Monthly Archives: July 2016

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.
rant header

 
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.

religion header

 

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.
brexit header

 
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


religion header

 
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


rant header

 
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.
rant header

 
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.


20160702 – We Survived Italy. Now It’s Serfaus and Munich.

Saturday – hot and sunny

Our hotel in Serfaus.

Our hotel in Serfaus.

Yes, we survived Italy. I think I deserve a medal for surviving those roads and the crazy exhaust bandits.

Serfaus ski runs.

Serfaus ski runs.

I spend about 8 months a year driving on the right. I spend about 8 months a year driving in unknown and foreign places. But nothing prepared me for Italy. Lovely country. We enjoyed it, but oh the roads, if you survive the pot holes; then you’ve the cyclist to overtake; followed by avoiding the scooters trying to scrape the paint off both sides of your car; then there’s the screaming loonies on their TT Trial bikes, glorified phallic symbols to make up for a minuscule penis, as they deafen, swerving in and out; but worse of all the crazy drivers trying to crawl up your exhaust pipe. They’ve no concept of a safe stopping distance, they seem to assume it’s measured in centimetres.

Serfaus.

Serfaus.

If ever we come back then it’ll be in an £100 old banger land rover, suitably ensconced in cobham armour plating, equipped with a rear flame thrower and blades protruding from our wheels like a roman charioteer.

Pleasant 4 hour drive up to Serfaus. Our Hotel Garni Alpina is lovely. Great room with sitting area and south facing balcony. Everything is spot on and wifi seems to work.

Have trouble driving the last 50 yards to our hotel because as usual there’s a beer festival on with some typical Tyrollean music.

Park the car up and there it will stay for the next two days. Serfaus is a traffic free village with a free underground railway.

Serfaus lift station and Kolner Haus.

Serfaus lift station and Kolner Haus.

Wendy has to have her lunch and cup of tea. Then it’s off to the beer festival for a daytime beer. Followed by a pleasant stroll around the village up to Cervosa and Maxamillian. All brings back great memories of family ski holidays here.

In the evening we go out to dinner for a typical Tyrollean food Zweifbelroastbraten, spatzle and couldn’t resist a Germknodel. It’s at least 20 years since we had one. All very tasty served in an awesome restaurant – just love all the traditional wood panelling.
joke header

 
Remembering Checkout Girl, Caroline Aherne, Fast Show:


Sunday – hot and sunny

On our way to the top of the mountain.

On our way to the top of the mountain.

Don’t I just love Teutonic efficiency. Breakfast tables already set out, complete with a lovely little pottery name plate with our name on.

Great breakfast.

We get free lift passes with our hotel so it means we can ride all the 4 gondolas all day for free. In our day there was only one gondola. Off to the underground ski train. We remember this oh too well. Not as crowded as last time we used it. I’ll never forget the automatic German announcement “achtung tur schliessen automatische”

Ski lift!

Ski lift!

Take a trip to the top of the mountain and have coffee at a traditional Austrian mountain restaurant Lassida. I’m sure it wasn’t there in our day, but it looks like it’s been there for ages.

Stop off at Kolner Haus for Wendy’s lunch. Arghh…., they modernised it in 2003. Lost all its rustic charm and they’ve got rid of those lampshades. Food wasn’t all that good either we should have eat at the top of the mountain.

Catch another gondola and lo and behold there’s a boating lake and amusement area been opened up on the mountain. Now I know why those walkers had to be so well equipped.

Kölner Haus, what have they done to it!

Kölner Haus, what have they done to it!

Have a leisurely stroll back down the main street. Trying to remember which places we stayed at and where we bought a loaf of bread, becher muesli, hot chestnuts and shoes.

In the evening we go out for dinner again to the Astoria. All plans are for a bauern platter, tiroller grostle and kaiserscharm. Free schnapps (feurwasser) to round off the meal. We’re so full we can’t manage a kaiserscharm.

Love this place, it’s all so clean, organised, efficient and pleasant. Being in the mountains the temperature is not too hot, just ideal for walking. Civilised. Could certainly come back for a weeks summer walking holiday. But for skiing I don’t think we’d come back. Sure they’ve expanded the area and you can now ski Fiss and Ladis on the same lift system but still not a patch on the size of Park City; oh so expensive; most of the ski areas are not high enough to guarantee good snow; narrow runs; I suspect it’s still crowded.

A well deserved rest.

A well deserved rest.


