Old Holland and then on to London...

We spent today going to the equivalent of Old World Wisconsin (or Colonial Williamsburg if that helps). The attraction was a group of buildings making up an example of life in the netherlands in the 1700's. My batteries died and I didn't have back-ups. Jon's memory stick reader failed too so we've got few pictures. We did of course find batteries in time to get the obligatory shot of Jen and I in the humongous wooden clogs. We also went to Zaanse Schaans (pronounced Sahnsa Shahns) which had some windmills and more period pieces. very cool but, by the time we got there we were pretty wiped from the indoor and outdoor museums in Enkhuisen (Engkhoussen).

The day ended with dinner at Asia Palace. The best cashew chicken or sweet & sour chicken I've had plus too much wine.

We're making the trek from The Netherlands to London, England. Thanks to some great planning, we have to grab a train from Leiden, NL at 4:16 AM to Rotterdam, NL. Then we take a bus from Rotterdam Centraal Station to the Rotterdam Airport. We get in to London at 7:30 AM and will be staying within a stones throw of the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.

That's it for now, gotta be up in 5 or so hours to make our train.

Oh yeah and last night was daylights savings in european time zones.


So much to blog so little time...

Our timeline:

Getting in, getting settled. (See Touchdown)

Walking tour of Leiden. Leiden is a, formerly walled in, city with cobblestone streets. Jen and Jon had a walking tour book that highlighted 40 points of interest from the centuries old churches (pic) to the modern hospital.

Wrapping up the walking tour.

A short trip to Amsterdam. We got started late and left early. It's a bustling metropolis that left you feeling harried. We came back to go to Market (Markt) with Jon. The 6-10 block walk was the longest since his appendix removal. At Market we got fries with mayo and fries with sate` sauce. (pic)

Hugh (from Ireland) went with us to "Sideways" the Academy award winning comedy.

Thursday (Donderdag)
A day trip to The Hague (Den Haag). Just a ten minute train ride from Leiden is the home to the government of Holland. A bigger city than Leiden yet smaller than Amsterdam. We followed another walking tour through the streets of The Hague. (pic)

When we got back we went out to east at Cojico, a mexican restraunt next to Jon and Jen's place. We the hooked up with them and Simon (their Dutch teacher) at the Harmonie Bar.

Trip to Antwerp (Belgium). St. Catherines Cathedral is a deceivingly large church that reaches 400+ feet twowards the sky. Antwerp is a harbor town with lots of sites to see, very much a New York City feel, if New York was around form the 9th century. We decided to eat at Pizza Hut. Walked in the door and there was a terrible odor. Jen then reminded us what the smell was, dead mice. We high tailed it down the street to a more traditional pizzeria. While we were there a bachelorette party came in.

Got to run .... More later ....


Leiden Trip - Touchdown

We got off the plane and it hit us pretty quickly that we were in a foreign country. Just the little details like seeing english as the second language on signs as such. Seeing signs and advertisements completely in dutch.

After claiming our bags we walked over to customs. "Have you anything to declare?" asked one customs officer, "No." He motioned us forward, "D'où voyagez-vous?" asked the next customs agent. "Excuse Me?" I replied. "Where are you travelling from?" Oh. That I can answer. Chicago. He gave us a nod and we walked through the doors to find Jen waiting for us. We hopped on a train and were on our way to Leiden. It was a 15 minute train ride but it flew by really fast as we were discussing our trip to that point and how Jon was doing. We were to visit him at 2:30 that afternoon.

We walked from the train to their apartment a ten minute walk, with suitcases, through cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks. Jen quickly pointed out the bike racks near the train station (Centraal Station). There were hundreds of bikes in the racks. You won't understand this unless you see it for yourself but, everyone rides a bike here. If you have longer than a 10-15 minute walk you are riding a bike, or taking a train. Don't get me wrong, there are cars but they are easily outnumbered 5-1 by bikes and pedestrians on an average road.

