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Archive for August, 2005

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

Well, we had two days until the civil ceremony and had rented a car so we could explore the surrounding area in central Germany… But, the best laid plans do go astray!

We woke up on Wednesday morning to rainy whether… We went down and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant; I had many options that kept me on my diet, fortunately. The restaurant was actually located outside the hotel, the Mövenpick, was located on one side of a local shopping mall, a small one, with a much larger mall across the street… The restaurant was actually off the mall, not within the hotel, per se… After breakfast, we went up to the room and got ready to go to Weimar…

We got in the car and started to leave the parking garage when we discovered that we needed to put our parking ticket into a machine on the mall and pay for the time we had been parked, €8 for the overnight stay from 19:00 to 11:00 the next day… So Heather went up, talked to someone who helped her put the money into the machine, and brought back the validated ticket… In the meantime, I was sitting at the exit gate unable to go forward or backward, and basically ‘stuck’…

Once out of the garage, we headed to the A7 autobahn that lead to Weimar. The trip to Weimar, the home of Goethe and Schiller, was about a two hour drive. It was still raining! Now I had always pictured the autobahn as this wide smooth road that permitted speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour… Well, guess again!

The way to the actual autobahn required me to traverse at least one roundabout. When I encountered this roundabout, I didn’t see that the traffic signal had turn red for me, since my eye level was such that the top of the car roof cut off any view of the signal… I almost had an accident within ten minutes of driving in Germany! Fortunately, I didn’t since I was able to brake in time and finally got onto the correct leg of the roundabout…

This leg, while it would turn into the autobahn, was undergoing extensive repairs, even in the rain. I was trying to get used to the six speed transmission and diesel engine… I was trying to watch my way on an unfamiliar road… I was trying NOT to attend to Grace who was actively signaling with her hands to break, be careful, and otherwise nervous as could be! Poor Gracie, she was very uneasy with this, especially in light of her accident.

Anyway, as we proceeded, the rain got heavier and there were periodic sections of the autobahn closed (the left lane of course) for repair… Heather and Grace were both extolling me to drive carefully; NOT TOO FAST… About 10-15 kilometers outside of Kassel I decided that I did not to endanger either myself or my family by continuing this drive in an increasingly intense storm… I put all pride aside and turned around and returned to Kassel…

We got back to the hotel and I went back to the room while Heather and Grace went window shopping in the two malls… Weather the next day was not much better and I decided not to go to the little cities north of Kassel (on the ‘Fairy Tale Road’) or to the university town of Göttingen…

Grace and Heather went to the place where Tasha was staying to help with wrapping honey jars. I stayed at the hotel reading and working on the computer… At least the hotel had wireless that allowed me to connect my IPAQ with the net to check email and complete a number of other tasks. Grace and Heather returned in the mid-afternoon and we went down to the mall to have a coffee.

We got a call from Tasha’s good grad school friend, Ana Marie, who said that she and Rudi, her German husband, would like to take us to dinner that evening. We agreed and were to meet in the hotel lobby and then proceed to the restaurant for dinner. When the time came, we went down to dinner and had a delightful time.

A little about Rudi… He is a web designer and he, Grace and I had much to talk about… I showed him some of my toys and he was fascinated. We talked with Ana Marie, the matron of honor at the wedding about all the plans. About 21:30, Tasha and Isti showed up unexpectedly and we went through a series of photo shoots and captured much on film (both real and digital)…

We departed late with good feelings all around and looking forward to the civil ceremony the next day. We arranged for Rudi to come by the hotel and drive us out to the location of the civil ceremony, since he was familiar with the area, at least much more familiar with the driving habits of the Germans!

More on the civil ceremony in the next installment…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

Not having seen the movie “Meet the Folkers” myself, but hearing about it from Grace (who had seen it), I went into the evening dinner with Isti’s parents with some misgivings… How do we address them? What can we talk about? Will we need every sentence need to be translated, or will my basic German and Isti’s mother’s basic English be enough to carry on basic conversations? Many, many questions and few answers…

Well, things went well… After initial greetings, handshakes, polite kisses, and hugs were exchanged, we sat down to a leisurely dinner that lasted for about three and one half hours. We had a chance to get to know each other, exchange well wishes with the bride and groom, and talking generally about the week’s events.

