From July 2007:

A Message from Ward and Jacky!

Kay Lum here, Ward and Jacky's webmaster! Normally, Ward and Jacky will post to
this egroup, but Jacky asked me to, because the instructions were in German and the
keyboard was different on the computer she was I am happy to pass on their
:^) K Read on.....

We finally made it to Europe (rain, 60s F). Ross came with us for his
graduation present so we backpacked this portion. We spent the first night in Aschaffenburg, Germany,
with Ward's aunt Brunhild. We attended a birthday celebration that night for her
daughter-in- law, Sabine (married to Martin). It was truly a German celebration with lots of
German beer, wine and champagne. They bull %&$ just like the Americans. Ward and I
hated it … NOT!

On Wednesday we took the train to Munich and toured the BMW museum and the
Olympic stadium. That afternoon we flew to London. We arrived at 8:00 p.m. (rain, 60s
F) and had nowhere to sleep so we found a hotel right downtown. The cheapest we could find
was 65 pounds a night (included breakfast). Currency rate is $2.19 US per 1 pound.
Not exactly in our $50 per day budget but neither were the $15.00-$20.00 meals (sandwiches)
and $6.00 beers. We quickly decided that the grocery store was our friend and made
most of our meals. We had wonderful weather on Friday and Saturday (sunny and 60-70 F)
which is almost unheard of in rainy London. We toured the changing of the guards at
Buckingham Palace (Ross was always wondering what the queen was doing), the
Horse Guards, Big Ben, the Parliament, Tower Bridge, the location of the Prime
Minister´s home, the London Eye, MI6 (security building for the city and, according to Ross… one
of the locations for a James Bond film), Harrod's, the set up for the prologues and
the Tour de France opening ceremony. It was all really cool but the opening ceremony was
really neat because it was unexpected. There were about a million people in Trafalgar
Square watching the opening ceremony. The energy was so high. It gave you goose
bumps. We really wished we could have stayed for the time trials the next day but had to
fly back to Munich. The city was hopping and alive! London was also hosting the Wimbelton
and the Grand Prix. London was a little faster paced, most people wore dark colors (a
lot of black) and they speak very clear English.

We returned to Munich Saturday night where we checked into a hostel. They
aren't cheap either. Currency is 1.53 Euros per $1 US and the hostel for 3 of us was 72
Euros (thank goodness it included breakfast). They were suppose to charge Ward and I four
extra Euros each per night because we were over the age of 26 but they waived the fee. No
benefits getting old over here. We proceeded to the Hofbrau Haus to please Ross. He
loved it and now has a new career goal. He wants to work at the Hofbrau Haus and live in its
upstairs. He's such an over-achiever.

Sunday we took the train to Berchtesgaden to see the Eagle's Nest (one of
Hitler's Hideouts) per Ross's request. Mind you, he is afraid of heights and it is on
the top of a mountain overlooking the Swiss Alps and 3 countries. When he got off of the bus
he was shaking. A storm then came over the mountains. We thought we were going to
have to leave Ross there. He was afraid the rain would make the road slippery on the
way down and the bus would go over the edge. We sedated him with a beer and he was able
to make the trip down. They scenery on this journey was incredibly beautiful. As we
got closer to the SE you saw a change in architecture. It had a Swiss look with rolling hills
and valleys. The view as you went up to the Eagles Nest was breathtaking. We all agreed it
ranked in the top most beautiful areas if not the most beautiful! The pictures don´t do
it justice.

On Monday we headed back to Aschaffenburg with a stop in Nürnberg to see
Hitler´s Stadium and Congress Hall. It was very interesting and eery…knowing that Hitler
was there at one time.

We have met many people on the trains and busses that have helped us greatly
with cultural differences, where to go, where not to go etc. We know they will be a
big help down the road.

Ross flew back to the states today. We will be heading out on our bikes on
Thursday. Its suppose to rain tomorrow so we are going to wait a day….hate to break one of our
rules on day 1 of biking in Europe.

Please check the website photo gallery. It was updated last week, however,
pictures from Europe will have to wait until Wednesday since I blew up the converter. Well,
actually I like to believe that it was a faulty converter. It took out the electricity in the
rooms on our floor at the hostel…oops!

We'll email next week. Until then wiedersehen.
Jacky and Ward