Lucerne Switzerland

Lucerne Switzerland

DC-3 and Coronado Airplanes at the Verkehrshaus - Swiss Transport Museum - Lucerne

DC-3 and Coronado Airplanes at the Verkehrshaus – Swiss Transport Museum – Lucerne

Model cable railway in Swiss Transportation Museum Lucerne

Model cable railway in Swiss Transportation Museum Lucerne

I visited Lucerne Switzerland in March. Lucerne is about 45-minutes by train from Zurich and it’s a wonderful day trip with several excellent museums and a very nice historic old city to walk around. I visited one of my favourite transport museums, the Verkehrshaus (Transport House). The museum has a great collection of railway locomotives and cars, trams, a couple airplanes, exhibits on cable railways, ships and more. It’s a little pricy (normal adult admission is 30 Swiss Francs, which is close to $30 now! – although they have family plans, and you can also get a discount if you use the Swiss National Railway’s Railaway program). Here are a couple photos.

Light and dark beer at the Rathaus Brauerei Lucerne

Light and dark beer at the Rathaus Brauerei Lucerne

We discovered an excellent restaurant in Lucerne right on the river called Nix … they had excellent local microbrewery beer from Luzerner Bier (by the way, Luzerner delivers its beer by bike!), a nice Flammkuchen and superb lamb. A great meal, and probably really pleasant to visit in warmer weather when you can sit outside in front of the river.

We also had a beer at the Rathaus Braueri, a traditional beer cellar in the old city hall located across the river from Nix. It was a little touristy, but it also looked like they had good beer food. The beer was quite good (see photo).

Historic tram at the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne.

Historic tram at the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne.

My photos of Lucerne on Flickr.

My photos of the Verkehrshaus (Swiss Transport Museum) are in my Transport Museums set on Flickr use the tag: verkehrshaus.

Tel Aviv Yafo

Tel Aviv Yafo

Ben Gurion Avenue, Tel Aviv Yafo, one of the city's green corridors

Ben Gurion Avenue, Tel Aviv Yafo, one of the city’s green corridors

I visited Tel Aviv Yafo as part of my work reviewing the CIVITAS 2move2 project in late March. I’d never been to Israel before and it was very interesting and nice. The weather was fantastic, sunny and about 20 degrees for our whole visit.

Tel-o-Fun bike sharing in Tel Aviv Yafo

Tel-o-Fun bike sharing in Tel Aviv Yafo

The goal of CIVITAS is for cities to demonstrate a set of innovative sustainable transportation measures and then evaluate how well they worked so that other cities can learn from their experience. Groups of cities work together to implement similar measures and learn from each other. In Tel Aviv we saw measures for electro mobility, improved traffic control, bus priority, green corridors and bike systems. Our hosts from the city took us on tours to see these innovative ideas.

One of my favourite projects is the green corridors. I learned that the noted city planner Patrick Geddes had developed the original plan for Tel Aviv and had included green corridors around the city. We walked and rode bikes on several of these corridors and they are really wonderful. They reminded me of the parkways in my hometown of Buffalo NY planned by Frederick Law Olmsted. There are one-way streets (one parking lane and one travel lane) on both sides of a wide landscaped median. The median contains a bike path, pedestrian path, play areas, and cafes at the main cross streets (see photo). These corridors are very pleasant and well used, they would be a great model for modern cities!

Pedestrian wayfinding sign in Tel Aviv Yafo

Pedestrian wayfinding sign in Tel Aviv Yafo

We also had a very nice tour of Tel Aviv’s White City. This is the part of Tel Aviv developed in the early 1920s (planned by Geddes). It contains over 2,000 Bauhaus (International Style) buildings. Many of these buildings need renovation, and the city is working on making this happen by working with owners to develop economically possible renovation plans. This portion of the city was recently designated a world cultural site by UNESCO.

Of course, the beach is also nice!

My photos of Tel Aviv on Flickr.

My photos of Jerusalem on Flickr – it’s only about an hour away by bus!

London UK

London UK

London Transport Museum Depot in Acton

London Transport Museum Depot in Acton

Camden Town Brewery London - Tour in progress.

Camden Town Brewery London – Tour in progress.

The Urban Data from Fetish Object to Social Object conference in London (see previous post) was fantastic, lots of great ideas discussed by people doing really neat things with social data. Sjors Timmer did a nice post about the conference.

I enjoyed my trip to London, a city I have not visited for some time. Mostly I walked around and enjoyed the great weather, sunny and 20 degrees the whole time. Of course I found time to sample some traditional beers at the Churchill Pub in Kensington (great Thai food too), the Camden Town Brewery (see photo – next time I’ll plan ahead so I can go on one of the Thursday evening tours!) and the Carpenters Arms in Bloomsbury.

Bus lane in Central London

Bus lane in Central London

On Saturday I rode a double decker bus on Oxford Street … the view from the top front makes you really appreciate the skills of the bus drivers … pedestrians all over! Then on to the London Transport Museum‘s Acton Depot where there was a special open house (see photos). The Depot is where the Museum restores objects and keeps objects for which there is no room in the main Covent Garden museum building. It’s only open a couple weekends a year and I was lucky enough to be there for one!