The big events were going to be the civil ceremony on Friday (13:00) in Isti’s home town Rathaus (City Hall) and the religious ceremony on Saturday afternoon in a 1000 year old church in a town nearby to Isti’s parents… We discussed general itineraries, the family reception planned by the Hungarian relatives on Friday after the civil ceremony, the reception in a quaint little place near the church on Saturday afternoon (which lasted until 5:00 on Sunday morning, and the breakfast planned for Sunday morning… Interspersed in these conversations was the details of when and where we would stay on the day of the wedding and transportation issues…

What an agenda for the first meeting of families! We ordered dinner, took photos, told stories about both the bride and groom… Isti’s younger sister, Judith, was there as well as Heather, our youngest daughter… All in all, we had a very enjoyable time and ended the evening on a relatively high note… Tasha was Tasha and we had very good exchanges with her even though the stress of planning all aspects of the wedding were taking their toll on her; she is quite a remarkable young lady.

We briefly discussed the activities of the week, which did not really include any more get together of families until Friday. Tasha still didn’t like the idea of us going to Weimar the next day (Wednesday, or Mittag) with Heather, but said that she was glad that we had something to do, since she had work for one of her jobs to finish up… On Thursday (or, Donnerstag), Grace and Heather were to help Tasha package the honey and do other tasks in preparation for the wedding…

All ended well and we did not encounter the disaster that the movie portrayed… In the next posting, I’ll talk more about our activities on Wednesday and Thursday…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

It seems that we have been walking forever! Up one elevator and then down another… Will there be an end? Finally, we must choose between the S-bahn local trains to the Main Frankfurt Bahnhof (in the city) or the Distance Frankfurt Bahnhof (in the airport)… We pick the latter so we would not need to change trains, if possible…

We had purchased a DB RailPass before coming to Europe, but it needed to be validated. In addition, since we did not know for sure how long it would take to get through passport control, customs, and pick up our baggage, we had not make train reservations ahead of time for this first trip… So we needed to find the correct office.

We headed down a long corridor to the Bahnhof(Fuhr) to catch a long distance train. When we got almost to the end of the corridor, we found a ‘Travel’ office; I inquired about if this were the correct one and was told Nein! (No!) I needed to find the ReiseZentrum to validate our pass and make the necessary reservations. When we cleared the corridor, we saw that office and stood in line for our turn…
Grace attended the trolley with our luggage on it while I waited in line to take care of our business. Since I spoke at least a little German, Grace felt uncomfortable doing this task… I finally got to a window, got the pass validated; then we needed seat reservations.

There was two ways of getting to Kassel. The first was to catch a transfer train from this Bahnhof to the Main Bahnhof where we would need to move our baggage to another train. There were three problems we needed to consider… First of all, we had two large suitcases that were heavy and a number of carryon bags. Second, the German trains were noted for their punctuality; the ‘shuttle’ train would leave in five minutes and the long distance train from the Main Bahnhof was scheduled to leave in twenty minutes… Not a good prospect! The third problem was that we needed to move all luggage and stuff to a new platform and then get on the second train in time. Being unfamiliar with the station, this seemed like an unduly difficult task.

Therefore, we decided to take the second option, which meant that we would have about an hour and one half wait for the 16:42 train from this Bahnhof that would take us straight to Kassel’s Bahnhof Wilhemshöhe… This would not only give us time to get to the platform, but would also give us a chance to eat some lunch… We opted for this option and made the reservations.

We then went to the Service Desk and requested assistance due to my mobility problems. Once this was arranged, we proceeded to the correct platform, found a seat and waited for the train. Once situated, Grace went and found lunch, which consisted of a sausage sandwich and diet cola (actually, CocaCola Light)… We enjoyed the sandwich and sat back and relaxed until our train was due in at 16:38 (giving only five minutes to get ourselves and everything aboard)… Shortly before its arrival, we saw which station we needed to be at to get on the correct train and proceeded to that point.

Just as the train was about to arrive, a porter can around to help us get things aboard… In the meantime, I got a couple of photos of the station; one of these is posted with this entry…

This was a train that made a brief stop at the Main Bahnhof and then proceeded directly to Kassel. We got aboard and settled and enjoyed the hour and one half trip to Kassel. We were in the first class coach and the seats were comfortable and we enjoyed the trip and the beautiful countryside. We were scheduled to arrive in Kassel at 18:20; Tasha said that she would be waiting at the INFO area when we arrived. But she was expecting us to be on an earlier train!

