Chermin Tour Guide Speak

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.””     Daniel J Boorstin  

I recently decided to take on my role as a visiting tourist seriously.

Yes, the time had arrived!

Bright Idea

Bright Idea
I was ready to step up!
But what did I consider to be serious hardcore tourist activity?
What was I to sight see? What was to be my next step?
Suddenly the light came on… thankfully, I looked above my head and noticed the flashing!
There was to be no more catching the beginner tourist’s Hop On Hop Off bus tour around the city. No more wandering these streets looking for circled attractions on my well-worn map. No more ambushing unsuspecting locals and requesting directions in English s-l-o-w-l-y, CLEARLY and repetitively, repetitively, repetitively.
Castle Neuschwanstein & Tourist
Castle Neuschwanstein & Tourist

I booked my first full day bus tour WITH a tour guide. Yes, I had decided that real tourists visit cliché castles hidden amongst picturesque scenery.

St Wolfgang Lake
St Wolfgang Lake

 Yes, it was time to join one of the herds and become a sheep shadowing one of those guides who holds a flag, brochure, flashing light or other symbolic signboard above their head. You’ve seen them before. They walk down winding streets, stopping on corners like a caring mother duck to gather their trusting charges and then disperse information about history, celebrity, sustenance or toilet availability.  

I have to admit that I did really enjoy my mother duck and was happy to take on the the role of young chick not having to think too hard… along with enjoying all that breathtaking scenery and fairytale castles.

But, I discovered, the most enjoyable part of my day was learning ‘Chermin Tour Guide Speak’. You may well ask, what is this new language? Please find below a few key phrases and conversation pieces translated and interpreted for when you become a tourist in Deutschland.

What I Heard: English Translation: Interpreted As:
Vive mint sdop onlee. 5 minute stop only. No time for looking, taking photos or chatting to a local.
U möost nut eet You must not eat This is only a toilet stop for the old guy up the front who can’t hold on any longer.
U möost bee un taim

You must be on time.                  

Be here 5 minutes before we are due to leave or the bus will go without you.
Vee arh er gröop. We are a group. You must think of others in the group and always be on time. You will be assimilated!
Ven eh voz sa göol… When I was a girl… Times have not really changed for the better since you tourists arrived.
Eet ees nut hie ut irl. It is not high at all What is not high in Europe is definitely considered high at home.
Zumtaims peepull cüm furmenny owtsed acteeviteez. Sometimes people come for many outside activities.

Outdoor activities… what kind?  I was expecting camping,maybe bunjee jumping…

Oohh…zueezide Oh… suicide Yep, that’s a great outdoor activity!

Auf Wiedersehen… until next time!

Where Has Woodstock Gone?

I don’t mean Charlie Brown’s little feathered friend.   

I’m wondering what has happened in the last 40 years since that well known three days of peace and music at Max Yasgur’s farm when Jimi played his version of that anthem and Country Joe and the Fish ragged on for a peaceful world while Janice sang the blues.

I was not old enough to attend Woodstock but I had owned the double album and believed I’d just been born on the wrong continent ten years too late. My old hippy heart loved the years in tertiary education during the 70’s when long hair and flared jeans were a poor substitute for a missed flower power time blown away in the wind. Protests against international conglomerates had been my meagre offering to the times that were a changing and… yes, I know Dylan didn’t do Woodstock… but he should have!

Growing old disgracefully

Growing old disgracefully

However, a few years ago, I decided that I should attempt to grow old gracefully and leave the outdoor rock festivals like the Big Day Out to my children and their friends and so it was with some ‘turning back time’ excitement, I recently delighted in the Taubertal Festival. This summer music festival is held in the tourist heartland of Germany and has about 15000 visitors daily with people coming from a variety of backgrounds from across the world to enjoy music over the three days.

Mud Mud Mud

While most of the crowd are younger people, it is not unusual to see family groups or even a few of us who remember Carlos Santana from his younger days. I felt quite relaxed amongst the sea of denim, queues at the loos, dancing and thanks to it being an outdoor festival… a little rain and a lotta mud. I had finally found MY Woodstock!

The music had changed with the times and instead of Baez and Cocker we partied with The Hives and The Prodigy. On stage arrogance and aggression impacted between bragging lights and blasting sound while off stage the collective paid due homage to their heroes.
The Hives
The Hives

 

I commented upon the peaceful politeness of the festival and was advised that behaviour at festivals back home apparently is quite different. Apparently, the peace, love and harmony are replaced with crowd fuelled fights and when drinks are spilt, as happens in a crowd, then bodies may be too! Why?

The Prodigy
The Prodigy

I love Australia!

