Mittwoch, 16. März 2011

Get Rid of the Body Scanners

A current issue in the world of travel is the body scanners which are turning up at airports around the world, whereby passengers are randomly chosen and given a choice between a virtual strip search or an intrusive pat down. Anybody who refuses isn't allowed to fly, despite having already paid hundreds of dollars for the ticket. The supporters of using these machines say that this can help prevent another September 11.

At the same time, many people say that they won't fly until the machines are removed from the airports. It's surprising that this fact alone hasn't gotten the airline lobby to protest the use of these machines. The constitutions of most democratic countries protect against unwarranted searches, however, these days you can be considered a potential terrorist merely because you want to board a plane. The vast majority of airline passengers are not terrorists. In the nearly ten years since September 11 occured, there has been no successful terrorist attack using commercial jetliners, and only a couple of failed attempts, like the shoe bomber.

The ongoing loss of civil rights that has been underway this past decade ignores the bombardment of evidence that the official story of 9/11 isn't even true. There are all sorts of professional organizations which see problems with the official story, such as firefighters, medical professionals, and architects and engineers. An interesting point comes from Pilots for 9/11 Truth, who amongst other things, don't believe that the pilots, who had once been in the military, would have simply given up their aircraft to a few men with box cutters. If it's hard to imagine this happening once, it's not worth the enormous effort to keep it from happening again. Also, there were rules against knives and other weapons in the cabin even before 9/11. Even if the official story was true, enforcing those rules should have been sufficient to have stopped 9/11. The existing metal detectors should have served as an adequate security measure.

Even if we presume that the official story is true, there is a much less instrusive way to prevent hijackings. If every flight was escorted by armed sky marshals, they would be able to stop anybody who tried to hijack the plane. Sky marshals are currently only placed on random flights, are normally the only law enforcement officer on board, and their presence is unknown to the other passengers. If it was a well-known fact to potential hijackers that they would be overtaken and arrested on board the plane, that would probably serve as an adequate deterrent. The training and stationing of sky marshals would be a much better investment than the strip search machines and pat downs which treat everybody as a potential violent criminal, while having no reason whatsoever to believe that they might be one.

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Donnerstag, 23. Dezember 2010

Christmas Market Photos

The Christmas markets take place every year from the last Friday before Advent up until early afternoon on Christmas Eve, as the main Christmas celebration in Germany starts at around sunset on Christmas Eve. Munich has numerous Christmas markets around town, with the main one being held on the Marienplatz in front of the city hall. The photos here were taken at the Marienplatz Christmas market and at the one at the Residenz Palace.

Montag, 27. September 2010

A Cold Spell

The weather in Munich can be unpredictable at times. Right now the Oktoberfest is being held. Normally, the weather during September and October is sunny and warm. Germans often speak of a goldener Herbst, (golden autumn) and there's usually a sense of being surrounded by gold as the sunlight filters through yellow, red, and brown leaves. This year, the winter seems to be coming early. It's been quite chilly these past few days, which is a shame during Oktoberfest, which offers so many outdoor rides, not to mention the stands selling warm weather snacks like ice cream. However, there has been a bit of sunny weather interspersed with clouds and rainfall. There are a number of chestnut trees in the Luitpold Park across the street which are giving their harvest. Although I've never gathered any chestnuts there, it's always interesting to see the chestnuts, which come in a spiky hull covering their shells underneath. As it's still early in the season, I'm hoping that there will still be a few more warm and sunny days before the winter sets in. However, based on what I'm reading on internet forums, a lot of places in mild zones seem to be getting cold weather early this year.

Last Minute Flight Deals

Freitag, 20. August 2010

How to Avoid Lost Luggage

One of the annoyances which often comes with travel is having to carry around a lot of heavy suitcases. At the same time, you don't want to be without the things that are in those suitcases or a large amount of time. However, that will be the case if the airline loses the suitcases, which happens all too often. I recently found a helpful website for travelers which gives information on how to travel with only one bag. is well worth visiting, as it tells what clothes to pack, how to pack them to prevent wrinkling, and how to organize your packing in order to get the most use out of your space. I especially like the fact that the bag is a small carry-on, as after numerous experiences with lost luggage, I don't like to travel with luggage that has to be checked. Adult Advertising

Montag, 14. Juni 2010

Mittwoch, 2. Juni 2010

Munich Gardens

Strolling along a gravel path through mature trees and over brooks, one can hear traditional Bavarian music coming from a Biergarten behind the trees in the summertime. If you follow the music, you'll find yourself under an Oriental tower, where the locals sit and enjoy massive mugs of beer. A walk through the Englischer Garten is a good way to spend a Sunday in Munich, when most of the stores are closed. It's also a good place for people-watching, especially on the weekends. Some people ride horses along the many trails, and there are frequently soccer games being played. There's one point near a waterfall where surfers practice, despite the fact that it's dangerous and against the park rules. One good way of reaching the Englisher Garten is by the subway station Odeonsplatz. This route leads through the Hofgarten, a formal garden next to the Residenz Palace, laid out with fountains and paths which are bordered with flowers.

