20160711 – Rothenberg, Brussels, EU Parliament And Home

Monday – hot and sunny

Lunch in Rothenberg

Lunch in Rothenberg

Drive up to Rothenberg, one of the most picturesque towns in Germany. It takes nearly 2 hours with all the road works and traffic jams.

Rothenberg

Rothenberg

Have a pleasant wander around. It’s our 2nd time here but it is pretty. Coffee and lunch in the main square and then we’re serenaded by a choir from Wisconsin followed by a full orchestra from Wisconsin to play popular classics. All very relaxing and enjoyable, and best of all the music was free.

Wisconsin orchestra play for us in Rothenberg

Wisconsin orchestra play for us in Rothenberg

On our way home we pop in to see Andy and Gerd’s supermarket. Wow, it’s massive and all very modern and swish. Have a grand tour with Andy and then a coffee.

Dinner of wild boar in the town square at Konigstein.
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Well I’ve finally confirmed that these bidets are really a foot bath as I discover a pumice stone and skin rasp on the side of one. Either that or someone has very sore genitalia.

Tuesday – hot and sunny

Dinner in the Grande Place Brussels

Dinner in the Grande Place Brussels

Trip advisor review – Haus Am Markt 5 Star

Had a lovely junior suite here. Well equipped, comfortable, clean and typical Teutonic efficiency. Good continental breakfast. Excellent wifi. Hostess took a real pride in the place, the food was great and she was very helpful.

Brussels Grande Place

Brussels Grande Place

Early breakfast and then set off for a 6 hour, +400 mile, drive to Brussels. Road works introduce a few delays and at one stage satnav is predicting 120 minutes delay. Accept the diversions and we only suffer 30 minutes.

Our hotel is slap in the centre, only yards from the Grand Place. Thats the good news. The bad news is it’s a nightmare finding it. For some reason satnav leads us totally astray and has us going around in circles, just before we spiral up our own backsides she finally comes to her senses (note the female element) and gets us there.

Grande Place Brussels

Grande Place Brussels

Check in and then have a pleasant wander around. Wendy’s never been to Brussels before, so we have dinner on the Grand Place and then I take her to the chocolate shop I used the last few times I came here. She can’t resist but she has to eat them all within 3 weeks.

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Let’s prank ISIS, nothing to do with Islam of course – part 1:


Wednesday – rain, a real frog strangler

Chocolate shopping in Brussels

Chocolate shopping in Brussels

Trip advisor review – NH Carrefour, Brussels 4 Star

4 star hotel within yards of the Grande Place. Great location. Good room, comfortable and clean. Wifi was a tad temperamental, but pleased to report electricity and water were OK. Good breakfast.

Being in such a central location it is a nightmare to get to, especially when your satnav goes on a bender and takes you round in circles. Good public car park next to hotel.

EU Parliament

EU Parliament

After a good breakfast we head for the hop on and off bus tour. Although in our case it’s mainly stay on, but can’t resist a look see of the Evil Union parliament, before it collapses under the weight of it’s own megalomania, greed and corruption. The free parlimentarium is pretty well done and free – well we’ve paid for it with our taxation without representation, the 1776 battle cry. Although like the EU 30% of the exhibits don’t function.

Then it’s back on the bus and pick up the outer Brussels tour.

Get back just in time to set off for a 2 hour drive to Rotterdam.

In the Parliamentarium

In the Parliamentarium


Parliamentarian

Parliamentarian


Arrive in plenty of time for the ferry but the great thing is they let you onboard more a less straight away, so no hanging around and you can start spending right away. Have a lovely buffet tea, some drinks and then stock up un some quality brandy for me and perfume for Wendy. She treats me to some quality YSL smelly stuff.

Then it’s off to bed while our hotel floats over to Hull.

Meanwhile here’s a link to a blog posting I did for HomeExchange.com – AN EXPERIENCED APPROACH TO HOME EXCHANGING. Earns me a free years membership.

