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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Frankenstein Castle - Burg Frankenstein - Eurofest 11

The real Frankenstein lived here. 

We had a lovely supper at this place. 

There are two restored towers.

What a wonderful surprise Frankenstein Castle is. We are living in Darmstadt for a month - about 10 miles south of the Frankfurt Airport. We are in the heart of Europe. 

After Lulu's work day at Darmstadt Hochschule University - we wanted to visit a local historic site and also have supper. Lulu went online and found out that the Frankenstein Castle was open until 10PM. 

The Castle is high in the Odenwald Mountains just south of Darmstadt. The area is covered with dark forest and deep valleys. It looks like the perfect setting for a scary novel. This is the place that inspired Mary Shelley in 1818 to write the Gothic novel - Frankenstein. 

Our Mazda diesel zigzagged back and forth up the narrow road with no lines on it. It seemed too narrow for two lanes - but two wide for one. I passed several old guys on bikes as I slinked up the 1200 feet tall peak. We did not meet a car coming down so I assumed it was one way. At the top was a small parking lot - with maybe 10 cars. We parked and walked into the woods - all of a sudden the castle peaked out in front of us. 

In 1292 - the castle was built as a stronghold for the County of Katzen - shortened by me. It was named Frankenstein for "stone of the Franks" - a German tribe. It has gone through various states of repair in its 700 years of life. The neat part of this castle is that it is a "roam at your own risk" place. It is well kept - and appears safe - but there is no one there to tell you what to do. There is no one out front collecting admission - my kind of place. 

In 1673 - Johan Dippel was born in the castle. According to tale - he was a professional alchemist. He also studied anatomy using bodies from local burial sites. He developed Dippel's Oil that supposedly could bring animals back to life. This story was told to Mary Shelley when she visited nearby in 1814. Later her novel focuses on this tale.

In the early 1800s - Lord George was claimed to slay a dragon in the courtyard here. 

Behind the herb garden in the castle is a Fountain of youth. At full moon - old women used to come here to drink - supposedly being swept back to the youth of their wedding night. Sounds like a fun dating spot. 

After the castle - we had supper on a sun deck overlooking the Darmstadt country side. You could see all the way to Frankfurt - 10 miles away. As we had supper - my mind drifted back to video of Hitler and Eva Braun frolicking on his sun deck at Eagle's Nest. It was just a pretty sunny view - not unlike Flagstaff in Jim Thorpe PA. 

The sun was still high in the sky - I would not mind going up there again - at night - it is only about a half hour from our home. Maybe on the night of a full moon. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

1934 Adler Trumpf Junior

Whiles shopping at the Globus Store near Frankfurt - I ran across this beautiful Phaeton. It is a 1934 Adler Trumpf Junior. It was made right here in Frankfurt.

It has a wooden frame - 26 HP engine - front wheel drive - and suicide doors. The top went up and down on rails.

I loved the garnet and gold coloring. It would be great to drive to FSU games. This car was restored to better than new.

The couple was there just doing their regular shopping - stuffing things into the back.

EuroFest Day 11 - Buying Phone Service In Europe

Cellphones and Europe Go Together Like -
Cellphones and USA Travel

EE Limited is our carrier

When traveling in a camper or taking a plane to Europe - having a cellphone makes things so much easier and less intimidating. Most of the time - we use our iphone for surfing the net - watching TV - or listening to satellite radio. We seldom make calls in Europe - except to each other.

It is so much cheaper for cellphone service. My bill for the month comes to 15 pounds - that is $20.

We are in Germany for the month of June. We are staying in a house in Darmstadt - near Frankfurt. We have an Avis rental diesel car. Frankfurt Airport has cheap flights everywhere. But trying to make connections and reservations with "German as a second language" is challenging. The cellphone is a big help.

We have tried many carriers - the last 4 times we used EE Limited. It is a company out of England - that works almost all over the continent. The service is great. The cost is low.

You go into a store and pick up a SIM chip - you can slide it into your cellphone - using a paper clip to open the little door. In our case - we take out our ATT chip - and store it in a safe place. Back home in the USA - we told ATT to suspend our service until August 2nd. That keeps our phone number secure - but stops our payment.

