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.
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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.
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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.

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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.


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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.


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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.