I love our humour our brashness and our youth. I love that we think that we’re all grown up now. I love our harsh lighting because it shows our true colours. I love that we can do some things so well sometimes. I love that mostly, we are quite healthy, wealthy and fairly wise. I love our variety of backgrounds that have all contributed to who we are today. I don’t love Australia’s geographical distance from the rest of the world and yet I do in times of war or natural disasters. I don’t love travelling for ages to get to work in the morning but I do love that we have so much space that we may all have a piece of it someday. I don’t love politicians too much but I do love my right to support or knock any who dares to climb the ladder. I love being able to chop tall poppies.

I love our freedom; our choices; our richness; our openness!

Getting Along
Getting Along

We are a very lucky country and so I need to ask what has happened? Have we forgotten how great it feels to get along? Why are the contents of a cup worth more than the person holding it? Where are the peace, love and harmony at our festivals? Shouldn’t each generation build onto the positives and grow forth and multiply? Where has the essence of Woodstock gone?

Joe Cocker sang ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ and Joan Baez sang ‘O Happy Day’. I think I’m going to listen to some old songs for a while.
Has Woodstock gone or is he just on holidays?
Has Woodstock gone or is he just on holidays?

Live Your Dream

“Anything worth doing… is worth overdoing.” – Mick Jagger
 “Everything in excess” – Fiona Steel
Who knew that Mick and I had so much in common? 
He has lips and I’d like some. He had energy and so did I once. He couldn’t get any satisfaction… oh well, two outa three ain’t bad …just ask Meatloaf!
 
I think our favourite strutting lips would agree with me when I say we should make the most of life and have no regrets.
Dare to dream!
Let’s play that cliché Aussie card here…’Ave a go, Mate!

Don’t you agree that life should be about actively participating and meeting new challenges? I think its great how life can offer up opportunities, sometimes unexpected and sometimes created. But, what I find really exciting is watching what happens when we have the courage to run with those occasions. Sometimes we win and at other times we win by learning from the experience.

Who would have thought that when five young men played their first gig together in a pub in western Sydney Australia, that less than two years later they would be playing at a three day music festival on the other side of our planet in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. 

Modern Error are these five young men who found an opportunity, worked hard together, played hard together and have heeded Mick’s advice ever since.

Modern Error
Modern Error

 

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein

Modern Error listened to Albert!

They learned the rules of the game and took a win in every round of the Emergenza Band Competition against bands from all over Australia and New Zealand. This pinned them against the very best in a final battle for supremacy at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. Once again, the guys took Albert’s advice… and played better than anyone else.

Modern Error won and the first prize was ‘their best opportunity yet’.

They have been flown to Germany to play the ‘International Final’ at the three day Taubertal Festival. At 4:50pm on Friday 13th these five determined guys who started with a fledgling dream will put their heart and souls on the line. It will be their lucky day! While their friends are sleeping (or partying) at 12:50am Saturday 14th on the other side of the world, Modern Error will play off against other winning finalists from USA, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan and the UK.

We want to entertain, that’s pretty much it! Rock out as much as we can, hope that people have an awesome time and leave with a smile on their face” says Max.

Modern Error might be performing to thousands at a music festival but I know those smiling the most will be the handful of family members watching on… so proud and very satisfied.

Good luck guys!
Enjoy your experience… you are living your dream!
 
http://www.myspace.com/modernerror

A Tourist in Munich

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo via JRR Tolkien
The Original Lowenbrau
The Original Lowenbrau

When arriving in any new city, I feel it is the expected duty of all tourists to visit all apparent  historical, cultural and popular sites, thereby contributing back to long suffering locals for any imposition caused by endless questioning about directions and transport options. It subsidises the local economy and also spends any last remaining inheritance my children mistakenly believed they were entitled.

Munich has many such targeted tourist sites and so with a bucket load of self-belief, a trusty map and good walking shoes we set off down the road. The tantalising aromas from traditional Bavarian dishes

Glockenspeil
Glockenspeil

 wafted over us as we wandered toward the old city down Leopoldestrasse. This is the main street of Munchen Schwabing, the old artists’ quarter of renown and now my local suburb. This appealing street is lined with the most wonderful outdoor cafes and restaurants and I intend getting to know each of them well during my stay here.

Marienplatz
Marienplatz

 The cobblestone streets draw us closer into Marienplatz, the old original city square in Munchen (Munich) which contains the Rathouse (Town Hall) and the Glockenspiel (Clock Tower). At high noon we stand shoulder to shoulder with other tourists of the holiday faith who have come from across the nations to watch the life size characters on the 100 year old clock dance and joust for our pleasure.

 After the performance, we give thanks by breaking the bread and drinking the wine and beer with the tourist multitudes at the famous Hofbrauhaus. This beer hall is crowded and noisy while the food is comforting and the service friendly. The ‘Oompah Band’ plays in the courtyard while we enjoy our very German lunch. 

