Previous month:
May 2019
Next month:
July 2019

Getting Things Done (GTD) Summit 2019

GTD Summit 2019 Collage

The Getting Things Done (GTD) 2019 Summit was held in Amsterdam from June 20-21, 2019.  We had already purchased our airplane tickets by the time I confirmed I was able to attend, so we ended up re-arranging and making some adjustments so I could attend, Conrad could still get to his major city requests, and Carson could fly home but still spent time in Germany, Belgium, Normandy, and Paris.  It was an answer to prayer that it all worked out.

The conference was amazing!  I still need to summarize all my notes, but here are some links to some online content about the conference:

GTD Roadmap For Summit 2019


Experiencing Rome

Rome

We arrived in Rome late in the afternoon on Monday (June 17, 2019) and made it to our AirBNB via a reserved driver.  This worked out great as our time in Rome was actually the shortest overall at this point.  The driver was waiting for us as we left the luggage area and drove us straight to the AirBNB.

Here are some pictures of our AirBNB.  I would recommend staying there again.  The location was good and it had a good kitchen and sleeping arrangements for us.

We did a walking tour the evening we arrived And then had dinner.

Our second day Tuesday (June 18, 2019) consisted of the following events:

On Wednesday morning we got up pretty early and made our way to the airport again using a reserved driver.  We had a relatively early flight to Amsterdam and we had read things could be problematic at the Rome airport. In our case it was not and things went very smoothly.


The Big Travel Day

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 16.13.55
Today (Monday, June 17, 2019) is our big travel day - Carson flies home to San Diego from Paris; and Steve & Conrad fly off to Rome (and then on to Amsterdam, Berlin, & back to Frankfurt to fly home to San Diego on Monday, June 24, 2019).

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 16.17.52

The trip from our hotel in Paris (Hôtel de Roubaix) to Charles de Gaulle airport was a straight forward train/metro ride (RER B).  It took less than an hour and wasn't very crowded.

For some reason even though this was a "BIG" day I only have four photos documenting this part of the trip.

Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 16.20.37Screenshot 2019-11-09 at 16.21.03

Carson made it through security and then customs on her own in Paris but it took much longer than we had anticipated. She was successful in flying home on United from Paris to Washington, DC and then on to San Diego.

Once Carson was airborne we made our way to a smaller terminal to fly down to Rome via Vueling Airlines that was booked via CheapOAir. 

While we were waiting for our flight we found a store called Spencer, and as we were leaving we could see a Concorde airplane display from our seats on our plane.

The trip down was uneventful and we got to Rome without any issues. Our Airbnb host reserved us a driver who was waiting for us and we made our way to our Airbnb in Rome pretty efficiently.  After checking in we managed to do some city exploring and get dinner before bed (see next post).


Experiencing Paris, France

Paris-4-picts

When we arrived in Paris it was still late mid-day (trip summary), so after dropping off our stuff at our hotel (Hôtel de Roubaix) we started walking toward the Seine and then towards the Effiel Tower.

Here is our collection of photos from the Effiel Tower.

We ended the day eating at Hall S Beer Tavern (pictures) for dinner. We were super hungry, the food was excellent, service was pretty good, and sitting down for an hour or so was much needed.

The next day we headed to the Louvre and once we were done at the Louvre (most of the morning) we made our way to the Arc de Triomphe, and Norte Dame.

We had lunch at L'Etoile 1903 near Arc de Triomphe.  The only picture I took was of the beer (I think we were super hungry and just started digging in before a picture could be taken):

Leffe-beer-The food was good at L'Etoile 1903 and I would recommend eating there again.

After we were finished for the day we ended up eating dinner at Cafe March (photos). We all liked our food and the atmosphere was good. I'd eat there again.

Just before dinner though, I was able to meet up with Rolf Potts (travel writer) for a quick picture. He was in Paris at the same time teaching a class on writing.  I've been listening to Rolf's podcast for some time -- Deviate.  Some of his podcasts actually inspired parts of this trip.

Rolf&steve

Other pictures from Paris can be found here.


Normandy To Paris (2019)

BayuexOur trip from our Airbnb included a stop in Bayeux on the way to returning our rental car in Caen.  We ended up renting the car from Avis which worked great from my phone while we were actually traveling via train to Normandy via Paris.

We stopped in Bayeux to see the Tapisserie de Bayeux. that was more than like created in the 11th Century and is over 70 meters long. The tapestry tells the "engrossing story of the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066."  It was definitely worth seeing and the audio program was very well done.

After this museum we made our way back to Caen and then turned in our rental car.   We had a train ride into Paris (via the Saint Lazare Train Station) and then a Metro ride from the train station to the nearest stop near our hotel.

Screenshot 2019-10-13 at 18.10.37

The hotel was the Hôtel de Roubaix (6 Rue Greneta, 75003 Paris, France).  I thought the place was average and good for our situation.  It was easy to get to and easy to navigate to the Louvre for sure by walking.  Also it was easy to get from the hotel to the airport via a big transit hub that was just down the street (10 minute walk).  We used Booking.com to reserve our rooms.

Here are all the photos from this part of the trip.


Experiencing Normandy

Normandy-CollageOur Airbnb was excellent (photos). We would highly recommend staying there.

