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 in-tact city walls you are immediately in a world of pure medieval. Cars are largely […]

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 with out 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 […]


Italy in a day

Italy in a day 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 outaspace’) Italy in a day. I must have thought about Italy in a […]


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/). […]


The German Lesson

The German Lesson, Seigfried Lenz. First published in English by New Directions Publishing in 1986. I was leant ‘The German Lesson’ by a friend of my fathers who comes from Norfolk. I never been to Schleswig-Holstein, the setting of this book, but it sounds like it has a fair bit in common with Norfolk. The flatness, the remoteness, the washed out big seaside skyes, the slight otherworldliness of the inhabitants. One assumes that the author chose this particular spot as […]



Nibelungen is the no 1 German folk tale. The one that every German school child learns, largely I would guess to teach them not to behave like the heros 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, fighting and sleeping they […]


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 boarder 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 […]


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 […]



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 […]



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 in the Danube making 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 any direction and your likely to find one, in its own little piece of parkland; clean, blue and busy. Head North and your 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 […]


The 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 a corner in front of me and I go a good view . A three wheel vehicle about the dimensions of a Robin reliant, but all canvas and fibreglass and on bicycle wheels (or something close), it seemed to be powered by the couple themselves, side by side in a recumbent position. It was only […]


The Good Life – more early impressions on Munich

Munich is 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 staring, 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 the numbers and the weather system, while changeable, is generally […]


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, preferable on the East bank, and scenes of pure leisure and gaiety await you non-stop for a pure five kilometres 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 flood plains where it all takes place do have a sort of beach, with grey dusty stones. Along these […]


Prince Pub

The Prince Pub The Prince Pub is one of the few surviving old mans 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

  It has to be a good year for a post Oktobeefest 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 cycling, ‘Alps’ seems like a big […]