Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Third Reich, canceled private tour, & small groups

Well, things are going pretty good in my opinion.  Last night I went out for dinner as kind of a fare well dinner for one of the office people, Manu.  Her husband is one of the guides, so I’m sure I’ll still see her around sometimes.  She’ll be having a baby boy quite soon here, so she’ll take maybe a year off, which is quite normal here.  It was nice, but it’s always weird to sorta say good bye to people here as most of the expat community and tour guide community are not that permanent…just semi-permanent (usually at least a few years…but…not forever).

My tours have been very pleasant lately.  I had a castle tour which was mostly backpackers the other day, which is nice…they can be very entertaining, but they don’t tip.  That being said the very obviously well-to-do brits didn’t either.  Goes to show you never really know, which is why I try to go out of my way for everyone.  Good times, none the less.

I had a private tour scheduled Wednesday, but it appears a pipe burst in his kitchen wall.  That’s a sure thing to ruin a vacation 🙁  He won’t be coming over, so I think I’ll be travel writing instead.   It’s too bad as I was looking forward to the private tour.  I normally don’t do much in the way of Third Reich history on my tours, but have been re-reading much of the Third Reich information in preparation and got a new book on the subject as well, which I finished reading just recently.  Nothing really knew, but it’s good for a refresher sometimes.

Maybe he’ll visit next September or November and have better luck.

Also, it would have given me a reason to show someone the church of St. Anna, which I think is really cool as it was bombed…and restored…but they only had pictures in black and white…so when they re-did the church, the ceiling was restored…in black and white.  I think it’s neat. 

I haven’t done what I’ll refer to now as my “super tour” in quite some time, as most people want a quick 2-hour tour.  To really properly see the city, I think you need a good 3 hours, if not more…depending on the group size, etc.  Two hours is never enough.

Today I had a group of 2.  From Milwaukee, even…so I got to rub it in that the packers just lost and yet I still got a good tip, haha.  No, really, they were a great “group”, interested in everything, no walking problems, no language problem (what’s the language difference from Milwaukee to Owatonna, really?), and yeah…it’s a beautiful day, so it was nice.

Weird Salzburg tour yesterday, Neuschwanstein castle today

I hear back in MN it’s damn cold…it’s been hovering in the 40’s (F) here.  Though today down at the castle it should be a high of 34F.  Oh well.

Yesterday’s tour was a couple Japanese ladies who spoke nearly no English, and one Australian woman who hates Germans.  It was weird.  It was also raining all day, which kinda blew.

On the plus side, I remembered to buy some hollandaise sauce in Salzburg for our asparagus, it was good.

 The Radius Tours office has been transformed in the last couple of months and looks 10x better than before, so that’s kind of nice to see…and it appears we’ll have a couple new guides (at least) this year…so that should be interesting to see.  I’ll try to remember to take a few pics today of the office.

The royal tombs of the Scythians.

Well, today I had no tour…mid-winter like this it does happen, especially city tours, the full-day trips usually go, it’s just the two hour ones that for some reaon, people don’t turn up for if it’s cold.  Then again, my last city tour, on saturday, had a good size group…so go figure.

Anyways, yesterday Petra and I decided to go down to a special exhibit showing the royal tombs of the Scythians…whom we had never really heard of, which is interesting in itself.  If you are going to be in Munich in the next week, I HIGHLY recommend going to this exhibit, it was absolutely fascinating and I am very glad I went. Here’s the wiki article on the scythians.  Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras in there, so I don’t have any pictures for you.  I’d also like to point out they have a full mummy where you can even clearly see the tattoos.  Very disturbing and cool at the same time.

Yay, I had my first tour of the year…and we have little Axolotls

It was a weird tour, but at least it actually happened unlike the Salzburg tour the day before.  There is snow down at Neuschwanstein, but very little.  It was pretty warm and an overall pleasant day, it just seems really long when you’re out of practice because of a break like the holidays.

 As many of you know, we have these Mexican amphibians known as axolotls.  They look like this:

Axolotls:  Murphy & Lurchy

They were quite young then, but today they are apparently old enough to have young ones today, as last week we noticed Murphy was laying eggs! (until then, we still weren’t sure if she was a girl)

Here’s a pic of the eggs:

Axolotl eggs

Axolotl eggs

of course if we don’t rescue them, their parents will eat them…apparently similar to polar bears in Nürnberg.

My first tour of the year…canceled.

There was one girl there and one other booked…but hell, I can’t go with one person.  Oh well, tomorrow I’ve got Neuschwanstein and that tour is for sure going, so that sounds good.

The weather has been quite nice lately, at the moment it is sunny and about 45F, which ain’t that bad in my opinion (considering the time of year and what Minnesota is usually this time of year).

We had a bottle of Nymphenburg Sekt (German sparkling wine) last night…they have two kinds, gold and crystal.  I noticed nearly no difference, though for some reason I like crystal I think.  Maybe it requires more taste-tests.

Yesterday I decided on home improvement.  I literally destroyed a cabinet:



…and why would I do such a thing?  to move our old 19″ TV into the bedroom with one of the DVD players, of course.   Anyways, I was impressed with myself.  Next project: picture frames…gotta do something with those no-tour days.

Contest results are in…was your profile deleted?

Well, the results are in and although it appeared I had won…many of the e-mail addresses were seen as fake and so I now am left in 3rd place.  It’s still $80, so nothing to complain about, except that many of your accounts were probably deleted for no reason (though now you won’t have to worry about having your notification settings right so you don’t get mail from cosmotourist if I add anything, that’s one good plus).  Anyways, I got 3rd, which I’m happy about, that pays for a hotel room in Paris a couple nights.

 Thanks everyone who helped out!!


Have any of you ever been to Paris?

Every year Petra and I try to make at least one big trip, this year we have selected Paris.  We think it’s fitting seeing as Rome is the sister city of Paris and we had Rome as our 2007 choice.  We just bought our Fodor’s France for the trip, haven’t gotten it yet, we bought it off of Amazon as that’s the cheapest…and usually damn fast as well.  Why Fodor’s, you ask?  because from my experience (and yes, I believe I’ve read all the guide books on Germany at least…fairly extensively…extremely extensively on Bavaria)  Fodor’s is the best.  I can’t wait to start planning.

If you’ve been to Paris and you have any tips you think might be helpful, e-mail me!  nofxmike [at] Thanks!

Cosmotourist, NYE, Christmas, and Tequila

I like that title.  Anyways, it looks like only a couple of you actually care enough to take 2-3 minutes out of your busy schedules to help a guy out to the tune of $400.  With 2 days left of the cosmotourist contest, I’m still ~5 short of winning 3rd, which would still be $80…but well…I don’t see those 5+ people actually appearing except in my dreams.

New Year’s Eve this year was quite different, we decided to stay at home.  We have an apartment on the 4th floor that has a great view for watching fireworks on NYE.  For those who don’t know, the entire country looks like a major war zone for a few hours in the early morning hours every year on NYE.  It’s the only time they’re legal and it is absolutely dangerous as all hell.  Good times.

Here’s what we used to blow crap up:

Our NYE fireworks

Of course I might as well mention Christmas too, we had a good Christmas.  We didn’t have any snow on Christmas, and just to clear this up for any tourists reading this:  I have spent a total of 6 Christmases in Germany and have NEVER had snow here during Christmas.

Now it’s time to get to that Tequila…tours for me start up again January 8th, when I head back over to Salzburg, followed the next day by Neuschwanstein.