I never did figure out how to connect to the Ethernet in my hotel at Heathrow — once in a while, I’d get the in-hotel infomational pages, but I never got the opportunity to spend money for a fast connection. Their loss, I guess.
Actually, the London Heathrow Marriott was awfully disorganized for a Marriott; not only did the Ethernet not work, but I couldn’t get to the help phone number that was supposed to help me. And the mattress was not in very good shape. And the breakfast buffet was incredibly badly managed — it shouldn’t take 10 minutes to get coffee, and there should always be glasses available for juice. I would have walked out without paying (there was no cashier when I left, either) if it hadn’t already been included in my room cost. On the bright side, they didn’t charge for parking (deliberately — I asked).
My flight to Stuttgart was uneventful, as flights should be. It was on British Midland; even though the flight time was only 75 minutes, they managed to give us a hot meal (nothing I wanted, unfortunately) and two drink services. I wonder why US airlines don’t bother feeding people for less than a two-hour flight (and not always then), and, maybe more to the point, why no one complains.
There were about eight of us on the flight going to the IBM Academy of Technology meeting, so we shared cabs to the city (the taxi, of course, was a Mercedes). My cabmate travels to Germany periodically, so he had Deutsche Marks, so I didn’t have to buy them at the airport. Instead, I changed a $20 bill at the hotel, undoubtedly at a rip-off rate, but I wanted some walking around money for lunch and didn’t feel like finding an ATM.
Lunch was a typical German meal, I guess — Doner Kebab (which I would have called gyros), Pomme Frites, and a beer. The whole thing cost me about $5. Interestingly, the beer can gave the volume in milliliters and in US fluid ounces — I would have expected Imperial measure if anything but milliliters.
Then I took a quick walk around parts of downtown Stuttgart. Like all cities, it has its share of incomprehensible art on the streets:
but some of it just hangs around:
There are also lots of fountains. Sometimes they even come in flocks:
It was starting to get dark, so I headed back to the hotel, where I will remain for the next three days. They let us out once for good behavior, on a field trip to the Mercedes Museum. But otherwise, it’s going to be non-stop enlightment until Wednesday afternoon.