Sunday, 24 February 2013

Karlsruhe, not your usual tourist destination!

Last Monday saw us flying off again, this time to Germany.  Thankfully, this trip coincided with the week long Winter holiday for schools in this area.  So, Oskar was free to travel with us without gaining prior permission:)...just as well because he only has two remaining days of his authorised absence left!
For a change (Oskar and I), we departed from Sandefjord.  As we live mid-way between Sandefjord and Kristiansand, we fly from whichever airport offers the best price tickets:)
The journey was fairly uneventful.  Although I must make a mental note to myself.....don't wear the black boots with buckles when travelling!  The said boots caused the the alarm to go off when going through customs, resulting in me been frisked/searched.  This was okay at Sandefjord, but a bit too intimate for my liking at Frankfurt Airport >-<  As usual and because we certainly don't live in the centre of the universe, we travelled via Amsterdam Schipol.  On arrival at Frankfurt, we then took a train to Karlsruhe...our final destination.
We stayed at Hotel Hoepfner Burghof for our 3 night stay.  Our accommodation was attached to the local brewery:)  Hotel was chosen due to its close proximity to Fraunhofer ISI, where Nils had meetings with partners in the EU project he is part of.

Nils had a free day on the Tuesday, so we all had a wander into the town centre.  First thing that struck us was the chaotic road system....there were barriers, excavators, and a whole host of other plant hire everywhere!  Karlsruhe is currently in the long process of updating its public transport network.  It didn't look pretty, but then Karlsruhe isn't the most scenic of places to visit!

That said, we had a wander around the grounds of the Karlsruhe Palace.  The palace itself in now a museum.  If we hadn't have had Oskar with us, then Nils and I would have gladly had a wander around it.

The following two days, Oskar and I were left to our own devices as Nils was working.  This place was a godsend...a nice and warm respite from the cold wind ( and the shopping was good too;) )
My overall impression of Karlsruhe is that I'd be happy to visit again.  As it isn't a touristy destination, the prices for goods and services were reasonable.  Our hotel accommodation was very comfortable and would definitely stay there again. The food and eating out was high quality.  So my first impression of Germany was a good one.

As our first flight out of Frankfurt was at 06:55 on Friday morning, we sayed over night a the Meninger hotel at the airport.  We were only there for 7 hours, but were happy with the accommodation.

We had breakfast at Schipol as we had a three hour wait for our final flight to Sandefjord.  Oskar always likes these long  transfers, so he can play.  I was content with my ipad to continue reading "Turning Point" by Tiffany A Snow, and a cup of tea (and a double chocolate muffin Nils bought for me)!  After a stop at a supermarket near the airport, we made it home around 17:30.  It had been a long day. So, that was another trip done and dusted.  Nils has to be in Brussels, Dublin and Belfast within the next 8 months, so we'll see which places Oskar and I tag along too.

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