Dec 11, 2014

Manikins in Munich

Happened upon this store while waiting for my laundry to dry this weekend in Munich. Creepy. Cool. Wish I could have gotten inside for some more interesting shots!

Dec 8, 2014

Munich Graffiti

Saturday morning, I had to wash my laundry, which was a fun experience in and of Itself. I'm no stranger to the use of laundromats. I used my phone to locate the nearest one, which was only a few kilometers away, and then drove myself there in the car I borrowed from my company. (Have I mentioned that I work for a great company?) While my clothes were washing, I took a walk around the neighborhood, and soon found myself under a main thoroughfare snapping photos of some funky graffiti. I could not stay long. I had to get back to grab my clothes out of the drier, but here are some photos I took, Saturday morning, before I drove up into the Alps ...

Dec 5, 2014


As I write this, I'm sick as a dog.  Not from consuming ungodly amounts of German beer (Don't be silly).  No, I'm ailing from a persistent head cold that launched its attack on Day 1, and has developed into a true source of anguish.  Nevertheless, I'm trying to keep my ailing from ruining my ale-ing; so to speak.  Though I don't believe it's working too well.  My throat is absolutely killing me and although, I'm not a doctor, I believe drinking tall beers may not be the best way to boost my immune system.  I've been so busy lately, that I just haven't had time to get to a pharmacy to find medicine, and like Carly Simon, I simply haven't got time for the pain.

...Sing it Carly.

So, yeah, I'm sick, but I'm still having a great time in Munich.  A couple of nights ago, one of my Munich colleagues took me and another QA Manager (from Knorr's facility in Ankara, Turkey) out to dinner at the infamous Hofbräuhaus.  Goodness, it was a great time!  Perhaps a bit of a tourist trap for the locals of Munich, but a great experience nonetheless.  I ordered the crispy pig knuckle and washed it down with a few blonde beers.  Our appetiser was a soft cheese mixture, spread across homemade bread and pretzels.  Soooo good!  The locals keep their beer steins locked up on-site at the Hofbrauhaus.  Not only do they keep their mugs there, but they have their own tables; marked by signs which read "Stammtisch" meaning something to the effect of "This table belongs to the Jingleheimer-schmidt family" for example.  This is good to know, so as to avoid unknowingly sitting at John Jacob's table.

Dec 2, 2014

Poppin' pils (pilsners)

Didn't get too much sleep last night.  Sometimes I have a hell of a time trying to sleep in hotel rooms.  Last night, was one of those times.  I flipped and flopped all night and when the alarm went off at 7:00am, I knew it would be a long day.  Although I have to say, today I met a really awesome person who showed me some tools available to me, that I hadn't known about before.  Hooray for colleagues!  And so I suffered through the day, sleepily, yet attentive and was happy to be out of the office a little after 5:00.  Again, I ditched my work gear, grabbed my camera and took the U-bahn a couple stops down the line to explore what is local to me.  What I found, was an olympic swimming pool, the BMW Museum, and some amazing pizza.  I ordered the quattro fromaggio and washed it down with a few delicious pilsners.  Also; note to self:  Do not order a "raddler", ever again.  These, I found out, are light beers, mixed with grapefruit soda... like a shandy.  Yuck.

I also happened across the Olympic Tower in Olympic Park.  You can't miss it.  Although, due to the crumby weather, I could barely see the top of it.  The weather, here, has been dark and dreary since I arrived.  Tomorrow is day 3 and I still have not seen the sun shine.

Toad-licking bunnies

While walking around christkindlmarkt, last night, I couldn't help but notice this kitschy, yet interesting, stuffed animal scene.  Do not ask me why there are so many rabbits, some of which are licking toads.  It could be some sort of homage to Bavaria's legendary Wolpertinger...  Regardless, it reminded me of the displays in the Macy's windows of NYC.  

Dec 1, 2014

Christkindlemarkt & wiener schnitzel

Today’s training (The reason I'm here in Munich) was fun andinformative. I met some great colleagues who, I'm sure, will be helpful with issues I have to deal with in the future. My training ended around 4:30 and after tackling several emails, I was out of the building by 6:00, and on my way back to the hotel. I quickly ditched my work gear, changed clothes, grabbed my camera and headed down to Marienplatz; the center of Munich. 

When I got off the U3 U-bahn at the Marienplatz station, I emerged to find Christkindlmarkt fully underway and I meandered through the little Christmas booths admiring the ornaments and Christmas wares. The market itself, is much larger than I had imagined. People drank hot cocoa, beer, and other beverages out of ceramic mugs while they enjoyed the night. The new town hall (“new”, though built between 1867 & 1908) with its majestic decor loomed high above everybody below. What a beautiful city.

I wandered the streets, taking snapshots of this & that until I realized I was hungry… or perhaps thirsty. I happened to be standing outside the Hackerhaus when I realized my thirst for an authentic German beer. So I popped inside and sat down. Looking over the menu, I swallowed my American Tourist pride and order a liter of pilsner and a plate of wiener schnitzel. I then swallowed the liter of beer.

Nov 30, 2014

Jet lagged

Well, I'm here. In Munich. The flight from Philadelphia to Munich was not a fun time. Not at all. It was an eight hour flight in coach, which I spent trying to sleep. But, I could not get comfortable.  I wriggled in frustration just about the entire way. I was, however, very surprised that US Airways did offer free music and movies on the seatback displays. They even offered a complimentary beer (Thank you) and headphones if you did not have your own set ... Or you get yours broken off and stuck in the arm rest headphone jack. So, while I could not sleep, I did watch a few movies: Dawn of The Planet of The Apes (thumbs up) 21 Jump Street (Stupid but funny) & Pacific Rim (Could not finish it, but the CG was nice).  