Wow these Germans sure like their walking. A lot of them are our age. The mountains are crisscrossed with organised walking paths, yet when you look at the average German walker you’d think they were on a mission to the top of Everest. They have super strong, shock absorbing, waterproof, hiking boots; back pack big enough for a whole years backpacking; super high tech, waterproof jackets and trousers; two walking poles that look like they’ve been personally moulded to their hands and could be used to defend yourself and scratch your back. All thats missing is an ice pick, crampons and oxygen.
religion header

 
Top 10 controversial Quran verses:


Monday – hot and sunny

Our new home for 4 days. It's massive.

Our new home for 4 days. It’s massive.

Review Hotel Garni Alpina – 5 Stars

A lovely 4 star hotel. Room was great with sitting area and small balcony. Breakfast was good quality food. Everything is just right. Would definitely stay there again. Surprised they didn’t accept credit card but we booked via booking.com, so not to big a problem and price was good. Wifi was ok.

Kitchen.

Kitchen.

After a hearty breakfast set off to our next stop a VRBO in Kaps, just outside Munich.

Lovely drive through Austria to the German border where there’s a traffic jam. Yes, despite Schengen there’s a German border patrol guy just waving all German, Italian and Austrian cars through. What happens to us? Yes, the only British car and we get stopped. Do I think it can be something to do with BREXIT. He asks us if we’re going home, I tell him no we’re going to Germany and we’re waved on. What a prejudicial waste of time. Looks like the Germans have already abandoned Schenegan, never mind waiting for an EU go ahead.

Dining area.

Dining area.

Arrive at our new home in Kaps, a small village of about 5 houses. Our home for the next 4 days is massive – see pictures. To just walk to the kitchen will beat Wendy’s daily fitbit steps target. Two bedrooms, 3 balconies and oh so modern. Well equipped, everything is just right and top quality.

Bathroom with walk in shower big enough for a football team.

Bathroom with walk in shower big enough for a football team.

Amazing, even though there’s only about 5 houses and they’re all spread out, yet the wifi password is 16 characters long. What is this obsession with passwords? There’s no way any of the other 4 houses would be within range and it’s in the back of beyond.

Yeah, beans on toast for tea.


Tuesday – hot and sunny

On our way to Munich.

On our way to Munich.

Drive down to Aying, about 5 minutes away. Park up and catch the train into Munich. The trains modern, comfortable, air conditioned and clean. You can even see out the windows, unlike Italy.

Whatever happened to common sense? Aying platform ticket machine is like the typical German trying to worship the sun, getting a great tan. Stuff the passenger trying to read the screen. Wot no deck chair towel. Pity we could have used it to shade the screen. Let’s just summaries some of the other issues, won’t accept any of our credit cards; won’t accept a €20 note; says no change given and it gives change; confusing screen design; ticket it prints won’t fit in the authorize machine. Apart from that it was perfect.

Surfing in Munich.

Surfing in Munich.

After a 40 minute trip we’re in the main station in Munich and pick up a hop on and off bus tour.

Munich is lovely but oh so hot. We stop for a coffee in the English Garden and watch them surfing. Then it’s the Marienplatz for the town hall and a gentle stroll around. Wot no selfie sticks, not a single one to be seen, unlike

Hofbrau Haus.

Hofbrau Haus.

Italy where they’re ike a plague of locust trying to swipe you and poke your eye out. Is the percentage of selfie sticks inversely proportional to the wealth of a country?

Saunter round to the Hofbrau house for a beer and some lunch.

Hofbrau Haus.

Hofbrau Haus.

Break all my retirement commandments and have ein Masse and some lunch. Great beer, great food but spoilt by crap customer service.

Then full of good food and quality beer, we waddle around some more. Hop on the bus back to the main station. By now it’s hotter than hell and half of Georgia.

rant header

 
Hofbrau Haus Trip Advisor Review – 1 star
Now I just love Hofbrau and going to the original Hofbrau Haus in Munich is a real treat. Even if there is no Humpah band playing inside. Beer and food are great but customer service must be organised by some renegades from ISIS.

The famous Rathaus.

The famous Rathaus.

We arrive sit down and wait. 5 minutes later no acknowledgement or service, despite 2 waiters standing around doing nothing. Ask them whats happening. Your waiter will be here soon. I don’t suppose in the meantime you could be bothered to take a drinks order. Oh no this is not their table. After about 10 minutes our waiter trots up.

Then to add insult to injury halfway through the meal our elusive waitress wants to be our best friend. Could we pay the bill now as she’s going off duty. Oh but don’t worry if you want more drinks or dessert my colleague who takes over will take your order. I pointed out what appalling customer service this is and she agreed with me, but it’s what we have to do. Then we get the coup de gras of all such inept companies, when she tells me I can email a complaint. Of course my standard retort is “you tell them” and of course her standard reply is “they don’t listen to us”. Don’t listen to your customers or staff at your peril.

