September 26th, 2004


Notes from LGW to LHR

(I wrote this earlier on my Treo 600 while on the bus... I'm in Munich now in my hotel room, and I just beamed this over to the laptop for posting using IR.)

The drive from Gatwick to Heathrow was 17GBP, fairly effortless, and serenely beautiful. We were on the M25 by 6:45, bound on a 70 minute trip to London's main airport. I spotted a Delta 767 lazily floating to a landing on Gatwick's sole runway as we departed. The drive started through woods and pastors, with a light fog misting up the landscape, and the hues of sunrise visible to the east. Little eurocars passed the coach as we lumbered along.

7:22 now. We keep passing ASDA lorries heading in the other direction. The markings are identical to the Walmart trucks in the US, with the "always low prices" slogan. The color scheme is lime green rather then blue, but its obvious who owns ASDA.

They got signs along this stretch of motorway with 40 in a circle, the local speed limit, and an accordion-style camera, indicating that speeders will be caught using photography. How odd to use such an archaic representation..

7:31. We are at Heathrow and the rate of construction here is breathtaking. At least ten cranes at work on a new hangar and new terminal space. 747s, 777s, Airbuses all are in view.

9:30. About to board my flight to Munich. Heathrow has an interesting waiting area strategy. Rather than deploy a lot of seating at each gate, as is often done at American airports, they have a central shopping/food court with many tax-free shops. Then, they use a network of large screens to direct people to their gates about 30 minutes before take off. It works pretty well, and it seems to support a nice array of upscale shops.

Munching in München

I woke up from my jet-lag nap about 8:30 PM, in time to handle some email and go scouting for grub. I'd planned on going to Taverna del Sud, an Italian pizza restaurant a block from the hotel that had served me well last year. I got there, and there were "for rent" notices on the windows and nothing but boxes inside. I guess I should have come back to Munich more often.

So, I walked through the English Garden to the commercial area near the U-Bahn station and started my walk to end personal hunger. Being just north of the University, there were a lot of cool, funky restaurants and bars, but I really didn't find anything that I felt confident with. There was a Greek place that may have been nice, but I couldn't decipher the menu adequately to tell what was vegetarian. So, I ended up at the Cast American Cafe, a smoky place that serves burgers and pizza, has a staff that understands English, and marks the vegetarian items with "(v)" so people like me can know what to order.

I got their veggie pizza. First issue: you've got to slice it yourself using knife and fork. The whole concept of a pizza cutter seems lost on the continent, based on my experience last year and now. Second issue: corn on a pizza is just weird, although it's really not that bad. Third issue: cheese shouldn't really drip off the crust. This is strictly a taste issue, but I prefer my pizza with a more cohesive upper layer. Still, the service was nice, the food was fresh and tasty, and the 500 cL of Orangina tasted pretty good after the walk.

PalmSource people are meeting up at 10:00 AM, and I need to get up at 4:30 AM to try to call into the final Show With No Name. Tomorrow includes rehearsal for my talks, proctoring a developer exam, and a little more sightseeing. I didn't have my camera tonight (too dark), but there's a beautiful five-story sculpture down near the cafe that I want to capture, and the English Garden (adjacent to the hotel), is really, really nice.