So I got off the plane at 8:00 am (2:00 am EST), dragged my weary ass through Customs, found my checked bag, and made ​​my way to the S-Bahn (Suburban train). After staring at the metro map for a while, I figured out what trains I needed to take, to get to my hotel in Moonsacher. Being a fan of public transportation, through living in NYC for long, so I had little trouble figuring out where I needed to go, and what kind of ticket I needed to buy.   I took The S-Bahn, nine stops to the U-Bahn (underground train) where I transferred to the U3 train, and then got off three stops later, at the Oberwiesenfeld station. 

While I rode the train, I sat there absorbing all the sights. I looked over the interior of the railcar I was riding in, observing features so common to me in my line of work: the windows, door system, trim, flooring, heater vents etc;. each feature, so different than the styles I am used to seeing in the US. I was too tired to pull my camera out, and instead, sat enjoying the sights through the windows, and paying attention to the station stops.  When I emerged from the subway, I was shocked and happy to see a huge Knorr Bremse building. My hotel was just a block away.

McDonalds - "ich liebe es"
When I got to my hotel (Which is pretty posh), I immediately took a shower and a quick two hour nap. When I woke up, I did a little work, then stepped out to find some dinner. I ended up eating at McDonald's, of all places, where I had the opportunity to legitimately order a "royal with cheese." I then proceeded to dunk my fries in mayonnaise.  I was exhausted, and some greasy comfort food was exactly what I needed.

Well, I'm afraid I have no thrilling pictures for you tonight. I am just trying to squeak out this first blog post from Germany before I go to sleep for the night. Tomorrow's a big day for me.  Gute Nacht!

Nov 29, 2014

Off to Germany

I'll be in Munich for the next two weeks. Being a huge Christmas nut, I'm not excited about missing out on some crucial Christmas time with my girlfriend. HOWEVER, I love to travel and I am excited to experience Bavaria. I'll be hitting the market while Chris Kindle I'm there and wants Probably visit Vienna, Austria on my free weekend. I'm sitting in the Philadelphia Airport as I ThisBlogThis, and the excited at the thought of the photo opportunities Germany will Provide. I'll keep you posted!

Oct 26, 2014

Squirrel Hunting - Frederick Watershed

What a beautiful day yesterday was.  Temperatures were in the low 60s and a steady wind blew the leaves all about.  I got out of bed late, but still made it to the Frederick Watershed by 9:30 to hunt squirrels and scout new deer hunting area.  The watershed is my favorite place to hunt because it's just so beautiful.  The terrain is rugged and features a lot of exposed rock with dense patches of mountain laurel strewn throughout it.  Yesterday morning, the sights I saw were absolutely stunning.  The forest was a whirling sea of yellow, orange and red leaves.  It was a beautifully noisy day in the woods, with the crunching of leaves underfoot and the sound of the leaves clipping branches on their way down to the forest floor.  I sat at the base of a tree to watch for movement over a valley below.  Twenty-five minutes later, I realized I had fallen asleep.  This isn't the first time this has happened; it's funny, but it's just so easy to do when you're comfortable in the woods and beauty is all around you.
I love finding stuff out in the woods.  Whether it be an old dumping ground full of old bottles and cans, an automobile, or even a unique or interesting tree.  This time I found a hunting blind/fort.  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prohibits leaving personal tree stands or blinds up, overnight on public land.  As a way around this, hunters build blinds out of natural materials.  I've come across several blinds while hunting the Watershed, and I take advantage of them (See this post for example).  Though this one was over the top.  However, based on what I found inside, I think that this may be more of a "fort" built by local kids, rather than a hunting blind.  Or maybe a hunting blind, overrun by local kids.  You decide.  
Whoever built this blind, used the existing rock cave to maximize the inside space.  They even built a fireplace and chimney into it!  There were random items stashed in the cracks and crevices of the rocks.  Among them I found an arrow and a recurve bow; it's string made of bailing twine.  I also found frying pans, a broken pair of binoculars, a handmade pipe (haha) and a bottle of rum.  
On this hunt, I carried my Rock Island Armory, Mig 22.  Although extremely accurate, I really need to mount a different scope on this rifle.  The length of pull (distance from the middle of the trigger to the end of the buttstock) on this rifle is so short that I cannot mount my current scope, far enough forward.  I am constantly having to back my eye away from the scope.  I'll have to do some shopping around to find a scope that can be mounted farther away from my eye.  It's important to note that the Mig 22 (pictured above) is a .22.  It is not an AR-15.  Although the similar in form, it is still just a semi-automatic, .22 rifle. (Like the Ruger 10/22 for example)  Some people see this rifle and I know that they think i'm some sort of nut-job hunting squirrels with an "assault weapon".  Please, do your homework folks.  THIS IS NOT AN AR-15.
As usual, my hunting trips turn into photo opportunities.  I took a couple of photos of a compass that Debbie bought for me last year.  We found this in an antique store in Gettysburg.  It was labeled as a World War I, US Army Aviator's compass, though I have a hard time believing this.  I don't think the US had much of an Army Air Corps during WWI.  I may be wrong.  But, to say that this compass was issued exclusively to pilots; I highly doubt.  I will have to do more research.  Regardless, this is an excellent compass, and coincidentally, is the same type my father carries in the woods.