London to Dublin via Wales – 24-30 September

24th September – on our way to London
Arrived at Andrew & Susan’s home early evening with the wonderful Lodge taxi service waiting at the station for us.

25th September
Jennifer & Susan, along with Harry went off on the train to Brighton to shop for some size 13 shoes for Harry (amongst other things) and walk on the ‘sandy’ beaches and also to the end of the Brighton Pier before returning home to do some baking. Andrew, Toby & I went swimming or to the gym, then off to lunch in town whilst waiting for the girls to return so we could have a quick 9 holes @ Cuckfield Golf Course. Enjoyed a lovely family dinner including two of Toby’s friends who stayed overnight. Enjoyed learning a new card game like whist during the evening.

26th September
Jen, Susan, Harry & Toby disappeared early with Harry off to a theme park for the day and the other 3 off to church. Andrew & I had a sleep-in before getting up and starting to prepare the roast for lunch. Toffee (the dog) and I had an hour walk around the farmer’s field perimeters – the fields still beautifully green and Toffee just enjoying the chance for a run and chasing twigs. The opportunity of another 9 holes came up so I guess it just had to be taken :). Jennifer & Susan had a quiet afternoon with Toby but Toffee missed out on another walk.We all enjoyed the evening together

27th September
Andrew & Harry off to work & school, Jen and I headed of to Carshalton, south of London where we connected with Michael & Rosalind. Joyce, Margaret and Terry joined us for lunch with the younger members all joining us for dinner at the pub.

Jennifer, Rosalind, Michael, Tim, Catherine, Terry & Joyce having dinner at the pub

Unfortunately Jenny is at University in Bristol so was unable to join us. Chased up more stories about Dad and Bob and their cycling days in England, Germany and France during the 1930’s and 40’s.

28th September
Jumped on the train heading for Victoria where we ventured the underground to Euston. Caught the Virgin train to Chester and were greeted by our dear friend Doreen and introduced to her new partner John. We had a lovely time together staying with them in their new home in Connah’s Quay. We spent the afternoon together catching up on old times and seeing the latest photographs. Enjoyed a gorgeous apple pie for tea , made with apples from the garden.

29th September
Started off with a rather damp morning but this was breaking up and looked promising for the rest of the day. Headed off south into inner Wales by first visiting Llantwst Church and having a look at the Horseshoe Falls followed by a coffee at the Chain Bridge Hotel. Whilst there we noticed an old steam engine coming in to the Berwyn station on the other side of the river Dee. From here we went on to Llangollen and a good wander around the village before enjoying lunch up at the canal station kiosk on the Shropshire Union Canal.

The Card Shop near the Bridge in the town of LLangollen

It is most interesting that all road signs and place show both Welsh and English language. We found the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which is 1007 feet

John, Doreen & Jennifer on Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

across and 123 feet high above the river so we went across on the walking path and were able to cadge a ride back on an empty tourist narrow boat. It was Doreens first ride on a narrow boat. The captain gave us a quick history of the aquaduct and explained about the plughole to drain the excess water from the canal when necessary. Thomas Telford built the aquaduct over ten years from 1795 out of iron and steel sealing it with lead and boiling sugar. After driving back up the horseshoe pass we had a stop at the top and checked out the sheep that wagged their tail behind them and the magnificent view of the Llangollen valley as by now the sun was shining. The mountains here are very old and rock faces grey with slate.

John, Jennifer & Doreen on the Betws-y-Coed bridge


We continued on to Betws-y-Coed arriving as the shops were shutting so we enjoyed the window shopping and a look at the gushing water over the rocks/falls and saw a salmon jump. We enjoyed fish for dinner together and then John drove us all safely home after a wonderful day.

30th September
Up early, washing done and then the drive to Chester. It was now time to take the train to Holyhead and board the Stena Line Adventurer for our trip across the Irish Sea to Dublin.

We picked up the hirecar and travelled down to the Old Rectory in Bray where we stayed for the night after a wonderful salmon dinner on the waterfront.

Denmark – 17-24 September

17 September
After getting a taxi at 6:30 we jumped on a train from Junkerath and headed off to Köln before transferring to the train to Hamburg. It was delayed due to ‘malfunction’ and could not reach top speed. Because of this we were 40 minutes late with our connection to Denmark and hence missed the ICE train. We arrived at Odense about 2 hours late and were greeted by Vivienne on the platform whilst Eskil was at home preparing a traditional Danish dinner.

