My Summer Vacation


Sidewalk artist in Koln
Sidewalk artist in Koln
(click to enlarge)

I'm just getting back from 10 days in Europe on vacation with my wife and two oldest kids. We had a great time. Meanwhile, I'm trying to re-enter. I turned my email off while I was gone so I don't have any emails to wade through. If you tried contacting me in the last 10 days or so, please do so again since your email didn't get through.

I put together a map of places we visited and I uploaded a selection of photos.

Our younger kids were staying with Grandma and I used Skype to keep in touch with them. Grandma doesn't have Internet, so I used the Skype Out feature to call her number in the States. This worked quite well--even over T-Mobile WiFi hotspots (used my US account). I did have a USB headset. Talking for 30 minutes cost less than $0.50. My wife sent a few postcards and that cost about twice as much proving once again that bits are cheaper to transport than atoms.

ICE train going 300 KPM
ICE train going 300 KPM
(click to enlarge)

We rode the trains a lot and had fun doing it. For the long hauls, we used fast ICE trains. I didn't find the Deutsche Bahn site all that helpful, but the ATM-like ticket machines were pretty easy to figure out. I learned two things: it pays to ask for group rates and make reservations a day or so ahead of time for long-hauls. For example, when traveling around Munich, I used a Barvarian Group Pass that cost 27 euros a day for up to five people whereas a one-way ticket to and from Fussen cost about 20 euros each.

All in all we visited Amsterdam, Enschede (Netherlands), Koln, Munich, Fussen (Germany), Dachau, and Salzburg. We had a great time and really enjoyed touring part of Europe. We planned the primary itinerary (which days where) and then decided what to do and how to get there once we were on site. That worked out pretty well. My kids had never been overseas so they thought it was a great experience. I'm glad we did it.