After arriving at the apartment and getting situated we made our way out to lunch. De Brasserrie (or the B.L.T. place for Tim) is a great little restaurant. We took a stroll down Shopping Street (Haarlemerstraat) to kill time and then went to tour the inside of a Netherlands hospital, oh and to see Jon. He had an appendicitis attack and needed emergency surgery. He was at the desk in his room when we go there. obviously sore but, in fair shape for one day removed from surgery.

Surprisingly, he came home later that evening. Jen went back to get him and left us with a collectiong of Family Guy DVDs. They got home around 8:00PM and brought friends, Evy and Boss (Bas). Boss is dutch and Evy i couldn't quite placed although I knew she was European, right? Nope, she's from Texas. D'oh, I don't feel so bad because she said she's been bouncing around Europe so long she is forgetting how to speak english. We ate traditional pizza from some local place, very thin crust and almost no cheese. After the pizza we were re-energized so I played Midnight Club on the PS2. Then we went to sleep.

Leiden Trip - The Departure

I had decided not to take my cell phone. At the last minute in case of problems in Chicago I thought it would be good to have. I powered it on and I had a voicemail. Jen called. Jon was doing all right but he's in the hospital getting his appendix removed.

We arrived at the airport at 2:00, before the prescribed two hour international flight check-in requirement. With an empty line we walked up to the United Airlines desk. I said "Remsik." The lady working the desk got a horrified look on her face and turned to the manager working next to her. "We tried to call you. Your flight from Madison to Chicago O'Hare is running 40 minutes behind." The gyst of the conversation was sorry but, the only way you'll make your flight is to drive to Chicago.

We had just been dropped off so we didn't have a car. We decided to check the price on a rental car. As luck would have it the cost of the rental car was similar to the amount we'll get refunded by United for missing the connection. We drove down to O'Hare in just under two hours. We had cash for every toll except the last. I had to take down the phone number and have Chris take care of the $.80 potential misdemeanor.

At O'Hare we dropped off our 2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx at the Avis lot and took a shuttle to the international terminal. We got in the building at 4:30 and mentioned to the United employee that we were trying to make a flight that was leaving for Amsterdam at 5:50. She suggested we try the line about 30 yards away because it looked shorter. After getting to the shorter line we told that united employee the same thing. "Oh. You can't check-in here for Amsterdam, you have to go to the international desk." After 45 yards back the way we came we mention to the United employee monitoring the line that we were trying to make Amsterdam. He got a hurried look on his face and short-cut us through a barrier to the end of the line. We saved steps but not time.

The obviously international line disappeared in front of us fairly quickly. Next hing Phil Chen is motioning us to his desk for check-in. We explain that we are in a hurry, it was 4:55 and we were trying to make a 5:50 flight to Amsterdam. "Oh my gosh! We have to hurry!" He frantically weighs our luggage and sends them off. Then after discussing world politics with the janitor he decides to take our passports and send us along as well. We caught a break at the security check-in. There were approximately twenty people in front of us when they started a new line at us.

We made our plane, watched The Incredibles, and The Village, slept a few winks and landed safely in Amsterdam around 9:30AM Sunday Morning.


Sponsor Meeting

Back to 1:1 scale racing.I got a chance to sit down with Steve who is part owner in the businees I'm courting as a primary sponsor for the 2005 Season at Columbus 151 Speedway. The meeting went well. I don't have an answer yet, he needed to discuss it with his partner Randy before they could commit. I figure we've got better than a 50/50 shot at this point.


"We'll need a wall here..." Posted by Hello

First pics of the new track ... Posted by Hello


Appointment Scheduled

Just got off the phone with the Steve whose business will hopefully be the primary sponsor for our 2005 Hobby Stock season. I've scheduled an appointment with him for next Thursday afternoon. After that appointment we'll know realistically what the chances are of running the Hobby Stock division this year.