And the area around our Airbnb -- known as Les Bateaux -- was very amazing. It was a short walk down to the beach. There was a WWII Jeep parked at the bottom.

Our first thing to do in Normandy was to visit to the Overload Museum.  This is a great museum. Easy to access, tons of good info, and a large amount of physical hardware from both the Allies perspective and from the Germans.

Then we went to the Omaha Museum. I liked this museum a lot as it had a lot of personal items like all the types of firearms, uniforms, etc. There was also a good video documentary that they shared in their theater.

After that we spent some time on Omaha Beach. It was very low tide at the time we were there and the waves were very small. It is surprisingly long but only a few ways up from the beach to the high ground.

Once we finished at Omaha we drove to Pointe du Hoc. Being up on the high ground and looking down to see what the soldiers had to accomplish to take over this area was humbling. The bomb holes are still there and they are massive. The German guns at this site could have dropped rounds on both Omaha and Utah beach but they had been moved inland because of all the aerial bombing leading up to D-Day.

Then we went to Utah Beach. The drive reminded us that that there was almost 10K between each of the D-Day Beaches, and each beach covered a 10K operating area. I learned that Utah Beach went easier because of the tides and currents. The main body of troops landed in a place less fortnified than their planned location and the units here captured more ground in the first 24 hours than expected. The drive from Omaha to Utah had references to several locations were paratroopers and gliders landed.

After Utah Beach we went to the Normandy American Cemetery just before it closed. This was a very somber place and well done. It is much smaller than I expected given how big it has looked in the past when on TV but that was probably all angles and framing.

For dinner we went to Port en Bessin. The food was very good. The beach was area was interesting because it was full of shells. And we learned some more about what happened in this area during D-Day. The city and port were liberated by Canadian Special Forces.

We made the most of June 13, 2019!

 

 


Traveling from Ottignies, Belgium to Normandy, France (via Paris)

Screenshot 2019-10-11 at 19.53.30

The trip from Ottignies to Normandy started out great.  We went from Ottignies to Belgium Central, and then took a high-speed train (French) from Belgium to Paris, France.

Brussels To ParisWe were very concerned about our transfer from our arrival station (Gare du Nord) in Paris to the station (Saint Lazare Train Station) that goes from Paris to Normandy, but we were blessed with a great seatmate on our trip to Paris.  He gave us some great recommendations on what to do in Paris (stay tuned), and then when we arrived in Paris he took us personally from our station to the station we needed to go to via the Metro.  It was super easy with a guide, which would help use a ton when we came back to Paris -- and set the tone for the rest of the trip that we could easily take public transportation in Europe.  Wow a friendly French person helped the language challenged American!  Thanks!!

Metro In Paris

The trip from Paris to our stop in Normandy was pretty straight forward once we got on the train.  The WIFI wasn't as good as on the German trains, but that was OK.  We decided to end our train trip in Caen instead of Bayeux (which was closer to our Airbnb), because the Avis car rental company location was easier to get to.  It was a great decision because in Caen the Avis rental car location was a short walk and easy to find.

Fiat

In the end the drive from Caen to our place in Normandy worked out great.

Drive In Normandy

Here are the full photos from Belgium to Normandy.


Experiencing Belgium (2019)

DSC00145-COLLAGEWe arrived in Brussels in the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11.  We met up with our "Belgium Family" near the main train station and did a walking tour of downtown central Brussels.

We had dinner at Houtsiplou. It was very good and everyone got something that they enjoyed.

The next day (June 12) we visited the Tin Tin Museum, and did a quick trip to Waterloo.

The best part though was hanging with our "Belgium Family" and doing life with them for a couple of days in Ottignies.


Traveling from Bad Pyrmont, Germany to Brussels, Belgium

Germany-to-belgiumOn Tuesday, June 11, 2019 we traveled from Bad Prymont back to Hamburg to Cologne, Germany, and then from Cologne to Brussels, Belgium.  There was another option to go to Cologne from Bad Prymont, but all the transfer times were very short so we went with via Hamburg for less stress.

The train ride was pretty un-eventful.  We bought the tickets via the Bahn.com website (with assigned seats), and then managed our tickets via their phone app which worked pretty well.

Here are the photos from our traveling on this day.


Experiencing Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Bad-pyrmontWe arrived pretty much on time in Bad Pyrmont, Germany on Sunday, June 9, 2019 from Frankfurt via Hamburg . This is my Mom's home town where is grew up with her Mom and brother. I have visit the area a lot as a kid (every odd birth year until high school).  My family was last there last in 2012 with my Mom which was a great experience.

The main goal for visiting this part of Germany was connecting with my Mom's brother (my Uncle), and his extended family.

We stayed at Hotel Schaumberg.  It was a great location for us, the room was great for the three of us, and the food for breakfast was awesome.  I would stay there again.

We had a lot of good times with family, did some hiking, did some city exploring, and we connected with several of my Mom's friends who were in town at the same time, and with those that still worked and lived in Bad Pyrmont. The only bad thing is we arrived on Sunday (with many places closed), and Monday was a holiday (with many of the same places closed). 

So we only had 1 hour of time in town with most of the stores open on Tuesday just before we had to head to the train station for our trip to Brussels.

Here are all the photos taken in Bad Prymont!