Wednesday, September 30, 2020

COVID 19 - Note to Our Readers

Although we here at The World on Wheels exist to promote travel, especially travel for special needs, we realize that this is NOT the time to go out and travel this fascinating world. We will still be running new posts and rotating previous posts and encourage you to enjoy vicarious travel from your armchair.

We are confident that all will be well and this will pass but, for now, please stay home and make plans for your trips after this has passed. In the meantime, please enjoy our travel posts (which have all taken place before this blew up) and stay well.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Cocktail Hour - Beer Taste Off

For today's Cocktail Hour, I went over to Trader Joe's and raided their single serving beer shelf (yes, they have one) and today we're putting them to the test in the first World on Wheels Taste Off.

The beers we're tasting are two Mission Street varieties...the Blonde Ale and the Pale Ale...both brewed in Paso Robles, California; Great Scot, an organic pale ale from Scotland (it's even labeled Vegan...though I suppose all beer would be); and Sapporro Reserve Ale from Japan.

Here's the taste off video:



And...just like "American Idol,", here's the results video:



Results:
1 - Great Scot (Tim's Favorite)
2 - Mission St. Pale Ale
3 - Mission St. Blonde Ale (Letty's Favorite)
4 - Sapporro Reserve Ale (Darryl's Favorite)

-Darryl

Friday, September 25, 2020

A Day in the Garten - Navigating Munich's Englischer Garten from End to End


(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) 



New York has Central Park; London has Hyde Park; Vancouver has Stanley Park; Berlin has the Tiergarten.  It seems that every big city has a grand park in it for the residents to enjoy and escape the urban life for awhile. In Munich, this would be the Englisher Garten...a huge city park that stretches over five miles along the Isar River.

It is our destination for today.


Watch the Video!



One or two stops on the U-Bahn from our Schwabing district hotel puts us within walking distance of the park's northern boundary. We make our way along the Frankfurter Ring until we get to the parking lot of Munich Tennis club which allows us to get off of the busy highway and enter the park through a quiet entrance in the back of the lot.



For a few minutes, I'm lost in the woods until I see a sign in the bushes for our first destination, the Aumeister Biergarten.



A left up the path and eventually the garden's large seating area opens up in front of us.  We're here to fortify ourselves with some dessert...including a very good auzignone...and some beer before tackling the rest of the park.

This end of the park is much more forested and quiet than the lower half. You can easily get lost in the woods.



The meadows are not mowed, in fact, shepherds still use the area to graze their flocks.



Streams gurgle under low pedestrian bridges.

As we make our way through, we encounter many bikers, hikers, dog walkers, parents with kids...all just out to enjoy the natural surroundings of the area.



A dam looms up ahead. There's a bumpy, rocky, but somewhat accessible path up to the top of the dam that allows us to cross the river. One side is a lake, the other a stream.



Swans glide across the water in the deeper areas.



Tim's chair is starting to give us problems, so we exit the park here to search for a tram to take us to the middle of the park. 



After strolling through a residential area, we come across another park where dogs cool off in the clear stream.  One of the dogs owners strikes up a little conversation with us and tells us which direction to go in to catch a tram.

Much walking later, we finally find a tram that takes us to the middle of the park.



Here, we come across the massive Chinischer Turm biergarten. In Munich, biergartens are situated at strategic points, in the Englischer Garten, there are a few to help you rejuvinate after a long walk.



This one, with it's large Chinese Pagoda, is a very popular stop.



A brass band plays in the tower while we get a little food and beer before continuing on. I do need to remember before moving on that the price of beer at this particular spot includes a deposit on the stein. I'll turn it in to get it back before I leave.

There's a handy map at the exit of the biergarten where we can figure out a) where we are and b) how to get were we want to go.



We decide to walk along the Eisbach Canal for the rest of our park adventure.
It's a hot, summer day in Munich and the canal is almost irresistible. In fact, it is too irresistible for some as park frolickers jump in and float in the cool, clear water.



Families play, dogs yap, and a few naturists tan.



It's a beautiful day in the park.



Finally, we come to the south end of the park where the rushing Eisbach enters into it's course. This spot with it's permanent wave has become one of the city's biggest, modern tourist attractions where a line of surfers patiently wait their turn on each side to have a minute to ride it.

A block away is another park in this city filled with them, the Hofgarten where we end our day listening to a lone violinist under the park's kiosk dome.

This was originally supposed to be a laid back, easy going day but a final check on Letty's fitness app shows that we walked 26,341 steps or just under 12 miles.