The Nympenburg Palace also has extensive garden surroundings. A flock of swans lives on the Nymphenburg Canal leading up to the palace, and the walk from the palace to the summer home which is included in the tour goes through a formal garden with fountains. The Munich Botanic Garden is right next door to Nymphenburg Palace. Although many of the displays are in greenhouses, the greenhouses sometimes give the impression of being in the wilderness with tall palm trees and ferns. Walking through the Palm House is like walking through a rain forest. The sunlit Victoria House mostly consists of a pond with water lilies, and the Water Plant House also has a large assortment of water plants on display, most of them sharing a large pond with goldfish and trout, and some of them in aquariums. The rainforest gives way to greenhouses which resemble a desert environment, one of which features large cactuses from the Americas, another features native African plants. The remaining greenhouses contain flowering plants, one of which is devoted to orchids, with the necessary humidity being provided by a pond filled with turtles. Unfortunately, there's a problem with people sneaking their unwanted pet turtles into this pond. Outside of the greenhouses, the Munich Botanic Garden offers a large expanse of well-tended forests and fields, complete with an assortment of flowers in season. When I visited in May, the tulip season was just ending and it was shortly before the rose season.

Public parks and gardens offer a bit of the countryside in the middle of the city, and can be reached without traveling too far. Nature offers a peacefulness which is often hard to find in an urban environment. These gardens offer a relaxing environment while being inexpensive or even free.

Travel Blog Directory

Samstag, 22. Mai 2010

Munich Sightseeing

When planning a trip to Germany, one might have a hard time deciding which city to visit. Berlin is often the first city to come to mind, alongside the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, and cruises down the Spree, Germany's capital does have a lot to offer. Frankfurt's skyscrapers and Hamburg's enormous harbor also attract a large number of tourists. Munich is well worth considering. It's only a ninety-minute train ride between Munich and the Alpine Mountains, and Munich is also one of the safest large cities in Germany.

Munich offers a large assortment of museums. A good start is the Deutsches Museum, which is one of the largest museums in Germany, and offers a wide variety of exhibits surrounding science and technology. The transportation exhibit which includes antique trains, aircraft, and automobiles is so large that is was recently moved to a separate exhibition hall. The transportation exhibit also includes a huge model railroad which is always popular with children. Amongst the other exhibits is an exhibit which displays the development of the printing press, dating back to Gutenberg.

Amongst Munich's other museums is the lesser-known Bavarian National Museum. It's a good idea to go on a Sunday, when the admission is only one Euro. This museum offers a collection of historical exhibits dating from the Middle Ages to about the 18th century, including a display of knights' armor and weaponry. There's also a popular display of nativity scenes, which don't only commenorate Christmas, but also Easter and Good Friday.

The Museum of Ethnology is another lesser-known museum in Munich, and where the admission is only one Euro on Sundays. This museum shows a collection of artifacts from non-Western cultures around the world. One exhibit on Asian religions greets visitors with a huge, brass Buddha, sitting in a darkened room surrounded by a red background. Other displays include clothing and household goods from Africa, along with Native American and Eskimo cultures.

Munich offers a wide variety of art museums. The Haus der Kunst is probably the most well-known, and mostly displays art from the mid-20th century. There's also the Glyptothek, featuring statues from ancient Greece and Rome. The exhibit starts in the nearby underground station, Königsplatz, where some of the statues are on display on the train platform. Nearby are the Alte and Neue Pinatotheken (Old and New Picturs Galleries) which display paintings from the 16th to 20th centuries, including pictures from Rembrandt and Monet. The Pinakothek der Moderne consists of modern art, housed in a glass building to let in plenty of sunlight.

Some of the best activities in Munich are free. The Englischer Garten is a large park where the locals enjoy strolling. There are a number of Biergärten in the park, where brass bands sometimes play traditional Bavarian music during the summer. There are a number of large lakes in the park with wading geese and swans. Surfers often meet on a rushing stream which runs through the Englischer Garten, although surfing there is prohibited.

The Maximilianstrasse is one of the most expensive streets in Munich, and it's a nice stroll even if one can't afford to shop at Dior and Cartier. Walking is the best way to see Munich, as most of the attractions are within walking distance of each other, and Munich is a scenic city with lots of fountains, sidewalk cafes, and interesting architechture. And there's usually something interesting going on in Munich's pedestrian zone.

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