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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.  We also knocked out some Belgium Waffles for desert.

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", sharing meals, and doing life with them for a couple of days in Ottignies.

Some other thoughts about these couple of days:

  • We did make it to a good Belgium chocolate store and bought a sizable amount of gifts for folks that Carson brought home from Paris.
  • The Tin Tin Museum was really cool.  We all really enjoyed it. The price includes an audio tour with a ton of extra information.
  • Driving through the countryside to Waterloo was nice.  The price to go into Waterloo to see the museum and walk the grounds was too much for us to agree to.  We seemed to get a good sense of the history by leafing through some books in the gift shop.
  • The train system in Belgium (at least in the Brussels area we were in) was accessible and easy to use.  The kiosks had an excellent set of English instructions.

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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 uneventful.  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.

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Experiencing Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Bad-pyrmontWe arrived pretty much on time in Bad Pyrmont, Germany on Sunday, June 9, 2019 from Frankfurt via Hamburg.  Bad Pyrmont is my Mom's home town where she grew up with her Mom and brother. I have visited this area of Germany a lot as a kid (every odd birth year until high school).  My family (myself, Christy, Conrad, Spencer, & Carson) was there 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 for Pentecost (with many of the same places closed). 

The good news is that we got a couple of hour of shopping in town before we had to leave for the train station on Tuesday morning.

Here are all the photos taken in Bad Prymont!

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Traveling from Frankfurt to Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Germany-train1So we landed pretty much on time in Frankfurt, and we figured out a quicker way through customs/immigration then waiting in the longer line.  It helps to be aware of where lines start and when people bunch up without realizing the multiple queues.

Once we were through customs we made our way to the train area.

I ended up buying our tickets from Frankfurt's central train station to Bad Pyrmont via Hamburg on my phone using the German Train App (Bahn), but then we had a couple of minutes of stress trying to buy our train tickets from the airport to the central train station.

It worked out but we probably paid too much. Thankfully it all worked out. Because nothing is worse than buying tickets for a trip from another station you are not currently at!

The Bahn app turned out to be pretty useful while we were in Germany, and I would recommend using it if you are traveling by train in Germany or from Germany to another country in Europe.

The trip from Frankfurt to Hamburg was good.  And the the trip from Hamburg to Bad Pyrmont didn't have any issues.  It was wonderful to see the Germany countryside during both trips. 

Another tip from this part of our trip in Germany is that that we learned both in Frankfurt and Hamburg is that restrooms will charge for use but in the end it is worth it.  Hard to overcome at first but definitely a good thing from our perspective -- very clean!

Another tip is to purchase reserved seats if the option is available.

All the photos from Traveling from Frankfurt to Bad Pyrmont, Germany.

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Traveling from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany

SanDiego-To-FrankfurtHere are the photos for Traveling from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany.

We were lucky to be able to take the direct flight from San Diego to Frankfurt via Lufthansa. It was a great flight, and I highly recommend it.

We booked our tickets for Europe via AirTreks which I learned about via the Rolf Potts podcast.

The folks at Air Treks were great and I would recommend them even for a generic trip like ours. I originally contacted them because this trip originally started out as a trip to Europe and then to Asia and then back home which is the type of trip they are are known for. 

Other thoughts about this part of the trip:

  • The crew on Lufthansa was great.
  • We ran into some classmates of Spencer's at the San Diego airport heading to Europe to hang out with a band.
  • I was able to get 5-6 hours of sleep on the flight so I was feeling pretty good when we arrived on Sunday.

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Thoughts & Tips for June 2019

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things have been improving since my last month's update (May).  I think I've returned to my overall health level from February . I am tentatively planning my next Sprint Triathlon for the end of July. 

Strongest Conference

IMG_20190518_085337_134

I attended Mike Foster's Strongest workshop on May 16 & 17, 2019. It was an amazing learning experience and the people at the conference were super inspiring. Mike Foster has plans for another one so follow Mike on social media or listen to his Fun Therapy podcast for updates.

Strongest-CollageGetting Things Done (GTD)

At the end of May 2019 I taught my 9th Getting Things Done (GTD) course at work (over 90+ people trained since first class), and my GTD story was published recently on GTD Times.

Technology & Tips

Last month I mentioned I was experimenting in the morning with a Panda paper planning system.  After about a month thought I've made some adjustments because the written monthly, weekly, and daily planning part for my calendar and other item date specific items was not helping me that much.  However what was helping me during my morning devotionals was tracking on a daily basis:

  • what I was thankful for,
  • what I was looking forward to,
  • what God was telling me in my devotional,
  • what I could work on as person (these are coming from the Stoic daily reads from the book The Daily Stoic), and
  • how I am exercising.

This summer I am embarking on a big project with the help of my son Spencer to digitize 99% of all of our physical photos using this scanner -- Epson FastFoto FF-680W Scanner.

Future

This upcoming next month is going to be completely consumed by:

  • Spencer is graduating high school!
  • Carson, Conrad, and I are going to Europe from June 8 through June 23 (Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands).

Quote I'm Thinking About

“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” — Alan Watts