An Experienced Approach to Home Exchanging


Thursday – warm and sunny

In the Parliamentarium

In the Parliamentarium

Quality breakfast and disembark quickly. All very efficient, apart from UK customs who seem to lack any form of common sense. That’s Wendy’s second cruise this year. Oh I do spoil her.

Then it’s a 90 minute drive to Belthorn and for once it’s not raining when we get home and there are no traffic jams once we get out of Hull.
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As a finale we just pop into the Evil Union parliament to see it before it's demise and to give Junker an unemployment application form, ready for when the wheels drop off the gravy train. Perhaps, if he's lucky, he will get a job as a guide around all these buildings when they're converted into a museum of anti-democracy, failed experiments and Empire building. 

The gravy trains coming to an end.

As a finale we just pop into the Evil Union parliament to see it before it’s demise and to give Junker an unemployment application form, ready for when the wheels drop off the gravy train. Perhaps, if he’s lucky, he will get a job as a guide around all these buildings when they’re converted into a museum of anti-democracy, failed experiments and Empire building.

The gravy trains coming to an end.

Well that’s the end of our Grand European Tour, with Edwards Into Europe. What do we think? Well although we haven’t visited all the countries below on this trip I’ll give you my jaundiced view on Europe, starting at the bottom and working our way up:

Grande Tour Europe - Highlights

Grande Tour Europe – Highlights

Greece – certainly the basket case of Europe. Screwed over by the wealthy North. Used EU funds to bribe off the Unions. Should never have joined the Euro and are now in dire straits. At least if they were out of the Euro they could devalue and stand some chance of rebuilding their economy.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Spain – it’s just unfinished and as Wendy wil. Everywhere we went nothing was finished off. Again in serious financial straights and high unemployment.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Italy – most of the old cities are past there demolish by date, they’re lovely but a tad seedy. We’re suffering from an overdose of culture, but we really enjoyed it. Apart, that is, from the roads. They’re lunatics and I wouldn’t trust any of them to drive a fair ground dodgem. All a load of exhaust bandits with a death wish that compels them to try and drive up my exhaust pipe. The rear view mirror is your best friend. Wendy was a bag of nerves and she never even drove. Another pending basket case with massive bad debts, economic problems and massive youth unemployment. Screwed over by the wealthy North of Europe. Watch this space for another Greece re-run. On the plus side not too many mossies. I’d like to explore Southern Italy but I think I’ll either have to drug Wendy or blindfold her to get her there.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Belgium – sad and grey. At the heart of the Evil Union. Wonder how they’ll survive when the EU finally collapses? Won’t be sad if we never go there again. Mind you their chocolates are awesome, but their beers are badly over rated.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

France – well best summed up by the simple statement a lovely country spoilt by the French. Dominated by the unions, forever on strike over something or other and I’m convinced they’re living well beyond their means and only a matter of time before economic reality catches up with them. Badly need a strong dose of Thatcherism to tame the unions. Sadly the terroist attacks are a grave danger. It has too big a muslim population – perhaps a wake up call to the rest of Europe as to the dangers – and at this rate will swing to the extreme right and even have their own FREXIT.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Austria – beautiful wealthy country with all the Teutonic efficiency of Germany. Awesome scenery and mountains. Good skiing. All very civilised. Be interesting to see whether a re-run of their election this Autumn results in a strong right wing government. Seems very much on the cards. We’d love to go back their in summer but don’t think we’d forsake the awesome American skiing in winter.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Germany – efficient, prosperous, organised, awesome beer and great food. Certainly a country we’d go back to. I don’t think the Germans can really understand why BREXIT, but they’re living off the fat of the EU.

I never understood the structural economic issues until I started to look around eat all the prosperity and question it all, especially in contrast with Italy and Spain. Ironically Spain and Portugal are to be sanctioned for breaching EU fiscal rules, in a move set to inflame political tensions over how dogmatic Brussels should be in policing national budgets.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

The European Commission concluded that the two countries had failed to take “effective action” to meet EU deficit rules, they are now on a path to penalties that could include fines or a partial suspension of EU regional funds.

Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and the European Central Bank insist that firm application of the budget rules is essential to maintain confidence in the euro. Yet Germany’s record trade surplus is a bigger threat to euro than Greece. If EU law were properly enforced, Germany would face fines for endangering eurozone stability and breaching the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure for the fifth year in a row.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Whilst Germany carps on about Greek bailouts etc., they need to remember that the Southern Mediterranean countries are helping keep the Euro lower. If they were still trading on the Deutschmark it would be so strong as to cost them so much more than the bailouts. Arguments that it would be a good thing if Greece left the Euro miss the point. For the southern Mediterranean countries it would be better if Germany left the Euro.

Grande Tour Europe - highlights

Grande Tour Europe – highlights

Having said all that we’d rather be in Germany and will be exploring further.

As for BREXIT. Well yes we’ll suffer in the short term but we remain convinced it will be so much better for the long term.

Well that’s the blog over for this trip. Just go to a countdown for the number days until we escape for our 3 month California adventure.


20160707 – Chiemsee, Dachau, Betzenstein, Nuremberg And A Day With Old Friends

Thursday – hot and sunny

Palace at Chiemsee.

Palace at Chiemsee.

Off down to Chiemsee, the largest lake in Bavaria.

Catch the ferry over to the castle. Stop for the usual morning coffee and then have a stroll around the island. Finally find the castle, after wandering off course. Wendy says that’s not a castle. Have to agree it’s more of a palace, but hey ho it’s impressive from the outside. Our culture overdose means we forego another tour around the inside.

Back on mainland Wendy has her ice cream lunch.

Rosenheim

Rosenheim

Call in at Rosenheim old town for a look around and a coffee. Find a great spot for coffee in the old square. Superb for people watching especially as there is a 2 Euro coin glued to the pavement to tempt people to try and pick it up – see photos. We get about 4 attempts whilst we’re there.

2 Euros stuck to the ground provides hours of entertainment.

2 Euros stuck to the ground provides hours of entertainment.

In the evening we have tea in the Aying Beer garden. All very tasty and relaxing. But what is it with Germany and it’s failure to accept credit cards. Do they not know this is the 21st century and the rest of the World has moved on from cash – especially the Euro!
Palace

Palace


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Qur’an Gangbang episode 5: Qurayshi Defence League


Friday – hot and sunny

Wendy at Dachau

Wendy at Dachau

VRBO Kaps Review – 5 Stars

Set off to our next stop 4 days in Konigstein near Betzenstein.

Dachau entrance - truly abandon hope all yea who enter here.

Dachau entrance – truly abandon hope all yea who enter here.

On the way we stop off at Dachua concentration camp. It’s now a free memorial to the millions who died in the camps. A very sombre and stark reminder of what mankind is capable of. Worrying. Sadly it could happen again, especially the way the radical islamist are promoting terror, it wouldn’t take much for such a backlash.

Dachau showers / gas chamber.

Dachau showers / gas chamber.

Drive up to Konigstein. More road works and delays than in the UK. A 2 hour drive takes 3 hours.

Arrive at Haus Am Markt to our quaint junior suite. All very comfortable in a little village.

Dachau ovens.

Dachau ovens.

Have another tasty tea sat out at one of the hotels around the village.
Memorial at Dachau

Memorial at Dachau


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Considering Germany has supposedly taken in nearly a million immigrants. Where are they all? Do they keep them secreted away during the daylight hours like some sun fearing vampire and only allow them out at night?

Saturday – hot and sunny

Wendy at Pegnitz.

Wendy at Pegnitz.

After a interesting and individual continental breakfast we decide on a lazy day after all the driving of yesterday.

Pegnitz Rathaus.

Pegnitz Rathaus.

Drive down to Pegnitz for a wander around to see how it’s changed. Have our morning coffee in the old market square.

