Page 3 of DrakeSmart Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice March 27th 2009

Day 15 - Thursday This is what I’ve been waiting for, Venice. And if you do not know by now, this is the reason why I came on this trip this year. Thanks Dr. Meyer for making my dream come true. I have today with me Rick Steeves guidebook and his audio podcast of Venice. I plan to explore Venice with Rick, soak up the sun, buy some treasures. The next two days is all about "me". We arrived Wednesday night about 7 pm. As soon as we checked in, 15 minutes wait time and off we went on a city train to Venice. Best part of the travel here, we could not get lost getting to the station. Why? It was right across the street. Great job Lew! Cost= 1 euro. What a deal. For ... read more
Saint Mark's Basilica
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco 2

Europe » Austria » Salzburg » Salzburg March 26th 2009

Day 14- Wednesday The days are ticking down and I have to prepare myself to come back to reality. Wednesday we left Germany for Venice. The snow on Tuesday left the Alps of Austria and Germany picturesque. It reminded me of Christmas snow then I thought of driving in it and the pleasure of the snow quickly vanished. We did our usual stop at the Auto Plaza and had some great food. We also took a two-hour stop in Salzburg. I call this stop, “looking for Maria”. You know from the Sound of Music. Take a couple of minutes and view this site and watch the video: url= I must come back. I've been here before but it was such a fast stop that I really don't remember too much. This time, I wanted to see ... read more
Lookking For Maria
No Maria
Salzburg 2

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Munich March 26th 2009

Day 13 - Tuesday Today I took the day off from the group. They are on their way to Fussen to see the Neuschwanstein (Disney Castle) by way of Dachu (Concentration Camp). I've been there three times, so today I plan on spending the day in Munich with Marlene, Rich and Bill. We left at 9 am by foot to the tram station to find our way to Nymphenburg Palace, home of mad King Ludwig (his parents). Read more about the Palace at url= On our way there, snow began falling. It was absolutely beautiful. I thought of the group in the Alps and thought, the scene of fresh snow will be breathtaking. I felt a bit guilty for missing it. So off we go, by tram and by foot to the Palace. We had a ... read more
Nymphenburg Palace 2
Munich 23
Munich 22

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Munich March 26th 2009

Day 12 - Monday night at the Hofbrauhaus Munich is a great city, but over the years, we have swooped in at night, programs in the day, Hofbrauhaus at night then out the next day. This year, it was different. We got in late, a quick change and off to the Hofbrauhaus. We had 3 hours there. So what is the Hofbrauhaus? It is a large beer hall with good old fashion German food and beer. The best part of the Hofbrauhaus is the good times we have every year and watching Dr. Meyer conduct the orchestra. So here’s the longstory short. We get to the Hofbrauhaus and muscle our way to a table. We never sit together as a group (too many people) and we hope to sit at least 6 to a table. In ... read more
Hofbrauhaus 2
Hofbrauhaus 4
Hofbrauhaus 3

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Leipzig March 25th 2009

Day 12 - Monday I got up early to see the last sights of Lepizig and Susan joined me. This is one historic town and I will recommend to Dr. Meyer that we come back in the near future. The program at the BMW Plant was very interesting. It's plant number 22 of 22. Maybe 5 years old. They assemble about 425-725 series 1 and 3 per cars per day. I do not know anything about BMWs, but the plant tour was fascinating. Read the Ex Summary by Joe and David in the DrakeSmart website, . Sorry, no pictures allowed. By the way, Dr. Meyer was in heaven at the plant. We were able to see the body shop, which is almost 100 percent automated with robotics. Words can't describe how this works. Then we went ... read more

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Leipzig March 23rd 2009

Day 11 - Sunday in Germany I see it’s Spring now and the weather so far has been awesome. I hear it’s very warm in Des Moines. But 45-50 degrees so far is what we expected here. The weather is now turning just as Carole is leaving. Thanks Carole! I got up at 3:30 am to see Carole, Marti and Cate off to the airport and went back to bed. That was a mistake. I fell asleep for 3 hours and felt awful. Good thing I was already packed. Ate the last of our fabulous breakfast and let me tell you our breakfast at the Berlin Ramada hotel has been FANTASTIC! The breads and croissants are to die for. The bacon and eggs are like ours and the juice and coffee, very tasty. I hate to ... read more
Potsdam 2
St Thomas
City Center

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin March 21st 2009

Day 10 - Saturday Our last day in Berlin was devoted to programs. First, we went to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe located on the back side of the Brandenburg Gate. This was one of those programs that you go to pay tribute to those who died during the holocaust and reflect on what you would do if you were a Jewish citizen or German citizen. Would you go voluntary to a concentration camp, would you protest, would you aid those who were persecuted or would you do nothing? It was a tough place to visit but as Angela so profoundly said, “it should be tough for us to see.” If you want to learn more about this program, see . Next we had a briefing at the German Resistance Memorial Center. This ... read more
Last Night

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin March 20th 2009

Day 9 - Friday Today I am a Berliner! Let’s see if I can make a longstory short out of this one. We began our day with a guided tour of Berlin. First by Debbie Noe then by our hired guide, Carolyn. She has been our guide now twice. She took us to old Berlin, checkpoint charlie, Russian Memorial and then to the Brandenburg Gate. Here's a story to think about. I am a history lover, love politics and US presidents. And one of our favorite presidents is John F. Kennedy. So what if he is a democrat. He was probably the right man for the job at the right time. So he came to Berlin on June 26, 1963 and gave a speech at the Berlin wall. Did he say: “Ich bin ein Berliner" or ... read more
On Top Of The World
Glass Bldg

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin March 20th 2009

Day 8 - Thursday in Berlin Goodbye to Amsterdam and Hello Berlin. We left on time at 8 am. Yes, after a last fun night, we were all up and ready for our 10 plus hours on the bus. The ride, long and broken up by three stops. Dr. Meyer and Luggi had sausages and potatoes as usual. And no "peeing on the bus". Drinking on the bus, not like the road trips in the past, but enjoyable. I slept most of the time. Do we have stories to share, yes but not in writing. The group rolled in at 6 pm on Thursday night. Yes, we have been getting in on time. Go figure that. The ride was long and most of us got some sleep. So what do you do on a 10 hour ... read more
Berlin 2
Berlin 3

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam March 19th 2009

Day 6 - Tuesday "Happy St Patrick's Day" Sorry all for the delay in writing. Travel, programs and the cost of the internet is a big drag. Tuesday- great but short night in Brussels. Yes, we saw the peeing boy and all we could do in 8 hours. We got to the 9:30 am program with no trouble. The program lasted 2 hours and I got to meet Clarissa Unger, the Kansas intern working here at the US Mission. I met her through her travelblog. Reading her blog, she is a good writer and loves her assignment at the US Mission. Read her blog about her travels and her assignment at The US Mission to the EU at . Off we go to Tilburg. The 3 pm program at Interpolis was great. This was a great ... read more
Amsterdam 3
Amsterdam 5
Amsterdam 2

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