Notes from Puzzle Palace

Thursday, September 14, 2023

MPP and return home

MPP didn't start until 10, but I woke up early anyway.  I wanted to do a bit of grocery shopping and take some stuff back home with us.  (I can't get cup of soup in Italy and since George doesn't drink soup there is no reason for me to make big pots of it for myself.) I got what I needed and headed back to the hotel to pick up my lover.

We arrived promptly at 10 where we were first met by Kevin and then by Steve and Ali who had some boxes for me.  I put everything away in the suitcases and we went inside. This trip I brought along a WADA puzzle for Michael to see so that came in with us as well. I don't get the hype, but everyone likes them so why not.  

I really enjoyed this day.  I spent a good deal of time talking with Phil and Kyle.  I got to try both of their new puzzles and of course I bought them both.  Kevin handed me a few puzzles to try which I was of course rubbish at so I handed them to George.  

I really enjoyed this trip.  The guys  brought their IPP puzzles for others to play with and I had a go at a few.  All in all, I managed to solve 3 puzzles that day.  I'd call that a success.  Well, one wasn't.  I solved it, was about to move it to the base, and the thing went flying all over the room. Oh joy!  I know I solved it though.  

I was looking forward to a pork sandwich for lunch but that was not meant to be.  Instead I had a Cornish pasty!  OMG!  Delicious.  It brought me back to my childhood when my grandmother would pick these up in Door County and bring them home from her trips to Michigan.  I got a lesson on why they have the crimping along the edges and have decided I'm going to learn to make these myself. Why should I have to wait until next summer.  They would be amazing in the cold winters I bet.

The afternoon we puzzled on and chatted some more.  I played with Rik's exchange for a while then handed it over to Steve and George.  Later Ali came by and showed us what we had all just gotten to in solving.  It's a tricky bugger.  Fun though.

That night we headed to Allard's for a bunch of chatting. No puzzling really.  We did all enjoy watching Gilly make an autumn wreath.  Dinner was fish and chips as usual, and we took our leave around 10.  Tomorrow was another day of driving.  This time to the Netherlands.

We awoke around 7 and just hit the road. This put us to Folkestone a full 3 hours ahead  of schedule and as expected we managed to get on the chunnel early.  Our stop that night was in Delft where we stayed with Peter Knoppers.  Oskar and José bicycled over and we all had a wonderful dinner.  

The next morning Peter showed George his laser cutter and I have a feeling there will be a new purchase soon.  We left around 10 and headed for Khus.  Hendrik has been holding a bunch of puzzles for us for almost a year now so I thought we could drive up and get them. 

When I started the car in the morning, it made a bit of a screeching noise, but on the second crank it turned over.  Fluke I guess.  We spent the night in Lübek and drove to Hendrik's in the morning.  No problem starting the car.  

Upon arrival, I condensed the puzzles from 22 boxes down to 14.  9 of which we put in the car and made Hendrik promise that he would bring us the rest at DCD this October.  

He made a wonderful BBQ for us an we got to meet Matilda, his 1 year old grand daughter. She's adorable.  George played with the devil for a while, but around 3 we took our leave. I still had that lack of dash lights problem.  Once again the car made funny noises starting up and so I decided we just drive until we get to a hotel that has a Ford garage near by just in case.  

You have no idea how wise this decision turned out to be.  The next morning when we were to take off, the car would not start at all.  It just screeched at me. Ok.  I need a new starter. I suspected it, but was hoping we could make it to Italy.  No such luck.  I called a garage, and got a tow truck for the next morning.  

Sigh.  When the tow truck came to get us, the driver told me it was a broken timing belt.  Crud! That means a new engine.  We only paid €2000 for the car so a €4000 engine was out of the question. We had it towed to a junk yard and sold it for €100. Sounds cheap, but it did 2 (almost) trips to England, and it brought a lot of puzzles home.  We drove it for 3 months so that came out cheaper than a rental car.  

Now what?  Well, we are known to be a bit soft in the head, so we called Tesla while sitting at the junk yard and ordered a new Model Y.  Easy! 

Or not.  We were told the car could be picked up on the 12th.  It is in stock, almost exactly what we wanted (only missing the FSD, but we can add that later) She's a beautiful car.  Midnight red.  This paint job is amazing. As to the color you see, it depends on how you look at it and the light that it is in.  

But I digress.  The car is ready, at the delivery center.  Ready to be picked up, but....we need to register the car.  Normally Tesla would help, but because we are taking it to Italy we need to do it ourselves.  We sent the money over, paid for the car, and yet we wait.  It turns out the salesman thought we were diplomats for some reason.  I guess it was hard to understand that our car died and we were buying a new one on the spot.  Anyway, we had to spend 5 days in Berlin waiting.  So much for on the spot purchasing.

So we spent a day in bed catching up on emails, movies etc.  Then we drove to Leipzig to visit with Andreas Röver.  We had a lovely lunch and then George and Andreas returned to his flat to work on some Burr Tools stuff and just puzzle away.

 I wandered into town to see a few sights.  Leipzig is a city I was unable to visit when I lived here way back in the '80's.  It is a mix of old and new with some amazing churches and great sculptures.  I really enjoyed my wanderings.  I hope you enjoy the photos below. 

This is a chime for the clock across the road
My MPhil was on the 30 years war

Tallest tower in Leipzig

St. Nicholas Church

On Monday I went into Berlin to do some sight seeing and a bit of shopping.  Of course I bought a few legos to assemble and promptly did them when I returned.  I was here in the 80's and again a few years back for an IPP.   Today I decided to wander the streets where I was in the 80's.  Nothing remains the same except the KaDeWe.  All the rest was like walking into a foreign land to me.  

Kaiser Wilhelm Church
An amazing clock

It could have been a puzzle

KaDeWe: THE place to shop circa 1980's Berlin
The wall inside the European Center

An old Skoda
A part of the wall near our hotel

Tuesday morning!  We get to pick up our car!  Oh yipee!  NOT!  Remember that diplomat thing?  Well, they hadn't changed it and we are still waiting.  George and I returned to the hotel where I assembled the rest of my legos.  

That evening we saw the Berlin Orchestra play at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.  The pipe organ was amazing during the event.  This of course was the real reason we went. George loves that music

When we returned to the hotel we received the email telling us that our registration documents are on the way to the dealership.  This means all we need to do is bring them to a company who will in turn get us tags so we can then drive back home to Italy where we start the process of registering the car all over again.  Stay tuned for that bit of bureaucracy. I'm sure it too will be great fun.  

Today we got our temporary tags.  We picked up our new ride at 4:30 and headed to the rental agency to return the Fiat 500 that we rented.  A word of advice, don't rent one of these.  They have great storage, but the steering is hard work. Thankfully there was no extra charge for the bit of today that we had the car. 

Tesla in hand. The driving is as expected and I'm so glad to have a bit pickup again.  Actually, a lot of pickup.  I can get into traffic.  With that Fiat and the Ford I wasn't able to. Whose a happy girl then?  We got our Tesla for Italy. Now to do the paperwork. 

Tomorrow we leave for home. First stop: A junk yard to pick up some plates and a carload of puzzles.  Next stop: Tesla Florence to register a car.  And then home. It's been too long.  Here's hoping the reest of the trip is uneventful!


  1. I don't get the hype about the WADA puzzles either. -- Nile

  2. I enjoy reading about your adventures. Good luck with your new ride.