London – Munich – Canberra

Headed out of Heathrow today, 6:00 am out of bed and off to Munich where we had a good tour of Hitler’s part of the country. All the more interesting because yesterday we had checked out Churchill’s bunkers in London. Thoroughly enjoyed running round the city on the blue on-off busses. Visited the markets where we bought some nice fresh food (including some nice gorgonzola cheese) for dinner after booking back in at the airport. Caught the evening plane to Singapore, Sydney & finally on to Canberra.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.