When we got in, there was a cart waiting to take us to the entrance and help us off with our baggage. We got off and there were Tasha, Heather and Isti! How good it was to see all of them again. They helped us get our baggage to the AVIS counter (across the parking lot) and I completed the paperwork on the rental car reserved for our stay in Kassel…

I had requested an ‘A’ Class Mercedes, but was given instead an Opal Wagon, a Diesel at that… Once I had loaded up the luggage, my walker, and figured how to get the car in reverse with its six speed transmission!

We followed Tasha and Isti to the downtown Mövenpick Hotel… We got there, checked in and moved our luggage up to the room with Heather’s and Isti’s help. Our room was comfortable and spacious, but not fancy. We freshened up and went down to the restaurant where Tasha, Isti, Heather were already seated with Isti’s parents and sister.

We had an enjoyable evening with them… More on that in the next posting…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

Tuesday, 9 August 2005, marked a very significant day in my life: I returned to my Heimat… I was finally getting to go to Germany, the home of my family on both sides!

In the mid-1870’s, my father’s family, the Börner’s, had emigrated to the United States and settled in a small farming community in western Minnesota… Herman, Minnesota, to be precise. I have a book that details the history of that region given to me by my father; it talks about my great-great-great-grandfather traveling with his family to that community. It documents the marriage of the children and the presence there of the Boerner (the ö being transliterated to oe) family band. They were farmers and fairly well-to-do; their journey from Germany had apparently taken place about the time that Bismark created a united German state in 1872… I don’t know additional history related to these events, but I do know that my father’s family had moved to the St. Louis Park suburb of St. Paul so that he and his brother’s could attend high school. During the depression, they moved to California.

On my mother’s side, my grand parents had emigrated to the United States in 1911, just before World War I. They emigrated separately. My maternal grandfather apparently lived in the northern region of Germany near the Dutch border, hence the name Inderbieten. My maternal grandmother emigrated from the then eastern part of Prussia where her maiden name had been Radowsky (unsure of the exact spelling)… They both moved to Southern California were they met and married. My mother and her brothers did not speak English until they started school at the age of 5.

Hence, my roots ran deep! This was the land of my forefathers and this was all enabled by the pending marriage of our oldest daughter Tasha. We were going to Kassel in northern Hesse for her wedding. And we were to meet our future in-laws as well for the first time.
We departed from Heathrow on British Airways without much fanfare. Our Airbus 319 make the one hour fifteen minute flight was anything special and we arrived at Frankfurt Airport about 1:15 p.m. The airline provided a wheelchair at both Heathrow and Frankfort airports and we got through passport checks and the minimal customs screening without incident.

At Frankfurt am Main airport, we needed to take tram from Terminal 2 (where we landed) to Terminal 1 (where we were to make the connection with the ICE (Fast) train to Kassel. Not having made seat reservations before, we needed to do that now, get to the departure track platform, and board the train.

The process was relatively straight-forward. More on this in the next installment…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

Following up on my last posting, I would like to talk about kids on trains… Maybe it is my romantic view of train travel, that of traversing broad expansive panoramas of untamed riches being pulled by hefty locomotives and sitting in the lap of relative luxury… I remember traveling by streetcar with my grandmother every Christmas to downtown Los Angeles to do my shopping… I remember the sight of the train at Knott’s Berry Farm and the great, classic interiors… I remember the trains passing along the back side of our house on Phlox Street pulling their strings of boxcars and flatcars… I remember the trains of over 100 cars that would pass us as we traveled to Fresno to visit family… I dream of train travel being one way of crossing new lands to reach exotic destinations…

ENTER REALITY… We had decided to take a day trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, while in England on this trip. We booked the train before leaving home and we opted for ‘second’ class rather than traveling ‘first’ class as we would do in Germany; what a mistake! The reason? Families traveling with KIDS on holiday… It was a miserable experience.

