Thursday, September 30, 2010

Germany, On The Way To Frankfurt



Map picture


At first it seems that my flight on Delta from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) will be leaving early, however fifteen minutes after our scheduled departure we are still sitting at the gate.


CAN 002 A PA from the Captain informs us that our delay is due to a passenger who checked bags on the flight but did not get on board the airplane.



As a part of post 9-11 airline security the checked luggage must be removed from the airplane. Depending on when and where the luggage has been load will determine how much longer of a delay we will have. I hope it was not the first bag loaded.

Our flight this afternoon has a short en-route time of about seven hours so we are still expecting to arrive in Frankfurt early even with our security delay.

Mostly smooth while dinner is being served then our flight hits a little turbulence somewhere over the North Atlantic. I use this opportunity to get myself rocked to sleep. It's about 2am in Frankfurt and this will allows me to get about five hours of sleep. Acclimating myself to Frankfurt time will help be get the most out of my time in Germany.


CONVAR3 We are told it's about 50 degrees with light rain as we make our initial descent for landing.

From my perspective, I am thinking Jimmy Cliff thoughts.


Although it is typical fall weather for Europe, I hope the weather will turn out to be a “bright, (bright) sunshiny day.” My plan is to tour a bit of the German countryside before ending up in Munich to share the experience of Oktoberfest in September, no less.

Clearing German Immigration and Customs is as simple as can be.  In Europe, this always seem to be an efficient hassle free process, nice especially after a long flight.


CONVAR8 Leaving customs, I head over to the Budget Car Rental  where a line has already formed.

With only one employee working both the Avis and Budget desk, snails are passing me by.


Anxious to get on the road,  I decide to check out  Europcar Rental located in the same area. For about the same price as the car I had reserved at Budget, I pick up an economy car for $80 per day with unlimited mileage.


CONVAR9 About twenty minutes later, I am in a Renault Clio on my way to Munich via Wurzburg and Nuremberg.






 CONVAR10 I am on the Autobahn, snails, eat my dust!



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Turkey, Dinner And Backgammon


A huge fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers along with fresh bread starts dinner at a local restaurant, Kimene.


Istanbul Samsung 024 Kimene Fresh Salad



Samsung 381 Kimene Restaurant






Istanbul Samsung 026Our main course, the Kabob Platter comes with chicken, lamb and beef are all flavorful along with the grilled tomatoes and peppers.

This platter is done right!



Not a regular coffee drinker, I do take the opportunity to sample Turkish coffee after dinner.



Istanbul Samsung 027Strong with a SAE-40 motor oil sludge consistency at the end.






Dinner ends with a complimentary fruit platter of chilled melons, cherries and a green tart plums.



Istanbul Samsung 029 


Back at Rose Marine Club, tea and a few games of Backgammon and we call it a night.  I think I am going to bed begin in the backgammon score. Revenge will have to wait until tomorrow night.


Istanbul Samsung 030 Fixed Dice? Ummm







Hungary, Budapest Central Market


If you are looking for a good sampling of Hungarian  culinary delights then you may have to go no further than the Central Market.

Located at the end of Fashion Street and Liberty Bridge, The Central Market dates back to 1890 and  features a wide selection of meats, vegetables, breads along with  many other food and beverage products.  

SAM_0525Sausage Meat Shop And Deli 


SAM_0535Prima Pek  Bakery







SAM_0531 Hungarian Peppers




SAM_0527At RETES STRUDELS, I am given fair warning by a customer standing in line as I ponder their strudel selection.




“These are what I grew up on and are as good as my mom’s”

I am told by a visiting Hungarian who grew up here. I need no further recommendation for my first introduction to local Hungarian food. 



SAM_0526My choice, apple cinnamon. Now that’s a strudel!

The taste tells me I must get to know “mom”. Unfortunately, her daughter and future son in law (if he is smart) are  gone when I return for a second strudel. This time, sour cherry apple.


SAM_0528 Allowing my stomach to enjoy my strudel choices, I walk around a bit before my next Hungarian culinary adventure.






SAM_0530After sampling free slices of hot flavored Hungarian salami, I purchase a roll for FT$365. 



My purchase turns out to be hotter than the sample slices and leaves a fire at the roof of my mouth near my throat. I have now found a good excuse to sample one of the local beers.

SAM_0532 At another vendor a selection of beers are displayed and I take the recommended ASZOK.




A quick language lesson and I am saying thank you like a local, “koszonom”. A further attempt is made to teach me “Good-bye” but I hastily give up. It is not as easy as “koszonom”.

Although a bit tortured by the salami, the Central Market is not through with me yet as it forces me to double back to PRIMA PEK bakery.


Prima Pek Bakery Mini Selections



I gladly part with FT$195 for a sampling of mini walnut and cherry pastries along with mini pumpkin and potatoes sweet breads.

