Danube: 3rd stop Solt, Hungary and the horseriders of the Puszta

After we had passed Budapest by night, our next stop was Solt (speak: Sholt) in Hungary. Some passengers chose to visit Pécs, we decided to see the horseriders in the Puszta. We arrived by bus at the sprawling ranch, where we were offered all sorts of drinks, mostly alcoholic, like their famous Stierblut red wine and snappsz. Then the horse riding show began.

The riders with blue cloaks gallopped around the course with different waggons, with horses or oxen. They demonstrated how the horses can fall to their sides and get up again instantly. They swung their whips and let them crack in the air. Some ladies from the audience stood in front of the balustrade and had to play “mother-in-law” while the whip gently enclosed them without hurting them. Next the whiplashes pulled down wooden pins off blocks or cracked in cadence. The riders rode races and tried to snatch a large kerchief in turn from the leader.

The “clown” fellow is a plump rider on a donkey. The two of them always made the crowd laugh, like when the donkey stood backwards or walked in the wrong direction or grabbed the kerchief when no one was looking.

After the wonderful riding show there were more drinks and a ride in a large waggon for all the guests, out to the end of the field around a historic straw hut and camp and back to the stables. These were duly visited and all the horses petted. We saw goats and rabbits as well.

Outside the ladies had set up the inevitable stands selling paprika, in sachets or tins, snappsz, wooden spoons, dishcloths, magnets, blouses with embroidered flowers.

Our next stop was the small Paprika Museum in a villa in the village. There we could see all the products and the history of paprika production.

Afterwards we were invited to a traditional dance at the Embroidery Museum. The young couple showed us several dances and when they had finished, a spectator was asked to count the number of petticoats the young lady was wearing – an astonishing 10 layers atop a waist cushion! Inside the shop they offered very many pretty items of clothing and tablecloths. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything in my size… We liked this excursion very much as we saw so many traditions of Hungary.

Danube: 2nd stop Vienna

Our first city stop was Vienna in Austria. Here of course we had no problems talking to the “natives”, as Austria is considered holiday destination number one for many Germans, especially skiers and climbers / hikers/ bikers. Except for a few words that are different, we speak German. Our apricots are their Marillen, our tomatoes are Paradeiser, our pancakes are Frittaten and an adhesive sticker is a Pickerl.

Our tour guide schleppte us through the town in a bus, past the Hundertwasser tower, but then we got off and looked at the lovely rose gardens where you can ‘adopt a rose’. Almost all smell heavenly

Below you can see the Sissi Monument of (Emperor Franz Josef I and) Empress Elisabeth made of Laaser marble in the Volksgarten. It seems she was rather anorexic and also very outdoorsy. She had her portrait done as long as she was still pretty and always wanted to be seen that way. The Volksgarten is near the Parliament building, the Burgtheater and the Neue Burg. The statue depicts Prince Eugen riding a horse.

One of the most delightful shops (besides Manner waffles and Trszniecki sandwiches) is the stuffed animals by Steiff, once created by Margarete Steiff who sat in a wheelchair all her life.

Farther on you walk past the Wiener Hofreitschule where you can see the horses that are bred and trained to perfection. One is not allowed to go closer, but you can buy tickets. In the pedestrian zone there are more fountains and the St. Stephans Dome (cathedral).

Canadian Impressionism in Munich

The HypoKulturhalle in the Theatinerstraße of Munich has a fascinating exhibition currently running of Canadians, mostly born at the turn of the century, who decided to travel to Paris and attend famous schools of Art. One group was the “Group of Seven” and the others were named after the building they met in in 1910, “Beaver Hall” in Montreal.

From Paris, they fanned out to many other places in Europe, such as Venice, Spain, Germany, but also back to their native Canada with its large expanses of trees and pastures.

Sometimes one has a feeling of déjà-vu, like the lady with the umbrella from Monet, or his painting of coquelicots / poppies, the colors and a touch of Seurat’s pointillisme, a painting of the Seine and its houseboats, a bourgeois family dressed in white, the peasants in rough brown cloth.

