The Gnome's European Business Trip
Paul took the Gnome on a business trip to Europe in late October and early November last year. After his great adventure on vacation in September, there was no keeping him down on the farm.
Awaiting his first airplane flight in Pittsburgh.
My, what a view!
We stayed in this very modern hotel in Dusseldorf very near the Rhine river, called the Inside Hotel.
The bathroom is this open area right in the middle of the room. It includes this glass-walled shower!
As in most of Europe, the beds come with a down comforter covered with a duvet, and no top sheet. Very comfortable.
One of my tasks for the trip was to participate in the largest plastics show in the world, called the K show. It is held every 3 years, and allows AGR to reach the world plastic container market with our new wares.
Gnome enjoyed the chance to help out.
This is our award-winning salesman from Madrid, Spain; Marta de la Torre. She was one of staff happy to help out with the Gnome.
This is Heinrich from our Leese, Germany service center, and Alexander, our salesman from Krakow, Poland. You'll see more of Alexander.
Marta and Dave working on a quote. Dave works out of our headquarters in Butler, PA.
Anja, on the right, is the office coordinator of our Munich, Germany office. The other two ladies were there to serve drinks and lunch from the kitchen in our booth.
From left to right: Marta; Martin - head of our German operations; Marco - head of our Italian operations; and Aleks.
The pace at this type of show can be non-stop for hours at a time. We all take advantage of any breaks in the action. The show ran for 8 days from 9:00am - 6:00pm.
The Gnome really liked Anja.
Marta, Martin, and the author / photographer.
Marta, Aleks looking very serious, and Dave.
More shots of the crew.
Gnome inside a demonstration unit for one of our PET bottle inspection machines that can run at over 1,000 parts per minute!
No, this picture and the next aren't sideways. They are the view from the elevator looking first left, then right at the hallways going into the rooms at the Inside Hotel. We all referred to it as Alcatraz.
Gnomes are very popular in Germany and Europe. Our friendly gnome was longing to be with his newfound friends at a storefront in Old Dusseldorf, known as Oldstat.
Many shapes and sizes.
From L to R: Milan, head of our Luxembourg office; Aleksander, and the author. All enjoying an excellent korean meal in Oldstat, Dusseldorf.
Helping out at the show again.
The afternoon of the last day of the show. The new people are Kerstin, in back, and Lars, next to Dave, from our Leese office. They came for tear-down.
Salute to another show completed.
The work crews move in and the booth gets dismantled very quickly.
Nov. 1st, All Saints Day. En route to Luka, Slovakia from Krakow, Poland with Aleksander.
Quite a site! Throughout the region, thousands of people visit the cemeteries to place candles at their loved-ones' graves. This is one of may cemeteries we passed on the 6 hour drive.
In Luka, Slovakia: Gnome does some window shopping. The local currency has about an 8 or 9 to 1 ratio to US dollars.
On the drums at the local pub / restaurant we ate at in Luka.
On a phonograph display at the same restaurant.
More window shopping.
After visiting the Coca-Cola plant in Luka, Aleksander and I made our way back to Krakow through the mountains. This is one of many abandoned castles visible throughout Europe.
Some of the typcial Soviet-era collective housing in Slovakia, part of the former Czechoslovakia.
More of the local countryside.
This series of photos is from a charming town we stopped at to have a late lunch. Note the castle that is the center of the town, and the gray building on the left. This is the restaurant where we stopped.
Inside the restaurant; Gnome really liked the beer tap at the bar.
Aleks and Gnome, both giving an intense stare.
Lunch was very typical for the region. I had the pierogis, and Aleks had local fried cheese with vegetables. Exellent!
Gnome is sitting on the nose of this bronze reproduction of the head of Colossus. This statue is in the city square in Krakow. The original statue of Colossus stood outside the entrance to the Colosseum back in the first centry.
This is Aleksander with his wife Alicja.
We met up with our service engineer also from Krakow, Waldemar and his fiance, Gosha for a Friday night on the town before my return the next day.
Vodka is an essential element to any event or celebration in Poland.
Gnome thought it excellent!
Later on we stopped at this discothèque to listen to a local band.
Gnome really can't tollerate much vodka.
Fun was had by all.
Alicja and Gosha.
Gnome on the mirror of a Smart Car in Krakow.
And a final bit of window shopping before our return flight the next morning.
Stay tuned; another European business trip is coming up.