Daily City Shops Sticker on BART ~ Sunday, September 11, 2016
Dresden via Berlin ~ Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Apologies for a late post--actually, it's about a year late! Last September I attended a conference in Dresden, and have been sitting on pictures from the trip ever since.
The trip had an auspicious start in that we flew right over the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction.
Naturally there are no direct flights from SFO to Dresden, and rather than change planes somewhere I flew into Berlin to take a train. The new central station in Berlin is nice, and even contains an HO model of itself.
I had to jump right into speaking German because on arrival, I discovered I had forgotten to bring a printout of my train reservation. The staff at the DB office said they needed a confirmation number to help me. I knew I had this somewhere in my email, but I didn't have internet access--their unofficial recommendation was to stand next to Starbucks and try their WiFi. It worked!
All this took up a little while but I still had some time before my train to see a few sights and take pictures.
...and shopt for a few things. Back Home, Nathan was about to start first grade right after I got back, and I found a stationery store in the station and bought him a Schultüte and school supplies to stuff it with. Maybe we can make this tradition catch on in the US, too.
I had a late night change of trains in Leipzig. The Leipzig station turns out to have some vintage railway equipment on display, such as this Krokodil:
There are several stations in Dresden, and "Dresden Neustadt" was closest to my hotel. This is a small neighborhood station. The lobby has a coin-operated model railroad!
Dresden has an extensive tram network.
There are plenty of things to see in Dresden, which is nicknamed "Florence on the Elbe". A few pictures of more conventionally-touristy signts...
This building looks like a mosque, which is intentional, but it's a fake: originally it was a warehouse for a tobacco importer. It is called the Yenidze, and today it contains a restaurant and a children's theater, which shows performances of fairy tails, appropriately including stories from the Arabian Nights.
These "Ampelmännchen" pedestrian crossing signals are found all over the former East Germany.
A colleague and I did some exploring of the city. At the east side of town, there is a hill with two funiculars. One is simultaneously a funicular and a suspended monorail, called a Schwebebahn (like the more famous monorail in Wuppertal). We rode up this one; there is a very nice view from the top.
On a lunch break I visited this local hobby shop. It's small, but when I asked for N scale kits, the proprietor found a whole stack of them in the back. I found a few that seemed applicable to my layout, and got a Roco "Hirter Märzen Dunkel" boxcar purely as a souvenir.
I also attempted to get a look at the main carbarn, but did go quite the right way and had to get back to work. If you want to see it, it's labelled as "Btf (Betriebshof) Gorbitz" and is on the 2,6, and 7 lines, and is actually close to hobby shop I visited.
The Nevada State Museum ~ Sunday, August 28, 2016
Back to our last vacation... we make one more trip to Carson city and visited the Nevada State Museum. The museum covers the state's natural and human history, and a quite a few interesting exhibits--include a simulated mine and ghost town. The building was originally a mint and there is still a coin press machine, operational until recently and hopefully to be restored.
Train in Japantown ~ Friday, August 12, 2016
Glasses Train ~ Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Virginia City and the V&T ~ Sunday, August 07, 2016
The next stop was Virginia City.
We saw a western show--it was a lot of fun.
The kids went on a mine tour, which starts at the back of the Ponderosa Saloon (where kids are welcome except literally at the bar).
Afterwards we rode the V&T to Gold Hill and back.
The engineer had a buddy (click on picture to see full-size). I told him "you wouldn't get a cat to do that", but at first he misunderstood and said back "it's a Cummins". I meant no disrespect to the Caterpillar company or their AFAIK fine Diesel engine products! The locomotive is an 80-ton GE.
Anyway, everyone enjoyed the ride.
The tracks wind along the side of a cliff, so you get a great view of desert scenery, plus old mines and shacks, and the V&T's own shops.
A few more scenes around the V&T depot and Virginia City generally. Note the SN caboose. How did it end up here?
We were slightly surprised to see a TARDIS on the way out of town. We tried to take a picture but none came out. Must have dematerialized! There's also a tree covered with old shoes and another tree growing out of a rusty car. These are all on the uphill side of the road as you exit town back towards Carson.
Another interesting landmark on the way to or from Virginia City is this giant spider made out of an old VW. It's in Mound House, which is not much of a town but was once the transloading point between the V&T and the narrow gauge Carson & Colorado line that went to the Owens Valley.
We were hungry when we got back to Carson City (pretty much everything in Virginia closed up at 5:00) and found this Salvadorean place on the way into town on the 50. Pupusas! It was pretty good.