Tours…glorious tours.

Ok, maybe not glorious.  I’ve got a break for a few days…well, technically til the 31st.  My last tour was Wednesday, to Neuschwanstein.  It was a beautiful day, sorta.  The leaves are still on the trees in numerous colors…and down there, we still have snow (though it was melting quite fast and constantly hitting people in clumps falling from the trees).  So, we had snow and various colors on the trees…making it very pretty.  OK, it wasn’t perfect because of the clouds…we only had a few moments of blue skies or sunshine, it was looking like it could rain fairly often…but never did.

Here’s a pic from that tour:

 Schloss Neuschwanstein

That reminds me, most of the tourists are being quite boring with their questions lately.  Just a thought, maybe I’ll continue it later.

New TV? …and random ranting.

Well, last night we got a new TV.  I know, wtf?  Were we looking for a new TV?  not really…but I’m always on the lookout for things involving the word FREE.  In this case, we upgraded our livingroom TV from 19″ to 27″.  Also, now we can use that 19″ as our bedroom TV.  YAY.  Did I mention the word free?  Basically, I was doing my usual thing, checking the toytownmunich.com forum and I noticed someone posted that they were giving a 27″ Philips TV in good condition away for free…well, it turns out it’s a damn nice TV, and umm…yeah, we’re thrilled.  Here’s some pics of old and new:
our

Our

That reminds me of just last month when we picked up my new monitor, which you can also see in the picture.  That was a free upgrade from a 17″ to a 19″…and it is damn nice.  Did I mention the word free? 

SO, tours have been all over the place lately, as far as how I feel at the end of them anyways.  Yesterday was a good day, except for it being cold of course…but not too bad.  Neuschwanstein has snow on it at the moment, which only happened a total of 3 days last year, so it’s quite impressive this early.  We don’t have any snow here in Munich, the other day it snowed, but it melted on impact.  Tomorrow I’m heading back to Neuschwanstein so I’ll see if it has snow again.  For some reason I didn’t feel like taking any pics of NSS in the snow yesterday. (I only had my phone camera anyways)

As far as tour numbers are concerned lately it’s been pretty consistent for me, around 9-15 people every tour…which is pretty nice.  DB, the german train company, is planning strikes again…this time thursday and friday.  Well, I have a Salzburg tour on Thursday and it always makes me uneasy when my boss wants me to go ahead with the tour during the strikes…I just don’t like starting a tour when I don’t know for certain we can get there and back.  With Salzburg, if the tour is thrown off an hour, it really hurts the tour as they don’t have time to go into the museums or up to the castle…and well, I just want to make sure everyone’s happy.  …so we’ll see how it goes for Thursday.

I’ve also had a couple very odd tours to Salzburg…both going well…but…well…odd.  The last one had 2 from spain (nearly no english but for some ungodly reason their spanish was EXACTLY what I learned in school so that I could actually understand them…this nearly never happens with spanish-speaking people.  They were from Madrid, for the record), then a couple guys from Chile (here on business), then a couple americans (cali), and then three chinese guys who understood about 3 words that day (friendly, though).  So in total, I had 2 who could actually understand everything I said, 3 that understood NOT A GODDAMN WORD, and then of course the 4 that understood only every 5th word.  That makes things interesting, especially since they’re still working on the tracks, so with the multiple train switches….I’m happy to report that everyone made it there and back and were happy at the end.

The Salzburg tour before that was DURING the DB strike last Thursday.  Now, I really didn’t want to do it since DB wasn’t promising anything…but surprisingly, it went well.  Our train left on the other side of Munich, so we took the scenic route across town on the subway, then a train to the border, then switched trains….then our normal train right on time got us back…well, to the Ostbahnhof again, then an U-bahn ride over to the Hauptbahnhof which is where we started.   Anyways…I hung out with a really nice old man from Malta whom I hope to someday visit.  Also, an American guy who was from Seattle…and reminded me of my favorite professor from college….Dr. Fred Lee.  We had a good time, despite the DB strike looming…and crappy weather.

I think I’m gonna put a beer in the fridge.  My friend Andi, he owns the small restaurant (imbiss) that I stop at on my Neuschwanstein tours, gave me a beer the other day that I didn’t drink…so I hauled it all the way back here…so I’ll report back on how it tastes…as I’ve never had that brand of beer.  I really do try to taste EVERY beer I come across…I’m slowly making my way.  I should make a list.  Anyways, this one is called:  Schussenrieder Schwarzbier
Beer is good, I'm not sure yet if this one is though

snow.

Well, it’s official, we’ve had our first snow of the year here in Munich.  In fact, a recent trip to Salzburg involved snow just about all day (it cleared up for photos in the last 1/2 hour…)

 Last week I had one tour with 43 people…well, 44 with Brendan, so that gave me an opportunity to finally snap a shot of him:
Brendan in front of Andi's imbiss

For those that don’t know, Brendan’s a fellow tour guide….he specializes in Dachau and the third Reich, which happen to be the two tours I do not do.  He’s also currently the office manager…and my guide to European sports.

Here’s another pic from the tour with Brendan:
Neuschwanstein from Ze bus stop

I’m thinking there’s going to be more train strikes on Tuesday…we’ll see.