Rathaus clock.

Rathaus clock.

Obviously the place is run for managements convenience. Heaven forbid they should consider the customer, they’re just a dammed inconvenience to their policies and procedures. I’ve been to several Hofbrau Haus’s in America and can’t recall this complete disregard for the customer. As you have not a jot of understanding of the word customer or service, and especially the phrase “customer service” then you get a punitive 1 star.
Hofbrau biergarten.

Hofbrau biergarten.


rant header

 
At last:

In a sign of the times, as well as the entrenchment of the internet in nearly every aspect of life, the United Nations passed a resolution declaring online access as nothing less than a human right.


Wednesday – cloudy and not too hot – joy

Tegernsee

Tegernsee

Lazy morning then we drive down to Tegernsee. A lakeside town that, according to our host, brews the best beer in Germany.

It’s a pleasant little town. A bit of a tourist trap. We have a coffee and lunch by the lake then have a saunter around. Splash out on 3 bottles of their local beer.

Awesome.

Awesome.

Then we drive back to Aying, our nearest town, that also has it’s own brewery – Ayinger. Have a wander around and stop in the open air beer garden for a beer – sinful. It’s all very pleasant, I could get used to this way of life. Oh and the beer is excellent.
Aying Biergarten.

Aying Biergarten.


religion header

 
A beer in the modernised Kolner Haus in Serfaus.

A beer in the modernised Kolner Haus in Serfaus.

A new law has been passed in the UK on hate speech. Certain forms of conduct as outlined below, are punishable as criminal offences:
* public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined on the basis of race, colour, descent, religion or belief, or national or ethnic origin;
* the above-mentioned offence when carried out by the public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material;
Aying town centre.

Aying town centre.

* publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (Articles 6, 7 and 8) and crimes defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, when the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group.

I wonder when the first prosecution will come about for selling or giving away copies of the quran, given that nearly every other page has passages inciting hatred and violence to non-muslims.

Wendy drinking in the Hofbrau Haus. Well someone has to drive.

Wendy drinking in the Hofbrau Haus. Well someone has to drive.


20160625 – Siena Again, Verona And Maybe A Mafia Encounter

Saturday – hot and sunny

It ain’t half hot again but we brave the heat and venture into Siena to see the Duomo. We missed it last trip.

Wendy has a pleasant lunch and then after a 4 mile saunter we head back home for some cool.
rant header

 
Still the battles rage on Facebook between BREXITers – considered a load of geriatric, racist, xenophobic idiots – and REMAINDERS.

Perhaps time to reflect on some great advice on change – it served me well in my job trying to implement change. Anybody guess who said it and when?

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries … and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.”


Sunday – hot and sunny

Lounge

Verona – Lounge. Our lovely home for the next week.

Review of our VRBO outside Siena – 1 star.

A lovely 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom villa. Clean and fairly well equipped, grounds and pool were also well kept. Two lovely patio areas, complete with settee, chairs and dining table. Also sun loungers. Pool area was lovely. Lounge was small but adequate, sadly a tad on the dark side and could do with some better lighting. No air conditioning in the lounge but was in both bedrooms.

Gourmet kitchen

Verona – Gourmet kitchen

Fairly expensive, but apart from the wifi fiasco it would have been worth it.

Wifi was diabolical. Up and down like a jihadis machete. I complained but things didn’t improve. Just typical. Fortunately all the other utilities didn’t cut out or keep failing and none needed a password to access them.

Dining kitchen

Verona – Dining kitchen

I would have given this place 5 stars but I’m so sick of hotels and rentals not treating wifi seriously. If water, electricity or gas was up and down like this wifi, then you’d be furious. I choose places that claim they have wifi and expect it to work speedily and consistently like other utilities. It’s not rocket science. For this reason I’m giving them a punitive 1 star.

We say goodbye to our lovely villa just outside Siena and drive up to a weeks home exchange on a vineyard just outside Verona.

Balcony

Verona – Balcony

It’s a leisurely 3 hour drive, mostly quality toll roads spoilt only by the crazy exhaust bandits that maraud these highways, a modern day scourge like the highwaymen of old.

Satnav does an excellent job and gets us to our new home. This BMW is awesome, you just identify the location on maps. In this case I used the satellite view to check the villa out and then sent the co-ordinates down to the car.

