A Few Notes from My Trip

France (March 22)

Greetings from Grenoble. This is the first stop on this one week, country per day, business trip. My flight from Boston to Paris was fine. The pilot had a really hair-trigger approach to the seatbelt sign. Anytime the plane bumped even slightly the light went on. We got to Paris exactly on time. I was able to take a taxi to the train station in Paris (Gare de Lyon) and catch a non-stop TGV train to Grenoble (200 mph). I got through ok even though I don't speak any French. English or creative communications worked fine. I'll see if I'm brave enough to try my really stale German tonight/tomorrow.

The weather here was great yesterday, warm and sunny. I took a nice walk in the afternoon. This morning it was raining. The hotel was only about 10 minutes walk from the HP site and the rain wasn't hard, so I walked anyway.

This evening I fly to Hamburg Germany, Wednesday to Amsterdam, Thursday to London, Saturday, return.

Nothing exciting too exciting in the pictures. I'm just having fun with the digital camera. I had an ok view of the Alps in the distance from the hotel. Also, I thought the toys-r-us and McDonalds logos would be fun. Notice how empty the parking lot is, EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays. The area I'm in is somewhat industrial and has been built up since the Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble quite a few years ago.

The Alps from my Hotel Room

The Parking Lot at a local Shopping Area

Netherlands (March 24)

Wow, I've barely had time to breath over the last couple of days. Monday evening I was to fly to Hamburg Germany via Stuttgart Germany. Unfortunately, Air France delayed the plane to Stuttgart by about 40 minutes for no reason I could see. As we landed in Stuttgart I could see my plane to Hamburg taking off. It was already after 8:00 pm and there weren't many options on flights. Since I needed to be in Hanover by 9:00 am on Tuesday, I took the only remaining flight to Northern Germany to Bremmen. (Actually, Bremmen is closer to Hanover than Hamburg is.) I had to cancel the hotel in Hamburg and fortunately got one of the last rooms in the airport hotel at Bremmen. I probably spent about 7 hours total in the hotel and Tuesday morning at 6:00 I checked out and took a train to Hanover to go to CeBIT/Hanover Fair.

CeBIT is a HUGE technology trade show that takes place in Hanover every year. Everyone who is anyone exhibits at CeBIT with VERY elaborate displays? booths? (Think of a small office or store that is erected inside a building.) Most large company booths are two story and take up several thousand square feet of floor space. The HP booth had a ground floor where product displays are shown and demos go on. When a potential customer seems serious, they are invited to the second floor for a quieter discussion at a table with a glass of water or cola or coffee. Essentially there was a small cafe on the second floor. HP's was not the largest display. IBM in fact had one twice the size of the HP one and had a bridge over the main walkway between the upper stories of the two sides. I hate to think what the displays cost. Camera's are not allowed in CeBIT so I couldn't take pictures.

I changed my travel plans. I'd been booked on a train to Hamburg and a KLM flight from Hamburg to Amsterdam. This meant going an hour and a half north on the train before I took an hour flight to Amsterdam (directly west of Hanover). During CeBIT everything in and out of Hanover is booked far in advance and I had no chance of getting a flight out of Hanover. I found out that there was a train available from Hanover to Amsterdam though so I changed my travel plans to take the train instead of the train-plane combination. The train trip was pleasant but it was all after dark so I coldn't see much at all on the way. I wish it had been light. The taxi ride from the Train Station in central Amsterdam to the hotel was pretty interesting. We  crossed quite a few canals often with many boats along their sides. I was also surprised at the number of bicycles on the streets. Netherlands is very strong on bicycles! The country is completely flat so riding is easy. Also everything is pretty packed together so most trips are short. In many cases people can get where they are going faster by bicycle than they could by car. There are many separate bicycle ROADS as wide as a lane of automobile road. I can't call them bicycle paths.

Today I visited several magazine editors who review computers for Netherlands magazines. Tomorrow I have some time available to look around Amsterdam before I fly to London. I should have a few new pictures available.

Thursday, March 25, 1999

I spent most of the day at the European Customer Care Center in Southern Amsterdam but did get a chance to wander around the central city a little before taking the train to the airport. Here are a few pictures.

Bicycles at the Train Station (Amsterdam is truely a city of bicycles)

Wall Drug (from Amsterdam)

Tall, Narrow architecture is the norm

Claustrophobia Anyone?

More tall and narrow architecture

Gotta love those sideburns

The fence along the canal is not childproof

Notice the width of the bike path compared to the road to the left of it.

Out the London hotel window at night