18 September
Back to the town centre on Saturday we explored an old style hardware store where there were many knick-knacks no longer found in the stores of today replacing our special string and leather belt hole puncher. Went off to the fruit & veg market and found some flat white peaches. The taste was better than expected and they looked so different.

Vivienne & Jen with Hot Dog & flat peach


19th September
Danish Railway Museum – experienced the 3rd class carriages for the poor through to the rich and Royal Family plus the big locomotives and the rail fixing & inspector/superviser vehicles. Saw the ferries that transported the trains acoss the Danish islands prior to the long bridges and under sea tunnels being built.

20th September
Went off to the Fjord&Baelt porpoise & seal research centre – a wonderfully presented exhibition and education on what is being researched and walking through the underground tunnel and watching the sea life. Watched the training of fur seals and porpoise and learnt about the salt waters of the great belt that divides the Salty North Sea and the less salty Baltic Sea. The great belt runs down through the Danish Islands. Research is even being completed on the influence that the oversea bridges between the islands has on the sea currents of the great belt. Research is also being attended on the sonar ability of the porpoises to avoid being trapped in the fishing nets by attaching noise machines to the nets.

21st September
Up early and went on the train to Copenargen travelling 1st class. Included was breakfast and free internet access. We walked down the main shopping Mall after passing the picturesque town hall and square, buying danish quiches for lunch. We sat in Kings Park for lunch basking in the 20° sunny day. We walked to Rosenborg Palace enjoying the well kept grounds and exploring the history of the kings and queens inside. The furniture and displays were all authentic and interesting especially some of the tapestries on the walls.


We walked back to the city centre through the Boatannical Gardens and park. As we were weary we hopped on the city sightseeing bus and did a round of the city, most interesting. Even found that the little mermaid was missing as she is visiting China for the world trade show.
During our stop for Danish pastries and coffee we decided to surprize Jean and check out her new appartment. We walked for ½ hour and found her new home. After the grande tour we all went out for dinner together and then back to the railway for our 1st class rail trip home to Odense.

23rd September
Headed off to Kværndrup Station and then walked the 3 kms to Egeskov Castle (supported by oaks piles) and it is said that the castle got its name because the entire oak wood was used to provide all the piles under the castle. The water level is consistently monitored so it does not get too low and let air get to the piles which would cause the castle to sink. The moat goes right up to the castle walls and the castle consists of 2 longhouses joined by a metre thick double wall which among other things, includes a staircase by which the user could move unseen between the cellar and the 1st floor. The castle of today was created in 1554 following the “Count’s Feud” whereby the local peasants attacked many manor houses and this one was updated to make attacks difficult. The castle was opend to the public by a Count Claus Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille (what a great name).

Spent the day checking out Egeskov Castle, the vintage cars and motor bikes, a couples of mazes (one dating back to 1730), the fairy dolls house (Titania’s Palace – and is on loan from Lego Land) which took 15 years to build, museum of horse drawn vehicles and kids playground areas and tree walking bridge.

24th September
On our way to Haywards Heath, just south of London

Boris und der Hund

GERMANY / DEUTSCHLAND September 2010

When Boris arrived on the scene in Muenchen, he decided to mingle with the locals, basically to get the low-down on where to buy cheap bier.

He bought an Isor card and proceeded to use the U-Bahn on a regular basis.

On one morning he sat in the seat reserved for invalids and pensioners. He noticed an elderly lady sitting next to him, and he was overcome by the strong smell of geschissen. It was powerfully strong. It had that large German smell to it.

He wanted to tell the elderly lady about her problem, but he was stopped by the language barrier. How could he tell the lady that she had a strong smell of the hund geschissen? He had to settle for sticking a finger up his nose and to pretend he was smelling some roses.

As he left the train at the U-Bahn station, Muenchener Freiheit, he believed the smell was following him. It was also there he noticed the price for tickets on the U-Bahn (sometimes it amazes all how his small mind works). It seems that the German public transport system charges the same price for a dog as it does for a child. Of course one notices that a dog receive more attention than a child.

