Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 174

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Monday - Wednesday, July 26 - 28 2010 (diary)

With Wivica at the Bürgerstüble, 2008 Well, I arrived safe, sound and sober in Germany, despite Lufthansa plying me with ample G&Ts, wine and brandy on my 12 hours long flight from Singapore to Frankfurt. I was most pleased with Lufthansa's on flight service this time in Economy Class, which I felt was much better than 2 years ago in their Business Class. So I am glad I did not waist the extra $4,000 on that this time.

The contrast between the delightfully colourful Singapore Airport (which has been a favourite of mine for the past 40 years) and the modern but rather bleak, boring and unimaginative Airport in Frankfort really struck me as enormous this time. However upon arrival in Frankfurt I quickly got my Eurail Pass validated and had a wonderful 2 hours train ride to Freiburg in one of Germany's ICE trains, a most impressive experience, with in its well appointed modern 1st class a range of free daily papers on offer, free biscuits and continuous drinks and meal service throughout the journey. I look forward to my rail trip to Holland in a week's time.

Wivica picked me up from the Freiburg railway station after which we immediately proceeded to the daily market where I could satisfy my craving for German sausages. They have half a dozen "Würst Ständchen" operating side by side, with plenty of customers for each one. I will check them all out in due course.

Monday night we had dinner at the Bürgerstüble, Tuesday at the local Italian Restaurant (with escargots for my entree of course) and tonight (Wednesday) we will try out the Waldcafe which is right opposite the Holiday apartment I will rent from September 1.

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Thursday, July 29 2010 (diary)

West Germany The weather has been rather disappointing so far with drizzle, rain or overcast sky and temperatures just reaching up to 15°C at best.
I am dressed in socks, long jeans, singlet, long sleeve shirt, none of which I have worn for 2 years (since I was last in Europe), with a thick woolen sweater and rain jacket over all that. So things can only improve (I hope).

My 18krt gold Omega watch is going again. The battery ran out a month or so ago in Darwin. To replace it the watch had to be sent to a watch maker specialist in Sydney, would probably take 6 weeks and cost at least $60. Here in Freiburg I walked into Karstadt (large supermarket store) where they have a watchmaker in their watches department. Got my watch fixed on the spot in just 2 minutes at a cost of €7 ($10).

Strangely, when purchasing some computer stuff in two separate stores (one of them Vodafone) they would not accept payment by credit card, never happened to me before. Reason ? The stores here in Germany have to pay a whopping 4% of the purchase price in bank fees. In Australia this is much lower, especially when selling products online, I only pay 0.67%, less than a fifths of what they have to fork out here.

I have purchased a train ticket Freiburg-Baden Baden for next Monday. It only costs €24 and it would therefore be wasteful to spend one of my five left Eurail pass days (which cost me €60 each) on that short trip. But of course I will use my pass next Thursday for my journey from Baden Baden to Holland as that will save me well over €140 on the day.

We had an absolutely wonderful meal at the Waldcafe last night : ox tongue in a creamy sauce with "bratkartoffeln", and as desert (rather than entree) fried Camembert with cranberry sauce on toast.

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Friday & Saturday, July 30 &am; 31 2010 (diary)

On Wivica's terrace As you can see, finally some sunshine. The weather started to improve on Friday and is now quite pleasant. I inspected my holiday apartment to be (in one month time) and am absolutely delighted with it. I will make photos in due course when I have moved in on September 1.

I also purchased a USB stick from Vodafone and have had some trouble with it. Perhaps I installed its program incorrectly as now I can use the Vodafone connection but not Wivica's nor any other wireless in house WLAN network.
Vodafone advised me to uninstall and then reinstall the program again, which I will do in due course probably upon arrival in The Netherlands.

With what I know now I am sorry I did not purchase a Global roaming package from Vodafone in Australia. Here in Europe you get only access within the country of purchase (in my case Germany) and I must either purchase a new package in Holland again, or pay an outrageous access price (€15, AU$25 per session!!) on my German contract. So, live and learn! If you happen to travel from Australia to Europe buy a Vodafone Global roaming package before you leave there, you will be much better served with a fair price and seamless transitional access from one European country to the next.

I have in fact a growing suspicion that this parochial approach of Vodafone is very much a reflection of the present state and attitude of the entire Eurozone. OK, they have lifted the trade barriers and introduced the Euro as their single common currency (which is of course most convenient for us travelers), but otherwise it is still "business as usual" with each country looking inwards and very little indication of social (or any practical) integration or the emotional sense of a "united Europe". I will test my suspicions when speaking with my friends back in Holland in a week's time.

Due to my possible Internet access problems when in Holland my Blog entries may perhaps be slow or erratic during those weeks, although I certainly will be able to collect and send emails from other computers.

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