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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Words Cannot Describe The Terrible Systemic Murder At Dachau By The Nazis

Work Will Make You Free - on the front gate of Dachau.

The Crematory Oven at Dachau

Just outside of Munich is the very first Nazi Concentration Camp - Dachau. It was a model camp set up by the Nazi SS - to be an example for all the other camps. The only good thing I could say at about the camp was the free admission. It is such a horrible idea - and unfortunately is was so darn successful. Hitler's Final Solution was simple - you would imprison anyone your did not like for whatever reason. Then you would use them as free labor until they were sick or exhausted. Finally - you would just kill them - bury them - and pretend they were never ever alive. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music

We were detoured into Austria and stopped at a construction site for quite a long time. There was a beautiful grass meadow surrounded by snow covered alps. All of a sudden Lulu bolted from the Amish Van and started this routine.

Surfing the Izar River in Munich

Surfers can be watched from a bridge right in downtown Munich

50 Photos From Our 5 Days in Bavaria

Zugspitze is the highest peak in Germany - 10000 feet

We still have 2 days to go on our van ride through Bavaria - but while the girls are shopping - I got a chance to go back to the hotel and set up this page. We had been lucky with th weather in Bavaria - it is bright and sunny today - 65 degrees. One of Lulu's library friends - Helga Hoffman - served as our tour guide in Munich. She arranged meals - attractions - rides - etc.

This truck wreck on the Autobahn held us up an hour

Our hotel in Fussen was really nice right downtown

This military jeep - Mercedes with snorkel - neat

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cruising Through the Bavarian Alps

Lulu planned a 5 day grand tour for her play group friends Marylou and Jean. We are now at the halfway point in that trip - it has been really nice.

Monday - at 9 AM we picked up our rental van at Avis. Things started out a little disappointing when the Mercedes turned out to be a Ford Van with diesel engine and 6 speed manual transmission - black no less. But it was the only one left - so we had to settle for looking like the Secret Service protecting our president - or a group of Amish from Pennsylvania.

Our first stop was the small alpine town of Fussen- which was 450 miles away. The Autobahn has some very nice features - like being two feet thick - and you can travel whatever speed you want. But it was designed about 80 years ago - and the exits - etc - are not as modern as in the USA. The road side rests are merely toilets - and not up to USA standards. Unfortunately - 6 senior citizens make quite a few bathrooms stops - long lunches - etc. It was a long day that reminded me of driving my old green bus - except my passengers were much older. Our van rolled into Fussen in the rain and dark about 10 hours later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Neuschwanstein Castle - Tuesday 10am

Marylou and Carl - King Ludwig's Castle 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dinner in the Berlin Tower Today at 2 PM

Berlin TV Tower - Tallest in Europe

It is 10 AM on Sunday in Berlin. Marylou and Carl Zimmerman just announced they are taking us to dinner on top of the Berlin Tower for dinner.

Tomorrow starts our big adventure road trip. We have rented a Mercedes van and will be driving to Fussen - Nuremberg - Munich - Dachau - Newschwanstein Castle - Zugspitze Mountain (highest Alp in Germany - 10,000 feet) - and the Alpine Road. We will all get a chance to drive on the AutoBahn. It will take 5 days. Yes - we are staying in hotels - yes yes separate rooms.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Carl - Bill - Harry - Went To the German Technology Museum

German Technology Museum
Carl - Me - Bill took the U2 train from our apartment

Today the girls went shopping and the boys went to the German Technology Museum. The Museum was once a giant train yard in Central Berlin. A large portion of the museum is two train roundhouses filled with train engines and train cars. There is a large section filled with boats - and another one with airplanes and rockets. 

This old ESSO oil tank car caught our eye
This rail bicycle was powered by hand.  
Two roundhouses each held 19 engines -
 they were full
Harry was piloting this engine
Bill and Carl with Hitler's personal train engine
Inside a cattle car that carried Jews to the
concentration camp
The machine shop had all the tools powered
 by the water wheel 
Two windmills powered ground grain

This was a functioning brewery
This DC-3 was used during the Berlin
Air Lift to carry food and coal to Berlin.

