Archive for May, 2019

Ski Dubai and other thoughts

No, I did not go skiing. The snow/ice on a very short run might be fun with a friend, but not on my own.

But, it is a good example of the idea that anything can be built in Dubai.

Other observations:

1. Interesting architecture: some of the buildings are amazing with interesting designs.

2. Size: All of the buildings are big, and bigger. But each is part of a building complex that’s huge, and each is part of a neighborhood that is massive. There a a number of neighborhoods in Dubai.

3. It’s hot: It’s not summer yet and my temperatures ranged from 82 F to 107 F. That was still ok to go for a walk. People tell me you don’t go outside in the summer.

4. Cars: Everyone drives because it is hot and the city is so large and spread out. Also, every high end model of every car manufacturer is here. Every Uber ride was in a new Lexus.

5. Ramadan: During the day you don’t eat if you’re observing Ramadan. But many restaurants are still open, but they are covered up or blocked off. This is so you can’t see people eating. But right before sundown, you can see employees ready and waiting for the sound that says it’s ok to eat. In a mall, I saw ice cream scoopers standing and waiting to take down the black coverings from the ice cream freezers and start working. Also, many restaurants don’t serve alcohol at this time; see the 0% beer which needed ice because the cans were warm.

6. Shopping Malls: they are bigger than some towns in Minnesota and North Dakota. Much more opulent too.

Toes in the Persian Gulf

124th Floor of The Burj Khalifa

This is currently the tallest building in the world. The photos show Dubai and in the distance of one you can see The World Islands. I was on the 124th floor observation deck, which is indoors, and the floor below which is outside. I held my phone tight for those photos since I didn’t want to drop my phone 452 meters (1,483 feet)! I could have gone to the 148th floor too, but that was twice the cost, and it’s not like my view was blocked by anything.

Interestingly, the elevator has no windows, but they have displays on the wall that make if feel like you are going up past other well-known towers, like the Eiffel tower, Empire State building, and others. After a minute, those are far below you and you’re still climbing.

Ramadan dinner in Dubai

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting prayer, reflection and community.

That means they don’t eat during the day, but once the sun goes down, people often gather in banquet spaces to have a big communal dinner. They used to do that in tents, so they are still referred to as tents. Even this place is still referred to as a tent, just for the occasion.

This was at the Madinat Jumeirah, which is an area with shops and restaurants, but the Dubai police in this area also help announce that fasting is over for the day by firing a cannon. It was loud and at the time I saw it, I had no idea why they were firing a cannon.

And oddly, our tent was sponsored by Lamborghini. This is their new off-road version.

Dubai, the city of skyscrapers in the desert

Notice the mural on one of these buildings.

A panoramic photo is needed to capture even some of the mass of buildings in the marina area.

Now that is a party boat!

The view from my room.

Amsterdam Canal Cruise, May 2019

World”s largest wine barrel in Heidelberg

In the Heidelberg castle is a massive wine barrel, but it is apparently empty now. Unrelated, I did confirm that Heidelberg has it’s own beer, but it isn’t the same that is in the US.

More information about the barrel is at

370 year old restaurant in Heidelberg

Dinner of sausage and Heidelberg wine (white) was good but the decor was the best part. They had some interesting string instruments in cases.

A day in Stuttgart

We took a day trip from Heidelberg to Stuttgart to see where Lorie’s grandmother lived before escaping/emigrating to the US. It’s now an office building!

Passing through Cologne

May 17, 2019 1 comment

On the train to Heidelberg, we pass through Cologne, which has the main train station in the center of town, right next to an old church. This is also where the train switches direction, since the train station has no exit. That means if you were sitting facing forward going into the station, you leave facing backwards.

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