Now with the EE card in our phone - we restart it. Then you simple text to "150" - you can then add money to your account. You can also add money to your account on the EE web page. I bought a one month package. For 15 pounds - I get a full month of service for June. I get 500 free calls in Europe. I get unlimited text messages. I also get 5 GB of data. 15 pounds is $20. So for $20 a month - I get to use all the features of my iphone. In Europe - I feel like Linus carrying around my security blanket iPhone. I can pay for my lunch with Apple pay - tell when the next bus is coming - or how far it is to Berlin.

At the EE Store you can buy Sim cards - or full phones.
Some phones are so cheap - they are throwaways. 
EE Stores are all over London - like Starbucks in America 
This is my account on the EE web page. I bought a 15 pound
data pack. I get phone service for June - 500 calls - unlimited text -
5GB data to surf the net. If I need more - I dial 150 -
and can top up. I usually end the month
with a surplus that rolls over.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

We Rented A Car For The Month - A Mazda Diesel

Rental car - 2018 Mazda CX3

Diesel engine - 6 speed manual

Today we rented a car for the month of June. It is a 2018 Mazda CX3. We were suppose dot get a little VW Polo - but they upgraded us ti this one. It is a diesel with a 6 speed manual transmission. It has a GPS - but it is in German :-)  Today I had it up over 100 MPH on the autobahn. It is a smooth and quiet car. 

We plan to use it to drive all over Europe. Today we took it to the Globus Store. We got some groceries. Nancy visited the campus for the first time.

Things in Germany are going well. Our apartment is nice. The food and drink is wonderful here. Shopping is good - weather has been superb. Now - we have a car - so look out. 

Today - I put the Sim Card in my iPhone from our last trip to London - and it works. I was able to top it up online. For 15 pounds - I got a month of service - 300 phone calls - unlimited texts - and 5 GB of data. 

We went shopping at Globus.

Can you guess what this car is?

I will tell you tomorrow. 

My house - my car - my wife - picture
taken with my phone. 

Darmstadt - Germany - Enjoying the Differences in Latitude and Longitude

While walking around our residential neighborhood - I noticed several neat uses of space. See the porch cut out of the attic roof above. Notice the solar panels and skylights.

Monday we were settling into our surroundings. We walked the two miles from our house to downtown - did some shopping - and eating. Then we took a cab home because it was mostly uphill. Today we will pick up our rental car and start some touring. 

We bought personal products and an iron. Lulu just loves shopping and loves having a purpose to do it here. 

It is still light here at 9 PM. We went to bed at 8 PM and got up at 6 AM. All the walking had men sleeping 10 hours straight. 


Tallahassee is at 30 N and 84 W. 

Darmstadt is at 50 N and 9 E.

As a result we are 20 degrees farther north - which means the sun in the summer stays up much longer. Last night at 9 PM it was still very bright. 

We are 6 times zones ahead of back home. When we woke up this morning at 6 AM - it was 12 midnight back home. We see the sun 6 hours before you do. 

Lulu is having her morning coffee. She bought a jar of instant - and to her surprise it is quite good. Lulu is a coffee snob - I am not sure that she is just accepting her fate here. She has a choice of walking to the coffee maker in the common kitchen - or having me use our kettle boiler - and bringing her a cup to bed. I am roughing it too. I have not bought lemons for my tea :-)  I am also using "Fein Zucker" instead fo Splenda. 

We slept last night with all the windows open - with no screens in them. For some reason the bugs do not come in. Maybe the city sprays - who knows - but it is nice. We do not have AC. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Campers in Germany

We were in Greece for a week on the Island of Crete. We only saw one camper. Today - on our first walk in Germany - we saw tons of campers and neat vehicles. 

Parked on the street in front of a
pretty home. 

A two cylinder Citroen 2CV.
FWD. 26 HP.

The Renault Twiggy - a one seat 
electro car.

I loved their high quality trailers. 

They call is a California van. 

