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Magispook

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Germany Trip Musings
« on: July 11, 2010, 08:17:43 PM »

Some observations/discussions about my recent vacation in Bavaria, Germany.

- Solar energy.  It appeared that about 80% of all residential and commercial housing there had solar panels (at least 8 to 20 panels per roof) and solar hot water heaters.  The area we were in (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) is near the Alps (Winter Olympics Games held there and still a ski destination) so weather/climate is closer to that of WV than AZ.  Apparently it works.  Can't see how they all could afford it unless there was some government subsidy.  I suspect there is a government requirement for all housing as everything other than castles has been solar retrofitted or designed in.

- My weight loss.  Went off my diabetes diet but still took my meds.  Threw portion control out the window.  Ate (oh the horror!) REAL apple strudel and half an entire plate sized windbeutel (huge cream puff) with real whipped cream and strawberries and fresh made vanilla ice cream.  Ate jaegerschnitzel and real tasty French onion soup.  Had loaded baked potatoes and tasty fries cooked in lard.  Walked about the same as I do here in WV and had a bit less stress.  Managed to lose five pounds regardless.  Drank a lot of mineral water (the bubbly kind) and bottled water.  Did not drink any diet pop (I typically drink about four a week here) or have any processed food.  All food ingredients were fresh.  Even had real sugar in the food.  Purposely did not bring my glucose meter so I can't say what my glucose numbers were but I suspect they were not too far off the suggested parameters.  Could it be that staying away from diet food I eat here in the US will improve my condition?

- Older folks who I could classify as geezers were out walking and riding bicycles daily.  They seemed very athletic and not debilitated at all.  Saw a woman who must have been in her 80's riding a bicyle from the old folks home on St. Martin Strasse.  Bicycle riding is a craze there.  People take their bicycles on a train on Sundays to ride in different areas.  They dress in bicycling clothing without concern about whether the clothing makes them look good or not--functionality wins out every time. Body image in Europe is not the same to obsess over as it is here in the States.

- Breakfast. Every morning I had a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, and a PowerBar (sometimes two) while sitting outside on the patio looking at the mountain facing me.  Mornings were typically cool and quiet.  Very enjoyable.  Am contemplating doing the same here to start out the day but work pressures/schedules demand I start the day differently.  We'll see. 

- Restaurants.  Restaurants haven't changed since last time I lived in Germany.  They still would prefer (and do allow) dogs more than children at the tables with the adults.  Service is slow there but you get the table for the entire eveing, not fiteen to thirty minutes like here in the US where all the emphasis seems to be turnover and consequent profit.  The Europeans we observed at the restaurants had a leisurely meal with coffee before and after the meals if they weren't having wine or beer.  Took a lot of getting used to. 
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Rosesfirst

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 09:25:20 PM »

The more you tell of your vacation, the nicer it sounds.

I would think that bike riding would be more common here due to poor economy but I don't see it in my area. People do stay home more though it seems.

Yes, diet foods make us fat and it's partially psychological but not all. The brain still remembers the fat sweet stuff and we want more diet foods and drinks. :yes The problem is, many so-called diet foods are high in sodium or fat but low in sugar or they have appetite stimulant chemicals so we want more food to satisfy us.There is a lot of sugar in many low-fat foods.

Here's the deal on pop ~ The Sneaky Sip: Diet Drinks
That can of zero-calorie soda glued to your palm may be your waistline's worst enemy: Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages gained more weight than those who didn't, possibly because the sweet flavor may trigger cravings for the real thing. In another study, soda sippers were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure and ab fat that raises heart-disease risk.

Slim Strategy
Reserve diet soda for an occasional treat. Get your fizz fix from seltzer or sparkling mineral water, such as San Pellegrino.
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 09:35:41 PM »

Aha, just what I suspected but didn't know the nuts and bolts of it!  Got a San Pellegrino in front of me right now.   ::)
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chloe

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 02:38:16 AM »

Magispook

This may seem corny, but in reading your adventure made my mind wander to the movie.
"The sound of Music"
Remembering the sights and scenes in the move I can almost imagine what you saw.
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 06:44:34 AM »

We were very near Salzburg where the real thing took place.  All the tour guides mentioned that fact.
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 04:26:32 PM »

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chloe

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010, 05:16:23 PM »

Oh My !!! How Beautiful !!!

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Rosesfirst

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 09:37:17 PM »

Just beautiful  :fantastic
The snow in the pics is amazing. Is there snow there all year round up on the mountains?
Some of those places look so remote that they must have to do some serious prepping.
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2010, 09:47:54 PM »

In case anyone has a military connection to sponsor you into the resort, here's a link to their site.

http://www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com/home.html
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2010, 10:06:15 AM »

I started a job search agent for military related jobs in Garmisch a couplke days ago.  Got my first hit today:  Loss Prevention Officer at the post exchange right in Garmisch.  I could easily qualify for that position.  Two years too early and probably only pays about $1000/month (living wages only) but I'm seriously looking and scoping out the territory.
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cassBme

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2010, 11:58:38 AM »

Your trip sounds wonderful and the photo's were so beautiful.
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2010, 07:55:03 PM »