My flickr photos of the London Transport Museum Depot are in my flickr photos of transport museums.

My flickr photos of London.

San Francisco – February 2014

San Francisco – February 2014

San Francisco Yerba Buena Gardens - February 2014

San Francisco Yerba Buena Gardens – February 2014

Just returned from a nice visit to San Francisco … great weather and lots of interesting meetings. The photo above is of Yerba Buena Gardens looking towards the SF MOMA which is currently being expanded/remodelled.

Bay Area Bike Share station at 3rd and Howard streets in San Francisco.

Bay Area Bike Share station at 3rd and Howard streets in San Francisco.

Around the corner from the photo above I ran across my first set of Bay Area Bike Share bikes. Great to see that San Francisco and the Bay Area are becoming more bike friendly. Here’s a photo of the bike station at 3rd and Howard streets.

I seem to be running into bike sharing everywhere I go these days: Washington DC, New York, Brussels, San Francisco and, naturally Vienna, one of the first cities to have public bike sharing. There are photos of all these bike share systems in my flickr set Bike Photos.

Broccoli Rabe pizza at Delfina in San Francisco.

Broccoli Rabe pizza at Delfina in San Francisco.

No trip to San Francisco would be complete without visiting (or re-visiting) some of my favorite restaurants. In my short trip I could fit in Delfina Pizza in the Mission … had a really delicious Broccoli Rabe pizza with a Lagunitas Little Sumtin’. The breadsticks at Delfina are addictive. Great meal for just under $30 including tip (with a couple slices to bring home). By the way the Pacific Heights Delfina looks to be bike friendly from the photo on the website. Cool.

Sign in front of Henry's Hunan restaurant, Sansome Street, San Francisco.

Sign in front of Henry’s Hunan restaurant, Sansome Street, San Francisco.

I also returned to one of my all time favorite Chinese restaurants: Henry’s Hunan. I first started going to Henry’s Hunan in 1984. The Sansome Street location was on my way home from work and I would stop by, sit at the counter and watch as the women cooked my dinner in the huge woks three feet in front of me. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about cooking with a wok. Unfortunately that location was damaged in the 1989 earthquake, but there are several other Henry’s Hunan in San Francisco.

Anyway, I went into the Henry’s Hunan on Sacramento (just east of Sansome) and sat at the counter. It really reminded me of the Sansome Street location, women cooking in woks three feet away and all. I had one of my favorites: hot and sour chicken. When I left I noticed a sign by the cashier saying that the restaurant was designed to look like the original (so I wasn’t crazy). I mentioned to the cashier that I had eaten at the original and he said, you must have known my father and grandfather then … right, he’s third generation! The food remains great and my hot and sour chicken rice plate was $7.50 for a large portion. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Visiting friends in Berkeley we stopped by at the hardware store and I found several items which I really need. These photos require no further explanation.

Civil Engineer tape available at Berkeley Ace Hardware.

Civil Engineer tape available at Berkeley Ace Hardware.

Plasticville USA model available at Ace Hardware Berkeley.

Plasticville USA model available at Ace Hardware Berkeley.

All to soon my visit was over and I returned to Vienna via Zurich on Swiss International Airlines. Here’s a photo of our A340 as we waited to board. I always enjoy flying Swiss via Zurich, it’s relatively quick and the times work out well.  And of course, there’s my music video “Flowers in Your Horns” which I made for a contest Swiss organised when they started flying to San Francisco. (OK, I should say I enjoy it to the extent it’s possible to enjoy a long flight in economy class these days … and, oddly, the airlines always ask you if you are satisfied with the seats in their surveys, shouldn’t they know by now that no-one is satisfied with a standard economy class seat? – but, I digress.)

Swiss A340 San Francisco International Airport - February 2014

Swiss A340 San Francisco International Airport – February 2014

Brussels – Les Super Filles du Tram

Brussels – Les Super Filles du Tram

Hamburger and frites at Les Super Filles du Tram Brussels.

Hamburger and frites at Les Super Filles du Tram Brussels.

How could I not eat at a place with the word “tram” in the name when I visit Brussels?

Les Super Filles du Tram is a busy restaurant near Place Flagey in Brussels. Their speciality is hamburgers. I’ve been twice (so far) and both times it was very good.

The staff are friendly and speak English well. They even seem to enjoy it when you try to speak French with them. I started my conversation trying to say “I don’t speak French”, the barman corrected my grammar, but said it did not matter since he spoke English!

I was in a hurry and the barman was super efficient at taking my order, bringing my food and bill. Very nice!

The food is quite good. Because I was in a hurry I ordered a simple burger cooked medium rare.  I haven’t had a better hamburger in a long time. It was flavourful and loosely pressed (I hate really dense hamburgers). Nicely toasted bun with salad and tomato. The frites were also quite good, well cooked and crisp.

Door mat at Les Super Filles du Tram restaurant in Brussels - neat.

Door mat at Les Super Filles du Tram restaurant in Brussels – neat.

The beer selection is fine, but not great. I had a Chimay the first time and a La Chouffe last time. But, it’s a place to go for a good, fast and simple dinner, you can go elsewhere to enjoy an evening beer tasting.

My burger, frites and beer cost about 15 euros with a decent tip.

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