We'll rest up and hit the streets again tomorrow.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 21, 2020

A Palatial Adventure in Munich


(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) My wife said she had two requirements on this year's European adventure, neither of which I have met yet. First, she wants to go to a German yarn shop. Second, she wants to see a palace.

We were able to meet the first goal when I found a few yarn shops near Marienplatz in Munich. The second goal requires that we go to a different platz...this time Odeonplatz, just a few blocks away from Mary's Plaza.



The trains of the Munich U-Bahn are a bit lusher than Berlin's. The newer trains even have sexy, curved, blond wood seats to stretch out on. Seems a shame to only take it a couple of stops away from our hotel to the Odeonplatz station.


Watch the Video!




A big memorial to King Ludwig dominates the plaza when we exit. Before World War II but after the Nazi's rise to power, a memorial to fallen Nazi soldiers was here and guards were there to enforce everybody walking by would have to give the Nazi salute.

Not everybody was inclined to do this.



Behind the memorial is an alley where those who found it repugnant would walk through to avoid the guards in Odeonplatz. A strip of gold cobblestones down the middle of the pavement pays tribute to those avoiders.

One more block and around the corner we arrive at the wheelchair accessible entrance to the Residenz Munich, the city palace of the royal family. There is a lot of construction going on here. In fact, we'd see a lot of construction work taking place in this area during this trip.

While we can get into the palace courtyard, there is about a half dozen steps into the gift shop that also serves as the ticket counter for tours.  Tim and Letty wait outside while I go in.

We're told that a guide will meet us outside to escort us in. Soon, a gentleman appears and takes us inside. He asks me something in German that I don't understand. I ask in German if he speaks English and get a negative answer but through some back and forth with my limited German skills and his non-existent English skills, I get that he's asking if Tim can walk a little bit.

"Nein," I answer.



I can see why he asks when we have to shoehorn Tim and his chair into a very tiny elevator. It was quite a feat to get him in and I was concerned we'd never get him back out. We managed, though.



We follow our leader through several halls where we finally find ourselves in a large room that holds part of the royal silverware collection.

A lady meets us and starts to tell us what to do in German. I explain that, while I can speak a little German, I can't follow everything she's telling us.

"In Germany, we speak German," she tells me in perfect but a bit arrogant English.

"Guten morgen dann. Ist das deustch genung für dich?" I reply, a bit annoyed (translation: "Good morning then. Is that German enough for you?"

"Ja."

I explain to her I'm trying to learn German as much as I can but as a non-native, English speaker I'm not up to her level yet. Finally, she relents a little bit and tells us which way we can go to navigate the palace.



On our own, now, we wander through, finding the king's outstanding collection of clocks.



Room after room, filled with priceless antiques and artworks open up to us as we go along.

Some of the artworks, especially in the ceilings, were destroyed in the war with only a blank spot to replace them.

We see several rooms where the kings, queens, and other royals would meet with subjects.



There are a few music rooms.



Bedrooms for every occasion, royal, or visitor abound.



Finally, we see the giant ballroom where the king would sit on his own balcony to survey the proceedings.



Tim sits up there today as stairs prevent him from going onto the ballroom floor itself.



Dozens of busts and statues from ancient Rome and Greece line the walls.  The king was a bit of a collector.

Tour done, we go to exit the way we came in but it is now blocked by construction work. The man working the ticket counter is not empathetic to our plight.

"Go that way."

"There's loose gravel and two steps at the end."

"You will manage it. That is your only way out," he says and walks away.

Yeah, I'm not loving the attitude of some of these palace workers.



We do get out and manage to work our way over to the Augustiner Keller biergarten where the friendly faces, giant beers, and great food do wonders to put us back in the mood again.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 20, 2020

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Tom Collins


Here's a drink that I've never made before.  One of the classics, a Tom Collins is basically gin, lemon juice, and club soda.  I make one in that classic way in the video.  It's refreshing but could use a little more taste.  I add a 1/2 shot of sweet and sour, and that makes a big difference in taste.  After filming, Letty added a 1/2 shot of amaretto which made it really good.  We're calling her modification an Amy Collins.


Watch the Video!

INGREDIENTS


1 1/4 oz - gin
1 oz - lemon juice
4-5 oz - club soda
1/2 oz - sweet and sour mix
(optional, add 1/2 oz of amaretto to make it an Amy Collins)


Classic recipe is 94 calories.  With sweet and sour, it's 104.  Add the amaretto and it's 144.


