Answers for those coming to Munich in the Winter

I keep getting the same questions, so here’s a few answers to common questions:

(some of these are general questions not just winter-only)

Yes, Neuschwanstein is open, it only closes three days a year…Christmas day, 2nd Christmas day, and New Years day. However, the bridge that you most likely want to take photos from is closed between Nov 15 and April 15th, in general (nothing set in stone, if there’s decent weather for long enough, things open). Right now, for example, you have to climb over three large barricades if you want to attempt to get to the bridge. The castle is open and is still definitely worth it, but I’d recommend coming back in the summer.

Yes, the Dachau memorial is open, they’re even open on Christmas.

Yes, Radius tours go year round, no matter what the weather.

Yes, I’ve done the tour in what Germans would call a blizzard. However, please understand that I’m from Minnesota and have a completely different idea of what a blizzard is than these whiners. Weather nearly never affects the tour timing at all.

No, I don’t think Ludwig II was crazy.

Sundays are the best days for museums in Munich as many of the museums are only 1 euro for entry and the city museum is free on Sundays.

NO stores are open on Sundays except if it is IN the main trainstation (Hauptbahnhof) or the airport.

If you haven’t gotten your seats reserved for Oktoberfest 2009 by now, you’re probably NOT going to get them. Good luck fighting for them with the rest of us.

Here’s a goofy picture of myself, Brendan, and Rick Steves.

[Listening to: Designed by Satan – The Vandals – Hollywood Potato Chip (2:32)]

Concentration camps

I was reading this article on the BBC news today and so I thought I’d post it in case those colleagues of mine who do Third Reich and Dachau tours would like to add to the discussion.

Personally, I’ve only been to Dachau (many times) and think everyone should see at least one of the camps, but it does put a disturbing note on the whole vacation…

(if anyone is looking for tours out to the Dachau memorial, please look at radiustours.com  )

Midwinter snow/rain/snow/rain tango

Hi everybody, lately it’s been back and forth with a few days of tours then a few days off which is weird for the flow. The weather has been crappy in general with rain, then snow, then rain, then snow…and general misery. I know, I know…in Minnesota it’s been -40 (F = C at -40, so just shut it) at night lately compared to around 25F here, but raining just barely above freezing is rather miserable when you’re outside and walking around all day.

Salzburg tours have been good, Neuschwanstein tours have been good, and so everything is going well except for the weather. Of course the company would like higher numbers, but let’s face it…if the company could survive on tours of 5-12 people, all of the tour guides would be damn happy.

Here’s a few random pictures from January 2009

In Salzburg I needed some budget energy:

Last week in Salzburg wasn’t perfect, but for January, it was rather pleasant:

However, it would have been damn cold to just hang around with the tourists, so I hit the mall and stayed warm. There is a decent view of the castle from the mall, though:

Starkbierfest 2009

Last week the gang over at Toytown Munich decided to arrange their Oktoberfest seats, and completely sold out in under a week. This last year we had 80 seats for our group, this year we will have 100, and they’re already gone. Next year 120 sold out in 1 week? We’d need more organizers.

Anyways, that of course got me thinking of the best beer festival in Munich, which is Starkbierfest. Starkbier is strong beer. The beer is a roasted doppelbock amounting to about 7.5-8% alcohol. I love the taste of the stuff & you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy yourself if you get my drift.

The big one is at Paulaner am Nockerberg, which is basically the Paulaner brewery. This year’s dates are March 13 thru 29th. I’m there every year and if you’re planning on being anywhere NEAR Munich around that time, I suggest you head over to Paulaner. I hope the weather is CRAP during that time so it’ll be more fun than last year.

More beer everyone, more beer.

[Listening to: 19 – Four Deadly Venoms – Paint It Black – LG2008 (1:36)]

Business meeting tonight, which means Guiness is involved

Saturday is my first tour of the year, to Salzburg, which should be nice, haven’t been there in a while and frankly the tour size should be small so it wil probably be quite a nice day out. In the coming week I’ve got a couple of Munich Highlights walking tours before going to Neuschwanstein and back to Salzburg. Tonight I’m heading to an Irish pub with my friends/colleagues and am going to enjoy myself. Sometimes it’s just nice to relax and ignore the world.

[Listening to: That was just your life – Metallica – The Best of 2008 (7:08)]

Back from up North

We had Christmas down here and New Year’s up in Neumuenster. The holidays are over and although they’re fun and it’s nice to have some time off, it’s also good to be home. I’ve got a few more days before I have to work, so I hope I can really enjoy it. My first tour of the year will be to Salzburg, which is quite dead in January, mostly because it’s so cold. We went sight-seeing around Hamburg and have a bunch of pictures that I should post soon, but laziness is kicking in so maybe tonight. I will say this: Hamburg’s Zoo is a rip-off, Neumuenster’s zoo is really cool, although fairly small, and Hamburg’s Rathaus is a must-see.

[Listening to: The Understudy 1 – David Sedaris – When You Are Engulfed in Flames (5:17)]