He continued to walk on the streets. Everywhere he noticed evidence of the presence of der hund. On the pathways, where owners were not public spirited, there were samples of geschissen. Also on display and provided for convenience there were dispensers containing bags for the capture and transport of the hund geschissen. The smell persisted to follow him.

He began to think the old lady was following him too. However, when he looked about, she was nowhere to be seen. But the smell was persistent and powerful.

Finally he returned to his hotel, just across the road from the cemetery – der friedhofsbedarf – he entered his room, removed his shoes and found the evidence on the sole – der hund geschissen.

Dumm gelaufen (yes – schisse happens)

Stadtkyll

16 September
Ian & Luba left mid morning for Koblenz and a look at the Rhine River before heading to Frankfurt tomorrow evening. They found some castles hard to find so messaged us when they arrived in Frankfurt tonight. We are just having a quiet day walking around the village, drinking tea & coffee before heading into the bush (and getting wet).
Include photo Stadtkyll Village

Euskirchen

15 September
Went off to Euskirchen for lunch – Luba will then go off for some retail therapy whilst Jen, Ian and I go exploring.
Include photo Euskirchen – Kids in Mkt Place

Luxembourg & Vianden

14 September
This morning we went down into the Vallée de la Petrusse and experienced a very different part of the city. Certainly not cosmopolitan as the main city centre is. Contained all the fortifications that were required to protect the city in centuries gone by. Many old stone walls and parapets where the city could be protected from invaders. On the way home we visited two Chateau’s the first being the ruins of Beaufort Castle with an interesting dungeon and torture chamber and equipment, the well inside the main castle (plus some nice sheep outside keeping the grass short). The 2nd was Vianden Castle which gradually went in to ruin as various parts were sold off. It was passed to the State by the Royal Family in 1977 and is now being restored. It is used for formal events and concerts at various times during the year. Most interesting.

Trier & Luxembourg

13 September
Headed off to Trier, the oldest city in Germany and went on a city walk, enjoying morning tea in front of the Porta Nigra (Roman Gate), Karl Marx’s Haus where he was born and leaned much about his interesting life. Bought peaches in the Hauptmarkt and walked across the Roman Bridge over the Mosel River. Travelled on to Luzembourg where we had a late lunch in the french restaurant and walked the city until dark visiting Notre Dame Cathedral (1613-1618) built by the Jesuits and building churches is not what they are noted for, Ville Base Vallery on the river Alzette, intersting numbers of fountains. We spent a very interesting hour in the house where Karl Marx was born – it is now a museum telling the story of his life and the effect on Lenin, Trotsky etc. and the time he spent in near poverty in London. This city appears to be made up of old stone buildings and very new glass buildings mixed together. Did not notice any buildings from the baby boomers era – maybe with the EU being based in Luxembourg, has provided a boost for the city. Spent the night in Bella Napoli hotel down near the railway station.

Belgium

12 September
Went out for a 200km round trip to Aachen which is just over the Belgium border – just some 90 kms away.

Started off with a morning coffee in Champagne (no not the French Champaigne) – coffee was made by pouring hot water into a container which had a coffee bag or granules in the base of a ‘plastic cup top’ which sat on top of the cup. By the time the coffee arrived at the table, the water had dripilated through the coffee and was ready for consumption. Nine people who had arrived in the pub, probably after church, many smokers and they were there to play alley bowls in the back room – they all spoke what seemed like a version of French. Walked around Aachen but as it was Sunday, eveything appeared to be closed, so we travelled back through National Park and visited Einruhr (a beautiful little village on a lake where we had afternoon soup.

Was Boris in Trier?

Hopefully the answer is NO!

Viktor and Hobson and their group of beautiful frauleinen made it to Trier today. They found it on the Mozel (Moselle) River, but failed to sample the wines.

They looked at sights and sites around the city. Importantly they found the Marx brothers’ birthplace – you know the funny one – Karl. It has been a history lesson.

Also they appear to have been tourists.

Thankfully no sign of Boris.

Worms – Oldest town in Germany -> Stadtkyll

10 September
Worms – the oldest town in Europe (1000AD) and one where the Jewish community has been all but wiped out (1933-1938) in the leadup to World War II and yet the cemetery was left intact and the Synagogue has now been rebuillt and also visited the museum where there was a large collection of headstones taken from the local area for preservation. They are about to have Dragon Day celebrations.