Saturdays in Salzburg…hangover on Monday

So, Saturday I had a tour to Salzburg, as has become the usual lately.  Radius Tours started the winter schedule a little earlier than previous years, on Oct. 1st…so that means from now til April, our Salzburg tours are only on Tues, Thurs, and Saturday.  Personally I’m not a big fan of being in Salzburg on Saturdays, it’s just so horribly crowded…yes, even on cold rainy days.  In fact, it seems that’s about all I’m getting lately on my Salzburg tours…fairly cold rainy days.  I shouldn’t complain too much though, it hasn’t really affected the tours much as it’s just been a lil rain here and there.  Also, Neuschwanstein during the off-season is only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays…so obviously I’ll have less tours, which is always expected.  And City tours of Munich are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

 The good part is, I’ll always have Fridays and Sundays off, since none of the tours I do can be on those days.  Well, I’ll still probably do posters on a lot of those Fridays.

My last Salzburg tour was quite interesting.  Personally, I think it was a fairly bad tour…I had 23 people which is a pretty large group for Salzburg (it’s ususally around 8-15), and they weren’t the fastest…AND since it was a Saturday, it was horribly crowded in Salzburg as well.  However, the thing that really affects the tour is the fact that they’re working on the tracks between Munich and Salzburg…so it involves switching trains and even taking two completely different routes getting there and back.  That eats up about 15min on the way there, and 30min on the way back…so that kinda blows.  The interesting thing about Saturday’s tour was where the tourists were from.  I’d say I get an average of about 5 countries represented on any given tour….Saturday’s was 10.  Here’s how it went:

2 canada, 4 USA, 2 Denmark, 2 South Africa, 1 Jordan, 2 Australia, 4 Puerto Rico, 2 Korea, 2 Ireland, 2 Zambia.

I dunno, I got 30 euros in tips, so I think it went alright.  By the way the tips came from the americans, south africans, and the canadians.  Here’s a pic from Saturday:
Salzburg on a fairly crappy day
As far as the hangover on Monday, that’d be referring to my current condition.  We had a guide’s meeting last night, which of course involves all kinds of random conversation and immense amounts of beer.   I apparently even watched a South Africa vs. Argentina rugby match for some reason. South Africa won, I think it was an ass-whooping, but I’m not sure as I was more concerned with trying to keep up with the other guides extremely fast beer drinking abilities, I swear they were pouring it on the floor when I wasn’t looking.

Smoking ban in Bavaria? yes, please

The last couple of days I’ve been putting up posters, one I’m proud of is for the Far From Finished show on the 19th.   Here’s a pic of one of the posters:
Far From Finished, Oct. 19th in Munich

Anyways, I’d like to point out how fucking thrilled I am that finally we’ll have smoke-free restaurants and other public places here in Bavaria.  It’ll be amazing….it goes into effect January 1st…and so maybe I should hit the HB haus on the 2nd, just to breathe in the fresh air…er…stale beer smell rather than the smoke.

Finally the end of Oktoberfest

The few days have been quite regular tours.  Today’s city tour was canceled, not surprisingly really, since it was the last day of Oktoberfest today.  Technically I had two people, but they have a voucher so they can go any day the next week.  The two guys were on my tour yesterday…and so it was kinda a shame, I offered to still do the tour, but they figured, naw…so well…maybe I’ll see them on my Tuesday Munich Highlights tour.  One of the two of them is a fellow “Toytowner”…for those who don’t know, “Toytown” is referring to http://www.toytownmunich.com/ which is an awesome website if you ever want to move to Germany.  It started as a website for expats here in Munich and has expanded to all of Germany.  Anyways, it’s where we help each other out and hang out online.  My nickname on there is NOFXmike, which is pretty obvious I suppose.  Anyways, “3 lions” from Toytown was on my Salzburg tour yesterday…which was interesting…I rarely recognize someone when I come out to greet the tourists.

 Other than that, today Petra and I went over to the O’fest…had our oxen sandwich and garlic shrimp…and came back home,  we love the food there.

City tours during the Oktoberfest

With the Oktoberfest in the title, you’d hope I’d have something funny to say about a weird incident involving a tourist, alcohol, and some nasty smell…but no, not this time.

The last couple of days I’ve had city tours, Sunday I had 17 americans and today I had 3 americans and 2 kiwis (that’s a total of 5 for those of you who haven’t gotten to 2nd grade yet).  ….anyways, that’s a completely different tour, yet…well…it went about the same.  We also had about the same weather…which was damn nice.  Tips are up, YAY.  I like tips…even the kiwis tipped today.

Tomorrow we’re going to a sushi place for lunch…to see if it’s anywhere near as good as dinner there…it’s half the price…soo….hmm…I’ll report back.

Also tomorrow I’m meeting up with my friend and fellow tour guide Brendan to head over to the Wies’n and have some alcoholic beverages.  He claims he hasn’t actually gone to the fest for like 3 years…that’s kinda sad….but it IS a hell of a hassle compared to other (very similar) fests in the area…so I can understand.

Speaking of Brendan, I just realized I don’t have a damn picture of him.  I know people are camera shy (nearly everyone I know…which is just sad….come on…), but I should get one tomorrow.  In fact, I should make a point of it to take pics of all the guides the next few times I see them, just in case black mail is in order.

I’ll be drinking tomorrow, so umm, wish me luck on the tour wednesday morning 🙂

Here’s a couple pics of the fest:
beer is good

Beer, it's what's for lunch.