Well today is a great day. It has been 16 month’s since my gastric bypass surgery and I have crossed below the 270 pound marker weighing 266.8 this morning. The weight loss continues as does my work-out routine. I need to buy some more clothes again – as I keep dropping inches as well as pounds. My waist size has now dropped 24 inches – two feet!! Wow. It was very interesting this weekend, as I attended a party at which I had not seen some people in probably a year – they kept coming up to me and said they could barely recognize me. Felt great but after a while it became a little embarrassing. The most common question I get is how do you feel – well how do you think I feel – I have lost over 330 pounds, no longer have high blood sugar, have normal blood pressure and cholesterol level and can play a round of golf and be ready for more. Yes – I feel amazing and am excited about what every day forward brings. I love wokring out and look forward to running a 5K run sometime in the near future – imagine that me running in a race without someone behind me pointing a gun. Oh well – just to sum up – I feel great and am doing awesome.
The other big event today is that I take delivery of my SLK 350!! It took about 4 weeks to travel across the ocean from Frankfurt, Germany where I dropped it off on June 16th. The car was actually delivered at my local dealer on Friday July 18th and I could have taken delivery that day but I was in Louisville for the weekend for a party. So today after work is the big day – definitely looking forward to getting the car back!
Well, I got home a couple of days ago and finally have a few free minutes to upload rest of the pictures from my European Trip.
After Paris, we headed to Luxembourg – not too much exciting there although as I previously mentioned – gas was very cheap.
We then headed to Baden-Baden and stayed at the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe – the start of the Mercedes Road Rally Package. Definitely a great place to stay. Right up in the mountains and an excellent resort. Here is the links to the pictures from the hotel http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/schloss/index.html
We then headed to Hinterzarten, Germany and stayed at the Park Adler Hotel. Another excellent resort at the base of two ski jumps! This hotel also came with a 102 Euro credit which allowed for some excellent dining and drinks/cigars during the Euro Cup 2008 matches. Here are a few pictures from the Park Adler and associated Black Forest http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/blackforest/index.html
After the Park Adler we headed to Tyrol, Austria via Switzerland. Had to go through Customs leaving Germany, Entering Switzerland and then entering Austria since Switzerland is not part of the European Union. Also had to buy toll stickers for both Switzerland and Austria. It was a good thing that I got an international drivers license as the Austrian Border officials reviewed everything in very close detail.
Up to this point the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe was probably the best hotel I had ever stayed at in my life. That was soon to change as we drove into the Interalpen Hotel – Tyrol. WOW!! This hotel is up in the Alps and was simply amazing. You drive right into the basement of the hotel – very nice. The rooms were incredible, the spa, pools, fitness center, five course dining, great bars, cigar friendly! Simply amazing – it was at this point I definitely had wished we were staying more than 1 night. I definitely will return to this hotel in the future – simply amazing!!
Here are the pictures from the stay in Tyrol http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/tyrol/index.html
After unfortunately having to leave the Interalpen – we drove over to Innsbruck to see the Olympic Stadium – but due to the fact that the Euro Cup 2008 was having a match that night in Tyrol – the Stadium was set up as a fan viewing sight and it was not easy to drive to – so we got a couple pictures of the ski jump and headed to Munich.
I have been to Munich before and really think that well it is a great city – it is not as great as many others in Europe. On our way to Munich we stopped at Lake Chiemsee to see King Ludwig’s Herenchiemsee on which King Ludwig built a castle in similar style as Versailles. Here are the pictures http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/ludwig/index.html
We then finished the drive on to Munich. What we didn’t know was that it was the 850 year anniversary of Munich and there were massive events going on downtown. We were staying at the Bayerischer Hof in Munich which is the place to be seen, etc. While it was a nice hotel – it really failed in comparison to the previous three places. Yes – Munich is a big city and the others were mountain resorts – but the amenities in the Bayerischer Hof were poor in comparison. First of all – Bavaria is smoke free indoors (except for the Smoking Lounge at the Four Seasons in Munich – which I visited). The lack of fine bourbons and scotch at the bars and the extremely expensive drinks were a turn-off. A glass of wine in the lobby bar was 9.5 Euro whereas the same wine was 3.7 Euro downstairs in the Keller (amazing – same hotel and different prices). Anyways this 850 anniversary thing made it almost impossible to get to the Hotel – after getting trapped by pedestrians and closed roads we finally made it to the hotel. My high school buddy, Josh, lives in Stuttgart and took a train in Sunday morning to show us around town which was great. Because of the 850 year celebration, there were many people in authentic period dress from Bavaria. Lots of fun. That evening, we dined outside the Opera and watched a free performance of the Magic Flute which was simply amazing. Here are the pictures from Munich http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/munich/index.html
If I had to do Munich again – I would have only done 1 night having been there in 2004. Another night at the Interalpen Hotel would definitely be my recommendation. In fact for those considering Mercedes European Delivery program with the Road Rally package – I would recommend 2 nights at the Schlosshotel in Baden Baden, 1 night at the Park Adler in Hinterzarten and then 2 nights at the Interalpen Hotel – Tyrol.