Train To Hamburg Germany - Miniature Wonderland - and the Beatles At Reeperbahn


Miniature Wonderland - train - trees - and coal crackers
Life in the fast lane at 7:30 AM

Burnout - after 12 hours of BUSY
 at the Hamburg Train Station

Champagne on the way to Hamburg

The 6 Coal Crackers were all up dressed - breakfasted - and out the door at 7:30. That was pretty good considered the morning before they woke up in the USA and spent most of the day on a jet to Berlin. After a walk of 200 yards - and a 20 minute tram to the Berlin Train station - they had a second breakfast at Dunkin Donuts - waiting for the bullit train.

More Pictures Below

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Six Coal Crackers in Downtown Berlin


Our 6 Crackers enjoyed a visit to Checkpoint Charlie. It was virtually the only place a Westerner could cross into East Berlin from West Berlin.

Here is a section of the old Berlin Wall. Bill and Jean just had gotten into town.

Now they mark where the Berlin Wall was with these cobblestones and brass plaques. 

Carl and Marylou Zimmerman visit their namesake - Zimmerstrasse - Zimmer Streer.

At Trabi World we saw a bunch of neat old plastic cars and this beer tap made of a Trabi engine. 

Carl loves visiting his Fatherland - driving this plastic 2 cylinder Trabant

This Trabi was in a mall in a children's store. Kids could crawl in it.

Carl - Marylou - Jean - Bill - Our Guests for 10 Days

Hot Dog Guy von Alexander Plaza
Carl has a Dukin Donuts Card

Bill and Jean at Train Station
Candy Downtown
Kaiser Wilhelm Church
Marylou is buying a new bag

Hofbrau Haus - supper and beer
Band with 2 Women - Hofbrau Haus

Jean and Bill - The Gangs All Here - Welcome to Berlin

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tamaqua's Cindy Miller President of UPS Global

Copied from The Morning Call.
As a sophomore at Tamaqua Area High School in 1978, Cindy Miller helped lead the Blue Raiders to the PIAA Class AA girls basketball championship.
"Being all for the good of the team was something that was part of my life," recalled Miller, who scored 2,155 points in her career.
Now, nearly 40 years later, the 53-year-old Tamaqua native is leading another team in the business world, at global shipper UPS. Miller, who has spent nearly 30 years with UPS, was recently named the first female president of UPS Global Freight Forwarding, a business unit of UPS.
When Miller began her career at UPS in 1988, the Lehigh Valley was a tough place to find work, she recalled. Mack Trucks had just closed its 5C assembly line, Bethlehem Steel was on the decline, and the region's workplace evolution was in its infancy. Miller, who had just earned a degree from Penn State, was looking for a job anywhere she could find one. 
"I realized that UPS is a network of people who have to work very well together," said Miller, speaking last week from UPS' headquarters in Atlanta. "I got that team feeling right away."
The company also challenged her to do more.
"From an athlete's perspective, that hooked me" Miller said. "Once I realized what type of company UPS was, and once I realized the opportunities that were here, I just wanted to always see myself in the next job."
Miller moved from the Lehigh Valley to various operational and managerial positions with UPS in Philadelphia and New York. In 2001, UPS promoted Miller to vice president of operations for its Northern Plains District in Omaha, Neb.
That eventually led to more executive posts overseas. In her most recent role as president of UPS Europe, Miller oversaw about 45,000 employees throughout the continent. Under Miller, the company was the sole logistics provider during the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Miller is now in charge of far fewer employees — between 5,000 and 5,500, she said — but with the world as her market. She moved to Atlanta to coordinate operations. This move, she said, marks her 10th relocation.
"Any time an opportunity presented itself, my answer was always yes," said Miller, whether it was about taking a new position or relocating. "Saying yes more than no brought me more opportunities along the way."
Miller says she returns to Tamaqua to spend time with family and friends. She also has season tickets for Penn State football and still bleeds the blue and white colors of her college and high school.
But she also bleeds brown – as in Pullman brown – and gold, which are UPS' signature colors.
In today's The Morning Call.

