Friday, June 29, 2007
Back from Germany
I flew back in to Pontiac airport this afternoon after being in Germany for the past four days for a business workshop. The closest I came to a bike was when walking through one of the local towns a team of riders on a club ride came through. I think my body was grateful for the forced break from riding.
I mentioned in an earlier post that we would be staying at a castle, this one was partly converted to a hotel and restaurant in the 1950's to help cover the growing cost to maintain such a place. The place was wonderful, very quiet and out in the country. It was furnished with many antiques and all around were portraits of the ancestors. The staff did whatever they could to make you feel at home. At night we would stay up until midnight or later sitting by the fire and partaking of the beverage of choice.
The conference was an intensive couple of says working with our German colleagues on the internal business consulting organization that we began last year. Unfortunately with the impending split of Daimler and Chrysler, we also had to work on how we would continue independently yet still collaborate. This may have been the last chance most of us would be together.
The flights were booked on our company jet and the flight over to Germany only had 14 of the 48 seats filled. This meant the flight attendants were able to bring the drink cart down the aisle four times in the first hour. And dinner was served quickly so we could try to get some sleep to get our bodies adjusted to the six hour time difference. Arriving at 7:30 in the morning Stuttgart time meant it was only 1:30 in the morning back home.
Later in the day on Tuesday we took a guided tour of the Mercedes museum which opened last year. This is an impressive eight story building with exhibits displayed on a descending spiral walk that takes your through the history of the company's vehicles. Attached to the museum is a Mercedes car dealership where I was able to see most of the vehicle lineup including the new Smart fortwo that will be sold in the United States. It is a very small car and makes a Mini Cooper look huge by comparison. The Smart car will also come as a convertible.
We were fortunate to have a guided tour of the castle by the Baron Max von Rassler, descendant of the original Baron that bought the castle in 1720. The Baron still lives in one wing of the castle.
I managed to get a ride into the village on the floor of the valley to take a look around before hiking back to the castle. I didn't see any path up to the top from the road below so I just climbed the hill up to the top. I can see why it would have been difficult to attack from that side.
I was sorry to leave but maybe I can get back for a vacation. I certainly know quite a few people over there now that would be able to assist if I was able to return.
I got out for a short ride today and it felt good to be back. I felt re-energized to be riding again. I will be doing some rides with the team this weekend as I prepare for the Boyne marathon XC race next weekend.
More photos of the trip can be seen here http://kinley.smugmug.com/gallery/3073571#167891524
The left side of the castle is actually the new side and where the Baron lives
View from my window
One of the hallways leading to guest and meeting rooms
The Baron and a portrait of his father