One recurrent motif are children in the middle of light-speckled surroundings, reading on a sofa, having a family picnic, carrying flowers and looking at butterflies – which idealizes the peasant girl. The more affluent young lady reclining on a bench at the beach is once again dressed in elegant white with a matching hat: tanned skin is for the working class, not for the noblesse.

Another common motif are young women, sewing, knitting, reading, reclining on a divan, many clothed in Japanese-patterned robes and dresses, among them one nude’s back.

A very Canadian motif are trees, maple trees with buckets, birches in the wind, fir trees laden with heavy snow on their boughs. Not to forget the fields and the rivers with boats and cargo.

Regular rates are €12,-, 11,- for students and half-rate on Mondays. Lockers, a cloakroom, a café and a nearby subway station Odeonsplatz, as well as audio guides, lectures and curator tours are regular features.

Danube : 1st stop Passau

Passau is a very nice little town right where the three rivers converge (read also my post from May 26 2019). The three rivers are the “blue Danube“, which is only blue if the sky is reflected, the “schwarze “Ilz”, a small confluent which is black due to sediment, and the “grüne Inn” which is really rather green. As Passau was the beginning of our trip down the Danube, we arrived early to see some of the sights at more leisure than with the large group.

At the tip of the peninsula (photo in the middle) you can clearly see the two larger rivers Inn and Danube converge with the Ilz coming down the valley and joining them. There is a ripple in the water where the currents with two different colors flow headlong into each other.

We found a very nice hotel Residenz at the water’s edge with a full view of the castle. So we started off with the castle, Veste and drove up to the top. The parking lots are near the youth hostel, you walk past a lookout and the restaurant. When entering the walls you will see the elevator going down to the museums. The special exhibition is about 800 years Veste: the first foundations, the ceramic tile ovens, the coat of arms, statues, carvings. In one courtyard you can relax on deckchairs, sculptures adorn the large inner courtyard which leads to the other smaller museums. One museum is about fire engines, one about apothecaries, one about trade and one about porcelain.

Afterwards we drove down to the opposite peninsula to check out the small Roman museum built over some of the ruins that had been dug up. The museum has some excellent exhibits and a good video, unfortunately there is no snack bar near by. Parking is in front and free during the visit.

After lunch we walked into the hotel lobby of the Wilder Mann on the Rathausplatz, which has the largest collection of blown glass that I have ever seen. This enormous glass museum was opened in 1985 by Neil Armstrong, the owner Georg Höltl was able to buy many articles for little money. You start up in the 4th floor and work your way down with glass vases and mugs tucked into the very last corner under stairs and over doorways. You will need a lot of time to look at all the objects of each century and types of glass that are documented here. Nevertheless, it is worth its while, or just walk through the more interesting exhibits. The exit goes through the cellar out to the street.

In the evening we walked through the cobblestone streets past the Artist’s Alley to the Rosengasse where all the Italian restaurants were celebrating Ferragosto. From afar you could tell there was a party going on, several bands and duos and solists singing at every corner, lots of underwear and sheets strung up across the streets. We checked out quite a few restaurants until we finally found two seats at a beer table for 8 people. Everyone was quite jolly, even though half the meals served were not what we had ordered.

Monday was dedicated to the Organ concert in the Cathedral, the largest organ of the entire world. It is split into 5 separate organs placed on the balcony, at the sides of the altar and the fifth integrated into the ceiling. Each one is built differently, Italian or German and has its own sound and pitch. All five with over 17,900 pipes are coordinated on one manual. Tickets can be bought in the inside courtyard, every day but Sunday. Nearby you will walk past the Ministry of Justice and the Passauer Tölpel.

We had a nice walk to the tip of the peninsula with shade trees and lots of people to watch the three rivers flow together and up to the castle.

The next morning we had to leave and go on board the Viktoria. It involved finding the parking lot on the outskirts and taking the shuttle bus back to the river dock, where the Viktoria and Máxima were waiting. About 150 passengers fit in plus about 40 crew members. 14 days packed with new impressions on the Danube! Stay tuned.

