The Ugly American
Last weekend I headed south to Neuschwanstein. An old Bavarian castle built in the 1800's. It actually has a working toilet and running water in the kings bed chamber. The other thing it had was a telephone. Not sure what good it did the king...I mean, someone else needed to have one too!
The first pic I stole off a web site
. I tried to climb out on the cliff to take the same picture...but I'm a chicken!
Me at Oktoberfest!
This pic is for my girls...Dee...Amber...Nicole...I miss you more than you can possibly know ladies! See you in a couple of weeks!
Yeah yeah..I know...
As Johnny Bravo would say.."Man I'm pretty!"It's not a dorky hat! It's called getting into the spirit!!!
Man oh man! I went to the biggest beer bash ever on Thursday! Oktoberfest is the biggest beer party on the planet, at least that’s what the Germans tell me. I’m pretty inclined to believe them too! It’s like a big state fair with a couple of added bonuses. Liters of beer and women in dirndls! In case you don’t know, dirndls are these Bavarian style dresses that are the preferred outfit for women at the Oktoberfest. Lederhosen are the preferred garb of the men, well, not this man, but a lot of others I saw there. I think you’d have a hard time getting Andy into a pair of suede pants any day!
It wasn’t all fun and games though; there were a couple of snags. Our German hosts set this whole party up, including transportation.
So, on Thursday we hopped on the ICE. That’s the German bullet train. There was only one small problem. Whoever made the reservations for the train made them for October 22 instead of September 22. They said they made them at an AmEx office in Munich. You’d think that someone in Munich would know what month the biggest beer bash in Germany was being held! Especially considering that it’s in Munich! But I’m not allowed to talk bad about travel agents, my mom might smack me! I mean, she is one!
Oh well, it was off to the club car. Damn the bad luck, we had to spend the 2 hour train ride in a smoking and drinking car. Could’ve been worse, they could have thrown us off! After we got to Munich, they changed the return reservation, not that it really mattered, because half of us missed the late train and the half that made it didn’t have the tickets with them! It’s a very long and expensive cab ride from Munich to Ulm! I was in the group that took the cab home. Yeah, go figure, I’m sticking with my German hosts and we get lost walking back from the Oktoberfest grounds and the train station. I wonder if all those liters of beer had anything to do with it?
The locals that I’ve met here that speak English like to use the verb must. They say, “You must do this” or “You must do that”. I’m here to tell you, if you’re in Germany at the end of September you MUST go to Oktoberfest!
The pictures that look elevated were taken from that statues head. I think it may be the first time I was ever able to really get into a woman’s head. Guess what! IT WAS EMPTY!
Yeah yeah…step off Missy!
I had to find some sun!
I made the decision Sunday morning that I’d had enough of this dreary Ulm weather. It had been either cloudy or cloudy and raining for at least a week and I was tired of it. After flipping channels for a while I came across a German channel with a weather map on it and could see that I needed to go north.
I headed downstairs for a cup of coffee and some advice from my new friend Klaus. Klaus works the desk at the hotel. I asked Klaus what was good to see to the north. Klaus suggested Rottenburg ob der Tauber. He's a pretty smart guy and seems to know this place pretty well. I took his advise.
Rottenburg ob der Tauber, or Rottenburg on the Tauber, the Tauber being a river, is a walled medieval city about 140 kilometers away from Ulm. I set the GPS on the Opel for Rottenburg ob der Tauber and it took me right to the main gate of the city! Pretty cool technology that GPS. Tells me when there’s stopped traffic ahead of me and can calculate a route around it if it needs too! She does nag a bit though…a bit would be an understatement…my favorite is…”if possible, please make a u-turn”! Anyway…
This really is some beautiful country over here. The German countryside is really something to see. They don’t do much urban sprawl here. You find mostly farmland and forest outside the cities, at least in the south of Germany anyway. Pretty incredible, really. On the road for about a half hour and I find sunshine! An hour later, I’m parked and heading to Rottenburg.
I think it might be safe to call Rottenburg ob der Tauber, Christmas town! Here it is the middle of September and there are stores full of Christmas stuff! One of them, Wohlfahrts
, is three stories tall! No pictures allowed, but I have a link! Open pretty much all year long and 3 stories worth of Christmas decorations. Some of the most incredible stuff I’ve ever seen! That was only the most impressive Christmas store, there were plenty of others.