We then took a round a bout way to Stadtkyll where we would be spending the next week. A cottage in the middle of the bush high up the hill. Arrived just on close-up time but were lucky enough to find the restaurant was prepared to stay open for us providing we had pizza for dinner. Funny that we had had pizza in Worms for lunch and had decided that we were all pizza’d out for the next 3-4 months. Having said that, it was delightful, but we were hungry.

Boris escapes to Regensburg

REGENSBURG 9 September 2010

Boris was reported to be in the alt stadt. (Note to intelligence community: please be more precise in your reports – we are chasing this fool all over Bavaria)

Viktor and Hobson and three beautiful frauleinen made quick haste to the alt stadt, parking just behind the Maximilian Hotel. This is not significant, but a reasonable place to park if you have the beepers fitted.

In the company of the beautiful and numerically increasing frauleinen, they made their way to a good restaurant. Here an American fellow informed them he had seen Boris earlier, but he could have been mistaken.

Instead of pursuing Boris, they decided to have a decent breakfast.

After satisfying these hunger pains, these intrepid fellows set off searching the alt stadt.

Boris was spotted momentarily in several churches and the clock tower of the gate bridge beside the Donau River. Had he plunged into the river the would not have survived as the current was quite swift.

In one of the churches they saw that Boris’ accomplice, Ratsinger, had helped him escape.

Having followed a fruitless pursuit, our intrepid heroes decided to head for Worms, based on intelligence that Boris may be heading there.

Regensburg

9 September

Saskia joined us for brunch and gave us a wonderful tour of Regensburg – quite an exciting town and this is the area from where the current Pope came. Churches were spectacular with gold brocade etc just about everywhere. Visited the salt storage and the old Roman Bridge over the river Danube (very fast flowing and no water shortages). The taller the towers in this town, the richer were the merchants.

From here we headed of towards Worms for the night.

Boris visits Mad Ludwig

SCHWANGAU 8 September 2010

Hobson and Viktor were seen escaping from Riessersee Hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Questions will be asked about the mini-bar.

After driving through Austria, they were stopped at a police road block in the vicinity of Reutte. After extensive questioning about the activities of Boris, the police allowed them to pass. Of course they know nothing of the imcompetent fellow.

Their route passed through Fussen and onto Schwangau. Finally they found a parking spot behind a large pile of horse manure. (Dear reader, at this time we should advise that the principal form of transport in the village of Schwangau is the horse-drawn cart – nothing too fast)

Viktor and Hobson set about searching the facilities for Boris. Sometimes he is lucky and can be elusive.

Firstly, they went to the Hohenschwangau castle. It was a very ordinary establishment, as far as castles and palaces go. Maximilian must have been a frugle fellow.

On the contrary his son, Mad Ludwig (what mother would call her son, Mad Ludwig!!! – no wonder he turned out strange) was not frugle.

This was evident immediately on their arrival in Neuschwanstein.

As they searched the castle there were rumours that Boris would be performing a recital Wagner’s Ride of the Valkerie in the concert hall on the top floor of Neuschwanstein. Of course he had escaped just prior to their arrival.

Upon return to the car park, they successfully found the BMW they had acquired.

It was now necessary to make a quick journey to Regensburg.

Mad Ludwig’s Castle -> Regensburg

8 September

Headed off mid morning to see Mad Ludwig’s castle (Neuschwanstein)


and the castle of his father. The difference was quite incredible – the father who was content is his castle (Hohenschwangau)
and Mad Ludwig who lived in a world of fairies.

His castle followed these lines – was rather dark inside with the paintings that were painted all over the ceilings and walls. The outside was bright and encouraging. He was mad and his older brother was declared insane as a 24 year old – quite sad for their mother but I guess this is what happens with in-breeding. Finally left Fusen for Regensburg where we had potato soup with Saskia, Jochen & Niklas before heading off to the hotel in town.

Boris was seen in Oberammergau

OBERAMMERGAU 7 September 2010

REPORT 1

This is new report from Viktor in glorious village of Oberammergau.

Everyone will know famous village of Unterammergau. Oberammergau is just up the road a short distance from Unterammergau.

