Category Archives: random

I’m working on my book

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a guide book for, well,  a couple years now. The name has changed and there’s been quite a long delay, but it is coming. This last week I’ve worked on it more than I did for about a year. The reason? well, we almost moved…and while things were up in the air, we put everything on hold.

In September I tried to set a deadline for myself for the 1st edition of the book to come out in November or so, now I’m thinking maybe January/Feb. Here’s the deal: at the moment I’m working on the 48 hour edition which I believe will be what most people actually want as I would say 90% of the people I talk to on my tours are here for between 24 and 72 hours. In that time they want to see all the highlights of the city and that may be the only time they ever have to see Munich. So anyways, that will be the first release…followed some time later (probably a few months) by a 5-7 day edition…

Because the guide book publisher that I chose is very easy and all sales are online, I can update these versions as needed and I believe these willl be the best guide books to Munich found anywhere. At least that is my goal.

If anyone has anything they’d like to say that might help…ideas, personal restaurant or sight reviews, etc….let me know.

[Listening to: Can’t Stop Partying – Weezer – Raditude (Deluxe Edition) (4:21)]

Rick Steves has an iphone app.

This is probably the best iphone app I’ve seen yet, brought to you by Rick Steves. Check it out here.

Now, I HATE everything apple…but if you happen to have an iphone…well, you should definitely check his app out. There’s a demo video that explains what it can do…

Personally, if he ports it to the S60 (for Nokia, samsung, etc.) then I would download them in a heartbeat. When I watched the demo all I was thinking was that with this app you could do all your research beforehand with the book, but then when you’re actually touring, you could leave the book (and the WEIGHT) at home and just bring the phone…so much lighter.

It’s COLD in Munich (and all of Bavaria, really)

I ca’t believe how cold it is this Oktober. We had a beautifully warm Oktoberfest and then October hit and the temp went from highs of 75F to 40F. We’ve had snow down at Neuschwanstein (I hate it when there’s snow down there, kinda makes things miserable…and illegal to get to Mary’s bridge, which everyone WANTS to go to….so…it sucks). We don’t normally get this weather til at least late November.

Anyways, the tour numbers have finally dropped a little bit and that is a nice thing for me (not for the company, of course). The huge tours were starting to wear me down.

(by the way, these pictures were taken from where I was sitting while reading my book, I didn’t get up and compose the shots or anything…I just enjoy this view all the time)

Munich’s central station all locked down

The Munich Oktoberfest is being quite disturbed by all the terror alerts.  Honestly, it’s a complete waste of time, if they wanted to attack, they would, JUST LET US DRINK OUR BEER WITHOUT A HASSLE.  Locking down the train station just makes for a hassle, that’s all…

*sigh* oh well…here’s some pics:

Munich's main train station, Wednesday morning...all locked up.
Munich's main train station, Wednesday evening, the doors that weren't locked up solid were half locked up and heavy security on the other half. Luckily, I don't look turkish.

Tags: , , , , ,

Lack of motivation

Hi everybody, as you can read from my twitter updates (which you can see on the left hand side of the site), I’ve been busy doing tours, visiting Washington DC and New York City, but I really should get back to the blog.

I went to the Oktoberfest today and so it’s not going to happen now, but soon  (Thursday?)  I’ll have all kinds of new pictures to show you.

Tags: , , , , ,


I tried not to like Venice, I really did. However, although it is flawed like everywhere in Italy that I’ve seen, it is still one of a kind and absolutely beautiful.

Prices…yes they are high, but nothing dramatic. One thing that did annoy me was that many of the churches charge an admission fee. At the same time, those churches give you a laminated information card to read while you’re looking around the church so you at least get a slightly better experience for your money. I still feel it’s wrong for a church to charge an admission fee. A big sign saying donations strongly encouraged would be cool, though.

Petra and I got to see everything we wanted to, at least for this trip.  We didn’t see EVERYTHING, but we certainly saw everything major.

My highlights, I think in this order, were:

The Doge’s palace
St. Mark’s basilica
San Zanipolo (The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo)

Our hotel was interesting…we never did figure out what she was saying.

Anyways, I don’t know why, but I haven’t been in the mood to write lately, I’ll blame the heat.  Here’s a few pics:

Petra and I on the cheapest gondola ride in town

It speaks for itself 

Petra in Venice

The Rialto bridge, Venice

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Back from Venice, we had a great time

So, now that we’re back from Venice I’m damn tired and don’t want to write.  Huh.

Okay, so I’ll try to come up with something a little better tomorrow night after my tour, but for now, if you’d just like to look at pics, I already uploaded most of them to both Photobucket and Facebook.

