Karlsruhe is a very symmetrical town. The townscape is perfect, classically-planned grandeur with all the main streets converging on a central flagpole atop the castle. Enjoyably, on the cultural side, it’s a bit rough around the edges, with a lively downtown and alternative night-life scene. Quite a big city feel for a place that has a population of only about 300,000. Arriving after dark on a Friday night and proceeding directly to a hotel located in the liveliest part of […]



Cut off, high up on a hill in the middle of the remote Rhineland-Palatinate (Rhineland-Pfalz in German), Primasens is an oddity of a town. Famous principally as the centre of a, once booming, shoe manufacturing company, the place now feels a little down at heel. This is a town best not approached on a bicycle. I was unfortunate enough to do so, up a never-ending hill from the valley below. It really is high up! And this makes up the […]


Cool things to do in Leipzig

Cool things to do in Leipzig Admire the architecture Leipzig is blessed with some really cool architecture and not just from the DDR. Some of the recent buildings dotted around the centre of town are really stand out. Such as the University building on Augustuspltz that uses a salvaged rose window and entrance arch (all that is left of the pre-war church) to create something truly appropriate and innovative. Next door the Gewandhaus is a DDR enthusiasts must: a well-preserved piece […]


Cool things to do in Munich

Cool things to do in Munich Hang out in Glockenbachviertel Munich is not known as a great party town or a particularly cool place to be, but Glockenback is its best effort to have fun – and actually, it does a pretty decent job. Though predominantly a residential area, Glochenbach has become the unofficial centre of Munich nightlife and is buzzing of a warm summers night, from Gärtnerplatz southwards. You do need to know where to go. Many of the […]

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Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary A wonderfully elegant and genteel Spa town, Karlovy Vary is ideal for a relaxed weekend break. The resort was built up in the 19th century on a tributary of the Ohre river. It’s grand hotels and colourful townhouses sit in rows up the steep sides of the winding valley. The mood, the aspect and the lack of cars, transport you back 150 years to an aristocratic world where well to do imperial families would promenade up and down […]

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Free Museums Munich

Free Museums in Munich So the bad news is that there aren’t really any totally free museums in Munich. The good news is that there are many great museums that you can enter for only €1 on a Sunday. And €1 is as good as free. Some of the most popular destinations don’t participate in this scheme – For example the Deutsches Museum and the BMW museum – but nearly all the art galleries do and many others besides. Here […]

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Free things to do in Munich

Free and v. cheap things to do in Munich – daytime   1. Get a great view of the city from St Peter’s tower   Great views of the Munich city from right in the center of town. St Peters is just a few steps away from Marienplatz. 3 Euros and a climb and this view is yours. (Only €1 for students and other concessions). Its long climb to the top, but the reward is the best views in the city. […]



Rothenburg ob der Tauber There are a lot of well preserved medieval walled towns in Franconia (Northern Bavaria). Rothenburg is the jewel. Like for many small German cities, time has stood still in Rothenburg since the multiple deprivations of the 17th century (war, plague, economic decline). Stagnation has preserved this once wealthy centre of commerce and today when you step through the gates of the intact city walls you are immediately in a world of pure medieval. Cars are largely […]


Italy in a day

Italy in a day   Cycling from Munich to Italy in one day. While Listening to Stereolab This year I achieved one of my long cherished dreams and cycled all the way from Munich to Italy in a day. I started in Munich at 7:30 and made it to Brennero (Italian side of the Brenner Pass) at 7pm that same evening. 180 km 2000 metres elevation. I’m so full of ideas, and this is the big one. (Stereolab –‘ into […]



A day trip to Regensburg Regensburg makes for a convenient and pleasant day trip from Munich. Less than an hour and a half and thanks to the Bayern partner ticket, an affordable train journey away, the town perhaps the closest place of serious historical interest. In its day a far more important place than Munich and seat not just of Bavarian government but of the electors and on occasion the Holy Roman Emperor himself. Core to its wealth, the island […]


Second Hand Munich

Second hand shopping in Munich At first glance, Munich does not seem like a land of plenty for second-hand shopping. Especially if you come from London, where whole high streets are dedicated to the second chance market. But once you know your way around, there is at least an entire afternoon’s worth of rummaging and haggling to be had, albeit with a bit of travelling between stops. First and foremost are the two main branches of Weisser Rabe (http://www.weisser-rabe.de/). I […]



A trip to Nibelungen land Nibelungen is the no 1 German folk tale. The one that every German schoolchild learns, largely I would guess to teach them not to behave like the heroes in the story who seem to be whimsical, illogical and chaotic. Set in the stunning scenery of the Rhineland Palentine, German gods and their offspring become obsessed by the quest to recover a golden ring that has all powerful though unspecified qualities…..sound familiar? After much plotting, fornicating, […]


Schloss Tratzberg

Schloss Tratzberg If your getting tired of castles or Schloss that look like big Christmas cakes or were dreamed up by some half-mad dillitent then a trip across the border to the Inn valley is a good way to get to see some proper castles where people had more bloody matters on their mind that floating around in roughs and powdered wigs. My favourite to date is Schloss Tratzberg. Unlike the medieval castles that are dotted all along the Inn […]


Hofbrauhaus & History

Munich: Hofbrauhaus & History – Beer, Culture, & Politics, Jeffery S Gaab. Peter Lang Pub Inc; 1 edition (30 Sep 2006) This book is well worth a read. It’s not at all about beer and in fact, references to the Hofbrauhaus often seem appended to what is a nice little concise history of modern (post 17th century) Munich. For me it filled in some gaps in the story and development of Munich that I had missed. Particularly the bit about […]