Boris was seen lurking in vicinity of Oberammergau on morning of 7 September.

It is not generally known whether Boris is religous, but he has been seen with pope in Regensburg.

The village was full of Americans so Boris was able to masquerade as Hans, oberleutnent in charge of water wagon.

At time of passion play, Boris was seen entering building. Very strange – he was without ticket. He stumbled over filippino people on way to vacant seat.

Later seen stuffing blanket in bag.

REPORT 2

Boris not seen after dinner.

Viktor and Hobson with beautiful frauleinen walked through museum in village in search of Boris. Maybe polizei found he had no ticket and asked him to leave.

Hobson bought expensive kaffee in small cafe.

Fraulein took many photos, and with close examination did not reveal Boris.

REPORT 3

Boris again seen in vicinity of shuh platz. Think he was trying to find bus to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

All confused as bus took strange route to hotel.

No more to report, except Hobson seen heading for bar.

Oberammagau with Ian & Luba

7 September
Caught the late morning bus into Oberammagau where we had the chance to have a look raound this rather quaint village, dressed up to create the best atmosphere for all visitors attending the play. Many houses are painted with various scenes and gardens just immaculate.


Lots of people but no-one seemed to be pushy – rather tranquil atmosphere. Went off to lunch in our alloted seat at the hotel and then had to be seated at the play by 14:30. Rather a tight fit but not uncomfortable.
The play was magnificent but I think we were thankful to have the words in a booklet in front of us so we could identify the players – many of whose names are not generally used. Went off again to walk the town and have dinner until the 2nd half started at 20:00. Much more exciting in the 2nd half as things started to heat up in the lead up to the crucifixion scenes. All was over just before 23:00 and we went out to look for the bus – did rather well by walking to the other end of the village before realising we were meant to be elsewhere. The bus dropped us back to the Hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen where we slept quite soundly.

Report From Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Viktor has duty to report on recent activities of that fool, Boris. Viktor is sitting in nice hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Viktor has finally made contact with Hobson, who was seen arriving at bahnhof in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Note to Hobson: be more discreet with whom you associate – it could have been Boris waiting at bahnhof. It was most fortunate that Boris was lost driving around Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Viktor and Hobson had good sense to stop at Rathaus and ask directions.
After arrival at correct and nice hotel, Viktor and Hobson were associating with beautiful frauleinen. It was delightful to spend afternoon beside lake, Riessersee.
Hobson desided it was necessary to go to the village. Viktor had acquired BMW (ask no questions!) in Muenchen. All went in BMW from delightful hotel to village. Being trained at special school, all noticed small wooden sheds in fields. Further enquiries will be made, but it is assumed that buildings are barns.
In village purchases were made. One fraulien bought swimming suit and other went to apothek. Hobson bought SIM for internet connection. All were happy with purchases and returned to delightful hotel.

Viktor and Hobson met delightful frauleinen in delightful hotel for dinner. The Norwegian salmon was very good and accentuated with very crisp and sweet Weissburgunder wine. (It was noted Norwegian salmon is less salty than salmon purchased from Tasmania)
After dinner,frauleinen went to swimming pool while Hobson and Viktor conspired to change world order on next day.

Boris was seen in vicinity of second-rate American burger joint. It is his problem.

Zurich to Garmish-Partenkirchen

6 September
Back on the train (a Railjet which is allowed to go up the 160Km per hour maximum whilst in Switzerland)

and heading for Innsbruck,crossing the Rhine River into Litchenstein but unable to get a picture of Vaduz Castle because of the sun and crossed back into Austria and eventually
Garmesh-Partenkirchen via the Tirol on a slow local train.

where we were met by Ian & Luba. We al then spent the afternoon in the village and checking out the Zugspitze Mountain (the highest in Germany at 2962 metres).

Grenoble to Zurich

5 September
Got on the train following a wonderful 3 days with Mathilde and Julien and their family (including the cows being grown up)

The Cows being grown up


and after having a nice lunch with ‘English’ Uncle Dennis & his family in Grenoble – and headed off to Zurich via Geneva after enjoying a lovely ’89 red.