Hofbrauhaus Lunch
Hofbrauhaus Lunch

Wandering back down the winding side streets we stop frequently to gaze into old and new shops trading alongside one another. The Hard Rock Café slickly sell their latest t shirts while the local shopkeepers next door trade in traditional lederhosen, waistcoats and feathered hats. Tempting as SC they are however, Rob declines my offer to buy him one and we move on in the warm summer sunshine past street performers who entertain the crowds and moving statues who beckon us to join them for photographs.                                    

It’s not long before we come across the Viktualienmarkt. This is one of the oldest market places in Europe and houses some of its finest produce so we stroll around between the stalls soaking up all the sumptuous sites and

Olives
Olives

 succulent smells from each of the specialist stalls; sausages and cured  meats of every variety, the freshest vegetables and fruits (including those little red berries I’ve been eating for breakfast that turn out to be currants), olives

Breads and pastries
Breads and pastries

and other garlic soaked and stuffed titbits, fruits of the sea, wines, beers, fresh baked breads, pretzels, bread and more bread… and the  ultimate accompaniment of course… cheeses!

Cheeses
Cheeses

We take our newly acquired booty home to enjoy at our pleasure while we pour over maps and tour guides planning our next outing as a ‘tourist in Munich’.

What’s Really in the Box?

‘Mama always said life was like a box a chocolates, never know what you’re gonna get.’ – Forrest Gump

The little unexpected experiences waiting just around the corner are what make life interesting. Sometimes they’re a pleasure and sometimes they can be a pain, but to me, they are the dark and light tones that an artist adds to their artwork to create interest. They are those spices added whilst cooking that turns each of us into a masterchef!

Neither, Rob or I can speak a word of German and so naturally this has resulted in a few expected and unexpected experiences. I figured that this was life’s way of awarding me with a new fun game. And so we played!

Game 1: Pre-Paid Phone Cards Game

We had prepared for this game by bringing an old phone from home. The pre-game plan was to buy a local sim card for it on Day 1 so I could save expensive global roaming on my iPhone Vodaphone bill and just keep it for special occasions and emergencies. The game was in full swing and we were ahead! What we hadn’t realised was that the German messages we kept receiving were warnings about the need to top up the credit. The umpire declared ‘Out’ and booted us from the game while we were chatting to Max back home.

Wanting to get back in the game we brought in the reserves off the bench. The lovely patient guy in our local Vodaphone shop listened to our message, explained they were warnings, showed us how to check our usage, sold us more credit, added it into the phone for me and then said come back and he’ll do it again whenever I need it.  Easy! Victory to Vodaphone!

Game 2: Buying Stock Cubes Game

A version of this game was expected and we knew it would come hurtling full force down the road towards

'Tis but a scratch!
'Tis but a scratch!

us and so yesterday Rob bought a dictionary. I do believe he was convinced it had been absorbed magically overnight and so we headed into our local supermarket and took on the challenge to buy stock cubes. In retrospect, I believe it was a rare bravado rarely seen since Monty Python’s Black Knight

Victory to the Black Knight!
Victory to the Black Knight!

While I started with a preference for chicken stock cubes, after 30 minutes of searching row upon row of stacked shelves, I was prepared to take anything that resembled taste in a crumbly block, a powdered jar or a liquid paste you squashed, squirted or squeezed! Eventually, our tiny treasure was found hidden on the bottom shelf next to the needles in a haystack and nowhere near the spices, sauces or soups. The word ‘bouillon’ was the big hint and then it was just a matter of finding one with a chicken on it as opposed to the cow or the green bush.              Easy! Victory to the Black Knight !

He really believes he understands what he's reading.
He really believes he understands what he's reading.

The Black Knight has now taken to reading the paper… in German. I’m fascinated because he really looks like he knows what it says!

Game 3: Surprise Shopping Game

The first step to playing the Surprise Shopping Game well is to learn to read the pictures. I thought we’d both mastered this basic skill when I went to buy coffee prepacked in tubes. Coffee is simple to find. There are always hints like espresso, cappuccino and mild. It’s just a matter of feeling the packet to work out if it contains beans, powder, bags or tubes.

Yesterday I bought a tall box. It was the right height and shape. The pictures indicated that inside were coffee tubes. We felt, squeezed then shook the box. Rob agreed! We bought it.  Ok… I do understand that you never really know the results until you get your latest surprise find home and unpack. Yes… it is only after you utter those famous words, “Open the box and let’s see what’s really in it!” do you find out if you’ve hit a home run or been caught out.

Darn! Caught out! I’d forgotten about pods. I had especially forgotten about pods stacked on top of each other to a great height in a tall box!  Not so Easy! Victory to the Supermarket!

Final Game

What are they?
What are they?

There are so many games when shopping and I have enjoyed buying fruits, meats and cheeses that we don’t see at home and I actually have no idea what they are but it is fun trying out these new tastes.