I was lucky enough to pay my first visit to Salzburg on a sparking mid-winters day and the first view out from the train was all shimmering white stone and snow. My eye wandered up the broad river to the church spires of the old town, past these to the huge fortress atop the main hill and beyond to the very close mountain peaks. Salzburg in a glance, quite dramatic, sugar-coated. Our double-decker regional service rolled into the main station. […]

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Bayerischer Hof

Bayerischer Hof München The Bayerisher Hof Munich is what travel guides would call, the grand city hotel of Munich. It’s situated very centrally, just off the main shopping area in a tree-lined boulevard. Inside, the Bayrisher Hof is a maze of opulence and there’s usually plenty going on in the many venues, bars and restaurants located in its lower stories. The Bayerischer Hof nightclub The basement houses a decent jazz venue which puts on a whole series of concerts, many […]

Cafe Cord

Cafe Cord Munich

Cafe Cord Munich What is it? A routine staple of Munich life. Nearly everyone has spent too much time in Cafe Cord and yet it is still a nice place to go. What’s it like inside? You can have lots of different sort of evenings in café cord, depending on where you sit. There are at least four distinct spaces, all of which have their different charms. It’s such a standard place to meet that an invite to Café Cord […]


Inside the Hofbrauhaus Munich

Atmosphere: Get drunk to enjoy Chances of practising your German with the locals: Good Beer: Have a guess – watch out only maß Helles. Gin and Tonic: No chance Intro The Hofbrauhaus Munich is one of the most famous landmarks and destinations of the city. Tourists flock there, but like any truly decent attraction, the Hofbrauhaus still attracts locals and even regulars. As the first and most sumptuous of all the beer halls, it has a special place in the […]


Vogler Jazz Bar

Vogler Jazz Bar Munich What is it? One of only three or four jazz venues in Munich. Bar the Bayerischer Hof, the most centrally located and perhaps the easiest jazz venue to walk in and try out without having to spend too much money or indeed know too much about Jazz. The joint is run by one Thomas Vogler, pretty much single handed. It’s a sizable venue, yet he often is the only member of staff. This looks like hard […]



Germania Posted by isargood on Friday, July 22, 2011 Books about Germany in English Germania. Simon Winder. Picador 2010 When I came to Germany I didn’t really know much about the place. I arrived in Munich very ill informed about the country I was moving to, either historically or culturally. While I think a school history lesson or two may have been devoted to Bismark and unification, really I had nothing to go on beyond this and of course, the […]


Munich lakes

The Northern Lakes Munich is a city of lakes and in the height of summer, lakeside leisure is a city-wide activity. Head out in any direction and you’re likely to find one in its own little piece of parkland, clean, blue and busy. Head North and you’re likely to find them before you leave the city limits. Many of these Northern lakes are man-made. Not content with their wealth of splendid Alpine lakes to the South, many smaller as well […]


The Twike

Is it a bike. Is it a Car. No it’s a Twike When out on a cycle I once saw one of these carrying a young couple silently over the Bavarina lower Alpine hills. It rounded the corner in front of me and I got a good view. A three-wheel vehicle about the dimensions of a Robin Reliant, but all canvas and fiberglass and on bicycle wheels (or something close), it seemed to be powered by the couple themselves, side […]


The Good Life – more early impressions on Munich

More early impressions of life and love in Munich Munich is a place its impossible to imagine anybody being miserable in. Grumpy yes. You wouldn’t be in Germany if you didn’t have to contend with hard starring, grumbling malcontents, but real misery is an impossibility in this town. Life is just too sweet. The town exudes wealth, contentedness and health. Parks and forests are everywhere, Alpine air and soft water, crime statistics have to count littering just to make up […]


First day out in Munich

  A day in Munich   Woke up early. I do hate Venetian blinds! Why bother hanging anything! Still afforded me an early start to a planned day of tourism. I’ve been cycling round and using this town for six weeks, but haven’t really seen any sites nor attempted to ‘look up’ and notice the places I’m passing through.   First destination is the town hall. A massive gothic pile, famous for its clock with dancing statues that dominates the […]


Isar Good – a natural high

Get on your bike and ride up the Isar on a warm summers weekend day, preferably on the East bank, and scenes of pure leisure and gaiety await you non-stop for a pure five kilometers till your right out of town. Isar life is as close to beach life as I have ever seen in an inland city and indeed the floodplains where it all takes place do have a sort of beach, with grey dusty stones. Along these chips […]


Prince Pub

The Prince Pub The Prince Pub is one of the few surviving old man’s pubs in Glockenbach and the locals are not unused to the odd youngen wondering in of a Friday night. Perhaps, for this reason, the reception is unusually friendly. Wolfgang seems to be the head man of the evening and with his mercifully non-Bayerisch accent (he’s from Hessen) regales us with tales of Munich in the 70s when he first came over. The time of Fassbender and […]


Cycling across the alps from Munich

Cycling across the Alps. The first time It has to be a good year for a post Oktoberfest cycle to Italy from Munich and in 2009 I definitely had luck on my side. Taking a few hours off I stumbled towards the local bookshop one afternoon and picked up their one guide to crossing the Alps. Bike repairs aside this purchase was enough to plan the trip for me. “Radreiseführer München-Verona” by Paul Bickelbacher. Even to someone pretty devoted to […]