Hauterives and Facteur Cheval

4 September
Went to the town of Hauterives where we had an absolutely delightful lunch with the Moulins

and then walked through the village to experience ‘Facteur Cheval’. Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) was a postman who built his dream ‘Le Palais Idéal’.

It is an amazing and imaginary castle which he built himself, stone by stone. He believed that there were geniuses in all levels of society and set out to prove it. He believed that will power could triumph over all manner of physical and mental difficulties, and also achieve a more perfect understanding of the nature of things and the nature itself. From the first to the last stone took some 93,000 hours. He included images of most things that existed in his lifetime – Adam, Eve, the 2 main religions in the world, serpents, animals, the tree of life etc. No plan existed but he built each section as he dreamed it and it all came together in the end. He passed away and joined the Eastern and Western fairies. His tomb at the village cemetery is simular to his palace and took just 8 years to build.

Dachau – never again!

DACHAU, 4 September 2010.

There is a memorial within the site that says: NEVER AGAIN.

Neither Viktor nor Boris nor Hobson went to Dachau. This story is too important to be taken lightly.

When I arrived in Munich we had flown over forests, fields and villages. The scenery was remarkably green. It was in stark contrast to walk through the main gate of the Jurhaus in Dachau. This barren scene was a mixture of white and grey. It was a dirty white. Also the sky was a severe grey, mostly because it had been raining all morning, but also it was highlighted by our sombre mood.

No one goes to Dachau out of delight. I went to learn. A few went to remember. Many had gone in a state of terror.

Every smile was out of understanding a shared acknowledgement of the terrible history. Every word was spoken in hushed tones. Every action was a free movement to search for reasons. For twelve years no one had gone to Dachau out of free will.

When entering the gates during that time, the prisoners were confronted with the irony of the sign, “Arbeit Macht Frei – Work makes you free” None were free to enter and none could leave. They were compelled to make the journey, and at the gate surrendered their freedom, their dignity and their identity.

From that point, all had to work or die.

Now, just beyond the gate is a wall that marks the edge of the parade ground. On the wall is a message written in French, English, German and Russian: “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933 – 1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and freedom and in respect of their fellow men.”

This wall marked a continuation of the terror. Beyond the wall were the existing inmates, spearated from the new by a measurable distance, but united with them in an uncertain and immeasurable future.

The construction of the entry route was designed to instill further terror. When prisoners were herded from the train, they shuffled through the gate and into the maintenance building. The route had several turns to ensure no one could see ahead, and it added to personal confusion and an overwhelming sense of fear.

In the administration hall the prisoners shuffled forward to tables where they were processed. The clerks seated at the tables were prisoners too. The line of tables disproportionately divided the hall with one-third of the area allocated to prisoners and two-thirds behind the tables occupied by a few SS overseers. On the opposite wall was a sign with 30 cm high letters: Rauchen verboten (Smoking forbidden). It was in this room the prisoners were stripped of all clothes and possessions. It was a cruel irony to tell they could not smoke, as all possessions had been taken.

Now the building is a museum, called the documentation centre. On this day we walked slowly through the displays marking the history of this place, from establishment to liberation. I remember seeing a mix of posters depicting the many nationalities and beliefs of prisoners.

The population had included more then Jews. There were Gypsies, French, Italians, Czechs, English and Russians. Other groups included communists, trade union officials, priests and bishops, and any opponent of the Nazi regime.

On a poster there was the story of a Ukrainian soldier who had been captured. He had been sent to Dachau for escaping. The information on the poster showed his date of birth. There was no indication of his release or demise. Had he survived Dachau, he also faced a cruel fate upon his return to the Soviet Union.

Outside we went to the cell block. This building contained 92 cells. Some were large, and set aside for special prisoners, such as Georg Esler, who had attempted to assassinate Hitler in a Munich beer hall. He had three cells. Some clergy had two cells each, however, most had one. Another form of cruelty was presented as standing cells, where a single cell was divided into six, allowing the inmate to stand only.

From the cell block we waled to the crematorium, an area screened from the general prison population, and known as Barrack X. The complex contained several ovens and a gas chamber (labelled as a bathroom).

Records and evidence show that the gas chambers was not used extensively. The SS had other means. Some prisoners were hanged in front of the ovens. Others were shot on a firing range, in front of a blood drain and beside the cinder pile from the ovens. Again the process was designed to maximize terror.