It’s actually the first tourist trap I’ve run across here. I mean, every place I went to had menus in at least 3 languages. The museums I went into had placards in English and German and sometimes Kanji. You don’t find that kind of thing here in Ulm and I didn’t find it in Munich either. I also met and heard a ton of Americans there. I’ve been here in Ulm for 6 weeks and I’ve run into about 6 Americans not counting the 6 of us that are here. The only other place I ran into as many Americans was on the base in Stuttgart!
It’s still pretty cool. It amazes me how much really old stuff is still standing in this country, considering what happened here about 60 years ago.
I was flipping channels here in Germany, because there’s no American football here and I stumbled across an MTV benefit concert. There was one of those running lines across the bottom of the screen asking for folks to call the Red Cross and make a donation. Then it said…and I really couldn’t believe this…that a family of 4 could eat for 2 days on as little as $100. 2 days for as little as a $100. Where the hell are they eating???Ruth Crist???
They can feed starving kids in Africa for $2 and a family of 4 in Louisiana needs a $100 for 2 days!!! I’ve lived in MS, it ain’t that expensive down there! Sorry, after reading that, I now know why it’s gonna take 50 billion to handle this problem!
I’m stuck here in Germany on a day that I really don’t like to think about. In my hotel room there’s only one channel that’s in English and that’s CNN. We get BBC and CNBC but not all the time. When I wake up in the morning, I usually turn on CNN to find out what’s happening in the world.
Lately, all CNN has been talking about is New Orleans and the Katrina clean-up. I’ve actually heard a change in the way they’re reporting the story, at first, it seemed to me that they were all over the president for not getting troops down there fast enough and now it seems like they’re giving the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana all the grief. Anyway…
Today when I woke up and turned on CNN they were talking about 9-11. What else would they be talking about on 9-11? So today, I’m not watching CNN. I can’t stomach living through that day…again. I know it’s supposed to be a good thing to remember the past, but some things I can remember even without being reminded and 9-11 is one of those things.
It’s days like today that I want to be home. I want to be around my family and my friends. I want to not have to think about what happened 4 years ago today. I want to not have to worry that some Islamist asshole is going to try and do something else as stupid as 9-11. I want to not have to think about the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan and how many might die today while trying to rid the planet of people that think killing innocent men women and children will get them into heaven. I still have problems with how really ridiculous that sounds and that people can be brainwashed into believing it.
Well, I’m half way through my trip here, hump day as they say. 5 weeks from now I’ll be home…damn, 5 more weeks. No home cooking, no football, no baseball, no football, no NASCAR, NO FOOTBALL!!! Maybe the Giants will win today, that would make it a little better day.
Did I mention that there’s no place to watch football over here?
I know everyone wants to know...
OK…It’s been a few days…but I’ve been pretty busy…I had a lot to make up for after Dachau!
In case you think I was exaggerating about what an evil place Dachau really is…I’ve decided to include one picture…if you can look at this picture and then convince me that this was NOT an evil place…IS not an evil place….
I may kiss your ass!
The day after Dachau I decided to punish myself by climbing the Munster!
Yeah, some ugly number of steps…total around 1400 up and down…pretty impressive this cathedral is, I mean, really really impressive….one of those closer to thee my God kinda things!
I was also in Koln…pronounced, somehow by the Germans; as coal-own, a very beautiful city with a Munster of its own! Not quite as tall, but two towers almost equaling the one of the Ulmer Munster!
Just know that this last weekend is something I’ve always wondered about and it’s so within either train or car reach ability that I decided to drive there…also remember, that I have only had the opportunity to get the station wagon up to 210 KPH…well…I believe now that top end on the SW is 218!...damn the bad luck! That’s about 135 MPH which ain’t too bad…but I may have to rent a really nice Porsche to test the autobahn to its limits before I leave!
You should know that if you click on the pics that I’m including they open up to almost what I see!
It really is a beautiful country and I still have a good amount of weeks left to see what I can see!
Wish me luck!