Friday, November 29, 2019

Untergroeningen: Let there be ... Brown!

Today marks the end of the pink era in Untergroeningen. I filled gaps with Scuptamold and also started building up the scenery cut where the track transitions from the Untergroeningen module through the wall to the Welztalbahn from pink foam put into shape with a basket rasp. I tinted the Scuptamold with some powdered black Tempera paint.

Next I painted all three Untergroeningen segments with standard brown Latex paint. Now this is looking much more believable already.

In these photos the paint is still wet.

I need to build the remaining stub tracks, so that the station is fully operable and I can move on to work on buildings next.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

The turkey is ready. Time to eat.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Rain ... Finally.

It started raining last night. This storm finally puts an end to this unusually dry fall.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Another early morning flight with even earlier wake-up time. A 6:00am departure implies getting up at 2:30am. At least there was no traffic through Stuttgart city center, and it was a smooth Taxi ride on this Sunday morning.

Contrary to Stuttgart it's very foggy in Paris. Planes parked at the terminals are barely visible through the fog.

It's wet and cold, but the walk to Terminal 2G isn't far.

20 minutes later I arrived at the gate in the cavernous Terminal 2E for the connecting flight to San Francisco. Not many people waiting for this flight yet ....

AF84 is ready for boarding.

After a long flight with some activities -- more about those some other time -- we arrive at SFO a few minutes early. Now I just need to last to evening before I can fall into bed.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Kein Weihnachtsmarkt

The Baroque Christmas Market in Ludwigsburg opens only on Monday, which means no Gluehwein for me on this trip. It's not quite cold enough for Gluehwein, but it would have been nice anyways.

I really like how the market spills over from the main market square into the adjoining pedestrian zone.

Friday, November 22, 2019


Our coffee on board of ICE came with Ritter Sport chocolate labeled "Lieblingsgast", favorite guest. Yes, the chocolate was good, and the coffee, too.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Moroccan Mint Tea

In a small restaurant close to the upper end of Ourika Valley in the High Atlas mountains.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Stuttgart - Duesseldorf - Marrakech

ICE 918 is ready for departure from track 8 at Stuttgaert Hbf.

Ontime arrival in Duesseldorf (that's reason to celebrate), and after a short ride on a Regional Express, we're taking the Schwebebahn to the airport terminal in Duesseldorf.

We get to enjoy the large terminal for a couple hours.

Approaching Agadir.

The sun is low already as remaining passengers are leaving the plane.

We started this journey at a train station, so we end with a train station. Here's the station in Marrakech.

Waiblingen - Stuttgart

An early morning departure from track 1 in Waiblingen (again) gets us early enough into Stuttgart Hbf to take photos and walk to the main station hall to warm up. It's freezing outside after all.

Our inbound train is already prepared for the return trip to Hessental.
An agilis Regionalbahn to Pforzheim and the tail of a Flixtrain to Berlin-Lichtenberg in the background
The Bonatz main hall will be gutted and rebuilt over the next 6 years. In the meantime this is not a nice place to hang out, but rather sad and barren.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Frische Broetchen, Orangensaft, Marmelade, und ... Kaffee!


Die Nacht war um 4:00 zu Ende, dem Jetlag sei Dank. Auf dem Weg vom Baecker nach Hause gab es eine Knusperstange zum Snacken.

Monday, November 11, 2019


Ein Bier. Wurst, Kaese, Schinken, frisches Brot. Herz was willst Du mehr?

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Hanging out at the airport with coffee and baked goods. The plane is here, with a planned flight time of 10 hours, 20 minutes faster than scheduled. This trip has a very short layover in Paris, so getting to Paris early increases my chances of making the connection (contrary to last time, or the other time). Let's see how it is going to work out this time.

A last look to the coast ...

... and 10 hours later, we arrived to miserable weather in Paris. The front facing camera of the plane did not line up with the runway centerline until after touchdown. I guess there were significant crosswinds the pilot had to compensate for.

We arrived early enough that I made the transfer to the Stuttgart flight with 10 minutes to spare. Still raining as we boarded. This time I got my wish, and the open air experience.

We left the rain behind in France and even had some sunshine upon arrival in Stuttgart. Same perspective as almost two years ago, still with day light.

Untergroeningen: The Box

As part of the Welztalbahn extension, two segments of the Untergroeningen module will remain connected to the Welztalbahn when the layout is not in use. Since the segments are out in the garage I needed a quick and easy way to box them for dust protection, while minimizing the activation energy needed to work on the segments. My solution is a shadow box that integrates the backdrop with a ceiling cover and lighting and mounts to the segment base as shown in a previous post.

The shadow box leaves the front open. I cut hardboard pieces that fit in front of the opening and are held in place merely by gravity and a small clamp. Here's a view down the length of the segments, with the backdrop on the left and the opening on the right. The LED bands for module lighting are visible in the top right corner.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Streetcar, Lightrail, Airplane

I took the Seattle Streetcar from South Lake Union to Westlake. It's nice, but ... wow ... getting through traffic in downtown Seattle on this tram is amazingly slow. It probably would have been faster to walk the last 4 blocks to Westlake Transit Center than to wait for cross traffic at every intersection.

Taking LINK Lightrail out to SeaTac airport was dramatically less pleasant than on the way into the city on Monday. The train was packed and standing room only for most of the ride.

My flight is here and should get me into San Jose on-time later tonight.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Space Needle

I really like this photo of the Space Needle taking on my Pixel 3 in Night Shot mode.

Seattle at Night

In earlier visits to the city I didn't quite realize how colorful it is. Yes, this is an HDR photo, but the view was actually like this. At the north end of the Highway 99 tunnel is a ventilation system to remove the exhaust from the tunnel. They could have built the usual concrete bunker to house the ventilation fans.

Instead, there's a lighted glass structure with changing colors turning a utilitarian machine house into a colorful counterpoint to the surrounding streets.

I did make a quick stop at the Space Needle. I haven't been here in years, so I figured it's worth at least a quick selfie.

When you cross Mercer Street near Amazon headquarters, you find this.

Need more energy!