When we left the site, everyone was subdued, but as we drew closer to Munich the mood lifted.

I walked on Marienplatz and had a meal in a cafe. It was good to be free.

Ian

Bayern bier quality law

Boris was invited, after parting with a wad of euros (a form of cash used in Europe), to investigate the Bayern (Bavarian) Bier Quality Law.

This tale has an historical setting. The Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law) was enacted in Ingolstadt in Bayern on 23 April 1516 (two days before Anzac Day). Firstly Boris was relieved that the Purity Law related to the quality of beer, not the morals of frauleinen. Secondly he was enthralled to see that law only allows the recipe to include barley, hops and water, and not magic mushrooms and stinging nettles. However he was disappointed to learn the Germans had ignored the price stipulated as 2 pfennigs per masskrug (one litre beer glass popular at Oktoberfest).

At the appointed time of 15:30 Boris boarded the bus opposite the Hauptbahnhof and with 15 German citizens (Boris had to ask the commentary be done im Englisch).

The route went via the Nazi headquarters. Apart from beer halls this had little relevance other than it was enroute to the beer brewing district in Muenchen (just have to admire a city, which has a beer brewing district. Seems to have a cultural significance)

The bus passed many breweries, then cut past the Oktoberfest grounds, which were in the advanced stages of construction for the event this year. Finally it stopped at Paulaner Brewery.

Boris and his 15 German friends were introduced to the fraulein braumeister. She explained that very good bier is made from 60,000 year old glacial water drawn from a bore 240 metres under the factory – better than that muddy water in the Isor River. Also the hops are of very good quality, especially the noble hops used here.

Boris (and 15 Germans) followed the fraulein around the plant observing every aspect of bier making. Boris took numerous photos (we think he is learning how to be a spy, but he needs to learn the finer points. Do not be seen taking photos. Do not push people out of the way to take a photo. Do not upset 15 Germans; they do remember the war!)

Also it is a bit pointless being a spy in a brewery. After all it is no secret how they make bier. It has been in law since 2 days before Anzac Day in 1516. One should refer to many books on the subject, especially on how to make bier in the garage or shed with a plastic container from Bunnings and ingredients from the supermarket. It might be chemistry but it has been done by amateurs for thousands of years.

Finally the tour of the factory was over. Now was the time to sample the quality of the product. Boris took up the challenge.

No more need be said!

It is reported he left the factory at 18:25. His whereabouts remains unknown.

Nyons

3 September
Went off to have a look at Grignan and Nyons where we explored the old town, climbed many steps, checked out the lavender distillery before returning to the farm at Claveyson

Bier Hall putsch continues

Boris has been left to his own devices in Muenchen. It seems Hobson slipped through Franz Josef Strauss airport and onto the train to Grenoble while the bumbling spy slept. Well done Hobson!

Boris rose early, sometime before midday. He decided to get some exercise, so he walked from his hotel (Ibis Nord Muenchen) on Ungererstrasse and headed for the city centre. It was at Muenchener Freiheit that he found a small cafe with many suspicious characters (actually local people, but he wouldn’t know the difference) sitting outside, drinking coffee and discussing important issues.

He went inside and ordered ein coffee und brot mit kase. He stumbled through German. 6.40 euros (his attempt at account keeping)

After that repast he continued on his trek along Leopoldstrasse and Ludwigstrasse. He observed many suspicious characters, without realising he was in the university district. He walked through the middle of Ludwig Maximilian University, founded in 1472 in someplace else, but moved to here in 1826 (note to burgermeister – some buildings need a coat of paint)

Eventually he reached the city centre and arrived in Marienplatz at midday to see a very large crowd outside the Rathaus. He thought he had found civil discontent (but they were there to watch the clock on the town hall – performance of mechanical figures after clock strikes noon – Rathaus mit Glockenspiel)

Without finding anyone to participate in a putsch, he went to the hauptbahnhof and got on a bus. He was amazed that it travelled around in circles (it was a sightseeing bus). Finally in a disoriented manner he got off the bus, late in the afternoon. His route took him along Elisenstrasse, Marburgstrasse, Herzog-Maxstrasse Neuhauserstrasse , Ettstrasse, Promenadeplatz (strange memorial to Michael Jackson here) and to Maximilianstrasse. He was diverted to the Hofbrauhaus-am-Platzl.