Vineyards from the balcony

Verona – Vineyards from the balcony

We’ve a 3 bedroom apartment in this lovely villa just surround by vineyards. Even has it’s own gym and pole for Wendy to do some pole dancing for my entertainment – pictures may follow.

Get settled in. Hooray, wifi works. Then it’s off down to the local supermarket, which defying all expectations is open all day, on a Sunday. A nice bottle of Primitivio and some quality German beers along with a few Italian delicious like cannelloni, MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA, porchetta and a selection of Italian cheeses including some awesome Mascarpone cheese.
religion header

 
How many times do we have to hear from our politicians and so called moderate muslims that Islam is a religion of peace and nothing to do with jihadis terrorists or ISIS, a bit like Hitler claiming “Mein Kampf” was a holy book and the Fuhrerbunker a mosque.

Monday – hot and sunny

Our apartment - top left

Our apartment – top left

Fairly lazy morning and then we drive into Verona for a shufty round. No hop on / off tour, no guided walking tour, just us and google maps exploring the most popular looking places. Bump into Juliets balcony purly by accident, not really on our list. What a tourist magnet it is, teaming with us dam tourists.

Romantic picture in Verona

Romantic picture in Verona

Being of the “forgot what I had for breakfast” age, today I forgot to put my belt on so there I am shuffle around Verona in dire risk of my shorts falling down. How embarrassing would that be under Juliets balcony. “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou you pervert? Pull up thy draws, stop thy codpiece being faded by the suns almighty rays.”

Amphitheatre - sadly no lions.

Amphitheatre – sadly no lions.

Stop for a lunch time coffee, then 4 miles later we stop for Wendy’s belated lunch. Not ice cream today but apple cake Italian style.

I ask if we should go in the amphitheatre and see where they feed crap software designers to the lions on a Saturday afternoon. Wendy comes back with a typical BREXITer abroad comment “It’s only an old building with holes in the walls and an arena in the middle”.

Verona

Verona

Driving in and out of Verona was an absolute nightmare. Italian roads in the cities are as confusing as a bowl of spaghetti, but then you add more wanker drivers per kilometre than pilgrims perambulating around a black pagan obelisk in Mecca.

Allegedly Juliets balcony

Allegedly Juliets balcony

We chose a really central car park. It was great, even had those little red and green lights on each bay so you knew if they were free or not. But €9 for 3 hours I thought I’d bought the place.

Religion – Beyond Belief

 
Bill Maher gets into a debate on why Islam is more Violent than Christianity:


Tuesday – hot and sunny

Lake Garda

Lake Garda

Up and out for a drive around Lake Garda. First 20 miles makes us think we’re in Blackpool with theme parks, a Paradise for your sad Brits abroad. But then it gets to the really beautiful parts. It is lovely but all 100 miles are spoilt by loony drivers. Stop for morning coffee by the lake in Garda. It has a typical seaside resort feel about it. A lot of Brits.

Garda

Garda

Then we have dinner at the top end of the lake.

A pleasant but long days driving. Made all the more stressful with exhaust bandits and loony motorcyclists on narrow winding roads.

Well we’ve still not come across the hint of a tin of baked beans. Now I’m all in favour of the “when in Rome” principle, and do like to experience foreign foods, but how I do yearn for a simple meal, just once in 6 weeks. Anyway I’ve come up with some new International suggestions. What about macaroni and baked beans, perhaps with diced pork sausage or a baked bean pizza with some pepperoni on.

Garda

Garda

Just sat on the balcony enjoying a delicious Paulaner beer whilst I watch the grapes grow out there in the vineyard.

I now fully understand this Mediterranean obsession with shutters. Essential to keep the place cool but we end up like bats in a cave, fluttering around in the dark.

rant header

 
TOP 10 WORST COUNTRIES TO DRIVE IN
1. Italy
2. France
3. Spain
4. China
5. Thailand
6. USA
7. Germany
8. Ireland
9. The Netherlands
10. Belgium

Wednesday – hot and sunny

Milan - shopping extravaganza.

Milan – shopping extravaganza.

Up and out early and off to Milan. Drive to Brescia. Finally find the station car park. Get a first class on the slow train to Milan. Judging by the state of the carriage I think it’s actually 3rd class. Certainly doesn’t need any shutters, looks like the Windows haven’t been cleaned since world war 1.

Milan - awesome Duomo.

Milan – awesome Duomo.

In Milan we catch the underground to the Duomo. Wow, makes the Siena Duomo look like a Lego church. It is truly awesome. Have a coffee overlooking the main piazza and then set off for a wander around. Expensive shops and all very plush. A lot different from all the other Italian cities, not so much culture more commerce. A pleasant change.