While the trip north was not uncomfortable in the newer coach that we were on, the trip back was quite uncomfortable. In the former case, there was a place to store my walker while in the latter case I had to leave it in the ‘Entry/Exit’ area… The comfort of the seats were also different, with the new coach having ‘fold away’ armrests while the older coach did not… But it was the KIDS that made ‘second’ class travel so miserable…

On the way north, we had a family sitting around a table next to us… This included a ‘Dudley Dursley’ type of character who was ‘squirrelly’ and just plain obnoxious. He was listening to his MP3 player, but when he wanted something, he would shout instead of talk because he couldn’t hear how loud he was… Plus, he was constantly changing seats, hitting his brother, etc. This went on for four hours! The parents didn’t discipline him; if they told him to stop doing something, he went right on doing it…

On the way back south, there were numerous families sitting around us with kids. Some of them were borderline ‘bad’, but one mother and her son and daughter were just terrible. The kids hit, kicked, bit, and otherwise abused the mother and she did nothing to stop it or to discipline them for such misbehavior… In addition to rather constant screaming, she let them run and play in the aisles without restraint!

Finally, I had enough of this and the uncomfortable seat so I went into the entry/exit area, where my walker was positioned, and sat there for the rest of the trip… It was cold, drafty, lonely, and generally uncomfortable. When I asked to porter about getting changed to the handicapped area, I was told that that was not possible unless I had requested that before starting! I ended up with a miserable headache and subsequent head and chest cold for the remainder of our holiday. I’m writing to the train company with a complaint…

On to more happy tails in the next installment…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

Sunday morning began well enough… We did go to the restaurant for our complimentary buffet breakfast early and thus avoided most of the kids. This may have been aided by the fact that if the kids behaved too badly, the parents may not have taken them to LegoLand! Also, the kids would have been rested and, therefore, exhibited reasonable behavior…

The typical English breakfast must have survived from the more barbaric days in Briton… Much of the food was highly salted and full of fat! And who in their right minds eats baked beans or blood pudding for breakfast? Fortunately, I could each the scrambled eggs (which seemed to have been made from powdered eggs), fresh fruit, yogurt and wheat toast. Overall, it was an adequate starter meal within my dietary plan.

After breakfast, we traveled to Heathrow to catch the ‘tube’ to London’s Paddington Station. Unlike the day before, we did not go by taxi; we road the ‘Hotel Hoppa’ shuttle bus that can by the hotel every half hour. This cost only £3 each, considerably less than the previous cab ride. It did take a little longer, but the driver was extremely courteous and helped get my walker aboard. We got to Heathrow and then the adventure began…

On the weekend that we were there, the Paddington line was closed for repairs and we got to take the faster ‘Heathrow Express’ train to the station for the same price of £6 each (round trip). The challenge, however, was to get to both the tube station and then to the Heathrow Express station. We walked down long corridors to each and the total trip took about one half hour.

Once on the train, the fifteen minute trip was quite pleasant and we were at the Paddington Station rather quickly. When we explored the station, we found no elevators or escalators by which we could reach street level. Our only options were to use the stairs or go up a long sloping street (about a quarter of a mile in length), which we did. Upon reaching the street level, we needed to then find the tour bus stop. After about five minutes of checking, we saw one of the buses (that has ‘get on/get off’ service around the city) pull away from the stop. We then made our way to that place, bought our tickets, and waited for the next bus…

The ‘tour’ bus runs on three lines: the Blue, the Red and the Green lines. We were at the stop on the Blue line… Immediately, this area looked familiar; we had stayed at a small bed and breakfast hotel a couple of blocks away (NOTE: a dreadful experience that we did not want to repeat), so we had a ‘handle’ on what we needed to do… We would take this Blue bus to the Marble Arches and transfer to a Red bus that would take us about the city center.

[By the way, the Blue route goes around the west side of the city, including Buckingham Palace and Herrods while the Red bus goes around the middle of the city, including the Themes, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, and other points of interest. The Green bus goes into the northern portion of the city, including the British Museum.]

Thank goodness I had taken the walker instead of the wheelchair since it was much better adapted to getting on and off the bus. It allowed me to walk more and gave me good exercise. In most cases, I didn’t need to stop and rest while off the bus in London. It also fit into buses and taxis much better than my wheelchair would have permitted. Also, it provided an adequate seat in many restaurants and pubs.

Upon coming to the Tower of London, we were past lunch time and asked the driver for suggestions for a place to eat. He identified a little pub across from the Tower of London so we got off and walked over to it. This was a great little spot to eat and we had a delightful lunch there and Grace got to sample some of the local brews.