We then headed to Frankfurt for a night stay before our flights home. I dropped the car off at the delivery agent and now the long wait for the return of the SLK 350 begins. Hopefully in 6 weeks it will be at the dealership.
A great trip!! Some of my favorite parts: Berlin, every moment driving the SLK (especially when traveling 145 MPH!!), the hotels in Baden-Baden, Hinterzarten and Tyrol, Amsterdam, Paris, my mom’s tours with Flat Stanley (especially having locals pose with him), visiting with clients and other lawyers and finally of course smoking Cuban Cigars. In fact my most expensive purchase in Europe was the box of Cuban cigars in Amsterdam. I also bought a Cuckoo Clock in Titisee in the Black Forest. It should be a great addition to the basement!
Once the car is back in the states – I will post some pictures and reviews of it.
Day 2 in Paris was excellent. We started out the morning by visiting The Louve. This place was huge – we only had about three hours and I am convinced be could have spent a week there. After visiting The Louvre, we had lunch with an excellent French law firm – great lunch and conversation and amazing macaroons for dessert. Then it was on to visit the Tomb of Napoleon. Not that exciting, but obviously to the French he was very important. We then had drinks with another French law firm and then headed out for a great dinner and some evening sight seeing to view the Eiffel Tower in the evening. A very quick but great visit to Paris. The Transit system was excellent – we purchased two day transit passes and I was amazed at how easy it was to get everywhere by train. Only if we had such systems in Cincinnati.
Today we drove from Paris to Luxembourg. We got off the main interstate and drove through the Champagne region of France. Luxembourg is very nice and the gas is dirt cheap (at least by European standards). Only 1.30 Euro per liter – where as France was about 1.65 and Germany was about 1.55 Euro. Don’t by confused by the numbers – its still very expensive to fill the tank – about $160 US dollars!!! Also their Resieling wine here was very cheap and excellent in taste (probably had one too many in the afternoon – but oh well – its vacation).
Tomorrow we head to Baden-Baden to start the five nights of the Mercedes Black Forest Road Rally Package. These are all major resorts in the Black Forest!! Lots of Rest and Relaxation. We also plan to head to the Alsace region to find some wineries.
Here are the pictures from day 2 in Paris and a couple from the drive to Luxembourg http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/paris2/index.html
Today we drove about 4.5 hours from Amsterdam to Paris. Went to the Eiffel Tower and The Arc De Triumph and then out for some dinner. Paris is interesting so far. Tomorrow some museums and some law firm lunches and dinners – great tax deductions! Should be a great day – the weather has been simply amazing and tomorrow should be 82 and sunny. One week left in this crazy adventure!!
Here are the pictures from day 1 in Parishttp://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/paris1/index.html
We had a great visit in Amsterdam. Lots of interesting things to see – the city was definitely warming up for Euro2008 European Football Championships. Had some amazing meals – one place was right in the middle of the Red Light District down a side alley – amazing food. Visited a couple great Brown Pubs – one of them is the oldest in Amsterdam. Great museums!! I also bought a whole box of Cuban Montecristo Cigars!!! Now I have my smoking needs met for rest of the trip.
Here are the pictures http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/amsterdam/index.html
Yesterday we travelled from Berlin to Wismar Germany to visit one of my clients IT Gambert Gmbh. They make gas sensors used in medical, industrial and automotive applications. It was a great visit and we had a great lunch right on a bay at the edge of the North Sea. After an extensive tour of their facilities, we then had the opportunity to tour Wismar. Great town and not too well traveled by North American visitors. We spend the night in Bremen last night. Lots of exciting nightlife along the riverwall. We had nice rooms on the 3rd floor but they did not have an elevator but luckily our bags are not that heavy. This morning we drove from Bremen to Amsterdam – it was about a 3.5 hour drive. Right before leaving Germany, I decided to open up the engine some since the Netherlands have a speed limit of 140 km/hr. I got the SLK 350 up to 141 MPH before having to slow down for a construction zone. The handling was very smooth – although I must admit that the road moves pretty fast when you are going 140 mph. I plan to test the 150s once back in Germany – the car allegedly has a chip limiting top speed to 154 MPH – definitely don’t want to deprive my car of obtaining all of its potential. Coming into Amsterdam we drove across the Afsluit Dijk which separates the Marker Meer and the North Sea. The dike was about 30 km long and made for a nice drive. The weather has been simply amazing and unseasonably warm – which is great!! It has been in the high 70s-80s everyday and no rain. It is raining in Southern Germany but hopefully that will end before we head there next week.