And now for some things that we were not so enamored with - Other than two places our tour stopped at (a McDonald's and a rest stop restaurant in Austria), all the restaurants not affiliated with Edelweiss served the food outside cafe style.  Although it was nice to be outside, we had to put up with cigarette smoke (Germans still love to smoke) wafting over to our table and, more annoying, flies trying to share our food resulting in near constant effort to keep them from doing so.  Could be the smoke drove them over to our table.  My daughter (no camping enthusiast) extremely disliked the flies and always wildly swung at them to shoo them away.  Her motions were quick, sweeping, and powerful to the point I was in constant fear she would knock down a waiter or customer since she swung in reflex--and she is that strong.  I often gave up my favorite restaurant position of the gunfighter's seat with back to the wall so I could limit the space in which she could possibly hit someone.  We would much rather have been seated inside but restaurant staff ushered us to the outside tables every time.  We also did not like the idea of having to pay half a Euro to go to the restroom.  Even the McDonald's had the fee which you pay to the guy at the entrance to the restrooms.  He is the one who maintains them and ensures they are clean and have toilet paper.  No coin, you better have a friend with some or you'll be holding it for awhile.  Our tour guides were proud to say the restaurants they picked (whenever available) had clean toilets and they were "FREE!"  At least this time, no putzfrau (female restroom attendant) came in while I was taking care of business.  It was very common during my last tour in Germany.  Some of you may recall one of my posts detailing the situation on Fasching Day that women are allowed to cut off the bottom portion of any tie which she concludes is an ugly tie and that the putzfrau at my work location came into the men's room with a large pair of scissors.  A great big pair of scissors next to you while you are standing there trying to add some fluid to the drainage system definitely will cause you to pack it in and say "whoops I think I'm finished here, good day."  The new hand dryers were a hit with my entire family although we saw them in only a few restaurants.  Looks kind of like a large toaster.  You put your hands in the slots and they are blow dried from seemingly every angle.  Really neat and efficient.  Speaking of neat and efficient, the self cleaning toilet seats were fun as well, although I was in a seated position at one toilet when it activated prematurely, then determining there was still a human on the seat, stopped and recessed.  In essence, there is a antibacterial wet sponge holding device that is recessed in the back of the water tank which pushes out over the seat, and pushes down while the actual seat rotates in a circle.  Yes, I had a semi-wet butt and I have obviously lived to tell about it now.  Here's a youtube link of the toilet cleaning action below.  Oh, and the train/subway fare system is on a somewhat honor system.  You buy the ticket and present it if asked.  If you don't buy the ticket and ride and get caught, you will pay an extremely hefty fine.  I bought a special Bavaria pass which allows up to five people to ride on the ticket and, yes, we got checked twice.  Which reminds me of a joke where I'll substitute West Virginians and Virginians instead of engineers and accountants.  CL can clue you in on the long-running WV-VA joke bashing.  Soooo, three Virginians and three West Virginians were attending a conference in Germany.  The Virginians had been in Germany a week before the West Virginians had arrived and had already scoped out the train ticketing system.  Being the hosts, they patiently showed the West Virginians how to buy train tickets and had the West Virginians buy their three tickets first.  The Virginians bought one ticket and boarded the train.  When asked by the West Virginians why the purchase of one single ticket, the Virginians told them to watch and learn.  They all sat together.  When they spotted the conductor coming up the aisle of the car just ahead, all three Virginians went into the train toilet.  The conductor came into the train car and politely knocked on the toilet door.  One of the Virginians stuck out his arm with the ticket which the conductor took.  They had just gotten away with three guys traveling on one ticket.  The West Virginians noted the action and marveled at the novelty of the strategy.  At the ticket counter for the return trip, the Virginians again purchased one ticket and were surprised when the West Virginians purchased none at all.  Sure enough, the Virginians spotted the conductor and all got in the toilet.  A knock at the door resulted in the previous action of an arm coming out the door with ticket in hand.  The ticket was taken and they exited the toilet a minute later only to observe the conductor had been delayed and was now walking toward them while the West Virginians then passed them on the way to the toilet in the following car with the ticket just given to them by one of the Virginians in the toilet in order to implement the Virginia strategy they observed during the first train ride.  More observations soon.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Z6U674pc8
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2010, 06:53:56 AM »

Just for clarification--I found the youtube link for the toilet.  I didn't make it.   ::D    There was a BMW motorcycle rally in Garmisch-Partenkirchen the Saturday we were there.  Here's a link to a video someone made of the event which shows some of the local scenery.  My wife and I walked to the rally and found it to be too crowded.  Attendance was reportedly over 30,000. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHiBeFINMj4
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Magispook

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2010, 09:04:25 PM »

Here's a link to a pic from the web of the windbeutel (cream puffs) we ate at the Almhutte in Garmisch.  Believe it or not, I lost five pounds while there.  The problem I have discovered with vacations is that once you start doing them and you find a nice place, you want to go back.  Would have to sell a kidney or something to get back there or win the lottery and I'm one of those who buys a lottery ticket once or twice a year.

http://www.qype.com/place/427069-Almhuette-Garmisch-Partenkirchen/photos/966906
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CountryLady

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2010, 02:58:22 AM »

My stars that looks good~! Mmm.... :hungry
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jollyquilter

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Re: Germany Trip Musings
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2010, 11:04:09 AM »

Well I gained 5 pounds just looking at it!!!  :lol
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