After lunch, we caught the bus again and continued to follow along the Themes. We later transferred to the Blue line again. We thought of getting off to see Herrod’s goods, but were too tired to do so. We continued on to the stop by the Paddington Station were we had started the day. We got back to the trains and caught the train back to Heathrow. Once there we caught the ‘Hotel Hoppa’ again to return to the Marriott.

After resting a bit, we went down to the pub for a great dinner and a time of relaxing. The only thing that spoiled the day was that I wanted to swim after dinner since I had been sitting on the bus all day and anticipating the long train ride the next day…
The problem was, again, KIDS… Some kid has become sick while in the pool and had either thrown up or had some other type of accident in the pool; it was closed until further notice. The kids had struck again…
Oh, Well… Our next day was spent going to Edinburgh and that has been posted previously.

Next Installment: Flying to my homeland (Heimat)…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

Eating with kids is much like eating on the beach. You tolerate it, but it becomes a survival thing instead of an experience. That’s what we experienced at the Marriott…

Our first night in London, we were adapting to the travel and time change as well as the lose of a day… We had a great latte at the airport before going to the hotel. Once settled in, we had a satisfying lunch in the ‘pub’ at the hotel; they were able to prepare a meal within my dietary limits (no salt or fat)… The atmosphere was great, with a variety of quotes on the wall and a comfortable ambiance… It seemed the same as we had experienced four years ago.

After getting settled into our room and taking a welcomed nap (fully reclined, not sitting up), we were ready for dinner. Since it was after 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, we figured that the big dinner rush at the restaurant would have been past… Little did we know! We apparently hit the restaurant about the same time many families were returning from LegoLand with tired, hungry kids… What should have been a pleasant experience turned into a madhouse.

Kids everywhere! Tired kids… Hungary kids… Restless kids… And to top that off, the hotel only make reservations for groups of four or more (and there were plenty of the ‘more’ groups). Therefore, they tried to find us a table that was accessible with my walker. Initially, they placed us at a table that was right next to a group of 8 (six of them kids)… We asked for a different table and they finally found one that was up a short flight of stairs, which we took and I negotiated well with my walker…

Now the three closest tables had families of adults and kids… We thought that we were a safe distance from them, but we were wrong… Two of the families attended pretty well to the kids, helping them make their choices from the buffet, but the third was reminiscent of the Dursley family from the Harry Potter movie… There was an indulged, spoiled brat between the two boys and he was climbing over everything, hitting his brother, complaining about this and that… He was the epitome of Dudley Dursley!

The parents totally ignored the misbehavior of the bratty child and only disciplined the older child when he dared to respond to the taunts and hits from the other child… These parents simply didn’t care is children were there; they must have been tired from their day of trekking about the amusement park…

NOTE: While the British parents seemed to accept the misbehavior of the children, German parents paid attention to their kids at the table, playing with them, interacting with them… The German children also knew that when the parents said to stop doing something, they did so… What a refreshing change that was…

Back to the Marriott… We had been seated for about 15-20 minutes before anyone came by to take our order, even for drinks… The servers were apparently used to the occupants gorging themselves on the not-so-inexpensive buffet that they had ceased to be servers! When we finally got someone’s attention, they took our order and did not quite understand the special dietary needs that I had; we explained it again and again… Finally, we got our order in, but didn’t know if the chefs would know how to follow it! In the end, I got a fish dinner with broccoli and tomatoes that did not seem to have been salted… But it was an ordeal, at best…

After that experience, we vowed to not eat dinner or lunch in that restaurant again… Any remaining dinners were taken in the pub, seated in the smoking section to ward off too many kids… (It was amazing how many parents still brought their kids into that section, however.) The servers there were pleasant and used to attending to the needs of the clientele and the cooks did a great job preparing our meals… What a pleasant change.

A final word about the kids at the hotel in the next installment…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Monday, August 15, 2005)

When we were in England in 2001 for the ‘Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education’ conference in Canterbury, we stayed at the University of Kent campus there… The accommodations were ‘rustic’, to be nice… Finally, we escaped to the Marriott Hotel at the Slough/Windsor area outside of London, near Heathrow airport for a night or two of comfort…

Our remembrances of this stay were quite positive, with soft, comfortable beds and a nice swimming pool… We were there at the end of June and there were a few families there visiting the nearby LegoLand theme park… But it was a very nice hotel and we reveled in its comforts…

Therefore, when we decided to schedule a few days in the London area before going to Kassel for the wedding madness, we immediately thought of the Marriott Hotel at the Slough/Windsor… What a mistake!
First of all, the taxi fare to get from Heathrow to the hotel was 50 pounds (about $100), but we were just tired from our 12 hours of travel across the pond… So we paid it… (The cost was so high since we took the regular “Black Cab” and the hotel was outside the London Metropolitan Area, as defined by the cab monopoly! Highway robbery, if you ask me!)

