Thursday, 3 July 2008

Munich

The last time I was in Munich....was in 1984. It was a day or two of running around....and not really seeing that much.

So on this vacation of the last two weeks.....I spent five days wandering around Munich. I was kinda surprised....it is more than you'd really expect.

It is safer than London or Paris. It has a fair number of museums which would put it into the London or Rome category. The food is almost the best that you can find on the face of the earth. The beer.....makes you weep. The cheer and fun at the Hofbrau haus....is better than any bar that you could ever walk into. The subway system works. The number of homeless or petty thieves on the street.....almost non-existent. I was shocked.

I admit....I didn't stay at a hotel in town....I stayed in Starnberg (near the lake), almost 40 minutes away by subway. The hotel was dirt cheap compared to the hotel I would have done in the city. But Starnberg is quiet, without any fancy trappings....and makes for a nice place to recuperate each evening. The daily train-ticket...barely $8 per person or $14 for two.....for a all-day ride within the city.

Most major towns in Europe....have a serious drug problem....and a fair amount of street crime. I just didn't see that in Munich. I didn't have any problems getting to any site around the city either. And it helps if you ride the damn Red Bus down near the Train station which has the English guide and takes you on a 1-hour ride around town to show off everything....on day one. It makes a difference.

As for how long a guy should plan for a Munich stay.....I'd say no more than five days. Plan for each afternoon to end around the Hofbrau Haus or the Beer Garden downtown.....and sip really fine beer.

Travel in Europe

I was once asked to plan the perfect 14-day vacation to Europe....to hit the 'right' spots. And I responded that I'd need at least 45 days to hit all the right spots. Then the person asking the question....changed it....trying to get me to pick the perfect five places to go and see....and I still couldn't give them what they wanted. After traveling around Europe for a number of years.....I just can't build a simple travel scheme.

So the individual finally asked the right question.....how many days would they need in London....and then I started to give the answers they desired. Some folks think they can make a 14-day trip to England....spending ten days in London and a few traveling around the country. The truth is....with London....you need four good days.

So I started thinking and calculating other locations.

Paris....if you can arrive in the middle of the week....say Wednesday.....you can be finished with touring the requirements of Paris by Saturday evening....and check out on Sunday morning.

Berlin? You need two complete days to see the bulk of Berlin....and maybe a third day to just get the cultural stuff.

Rome? Five days will usually do the job. Pisa? Six hours....trust me.....there isn't much beyond the leaning tower.

Munich? Four days will do the job....unless you waste two afternoons drinking beer at the Hofbrau Haus.

Normandy? One day is enough to get the flavor and scene of the beaches there.

Copenhagan? Two days max.....this isn't the big town that most imagine.

So the rest of my Europe tips.

Sundays are worthless days in Europe. The train systems usually go on a half operation....so its difficult to travel around. Most Europeans get out on Sunday and clutter up the sites just as much as the tourists there. So use Sundays as a recharge day only.

Instead of staying at expensive hotels for the whole fourteen days....spend half the time at bed and breakfast operations......paying $60 or less. They work just as well and provide breakfast.

Traveling with a big group? If you gotta hit fifteen places in fifteen days...maybe....otherwise, just rent a car and drive yourself (with a GPS of course).

One can travel and spend $300 a day if they want.....but its really unnnecessary. You can have a good time and spend alot less on costs.

Food? Breakfast is usually provided at every hotel...free. So eat a lite lunch, and splurge on the dinner that night. Expect a great meal at any Italian resturant....and a lousy meal at half of the British places you might go.

Trouble with sexual attitudes in various European countries.....stay home. If you go to a Italian or French beach.....its topless and just accept that matter. If you have problems in such an environment.....don't travel....it'lll just upset your feelings.

Resting on day one after flying in? Yes.....by all means....spend day one at a quiet place and just get over the jet lag. Its a wasted day, but its necessary.

I could give you 1000 tips.....but those are my best ones.