If you don’t have me on facebook, click here:  photobucket 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Heading down to Venice

It’s my birthday on Sunday.  So as I’ve been telling people for a few weeks now, I’m finally going to see Venice.  Most tourists I have are absolutely shocked that I haven’t seen ALL of Europe.  Just because you live in Munich, doesn’t make European travel any cheaper.  Also, unlike your average tourist, I’m actually interested in history and want to see everything in every guidebook…and more. 

This will be sort of a whirl-wind trip for us, but we’ll do our best.  I’ve got my Rick Steves and my Fodor’s…and made a spreadsheet with all the sights.

Until next Tuesday, have a good one everybody, I’ll be enjoying Venice.

Tags: , , , , ,

Break in the action

Well, it’s been a busy summer so far, but actually a lot LESS busy than the last few.  I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of tourists or tours, just that I haven’t been that busy myself.

This week is a very odd break in the action.  There’s no real reason for it other than that’s how the schedule happened and I don’t have any private tours this week.  So, I’ve got 6 days in a row off.  Kinda odd.  Not bad necessarily, but if I have 6 days off I would prefer my wife to have 6 days off too, so that we can do something more interesting than rollerblading in the olympic park.

Technically, it’s 4pm and I just watched an episode of Quantum Leap.  Soon I’ll have to take off, because in the afternoons our apartment is about 20 degrees warmer than the outside air temp.  Outside today, it’s 84F, so in the apartment, it should be 100F and miserable.  I’m hoping our axolotls don’t boil!

I took some pictures from Salzburg tours last week, but still haven’t posted them.  Maybe later…

If you’re still reading this, I have a question for you:  Based off of Wikipedia, which tour would you rather do:  Augsburg or Landshut?

Tags: , , ,

Things that annoy the hell out of me on a daily basis

Every day here in Munich I’m annoyed by the same things. Here are a few of them.

Germans, no matter their age, have a real problem with figuring out an escalator.

First off, when I’m on my way to work in the mornings I usually take the left hand side of the escalator and walk up, which is what everyone on the left hand side does. The problem is that Germans get scared shitless when they get about 10 steps from the top and they just STOP. I’ve seen this phenomenon many times with people of all ages and it makes no sense to me at all. I can continue walking up WHILE PLAYING A VIDEO GAME and have no problems, so umm…why the hell are they so scared?

Second, every day I see someone (again, I’ve seen it with everyone from the elderly to kids) standing at the end of the escalator pushing the LIGHT BULB trying to get the escalator to change direction. I literally see this daily. These are not buttons, they’re lights.

Queuing: Germans don’t do lines.
It’s amazing to me the balls on these bastards and the extreme contempt they have for people who do things in an orderly fashion. And this in Germany? It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

Barely English-speaking Germans on the trains who insist that they need to help me, while I’ve done it 300x, and THEY’VE SEEN ME BEFORE. Bad memory? Maybe. This happens all the time and it annoys me to no end.

*sigh* I just needed to vent a little. There are several more, but I feel relieved already so I’ll stop now. Have a good one.

[Listening to: Into You – The Methadones – 21st Century Power Pop Riot (4:06)]

Lame excuses, sorry for no updates

I figured I’d have a real update today…didn’t happen.  I thought I should at least make up a lame excuse or two for why I haven’t been updating much other than the twitter feed on the left hand side.  (new pics have been posted on my Facebook as well as photobucket)

I’ve been busy. That busy? No…but busy, none the less… Twitters up-to-date, leave me alone *cough*

My earlier excuse, for May, was that I had visitors…and I did. However, I have pics from their visits that I should upload, and haven’t done that yet. I also have pics from various tours in the last week…*Sigh*…always more to do. EDIT:pics have been uploaded

So to answer any general questions as to how much time you need for a proper tour of Munich: I’d go 4 hours…be prepared for several churches, a fair bit of walking, some 3rd Reich history, so Royal history, and some beer history. This is not including BMW or Olympic park or anything off the beaten path, really.

Is the BMW museum worth it? yes
Is there much to see at the olympic park? Not really, but if you’re going to BMW anyways, it doesn’t take much more to have a walk around and/or a short ride up the tower. I’m even considering doing regular tours out there because there is such a strong interest, I just don’t understand the interest myself. It is a nice park…nice stadium…concert hall…hockey arena…we even have our own “walk of fame…”
Is the Deutsches Museum worth it? I’d say only if you have several days in Munich. It’s a science and technology museum, which is very nice…but not really what you’re in Germany to see, no?
Do you really NEED 9 hours + for Neuschwanstein? yes, at least.
Well, we can fit Schloss Hohenschwangau in there too, right? make that at least 10 hours, then…make it 11 if you want any kind of a break.
American beer is weaker, right? Wrong.

[Listening to: Alcohol – Gogol Bordello – (5:08)]

I’ve had two visitors staying on the couch this month…now it’s back to the usual

Tour numbers have been going strong, I haven’t noticed anything with the recession, if that’s what you’re thinking.

Two friends have recently come to visit so I’ve been busy the whole month. Now, I’m pretty exhausted, but we’re entering the busiest time of the year as far as tours.

In the 2nd half of June I’m a bit worried about the train situation for Neuschwanstein, but I’m sure it will go over like it has every time there’s been work on the tracks, DB handle it quite well. I have been noticing a LOT of new bus drivers lately, though…which is disturbing.

Yesterday’s tour I had a few people from Nornthern Ireland, from very near where my friend Brendan is from…in fact one of them works in Brendan’s home town.

Last Saturday I was out at the HBhaus and the guy sitting across from me was from Albert Lea, MN…my home town. So it turns out he knows my dad…small world.

Our washing machine works again.

[Listening to: Bakkenroll is king – Jesus Chrysler – Demos for a 5th album (3:26)]

Mashable Joobili

I’m constantly reading a website called Mashable which is news on social media.
You know, like my current favorite browser, Flock, or my trillian replacement which is 100x better than trillian ever was, called Digsby….or websites like Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

Anyways, so the other day they reported on a great site related more directly to what I do. It’s called Joobili. It’s a cool idea where you select some dates and it gives you ideas of where you might want to go…
You can read the article on mashable here.

If you have some spare time for travel planning, I would definitely check it out. Joobili

Lots of odd things to check out on there.

[Listening to: knowledge – green day – 1039- smoothed out slappy hour (2:20)]

My most worthless post yet.

I’m just saying I’ll try to update later today. I’ve got Salzburg pics from last week…as well as a few others. Been to Neuschwanstein a lot lately, it’s been busy, but not overly so.

Soon my friend Minna will visit…and then Steve. Petra might got back to Hong Kong for a few weeks…and I might go over there for a couple weeks myself. Who knows.

Tequila? It’s not good with cereal, don’t even think it.

[Listening to: Joke About Jamaica – The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (4:35)]

Leipzig in a Day

I mentioned before that I’d eventually get back to writing about our trip to Leipzig when I wrote about our trip to Dresden. So here it is:

Petra and I had a limited budget and limited amount of time for our barely spring vacation, and so we spent a few days In Dresden (which has a lot more as far as sightseeing), and only one day in Leipzig.

We arrived in the evening of March 16th, so we basically had dinner and hit the hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which is DIRECTLY across the street from the train station, making it just about the ideal location. However, the windows seemed to be about as thin as physically possible, so the noise from the street was quite substantial and also there was a very clear draft from the windows which are directly over the bed. We had stayed at the Hilton in Dresden, so it was a clear step down.

Anyways, so we really had just one full day to see Leipzig and so we got up and out as early as we could. We had done out research on things to see mainly using Fodors Germany and Wikipedia. I love my Fodors Germany and our copy is very much showing it at this stage.

The first thing on our list to see was the Battle of the Nations Monument (Völkerschlachtdenkmal), which is supposedly the largest monument in Europe (although I would be interested in how they qualify this statement). It was the only thing on the list that was outside of the downtown area, so we thought we’d take care of it right away. After a short tram ride, we were there in maybe 15 minutes. I think the pictures speak for themselves:
We went all the way to the top and it was pretty cool. Before researching this trip, neither of had ever heard of the Battle of Nations. My current excuse is that modern history and specifically battles and wars are not my thing. End results and the stories around them are more my cup of tea…also, like I said, modern history is always last on my list.

The second thing on the list I wasn’t so sure about since Fodors mentioned that everything was in German only. It was the Stasi museum, which is basically about how closely the DDR watched over its citizens. The building served as the Stasi (secret police) headquarters in Leipzig until 1989. It’s an interesting museum, free, and definitely worth a look. However, I will say that the entire museum appears to have been done as a class project for a class of 6th graders.

Next up was St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche). This is best known as the Johann Sebastian Bach church, if you couldn’t tell from the large statue out front, the fact that he’s IN the stained glass windows, the small museum of his instruments, or that everyone inside is hovered around the altar snapping photos of his grave.

The old city all (Rathaus) was built in 1556, houses the city museum, and is definitely worth a visit. We spent a couple hours in there and it was excellent. Also, relatively cheap…especially for how well it was done.

The Church of St. Nicholas (Nikolaikirche) came next on our list, which was absolutely beautiful, and possibly the only church I’ve seen that invites visitors up and around the altar area. It has been a protestant church since 1539. I love the palm tree effect.

Now, since we were visiting on St. Patrick’s Day, of course we stopped for a couple pints of Guinness before our journey home to Munich. If you plan on visiting Leipzig, I highly recommend it as a one or one and a half day stop doing something along the same lines as I posted above…including the beer.