Surfing in Munich.. in the winter!

A few years ago a good friend and I were walking through Munich’s famed Englischer Garten when we came across some guys surfing in a fast-flowing canal. It was really amusing to see these guys surf back and forth for a minute or two before falling or conceding to the next surfer. While it was highly unusual to see people surfing downtown in a city, it was at least summer-time and quite hot. It turns out there are crazies there all year surfing. I was in Munich over the weekend with my wife and her sister Alix, and so I told them about the surfers I saw a few years back. We were close to the area, and so I walked them over there. It was fairly cold out, 2-3 degrees Celcius, but there were 4-5 guys having a blast surfing in the canal. I snapped a few shots. And my favorite: (Surfing and bathing forbidden!) If you’re ever in Munich, take a couple of hours to walk through the English Gardens. It’s huge and quite enjoyable to walk through, and be sure to look for the surfers of Munich. The canal is near the south-west end of the park, or just ask a local to point you in the right direction.

11% of the world's countries?

Apparently I’ve been to 11% of the world’s countries. I better get truckin’ if I want to join the Traveler’s Century Club anytime soon.


Ski-Gliding the Eiger

These crazy guys over at Acro-Base made this video of one of them ski-gliding down the Eiger. It’s a terrifying video, at times showing the flier dangerously close to the rocks.
Rebecca and I joined another couple and went to the Stuttgarter Lange Nacht der Museen event earlier tonight, and I’m happy to report that we had quite a lot of fun. The basic idea is that for €12, you have a free pass to all of Stuttgart’s museums, including other sites like the famed TV Tower and the Wilhema zoo & botanical gardens, complete with special shuttles running between all the sites. It sounded like a good idea, and we had heard about it before but didn’t go, so we decided to take advantage of it this time. We met our friends at Schlossplatz, and walked over to the Staatsgalerie for our first stop. We purchased our tickets there, and soon we were inside perusing through the impressive building’s collections. I guessed they must have closed off portions of the museum due to the sheer number of people showing up, because it seemed as though many sections of the Staatsgalerie were off limits. Nonetheless, we were able to wander through several rooms of modern art, a handful of impressionist work, and a room entirely devoted to Picasso, including two very interesting works from his "blue period." I wasn’t an art history major, but I thought some of the modern stuff on display tonight was somewhat dubious as to it’s artness (think a solidly black canvas or a pink flourescent tube light). However, the rest of the museum was fairly nice, although I did think they should have opened more to the crowds. We exited after about an hour, and decided to go to the Wilhema. We had some confusion (along with lots of Germans) as to what shuttles ran to which places (see After waiting around for about 30 minutes, we finally figured out where to get on the right bus. Well, the right bus came, but was completely packed, so we opted to just take the U-bahn to Wilhema. None of us had been to Wilhema before, and it was definitely the highlight of the night. We entered Wilhema, and were immediately transported to the U.S. southwest by way of an elegant greenhouse filled with all sorts of cactii. Several greenhouses later, we had seen tropical plants, tons of orchids, azaleas, and much more. The greenhouses themselves reminded me, in terms of style, vintage, and quality, of the great greenhouses in London’s famed Kew Gardens (Kew’s greenhouses outnumber those at Wilhema). After the greenhouses we were treated to a small, but still interesting, aquarium / terrarium, where a staff member was wrapping a giant constricting python around patrons’ necks. By this time it was 12:15am, and unfortunately we had to forfeit the rest of the Wilhema so that we could catch the U-bahn back home. I was really impressed with the event, even though we were only able to see two of the numerous different sites. It’s a great idea to get Stuttgarters out of their homes to discover all the great things that Stuttgart has to offer. It’s just too easy on any other day or night to put off visiting a museum or the zoo. Read more...

Two weeks later

Tomorrow marks my first full week of living in Stuttgart. It has seemed much longer than a week, and I’m surprised as I write this that it has only been that short of a time period. It’s been quite a busy week with all of my admin stuff as well as trying to catch up to speed with everything going on at work. I’ve been living in the Millenium Hotel for the last 6 nights, so I’ve got quite a ways to go. I reserved a full month, but from what others have been saying, it may be a long time before I find a suitable house or apartment. I think 30 days here at the Millenium won’t be too bad, but I don’t know how much longer I can stand it after that. It’s nice waking up to a breakfast consisting of basically whatever I want, and it’s nice always having a clean room. For 6 out of the 7 nights I’ve been in Stuttgart, I’ve had dinner at one of the handful of restaurants here at the Millenium complex, and that’s quickly becoming one of the major drags. Already I’m not digging having to eat out every night. The 189 Euro/month for 2Gbs of wireless internet is also a huge downer. Damn you Swiss Telecom. Basically my routine for this week has been to wake up around 8-ish, shower, dressed, and then find my way downstairs to have breakfast. Normally I’m not a breakfast person, but when you’ve got nearly everything you could want for breakfast, neatly made out for you, it’s hard to resist. So I manage to gorge myself in the mornings and then walk to work, since it’s only 15 minutes. For most of the week I’ve done mostly admin stuff trying to get all my paperwork and ID/access cards in order so that I can actually begin real work. When lunch rolls around I haven’t been hungry (probably due to my huge breakfasts), but someone at work has volunteered to cook something 3-4 days out of this week. With no incentive to leave work early, I’ve been there until 6-7 most of the nights this week. So when I get home, I’ve been playing on the computer for a while, and then going downstairs to drink beer and eat dinner. Alright, I’ve procrastinated enough. It’s time to go to bed.