Are they for eating?
Are they for eating?

I’ve been putting some pretty little red berries on my yoghurt each morning along with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. I think they might be cranberries or even possibly elderberries and therefore have the potential to be crushed or juiced for cocktails or wine. If someone could please let me know then I’ll move them from breakfast to the correct time of day.

But the most fun game is played at the end of each day. I’ve named it ‘Which Red is Best?’ while Rob plays his variation named ‘Which Beer is Best?’ The ‘Arcobrau’ is now my local pub and I’ve started to try each and every one of the reds on the wine list to find out which one I prefer best.  Easy! Victory to Fiona!

Prost!
Prost!

10 Reasons Why Australia Should Move Closer to Europe

‘Don’t cry for me. I’ll be alright. I’ll be by your side, your precious guiding light.’ – Modern Error   

Moving the world a little closer

 

 

 

 

Moving the world a little closer
Forget about the continental drift theory and let’s not allow the facts to hold us back any longer! Haven’t enlightened gurus often spruiked to each one of us, ‘think creatively’, ‘you have the power within you’, ‘if you believe you can make a difference then you will’

 Well, I’m just suggesting that you use these powers within for good, not evil! Come on… let’s do it! Let’s combine to conquer all those little Everests. Let’s move Australia closer to the rest of the world!

WHY:

  1. While 22 hours of flying is a thrilling and exhilarating experience for everyone involved… it’s just not enough time to get the important things done anyway. I know because I tried! I watched six different movies and sections of two of them twice (sometimes thrice) to catch the important storyline bits during in which I’d fallen asleep. I followed this up with three rerun TV shows including the riveting doco ‘Design: The Lego Story’.  But… I was so disappointed to have missed three epics:     a) When Rome Ruled Egypt       b) Euro News Specials       c) History of the Open Championship… my favourite… yes people, I missed watching golf being played. My most exciting thing to do right before watching grass grow or paint dry… or that other great pastime… scrutinising a dripping tap!
  2. I need more practice, more regularly, speaking the German language. This has been blatantly obvious to every German I’ve encountered since arriving. It doesn’t seem to matter how clearly I point at objects or even how slowly and clearly I express myself in English… they just don’t get it! So I pay for the most expensive choice because it has a picture next to it and I am falsely secure in my purchase.
  3. I feel small…ish and maybe petite…ish! Yes, my German ancestors have a lot to answer for. They plonked me smack in the middle of
    Duck and dumplings... yummm!
    Duck and dumplings... yummm!
    multicultural Australia where everybody is naturally smaller than me and I’ve had a lifetime of dieting to fit into jeans made in Asian sweatshops. Not so here in this land of taller poppies, this land of giants where size 14 and 16 (Aussie) are the minnows swimming amongst these large  trout. Yes, this country sanctions the pear shaped and sanctifies a woman’s child bearing hips. I have come home to where I belong!
  4. The coffee is flavoursome and fabulous!
  5. The cars are fabulous and mine would fit right in!
  6. The bike paths are fabulous! Well, now I know that’s not part of the footpath and that bell sound I hear is someone telling me to “get out of the way, you idiot”.
  7. The food is fabulous! Good comfort foods and so easily pronounced when ordering eg: stollen, kohlrouade, hassenpfeffer, breze, sesambreze, marzipan, mohnbreze, bratwurst and weihnachtsgans… and then there are the dumplings… oh, bring on that minnow size 14!
  8. The trains are fabulous! Efficient, clean, cheap and colour coded. And yes, we did learn on our last trip years ago that after purchasing a ticket it must always be stamped at a little insignificant hidden unsigned blue box… and yet, Rob allowed it to happened again!  Will he never learn? Although both of us were lulled into a false sense of security when we bought the ticket this time, I should have known there was more. I mean really, where in the world do you ever just buy a ticket from A to B and then sit in the train? Ahhh, so blonde… and so easily fooled!
  9. It snows in Germany in our street. Well, not yet. At the moment it just rains… but it will snow in winter… and we all know how much Fiona loves snow! Who doesn’t dream of seeing just one white Christmas outside their own window?
  10. Rob
    Rob

    Last but by no means least… if Australia was moved closer to Europe… then I wouldn’t miss my family

    Me and Lynne
    Me and Lynne

    and friends quite as much as I’m suspecting will happen once the novelty of  holidaying wears off.

    Two blondes
    Two blondes

     “But,” I hear you ask, “Isn’t that part of the whole growing experience… the adventure?” Yes, it is… and I will draw upon what the enlightened gurus have spruiked. I will think creatively to handle the daily challenges that need solving. I will look within to enjoy all the new experiences that I will see without…. and I probably won’t change anyone else’s world but it will make a difference to mine.  So, once again, I invite you to join me on my new adventure and maybe then we both won’t feel quite so alone.