Weyarn in Bayern/ Bavaria

Weyarn is a village about an hour to the south-east of Munich, east of the Mangfalltal, taking the Salzburger Autobahn (highway). It is not spectacular, but the St. Peter and Paul’s church, the monastery founded by the Count of Falkenstein in 1133 and the surroundings are historically interesting.

Unfortunately, one cannot enter the church, there is a glass barrier and bars.

The modern houses in Weyarn present a pleasant contrast to the old monastic building which accomodate the Priory, the Town Hall and the café with its whitewashed vaulted ceilings. The café can be strongly recommended, their cakes are delicious, plum and heavy cream : Zwetschenschmand, apple or cherry crumble, cheese and cream with tangerines : Käsesahne. They also serve lunch tidbits and small meals, such as fresh pasta with chanterelles. There is a large terrace with shady trees or you can sit indoors.

Weyarn is part of a Baroque Route which you can follow throughout Bavaria. Many lovely churches, especially those built by the Asam brothers, are scattered all over.

Cosmos coffee in the Deutsches Museum

Today we decided to drink coffee in the special exhibition of the German Museum, founded by Oskar von Miller, the famous engineer, in 1905. It was finally opened in 1925 and is now the largest science and technology museum in the entire world. Prices have gone up since I last visited, an adult pays €14, so be sure to bring along plenty of time.

The “Cosmos Coffee”, on the second floor passing through the Physics department, runs through May 2020. There are many exhibitions on at the same time, also plenty of demonstrations and guided tours which are free of extra charge.

Our tour guide lived in Venezuela for many years and was very competent. She showed us the plants, the coffee flowers of the more delicate plants, the “talking drawers” with old slogans and clichés, the “smelling machines”, the coffee room, the roasting machines, the different bean colors depending on the roasting temperature.

One cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water to let the plants grow and mature, about 5-7 years. The plant came originally from Ethiopia where it is said the goats ate the berries and capered around more than usual. To the human palate the berries were too acid and hard, so they were tossed into the fire – where they developed a fantastic chocolatey aroma. From Africa, coffee made its way to Al Mokha, Yemen and to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there to many others, reaching the US in the 17th and Russia in the 18th century.

harvest workers on the way home a man sprays pesticides on the plants without a mask

The special roast “Cosmos Coffee” at the Museum is 80% Robusta and 20% Arabica. At the bar you can order from a large menu of 8 roasts and 6 kinds of preparing. The espresso was too strong, but the cappucino was delicious and the young barista makes the best hearts and swirls into the milky froth. You can stand at the tall tables or sit down on the benches and relax with a Florentine biscuit.

Love yourself

Dancing is the only Pure Art form!

Yes, I have a reason for feeling better, the narc has disappeared out of our lives, hopefully for good.

You have no idea what it is like to be pitched against a superior with NPD for many years, see his eyes glow and see his sinister smile whenever he thought up a new trap. And all because I happened to stumble over his furious shouting at other people. I never even realized that all the ensuing pitfalls and missing documents were directly from Hell, I attributed them to unlucky mishaps, made excuses, believed the extra work and overlapping projects to be work of an inexperienced person.

Until I had serious burnout. By then I was so overworked I could not fight any sinister workings. Thankfully, it was only being overworked and my resilience grew, as well as my doubts as to the integrity of said person. Yet I had no solid evidence, not a shred of proof.

Finally I had enough of being stripped of all my responsibilities. I calmly sat out the daily rage fits, the silly traps of “now you see it, now you don’t”, noticed the anger whenever I was having fun at my job and the satisfied grin when something was ‘cooking’ again. I even more calmly prepared an important job – suddenly two kids were chanting “You are going to lose your job!”. I thought ‘how?’

Until the day I was suspended. Ten days later I found out I was being accused of injuring 3 persons. As if I had ever touched them, and besides, 28 other bystanders could have testified. No joke, I was also accused of many other things. He admitted to the constant stalking and surveillance.

A whole year later the police, the firemen and the ambulance turned up at my doorstep due to a message he had gotten hold of.

If anything should happen to you, GO PUBLIC. There is nothing more terrifying to a narc than having his doings out in the open. And believe in yourself.