Cheers!

Darryl

Friday, September 18, 2020

Visiting a Couple of Old Haunts in Munich


(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)

(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) Although, we're trying to concentrate on new experiences while we're in Munich on this trip, there are still a few places and experiences we want to have again. It's like visiting old friends, a comfortable and familiar feeling you want to have over and over.




Our hotel is not far from the Englischer Garten, Munich's large central park. It's a pleasant walk through the south of the park...past the families and naked Germans in the sun...along and rushing canal called the Eisbach.



Kids play along banks under the watchful eye of parents.



On this hot day, it's too inviting to just hop in and float downstream.



You know you've reached the southern end of this park when you see the surfers taking turns on the permanent wave created by the rushing water.

Keep walking and a couple of blocks later you'll be in the city's main square, Marienplatz.  Last time here, it was a magical place with great sights and wonderful sidewalk entertainment. Today, construction projects take up much of the square.



We'll double back here in a little bit but we are focused on another destination just a block away, one of Europe's best markets, the Viktulienmarkt.



On the cobblestones, under shady trees, you find fish mongers, butchers, cheese vendors, honey dealers, along with various fruits and vegetables. In the middle, there's a biergarten.

Our last trip here, this was the first German biergarten we went to. I had about the best sausage I've ever had here and didn't get the name. I wanted to see if I could find it back in the states but didn't have any luck.



Well, now we're back and I've got a few more German lessons under my belt. I ask our server what that sausage is called.

"Which one?"

"That one, the red sausage."

"We just call it 'red sausage'"

Well, that clears that up then...

After lunch, we hit up a coffee stand for a pick me up along with a few sweet fruits.  We wander back toward Marienplatz, stopping by St. Peters Kirche, a beautiful gothic church between the market and the square.



Wheelchairs enter on the side and then have pretty much free reign throughout the building. Various niches line the sides, including one with the bones of a saint, this is Saint Munditia. Munditia was martyred in the 4th century and is the patron saint of spinsters. Her slightly mummified skeleton with bright, fake eyeballs stares at us from her glass coffin.



Marienplatz starts here and we take in a glockenspiel show before heading off to dinner.

A couple of stops along the S Bahn later, we're at Augustiner Keller biergarten, one of my favorite places in the world.



This large biergarten by the Haupbahnhof is more park-like than restaurant. Although the brewery dates back to 1328, this biergarten and hall only from 1862.



We came here more for the dessert than the brew, to have that most awesome of donuts, the auszegone. About ten inches across, it's like a giant, raised donut without a hole. Instead, there's a flat bit of dough stretched across the middle. It''s deep-fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.

We get two, and they're every bit as delicious as we remember.



The schweinhocken (or pork shank) along the side is also delicious.  It's so moist, tasty, and tender in the middle yet the skin is cooked to a very hard crispness that you can break off like chips...chips that come with succulent pork fat attached.

It is just the epitome of great biergarten food, washed down with liters of helles beer from the brewery's wooden kegs.

Kind of quiet in this early evening, nevertheless, we enjoy ourselves and talk it up with a few other customers before calling it a day and heading back to the hotel.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 14, 2020

I Fought the Law (and the law won): Going to Eagle's Nest on the German/Austrian Border.



(NOTE: We're trying to see different things on this trip to Munich than we did on our last trip. You might want to check out our previous trip to Bavaria to see some of the big sites we won't be covering on this trip as well)


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) I've had a couple of marvelous days with our rental car, doing 100mph on the fabulous autobahns of Germany. I'm spoiled. Now, we're stuck in a massive traffic jam that lasts from Munich to Salzburg.


Photo Courtesy K@rl at the German language Wikipedia

I see these signs along the autobahn as we approach the Austrian border. I correctly surmise that they mean there's a toll road ahead. With traffic crawling along at 5-10 mph, I have plenty of time to fish a selection of coins out of my pocket to pay when I reach a toll booth but I never see one before I exit.



We have crossed the border into Austria, I have to cut through a tiny corner of that country before I get back into Germany for today's destination.


Picture courtesy of Plani under CC 3.0 license

No toll booths, so I guess I didn't hit the toll road yet except...what's this? There are 20 cars parked along the shoulder of the off ramp. An officer of the Austrian Polizei peers at my windshield and motions me to join them.

He points to my windshield and says something in German. Noticing the puzzled look on my face, he ask's "sprechen sie English?"

Watch the Video!

After answering affirmatively, he says "you do not have the toll sticker."