Hungary, Budapest Journey To The Central Market


Squared away, a light cold rain is falling as I start on a self-guided walking tour of Buda and Pest now combined as Budapest.

SAM_0523Main Walking Street


I pass Saint Michael Church on Fashion Street as I stroll to my first stop, Budapest famous Central Market.

SAM_0522Saint Michael Church




Saint Michael Church was founded by the Dominican Order and dates back to the 1700’s.  The adjacent building was an all girls school run by Mary Ward Nuns until the 1950.


SAM_0524 Budapest Central Market


Located at the end of Fashion Street and Liberty Bridge, The Central Market dates back to 1890 and  features a wide selection of meats, vegetables, breads along with  many other food and beverage products.


Hungary, Budapest Accommodations


In need of reasonable accommodation for the night, I begin my search at Best Hotel Service. Located at Suto 2 near Deak Ter Metro Station, Best  Hotel Service  is a hotel booking service that provides a wide range of accommodation options and prices.

With a friendly and helpful staff, Best Hotel Service is opened daily from 8am to 8pm.

For more info:

SAM_0521 After a brief walk, I am reviewing a large older style apartment that is available for E$30 per night.




Across the street from the Marriot Hotel Budapest, it is a private apartment with three beds, kitchen and a  partial view of Danube River.


Budapest 055Apartment Kitchen






As I am only planning on staying one night in Budapest this arrangement seems adequate. Nothing special except, an exclusive “Red Bat Phone” with a direct connect to President Obama and “The White House”.


“Get me the President on the line, now!”


Budapest 051Red Bat Phone



I bet for even E$200 plus a night, no room at the Marriot has this special perk.


Budapest 052Partial Danube River View






New Zealand, Good Bye For Now


A 1PM X Base Airport Shuttle awaits me a I return to collect my belongings.


CHC Airport TowerChristchurch Airport Tower


As we are dropped off at the airport we are given friendly parting advice from our driver.


Air New Zealand“No worries about going through early for international security.

It is quick here because they don't know what a terrorist looks like”.

I hope they never do!




Cathedral At Night Christchurch Cathedral At Night


At 3:20pm I leave Christchurch and New Zealand but I will return someday hopefully on my way to Antarctica. I have purchased a souvenir hat but I hope that is not all that I am taking with me.

I hope I am taking some “please”, some “thank you's” along with some politeness and courtesy, all of which have been a part of my daily kiwi experience.


If You Always As they say here,

“If you keep doing what you have always done, you will get what you have always got”. 




Don't just dream it …. Do it! Go down under, you won’t regret it.


New Zealand, Dux de Lux Christchurch


Located just minutes from Canterbury Museum, Dux de Lux turns out to be a perfect choice for lunch.

Browsing a menu board behind a deli type counter, my head is spinning from all the possible delicious selections. My eyes and stomach are having a fierce battle.  I order a vegetable samosa with three distinct salads as a reasonable comprise.



Dux SaladsGarbanzo, Rice And Carrot Salads


I enjoy my salads along with a draft Ginger Tom, NZ$6.50 while the  samosa is being prepared.



Dux de LuxGinger Tom







It is not long before my samosa is presented with a small lettuce salad and warm apples in a tasty sauce for dipping.



Vegetable Samosa Vegetable Samosa



What would lunch be without a slice of Dutch Apple Pie topped with a slice of kiwi? 


Dutch Apple PieDutch Apple Pie







Gracefully served on a plate decorated with whip cream and raspberry sauce. NZ$8 is not enough! To say the food at Dud de Lux was delicious would be a gross understatement.


Dux DiningDux de Lux certainly gets my vote for Pub of The Year 2009.

An excellent way to end my culinary experience in New Zealand.





New Zealand, Canterbury Museum

Entrance to the Canterbury Museum is free but a NZ$5 is a suggested donation and well worth it.


Moa Sink HoleMoa Exhibit

The Moa, an extinct relative of the kiwi  is one of the first exhibit you encounter as you enter the museum. Along with Maori and other Daily Canterbury Life exhibits, I learn a lot more than NZ$5 worth about New Zealand.


Paua Shell House






Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House


1145 shells each one different, New Zealand Flip-Flops and Buzzing Bees are all a part of a unique display at Paua Shell House.  Fred and Myrtle's work of art is almost as much a part of New Zealand as the kiwi.


NZ Flip FlopsNew Zealand Flip Flops






“A bit over the top, but marvelous” comes a review from a local museum visitor.


 Antartic Expedition Trans-Antarctic Expedition


An Egyptian, Asian and numerous other displays are also part of the museum but my favorite is a display on Antarctica. It inspires me to fulfill my dream to someday visit there.


Confucius Confucius







New Zealand New Zealand







 Maori Family Maori Family


I leave the museum with sunshine and rain engaged in a battle to rule the rest of the day. I am placing my bet on sunshine to win as I navigate my way to Dux de Lux for lunch.