Stasi - The East German Secret Police

Stasi Headquarters - a giant campus virtually intact
KGB Shield - Stasi Shield
It seems that nothing has shaped the people of East Berlin and East Germany more than the Stasi - their Secret Police. After World War II - the Allies divided Germany into two separate countries. To compound that problem - they divided Berlin (which was in East Germany) into two halves. West Germany became a democratic country under the watch of England - France - and the USA. East Germany became a communist state under the care of the USSR. 

In the communistic USSR - they had the KGB secret police. The KGB was the big brother of the Stasi. 

The Stasi had a giant headquarters in the Litchenberg neighborhood of East Berlin - not far from our apartment. Today - it is a museum. Their job was to monitor the people - to prevent them from escaping East Germany - and to keep them faithful to the communist way. The Stasi ran a youth corp called the Pioneers. It used the program to indoctrinate the kids. Sometimes 90% of the youth were involved in the Pioneers. To qualify to become a member of the Stasi secret police - you first had to serve in the regular East German army for 2 years. Then you took a battery of qualifying tests. Generally members were not college trained. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mit Leib Und Seele - With Heart and Soul - and 7 Players Ejected From the Berlin Alba Game

After the game - walking to our tram

That whole glass wall is an LED screen you can see thru

The Alba Dancers were busy all night -
the red head was the lead cow

Last night Lulu wanted to see the Berlin Alba Basketball Team and Mercedes Benz Arena. So we left our apartment at 5:30 PM - and caught Tram 10 straight to the arena. Something was very different. Until I saw the fans walking ahead of us - I thought the arena was closed. There was no big parking lot full of cars - and no noisy traffic as we walked from the tram to the arena. One fellow on the tram steps had 2 tickets for sale - lower level. He wanted 30 euros for the pair but he eventually settled for 20 euros. It was 6:10 PM and we already had our tickets and were entering the big beautiful Mercedes Benz Arena. The arena was built in 2008 and is the home of rock concerts - professional hockey - volleyball - handball - and the Berlin Alba (short for albatross).

Berlin Alba plays in the German League and the Euro League. They have the highest attendance average in Europe of 11,500 a game. They beat the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs last year in a game - the only European team to do that. The arena holds 17,000 but they keep black curtains pulled over almost the entire upper deck. 

At half time - I bought a Diet Coke - 3.50 euros - no ice - no lid - a straw. There were tons of pretzels and beer but I was strong. 

There is an almost 4 feet high wall all the away around the court - about 10 feet back from the boundary lines. The teams' benches are behind that wall - like NHL hockey. The coach - 5 players - and referees are the only ones inside the wall. This city sure likes it walls. The walls also serve as video boards - as they flash during the whole game. What a distraction! During the whole game - a drum line was winding up the crowd - reminded me of Nuremberg Films.

"Mit Leib Und Seele"- With Heart and Soul is the Alba motto. It is pasted all over the arena. In the third quarter - a game broke out in the middle of a fight. A hard foul brought a brawl - causing the entire starting five players of the Alba being ejected - plus two from the Baskets Bonn. Berlin was 20 ahead and it got close for a bit - but the Baskets ran out of gas. 

After the game - it was eerie again. At the doors - people were claiming things that security had taken from them before the game. Outside - there was no auto exhaust - everyone was quietly walking to the trams - subways - and trains. This was really ironic coming from the Mercedes Benz Arena. The Spree River - where people used to swim across to West Berlin - passed by the arena - along with a long section of The Wall left over.

We walked to our Tram which was waiting about 1/4 mile away. We expected a scrum - but instead there were empty seats - when the last seat filled - they pulled out. We were home by 9:30 PM.

Intro of the Berlin Alba

The section behind the opposing team was walled off
with a private entrance

The Berlin Alba were formed in 1991

Note the wall around the floor

With Heart and Soul

Alba Dancers

Very few cars came to the Mercedes Benz Arena.
People buy monthly transportation passes for
80 euros and can go anywhere in Berlin any time