Well we are in Amsterdam and looking forward to buying a box of good cuban cigars as well as checking out rest of the sights. I will post pictures from Amsterdam over the weekend.
But here are the pictures from Wismar http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/wismar/index.html
As well as some from the Dike and more pictures of the car http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/slk350/index.html
Well today we spent a full day seeing the sights of Berlin. We bought one day all transit passes for 6.1 Euros and it was a great bargain. We went to see the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche which was heavily damaged in the war. They built a beautiful new memorial right next to the bombed out steeple (which is basically all that remains). We then headed up to the relatively new Hauptbahnof station which is the most modern main train station probably in the world. I saw an episode on Discovery a few months ago on how this station was built and it was amazing. We then headed up to the Olympic Stadium – always great to visits sights of great Ohio State Buckeyes conquests. Very nice stadium with lots of great history. I finally made it to Check Point Charlie – wanted to get there in 2004 but didn’t have the chance. Flat Stanley had a blast as well. Then it was on to Potsdamer Platz which Mercedes Benz helped construct in 1998. Very cool place if you every head to Berlin – a must see. We went to the observation platform (24-25 stories up and got some great skyline shots). Then it was onto the Brandenburger Tur (aka Brandenburg Gate) – I was here in 2004 but even since then it has changes. The US has a very nice embassy right next to the gate. Then onto the Reichstag which is the home of the German Parliament. We went up the glass dome on top of the Reichstag and had some more amazing views. If that wasn’t enough, we then headed to a great pizza place called The 12 Apostles – very good pizza – each pizza names after one of the Apostles. I had the Judas and it was very good. The place is right below the S-bahn and U-bahn lines in Mitte. Finally, we headed back via transit to Kurfurstendamm area which is only a block ot two from our hotel. It has all of the best shops in Berlin. We sat at Alt Berliner Biergarden and had some good wine and of course a fine Cuban cigar.
Here is the link for the pictures which also include my mom;s pictures from Mercedes as well as Weimar which we stopped at for some coffee and ice cream.
Here is a picture of my Spaghetti ice cream (it was diet ice cream aka sugar free) – notice how it looks like Cincinnati chili?
Well tomorrow we head to Wismar for lunch with a client and then onto Bremen.
Have a great day!!
Here is the first set of Flat Stanley’s trip to Europe – more to come. My mom got some amazing one’s on her flight from Louisville. http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/flatstanley/index.html
Well – today I had the delivery of my Mercedes SLK 350 and an amazing factory tour. Sorry no pictures allowed on the factory tour – to bad as it was very amazing – almost all robotic except the finishing touches.
We went to the Mercedes Museum yesterday and learned a good amount about Mercedes and saw some vintage cars as well as some of the new ones. I rode in a Mercedes racing simulator which was really cool. They were given free rides in an SL 500 and the Maybach!! But the line was long and I really wasn’t too excited about riding in something other than my SLK 350.
Just finished driving the SLK 350 from Stuttgart to Erfurt. The technician told me to break the engine in by driving 30 miles at 80-85 mph, then 30 miles at 110 mph and alternate. Top speed today was 118 mph but I will definitely open it up more after driving around 1000-1500 miles. And about the Technician – he explained every detail of the car in detail – Couldn’t use the European Navi DVDs – since the 2009 Navi systems are hard drive based – but they loan you ($349 Euro Deposit) a Mercedes Benz portable Navi (which is basically a Garmin Nuvi repacked). I will post later about the features – but the iPhone sync is amazing and both the phone and music syncs. The car also downloaded my entire contact folders for the phone. More later.
Well – time to head out to dinner and then smoke some Cuban Cigars
Here is the link for the pictures from the Museum and the delivery of the SLK 350 http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/mercedes/index.html
I arrived in Frankfurt yesterday and spent the last two days walking around with my mom, riding various trains and sightseeing. More photos follow on the following link http://www.geofoberhaus.com/mt/frankfurt/index.html
More pictures and details to follow – less than two days until I pick up the SLK 350!!