Plenty of neat VW's.

Look this up. 

This was being used as an office 
at a school's playground.

EuroFest Day 8 of 70 - Our Home in Darmstadt

Our German House in Darmstadt for a month.
That is not our convertible. 

Our dual bathroom sinks. You can 
look outside and shave. 
Two 220 lines at the sinks.

The Rhine River as we landed 
in Frankfurt. 

Sunday we flew from Chania - Greece to Frankfurt - Germany on Ryan Air. It was $86 one way and too three hours. At the airport we caught a short bus ride to Darmstadt - and then a cab to our house. 

For the next month we are staying at this house in a residential area next to campus. It is provided by the University for Lulu. It is very nice - but the exact opposite of our place in Greece. That house was in the center of a tourist mecca - with the harbor out our window and tons of places to eat and shop. Here - the silence was deafening last night as we slept from 9 PM to 7 AM. We quickly realized that unless we got a car - we would be stranded. We walked 4.4 miles to buy groceries and go to McDonalds for breakfast. So we just rented a car for the month - for $600. It is a VW and included full insurance. We pick it up tomorrow. 


Lulu is a visiting professor. We are staying in the International Guest House. It is covered by Lulu's contract. It is very nice - but plain compared to Greece. We have a bedroom - a living room - a bathroom. We share a common kitchen and lounge area - although we have not seen anyone in there yet. The Guest House is surround by big maple trees. It is a well-off neighborhood. 

Nancy is scheduled for 3 campus presentations and also to represent at the convention in Berlin. The rest of the time we can tour. This is a nice hub in the center of things. 

It is 85 here at 2 PM - clear skies - birds are chirping. I am surprised it is this hot for being 50 degree north latitude. 

We are sleeping very well over here. Jet lag has not been the issue at all on this trip.

Ryan Air was $86 from Greece. Walk on - walk off. 

Our mail box.

That is our balcony porch - second floor. 
We leave windows open all day. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Last Night In Greece Up On The Roof

We had a simply marvelous week in Chania - Greece. It is Saturday night and we are having our last night celebration. After dinner - drinks on the roof. We really stayed in the former governor's mansion. It is now divided into AirBnb apartments. We had the third floor and the roof. It was 4 bedrooms - 3 baths - on the the third floor. 

I thought it would be terrible living with 6 library professors. I do not know how they felt - but I really had a good time. The convention is over - some of them already left. Tomorrow we fly to Frankfurt. We leave for the airport at 10 AM - then we have a 3 hour flight to Germany. We go west one time zone. We also fly north from 35 degrees latitude to 50 degrees latitude. Keep in mind that Tamaqua PA is at 41 degrees of latitude. So it will be a bit colder in Germany than here. Here I wore nothing but shorts and short sleeve shirts. I do have 2 pair of long pants - and two long shirts - and a golf jacket. 

We spent a lot less money than we would if we rented a hotel. We also saved having a full kitchen on food. We ate out a lot because the food was good and not expensive. But I could also enjoy a normal breakfast of tea - cereal - juice. We also had a washing machine - but hung the clothes out - up on the roof. 

Chania Harbor in the background.

Panorama from the roof

Camper in Crete

Today is our last full in in Crete - Greece. We have been here a week - this is the first camper we have seen. Crete is an island so this one had to come over by ferry from Athens.

We are in Chania renting a house. The old city wall is behind the camper. Our house was inside the old wall.

EuroFest Day 7 of 70 - Walking The Streets With Friends

The girls negotiating a boat ride. 

Shopping downtown

It is hard to believe our week in Greece is over. Lulu's conference is over and now it is time to fly to Germany tomorrow. Our friends - Mimi - and Lucy - will fly to Athens tomorrow for a few days. We will zoom straight to Frankfort and the next gig. We are like gypsies but we do not have a wagon. 

Chania - pronounced Hon-yuh - was unexpectedly lovely. Weather - good food - nice people - lots of history. Our mansion was over the top. 

Chania Archeology Museum -
just down street from our house. 
Museum odd hours

Museum in old mosque