I tell him I don't know what he is talking about and he tells me to accompany him to a nearby van.  In the back of the van is another officer at a desk set up with a computer, phone, and a credit card machine.

The officer in the van tells me "you do not have the toll sticker on your windshield. That is how we pay tolls in Austria."

I tell him that I saw a sign about tolls, that I had money ready for it, but never saw a toll booth.
"You buy one at any gas station."

Again, I tell him I didn't know that and the sign on the autobahn did not make that clear.

"It's been the law for nineteen years, you should have known."

I inform him this is the first time I'd ever driven in Austria (not quite true, I drove through Innsbruck years ago into Italy but never exited the autobahn in Austria and still didn't know about this law). How was I supposed to know this?

He was unimpressed. "A hundred and twenty Euros...cash or credit?"

After quickly running my credit card, he went on to say "at least with this ticket, know that you can drive without buying a toll sticker through tomorrow."
Sigh...welcome to the world of the infamous Austrian toll trap.

A couple of miles later, we're back in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, following our GPS up an alpine road.  We're headed to Eagle's Nest, Hitler's retreat which was given to him as a 50th birthday present by the Nazi party.

This is different than Eagle's Nest, his alpine headquarters. That was bombed and purposely destroyed after the war and the site is now the 10th hole of a nearby golf course.

The retreat is perched high above, on top of the mountain. The Fuehrer was afraid of heights so he only went up a couple of times and mostly just left it alone.  Today, it's a restaurant and biergarten.



Our GPS announces we've arrived at our destination...a lonely gravel parking lot amidst green, grass covered slopes and spectacular, glacier-clad peaks. There's a quiet little pub here but I was thinking there'd be more people here.  Checking in, we find out this is another Eagle's Nest...a nearby pub that just happens to have the same name.



Getting the correct directions in the GPS, we set off to the other location after Letty snaps a few pics.

Across the valley, a couple of miles away, we come upon a much busier place with several, large, filled-to-the-brim parking lots. This isn't Eagle's Nest but the visitor's center and transportation depot.

I drop Letty and Tim off and head off to find a parking spot.  After a few false starts, I finally find one and get the family for the walk over to the bus station.  We purchase our tickets (not cheap, around $50 roundtrip for the three of us...that's just the bus ride) and wait 30 minutes for our allotted time.



You can also hike up...many people do...and the trail looks accessible enough for a wheelchair but it's a good three-hour hike up. You'd want to make sure you're in peak condition or have a lot of battery power for that option. The buses are municipal-type buses and have a ramp for wheelchair access at the back door.



We get on our assigned vehicle and are soon going up a very narrow, Cliffside road up the mountain. Not to worry, we're told, these are specially designed buses and specially trained drivers for this particular road. Well, we'll just breathe easier then...



We're still a thousand feet shy of the top when our bus pulls into the upper station. From here, you need to make a reservation for a time down before you proceed. Once your tickets are stamped with your return time (two hours is a sufficient amount of time for most people), you move on to a tunnel that takes you deep into the mountain.



It's damp and musty smelling and then you get to a brass elevator at the end which takes you the rest of the way up.

They really pack 'em in on that elevator but it's a short ride up where we exit in a hallway in the smallish building of the Eagle's Nest. There's a restaurant to the right, restrooms straight ahead, and the exit outside to the left. The path is just big enough for wheelchairs and soon it opens up to a larger open area on the mountain top where we can stretch out and claim a little more personal space for ourselves.

First, we have lunch at the small biergarten outside where we lunch on sausages, mystery game meat,  and dumpling soup. As with most of the food here, it's very good and service is quick, efficient, and friendly.

Afterward, we can explore the mountain top, drinking in the stunning views of the surrounding alps.



The area around the building is accessible and offers a little roaming room for wheelchairs.



A trail winds up to a cross on a small peak nearby before continuing on for who-knows-how-far off into the distant ice-pocked peaks.  This part is not accessible but Letty and I walk up to the cross to get some of these pictures.



You do need to have your wits about you if you wander off the trail, the drops are vertical and long down to the valley floor below.



From up high next to the biergarten, you can look down on the golf course where Hitler's Alpine command post used to sit before it was bombed to oblivion.

When our allotted return time comes, we make our way back to the elevator, down to the tunnel, and catch the bus back down.

The traffic going back to Munich is no better than it was this morning and it starts to rain as we reach the outskirts of the city.  There's no more police drama, though, and we find our way home without too much problem.

We'll continue our exploration of Bavaria's main city after some rest.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved