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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trip Report – Zurich Zoo

During my recent trip to Zurich, I went to the Zoo and visited Masoala, the simulated Madagascar Rainforest area.  This is an indoor area that has been cultivated and primed with everything except insect life from a Madagascar ecosystem.  Most of the animals came from other Zoos, so they are not truly wild – but still, very authentic.

The pictures are here.   Mostly you’ll see plant life and many attempts to capture Lemurs without a flash.  That first picture is actually of the largest clock face in Europe, and is not actually in the Zoo, it got mis-organized with my Zoo pics and it wasn’t worth moving it again.  The second picture is a street scene near Fraumunster, again not Zoo, so sue me.  The rest are pictures from the Zoo, I promise!  🙂

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 7:18 pm  

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trip Report – Zurich

I spent a little over a week in Zurich on a business trip at the end of August.  Pictures are HERE, and this is what you’ll see:

  •  Pictures on the street near my hotel.  I seem to be hung up on that Lindt Chocolates sign, as you’ll see.  My hotel was right next to the Polybahn station, a little train that goes up the hill from Central to Limmatquai.
  • Pictures DSC00916 through DSC00919 are of some work friends and I at a restaurant on Bahnhoffstrasse (whose name I can never remember) having the famous drink of whiskey and beer.  If it showed up in the pictures, the glasses are on fire from the Whiskey, then they put out the fire with the beer, and then you drink it.
  • Some pictures from the downtown area near my hotel, where you can eat and drink almost anything.  DSC00920 through DSC00925.
  • Some pictures from touring Zurich on foot.  DSC00932 to DSC00942 are from my ride on the Polybahn, including a great view of my hotel (DSC00940).
  • A great picture of Zurich from one of the higher points in the city, overlooking the river. (DSC00947)

There are more pictures than this, but these are the ones from Zurich proper.  Later, posts & pics about the Zurich Zoo and Jungfraujoch – "The Top of Europe"

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 9:00 am  

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Day At The Ballpark

We went to watch the September 3rd Cubs game at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  Unfortunately, the Cubs got blown out 11-3, mostly due to Carlos Zambrano giving up eight runs in three innings when the Cubs had been up 2-0.  On the positive side, we had dream seats: row one in Section 19, basically directly behind the plate three rows back from the brick.  We will probably never sit this clloase to the game again, but hopefully we will see a better game someday!

Pictures are HERE

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 5:36 pm  

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hotel Du Theatre Zurich – Hotel Review

I stayed at "Du Theatre" for a recent business trip.  This hotel is located centrally in Zurich, very convenient to the main train station and other "downtown Zurich" hotspots, including a LOT of shopping and restaurants right outside the hotel doors.  This is a good thing, and a bad thing because all those restaurants are also bars and they stay open late and make a lot of noise.  I had a room facing the pedestrian streets of downtown Zurich, and with the window open it was quite noisy.

Which brings us to our problem.  The Hotel does not have air conditioning.  This is fairly common in Europe as well as Switzerland, for hotels that don’t cater to Americans.  But when the temps get up to 85-90 degrees F in the summer, I can’t imagine that even hardened Europeans are comfortable.  So you open the window.  And then you hear the noise.  So you close the window, and hope for the best.

The breakfast floor has a small buffet Swiss-style breakfast of cereal, fresh sliced meats and cheeses, hard boiled eggs, and of course coffee.  If you like coffee, you will really like Zurich.  If you must drink decaf, good luck.  But if you can handle a cup of espresso that is equivalent to five American cups of coffee, you will do well here.  Everyone does business over coffee, and you can easily get a huge caf buz going by dinnertime.  

Which is why there are so many great bears in Switzerland.  To offset all that coffee :).

Anyway, back to the hotel.  Great service, OK breakfast, no lounge or restaurant (not that you need one, with all the bars and restaurants right outside the door) and no A/C.  Small rooms, but that’s OK for Biz travellers.  

The kicker? It’s about 25% cheaper than most Zurich American-style hotels.  For a business traveler, this is a great deal on a no-frills hotel that puts you in the heart of the city.  For a leisure traveler used to "European-style" hotels, it would also be good.  For an American family taking a European jaunt, I’d skip the "Du Theatre". 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 7:40 pm  

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Stevens Point Holiday Inn Hotel Review

First order of business: Post number 200!  W00t!

We stayed at the Stevens Point Holiday Inn in Stevens Point, Wisconsin over the Labor Day weekend.  We needed to go "up north" to have our boat serviced after over a year in storage.  I have the scumbags at the Village of Rome Town Hall to thank for that, since they gave campers the bums rush last year.  Oh well, we can take our vacation money elsewhere.  

Anyway, the hotel was as close to perfect as I think I’ll get.  The check in was flawless, and I was given a "snack bag" on check-in that included and apple, a juice drink, and a cereal bar.  The room was exactly as we expected (King Family Suite) with a King bed, and a bunk bed in a separate room for the kids.  Everything worked and was well maintained.

The "waterpark" is barely that, but then it’s certainly much more than a pool you might expect at a Holiday Inn.  There’s one medium sized waterslide and a small waterslide for the tots.  The medium waterslide was fun for Aaron, our ten-year-old.  They had two "pools", a zero-depth affair with the tot water slide, and an adjacent pool with built in water basketball courts.  The Jacuzzi was at a comfortable temp and good working order.  It’s not a waterpark for older kids or fearless adults, but for young kids and going into it with the expectation of a "pool", it’s not bad.

The restaurant, Rudy’s Redeye Grill, was almost perfect and was the only disappointing experience that would have otherwise earned this hotel an MHD "Perfect" rating.  The full text of our restaurant experience is after the jump.

Overall, I would still stay at this hotel again – well worth the money. I would be wary of the restaurant staff, and not let them get away with their obvious staff problems.  We ended up eating one meal free because of the attrocious service.  But I still rate this hotel very high, when you happen to find yourself in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.


posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 6:33 pm  
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