Secondly, after checking in and getting into our room, which was just as nice as remembered, we were told that the pool could only be used on a reservation basis; we needed to make a reservation for an hour only since so many children were there with their families and that exceeded the safe capacity of the pool area…

THIS SHOULD HAVE SOUNDED THE WARNING BELL! As it turned out, about 65% of the ‘guests’ at the hotel were children…

Thirdly, when we went to dinner that evening, we had a difficult time getting a table, especially one accessible to me with my walker… We finally were seated at a table far enough away from the tables with 5-6 children… But that did not end the disaster; the waiters were so tuned into everyone ordering the buffet that it took about 20 minutes to get the attention of a waiter… And then they seemed almost ignorant of how to take a special order and serve something besides beverages… The food was tolerable, but we ate most of the rest of our meals in the bar after 8 pm to avoid most of the kids…

More on this subject next time…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 14, 2005)

On Monday, 8 August 2005, we traveled to Edinburgh by train… We needed to be at the King’s Cross station at 6:30 in the morning; this meant getting into a taxi at our hotel at 5:15 in the morning for the drive into London…

Getting to the correct train was not a problem and on the way there, we were in a relatively new coach… We were traveling 2nd class, so we had many families in the coach who were on holidays… It was loud, but tolerable… It seems that English families tolerate much more disruptive behavior in their children than American ones…

We got to Edinburgh in about 4 hours and went on a bus tour of the city… The main train station, Waverly Station, was interesting… I am attaching a picture of a large banner on display there for the latest Harry Potter book; I will be bringing back a copy of the English version…

The buildings are phenomenal! Many date back to the 12th and 13th centuries and are incredible sites… The Edinburgh castle was a very imposing view from anywhere in the city… We were there on the second day of the Festival, and Grace encountered many performance groups ‘drumming` up business for their festival productions when she explored the ‘Royal Mile’…

We took lunch in a delightful pub and enjoyed a great meal… The people were very friendly and courteous…

Our train trip back to London was less than spectacular… The train was overbooked, which meant that people were standing in the isles and there was no appropriate storage for mz walker… The coaches were older and the seats wre uncomfortable… AND THE TRAIN WAS FULL OF FAMILIES WITH MISBEHAVING KIDS!

I ended up sitting in the entry way to our coach on my walker (in the cold and isolation) for much of the trip… In addition, the train was about a half an hour late in getting to the station and then was on a track behind a local ‘milk train’ that stopped frequently and traveled slowly… So our ‘Fast Express Train’ was a long, slow and tedious journey… We got into King’s Cross an hour late and didn’t get to our hotel until almost 1 am…

And, then, we had to catch our flight to Frankfurt at 10:40 in the morning… More on that later…

Jerry

(Originally posted on Sunday, August 14, 2005)

Well, just a note about traveling without a computer or laptop… I am making this trip using my IPAQ 4700 instead of taking a traditional computer… So far, things have been working pretty well, but some notable exceptions have been encountered…

In our London hotel, my Fast Ethernet adapter worked well to connect with the Internet… In Kassel, my wireless connection worked in both hotels that we stayed at, but the connection is expensive and tied to a single device! The connections have been very reliable…

Some programs cannot be accessed by my IPAQ´s version of Internet Explorer, but most work very well… Posting to this site DOES NOT work on it, however, so I am accessing it via an Internet workstation at the hotel in Kassel… Windows XP Pro in German has been relatively easy to use, but the keyboard layout is somewhat different! The ´Z´ and the ´Y´ keys are switched, as are several other keys… And the ´@´ character is accessed via a ‘graphic’ character instead of a shift function… So if you see some strange words, please keep this in mind!
I can send and receive email easily, but cannot attach images to my emails…

But you can contact me with my normal email addresses ( jboerner@boerner.net or gerald.boerner@att.net)

Jerry