He believed his opportunity for a putsch had occurred. The place was fully of noisy drinkers. (Actually the original bier hall putsch came from the Burgerbraukeller, but it was demolished in 1979)

At the table he met Walter and Helga from Hannover. They claimed to be pensioners. Walter was compelled to retire at 60 years. They were visiting Muenchen in the autumn. After 3 litres of dark bier they could have told him anything.

Somehow he got back to his hotel.

Munich to Grenoble

2 September
Arrived Munich on time and had a very quick run through customs etc. And were able to get to Munich and be on the 1st train for Zurich and then Grenoble.

Coffee, tea and croissants were just €8.90 – seemed quite reasonable and negated having to carry hot water with us.

Fields are a beautiful green with snow on the alps, a far cry from back home. Cows seem smaller and are mushroom coloured.

We have travelled from Munich-Buchloe-Kempten-Landua where we swapped to a Swiss engine and continue on our way through Austria, traveling through Bregenz(AT)-St Gallen(CH)-Winterther and then Zurich.

Came across a Canadian couple trying to tell the guard they had gone directly from Munich to Zurich (“straight down” she said) and why did they have to pay €18 to go through the tip of Austria – just check the map – there is nearly no choice – suggested she look at the map or go with the flow.

We arrived at Grenoble and were met by Mathilde and Julien – wonderful to see them again even though they had only been home from Aus for 3 weeks. On our way to Claveyson we had a look at this mad guys house (he is about 60 years of age).

Hobson left Boris unsupervised

Perhaps a little too much luxury …

This travel log will be insufferable. For those who are students of the exploits of Boris the incompentent spy, this will come as a surprise. On his current misadventure, he is travelling to Germany. He thinks he might find enlightenment there (well someone has to turn on the lights sometime).
 
The first parts of his travels were to get from Brisbane to Munich (codename: Muenchen). He was to fly with the baggage through Dubai. Due to the misunderstanding on the part of Emirates that this fool was of some consequence, they upgraded him, not once but twice. On both legs the bottom jaw was awash with red wine and fine food in business class.
 
The first error was made by the Dnata staff in Brisbane. The young lady at the check-in desk was confronted with two entries in the computer. It seems something, akin to a Health payroll system, runs the bookings and automatically upgraded the fool. The poor girl was perplexed. Her supervisor decided the upgrade should occur, so off marches Boris with a business class boarding pass for the Brisbane Dubai leg, and an economy pass for the Dubai Munich leg.
 
In the interests of not boring you with complaints from Boris, I will summarize the experience. This flight normally takes 14 hours, but those chaps in the cockpit got the plane there in 13 hours. Seems they had a fairly good tailwind and it wasn’t too bumpy going over the Indian Ocean. Not a drop of red wine was spilt. While he was stuffing his face with good food, he made a sizeable attempt at a bottle of Torbreck Old Vines GSM 2005 from the Barossa Valley. (From the menu: Here the thick skinned grapes are very much at home and show their class when picked from the 100 year old vines. The GSM signifies the blend of Gernache, Shiraz and Mouvedre. The 2005 is described as hedonistic, dark ruby coloured, a fragrant nose of black cherry and wild blueberry (and possibly a hint of wine). Elegant and friendly on the palate with plenty of succulent blue and black fruits.)
 
Not sure if he slept well.
 
On his attempt to board the flight to Munich he was confronted by a large Arabian fellow at the gate when he presented his boarding pass. The oriental fellow presented the card to an electronic device which went beep (Everyone has to have one of these machines.) The fellow then tore up the boarding pass (finally someone has seen sense) and directed him to a security officer, who issues him with a business class boarding pass (the sense didn’t last long).
 
The flight from Dubai to Munich followed the route: up the Persian Gulf, across Turkey, on to Budapest and finally into Munich.

Arrived in Singapore

Left Canberra on a perfect spring day – hardly a cloud in the sky. A bit windy as we took off and also again in Sydney which had a temperature of about 18. Good smooth flight and we arrived here at 21:30 Canberra time. Have 20 minutes before boarding the flight to Munich and then we will catch the train which takes all day to reach Grenoble in southern France.