16 May 2006

Navigation and the like.

Germans and their navigational systems. At first, I thought that these people were whimps. Then, I tried to drive in Europe. I quickly realized that it's a good thing that cars used to be a lot slower, as you need an excellent navigator to get you and your vehicle anywhere but the nuthouse or the local fuel station (to tuck tail and ask for directions). An interesting link
German Der Spiegel article (in English)

Side note... Der Spiegel is the German equivalent of Time/Newsweek to read it in English go here - Der Spiegel Magazine - English site A good way to get the German perspective on things.

Back to the point of my post. Did I really have a point or was it just an excuse to chatter? Well, nevermind.... We call our car 'The Landbound Spaceship" because of this LOVELY piece of equipment. In the middle of our dash sits the control center. Contained herewith is said Navigational System, DVD player, multi-disk CD player, Radio, info. center (traffic conditions and the like) and more. You can push a button and the scree flips up to reveal two SD card slots to add MP3 capability to our stereo.

What's more, it's illegal to talk on the phone whilst driving in Germany. In that vein, our car came with a wonderful hands-free Bluetooth system. If someone calls, you hit the button on the dash and suddenly, the persons voice takes over the sound of the car. "Hello!" When you're finished, stab the button again and back comes the music. Very safe and very bizarre. The first few times I used it, I felt vaguely psychotic.

Monday was a good day for exercise. I managed to pull off a long-ish run after dropping Dee and Don off at the airport (Bye you two). I think it was in the neighborhood of 45+ mins. My watch showed 40, but I forgot to turn the clock back on for a long stretch of the run. Then, after Kera got home, we went for a 2.5 hour bike ride out south of town, through the German countryside (we had about 180 degree view of the Alps). No, riding in Bavaria isn't all bad.

I'm signed up for the Swiss Single-Speed Championships. We'll head down to Switzerland on Sat. morning for that. Kera might end up participating if we can fit a bike for her. Apparently, the promoter is bringing extra SS's in an effort to get more people to participate (primarily, the spousal units). The course is pretty flat so it ought to be a good first time effort should she choose to partake in the festivities. Otherwise, we might just have some good pics of the race from her vantage behind beer goggles.

Monday, I had an interview, of sorts, with the owner of local tour company Mike's Bike's. He's considering me to host this tour Neuschwanstein Castle. He had a few more people to talk with, but promised to call me either way. If I get the job, I pal around with the customers to and from the tour. While they are doing the tour, etc. I can do whatever I want. Hike, swim, run, read... anything. It'd be 11 long hours a day, 5 days a week. However, it'd get me a work permit and a place to start. I'll report back later on further developments.

So, back to the saga of our lives. The previous interview that I mentioned... well, got an SMS (text message to the rest of the world) from the owner of the company... I'm going to be employed! As of tomorrow, he says that I'll have a work permit and we'll start working out the details. Here's the place that I'll get to spend my days.. Neuschwanstein Castle and the area.

Did I mention that life has a funny way of turning out very differently than you may have planned? Obviously, for me, it certainly has... in a very good way. Off to go celebrate!

09 May 2006

Switzerland and life as I know it

Like Father, Like Daughter... who said that?

I've yet to finish my race update from Garda. However, here is a link to the pics that I can purchase. I'm going to see if I can buy the file instead.
Action pics from GardaMe after getting my ass handed to me by the mountain... not the racers... so much. ..And, pre-race

So, I'm sitting in a hotel in Zurich, Switzerland while Kera's at work for a couple of days. Depending on what's in the cards for us, we may end up moving down here. Not our favorite idea, but Munich was a surprise as well. Since I had the time, we figured that I could come down with Kera and play around town for a couple of days and get the lay of the land.

My report.... for now. The Swiss drive much slower and not as well as the Germans. The Swiss accent that is spun on the Deutsch language sounds way too much like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets (think German mixed with Norwegian). They have a beautiful lake (Lake Zurich) that pokes in to the city. The major art museum here is first rate. Some really amazing pieces there (Picasso, Cezane, Monet, Miro) Also found a couple of new favorites (Sigmar Polke and Alberto Giacometti). The city is quite beautiful and very hilly and like a small San Francisco in some ways.

However... (yes, the big BUT) I've seen very few bikes on the streets. I see more bicycles on our street in a short walk than I've seen here while walking around for almost 7 hours. Even though there's a big university here and seemingly lots of things going on, the soul seems to be missing from the body. I can't put my finger on it, but there's nothing here that makes me want to live in Zurich. Munich, on the other hand, is such a great place to be and live.

I suppose the fact the the weather is sheisse, doesn't help matters any. Maybe tomorrow, if the sun shines as it's supposed to. I think I'm also used to lots of bike shops around and I only saw two and they were really tiny. Imagine, bedroom size. Nothing nice at all.

Given a choice, I'd pick Munich in a minute. Now, if it came down to moving here or moving back to the states, I'd rather live here. At least I'd be surrounded by mountains and have a bazillion things to do outdoors. Yes kids, I love that outdoor life.

Other news, bike related... broke my Truvativ 180 Stylo SS cranks the other day. I was 25-30 km's out from home on the mountain bike trails and noticed that something didn't feel right. I kept going until I got tired of my crank banging on my chainstay. I finally flipped the bike over and played around with the bottom bracket adjustment. While doing that I found the crack half-way across my crank arm. Crap! So, I limped the rest of the way home using primarily my left leg to spin.

Yesterday before we left Munich I ordered White Industries ENO cranks which should be in when we get back.

We'll be back down here in a couple of weeks for the Swiss SingleSpeed Championships. Maybe a new report about Switzerland then.

New pics- hopefully, more from Zurich today, or later.
Last day of school pics
Stuttgart to vist the Host 'rents
Bozen & Garda, Italy pics

That's about it for now. Ciao!