claims to have one/them. And I found a safety recall which should have been taken down 9 months ago -- (having been up for 5 or more years? The mower is 10.) My expectation is that I'll call them, find out what's going on, and see if the folks who're going to sharpen my blade can handle the recall. And find out from the B&D folks how to get batteries. Yeah, I'll pay more to have them here within a week.

Although I've been eating, I've been dropping a pound a day since I got home. Is it TMI to say that this is not the greatest of my worries/fears?

Thank you to everyone who was patient enough to slog through all of this.
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