Get back to Brescia to pick the car up and despite dire warnings the car and it’s contents are still there.

Milan

Milan

Our American visitors do make us wander at times, they come all this way to stay in our home and then “nip” down to Stonehenge. A 5 hour drive each way. We can’t seem to get across to them how much there is to see and do within an hours drive.

This home exchanging is a funny old business. Not only do you get to stay in so many different houses but you also get a squint into how people live. Makes you realise how different peoples lives can be. For instance can you believe that not everyone has a kettle. On the other side of life many people have a bidet to wash their feet in. What is this European obsession with washing your genitals? I’ve always said we don’t make good Europeans – “you can’t make a milky pure European out of a Brit with big ears and mucky smelly genitals” – being just one of the many ways we don’t fit, so we’re better off out.

joke header

 
Milan

Milan

I went to Morrisons today to do my shopping and the cashier asked this foreign couple in front of me if they wanted help packing their bags.

I thought bloody hell, this BREXIT is happening quicker than I expected!

rant header

 
Milan

Milan

Meanwhile it seems that gobby Sturgeon now wants a 2nd referendum so Scotland can escape the clutches of the UK and join the EU. What a good idea, but this time let’s make sure that England takes part in the referendum too, with an option to eject them from the UK. Then if they vote to leave, or we vote to eject, they go. I’m sick of their whinges and that gobby wench. What a nightmare it would be waking up with that yapping away on your pillow.

Thursday – hot and sunny

Bologna

Bologna

Off down to Bologna. Parking was a nightmare. My target car park was minuscule and relied upon valet parking. Certainly wasn’t trusting my pride and joy to that dodgy looking geezer. Ended up parking on the streets, just outside the forbidden ZLT zone.

Bologna, an Apple Store, more eating joints than small Italian banks about to go belly up, but amazingly nothing to tempt Wendy. She looses the will to live and resorts to Mac Donald’s, sad – at least there’s no cover charge.

Bologna

Bologna

Not quite as chic as Milan yesterday, and the church is quite mundane compared to all the others we’ve seen.

Nice covered walkways / arcades everywhere means you don’t have to shadow dance to stay out of the sun. Old town area was fascinating with some awesome food shops selling hams and cheese. Just a pity you can’t capture the delicious smells.

Bologna also has a leaning tower.

Bologna also has a leaning tower.

Have a pleasant wander around the main sites but it’s oh so noisy and considering traffics supposed to be limited in the forbidden ZLT zone, I can’t believe how many cars, scooters and buses there are. Too much traffic. Too noisy.

Seems like we missed Neptunes statue.
joke header

 
Don’t forget we need the immigrants to do the jobs us Brits won’t or can’t do. Like Prime Minister or leader of the opposition.

Religion – Beyond Belief

 
*

*


Friday – hot and sunny again

Winery

Winery

Lazy day today. Have a wine tour in the morning. All very interesting. These vineyards are massive. 175 Hectares and they sell to 47 different countries.

At the end of the personalised tour we get to do some wine tasting. Love the Valpolicella Superior, my first Valpolicella in Italy was nowhere as rounded and mellow as this, and their was great Merlot. Sadly this meant committing a retirement sin by drinking before 17:00, but it would have been rude not to.

A few bottles in this barrel

A few bottles in this barrel

Then we have the rest of the day packing and relaxing before our drive to Austria.

A fine bottle of Valpolicella Superior, some awesome Italian cheeses, some see through Proscutio and bread for tea.

Bottling plant

Bottling plant

It seems we’ve may have caused something like a major Mafia blood feud. The Left hand side of the garage, that we enter through, belongs to one brother and the right hand side to another. We’re staying in the home of the daughter of the right hand brother and have committed a major crime by walking to the stairs via the left hand side. We did this because it was as easy and seemed less intrusive on the privacy of the right hand side. Anyway emails have been flying backwards and forwards between our host in New York and the left hand brother about this major territorial incursion.

imageThe United Nations Security council have been called into session and we’ve have now amended our sinful ways and averted any bloodshed. I’m glad to report that so far we’ve not found a dead horses head on our pillow. Our hostess has been very helpful and hospitable, but this incident, totally outside of her control, soured a lovely stay.
joke header

 
A few BREXIT jokes:

Wine tasting gallery

Wine tasting gallery

Why does Britain like tea so much?
Because tea leaves

What did Britain say to its trade partners?
“See EU later.”

religion header

 
Qur’an Gangbang episode 4: Islamic Street Preachers