We go to buy some chocolates for our hosts tomorrow. I only get 3 words of german out and the old lady behind the counter sjuuttles off in a panic to get the young assistant, who can obviously speak English, to deal with me. So much for my german, but I try, and manage the rest of the transaction in German.

Nuremberg

Nuremberg

Then have a drive around to Betzenstein and surrounding areas. By now it’s only 13:00, Nuremberg’s only 30 miles away so we decide to have a look around. We’ve been before but over 25 years ago. The usual nightmare driving in, finding the old town and then finding parking.

End up fairly central in the old town. Just in time for Wendy to have her lunch before she expires from malnutrition and starvation. First area we wander around is like a little middle eastern section, now we know where all the immigrants are.

Nuremberg - another town, another church.

Nuremberg – another town, another church.

Wander around the old town a busy litter strewn mixture of old town with modern big city stores. Unusual for a German city it needs a good clean up.

To avoid yet another horrendous traffic jam we drive back down the country lanes. Pass through some lovely small old towns with character. Might have been better visiting them instead.

After another busy driving day we have tea at a restaurant near Konigstein. Menu choice is a tad limited but food is excellent, beer is awesome and all very cheap.
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What is it with German towns? They seem to have more shoe shops than there are feet available. I know germans like walking but given the abundance of shoe shops I can only assume that German shoes only last for about 10 miles and then self destruct.

Sunday – hot and sunny

Jurgen and Katz family

Jurgen and Katz family

Breakfast and a lazy morning.

After lunch it's afternoon tea, with the Katz family, with cakes of course.

After lunch it’s afternoon tea, with the Katz family, with cakes of course.

Meet up with Jurgen and his family for a lovely lunch at Veldensteiner Forst followed by afternoon tea with delicious cakes in their garden. It’s about 28 years since we saw them last so we had plenty to catch up on and many photos and reminiscences. Lovely to see them all, although it makes you realise how old you are when they are all grown up with their own teenage children. Jurgen has teenage daughter and is 2nd director at a secondary school. Loves his job as a teacher.

Then it's drinks with the Pickelmanns.

Then it’s drinks with the Pickelmanns.

Then we walk across the road to Henri and Margits house for afternoon drinks. Henri takes us to see his new depot in his awesome 7 series BMW heads up display and for Wendy sat in the back there’s TV’s, massage seats, spa air freshener – wot no jacuzzi! Henri now has a massive Diesel Oil business with over 50 tankers and now petrol stations. Rudi his son work in the business. Henri still works in the business every day, including Sundays, and is justly proud of his business.

Followed by a lovely evening meal in a Schlossbrennerei in Betzenstein. It is so hot we all dine out side. Andy, Gerd and their teenage children join us for dinner. Of course no meal with Henri would be complete without some good German beer and rounded off with a quality Schnapps – feurwasser. Again it’s about 25 years since we last saw them, so we have plenty to reminisce and catch up on. Andy has 3 children and is a Mediator and along with her husband Gerd runs a thriving supermarket.

Pickelmann oil depot with some of their 50 petrol transporters.

Pickelmann oil depot with some of their 50 petrol transporters.

All our friends and especially their children seem to be very happy and prospering. It was awesome to see them all after all this time, a whole generation later. I don’t think we’ve ever eat so much in a day, drive back to Konnigstein, well after Noddys gone past big ears.

Interesting to talk to Andy and family about BREXIT. They are a tad confused as to why we voted out. I explained our view, but forgot to tell them that another key factor in the vote was a protest vote, people were fed up with politicians ignoring the masses. They seem overall in favour of the EU. Andy likes the idea of an EU army for peace. Whereas Henri, as a business man, is a lot more sceptical of the EU especially the bureaucracy. Margit had an interesting view in that she feels they are a wealthy country and it is right that they share their wealth. Generally most seemed to agree that immigration was out of control. I think it is difficult for them to appreciate how our country is being swamped. Especially bad for us in the Blackburn area where we already having a burgeoning muslim presence trying to erode our cultural norms and overloading local services.

Andy, Gerd and family.

Andy, Gerd and family.