I planned my trip to Paris just so I could be here during Nuit Blanche. Man, what a let down – it was nothing like the Notte Bianca party in Torino for the 2006 Olympics. Well, stuff was on fire, so I guess that’s cool. And inner-city Parisians were acting like the hooligans they are because that night France beat New Zealand in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
And the louvre was open late for free. So that’s cool too.
I arrived in Paris on Wednesday night. On Friday I went to see a house on Rue de Travailleur in Issy-les-Moulineaux that I had lived in over 20 years ago. Then I checked out the Eiffel Tower and visited the Louvre.
At night I went out with Clara and her friend, who Sjoerd of Amsterdam fame put me in touch with. We hit Cafe Chic for the best club sandwich in Paris, and then the VIP area at Maxim’s.
After paragliding I took a cable car from the valley up to Hotel Alpina in Murren where I had decided to stay for the night. The photo below is the view from my room balcony overhanging a 1000m cliff. Take a look at the photo on flickr if you want a bigger version.
The next day, before I left Interlaken for Paris, I took a train ride to “The Top of Europe” to see the ice caves and the Jungfraujoch glacier.
I left Burglen early and took the mountain pass over Sustenpass to Interlaken. When I got there I went paragliding with a company called Interlaken Paragliding – fitting name, huh?
On Monday I walked around Zurich a while and got bored, so I took off on a scenic route through the alps. My drive to Burglen took me through the Klausen Pass. The video here has snippets of me talking during the drive, but of course for the most part I was quiet, enjoying the scenery and the sound of the turbo. If you don’t understand why I’m yelling, you’re not alone – you’d have to see it for yourself to understand.
When in Switzerland what better place to stay than at Hotel Tell in Burglen? In case you don’t understand my muddle-headed ramblings (apparently it’s the altitude ;-) ) in the video, check out the legend of William Tell. The three generations of Gislers that run the hotel, Katja Gisler, Nicole Gisler, and Nicole’s mother, are fun people. Oh yeah, I loved the hotel and its prices too!
On the advice of Jean-Claude, I decided to reroute my trip and cruise through the alps as I had originally planned but later rejected. Here’s my revised route:
OK, I admit Zurich isn’t too exciting, but let’s see what lies ahead.
Thursday and Friday were great nights, but Saturday that’s a-whole-nother ball park! It was a beautiful day – the first day it didn’t rain since I had been in Munich – and it. was. PACKED!
Like I mentioned in the previous update, the Swiss ladies offered to give me one of their tickets to eat with them at Das Hippodrom, which happens to be the most exclusive celebrity tent at Oktoberfest. The tickets to this tent have been sold out for months, so I had an excellent hookup. Unfortunately, they didn’t return my calls to them on Saturday. Let me recap:
1) It’s the first beautiful day at Oktoberfest in an entire week (if not all of Oktoberfest),
2) It’s Saturday, AND
3) I’m supposed to be going to the #1 tent at Oktoberfest.
I sure as hell am not gonna miss this one – I don’t care WHAT the Swiss ladies are doing. So I went to the tent an hour early and hung out with the crowd outside. I figured the only way I’m gonna get in is to start asking for a ticket. The second group of people I asked said they had one, but told me that it wouldn’t be much good without a seat. Well, I was hesistant at first to crash their party, but in the end I accepted their offer because they seemed like a really great group. Sure enough – they were some of the greatest people on my trip yet.
One of them told me that his company sells industrial lubrication. I told him a have some marketing ideas. ;-)
As the Hippodrom closed and kicked everyone out I met a new group of friends with whom I headed over to the dance hall of the previous night.
Saturday beer count: 4-5 steins (who’s counting anymore)
It was drizzling again on Friday.
I had a pretty good time on Thursday at Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke tent so I ended up there on Friday too. I met a bunch of Swiss ladies.
I took a breathalyzer test at the tent. I guess the Germans measure BAC in “promille”, or thousandths. So you can calculate that my result was .11%, which, I know, is a very poor showing. But what does make it impressive is that it was after 3 liters of beer. Hmmm, I’d expect it to be much higher…
After the Swiss ladies were done eating dinner and the tent closed we went to a large dance hall. Aaaand they invited me to dine with them the next day at the infamous Hippodrom tent.
Friday beer count: 3 steins.
Oktoberfest 2007 started out in a very rainy way, but I wasn’t about to let that keep me inside. So on Thursday night I ended up at the Käfers Wies’n-Schänke tent.
Oh, I almost forgot – how do you like my lederhosen? Unfortunately there’s no real photos or videos of it.
Thursday beer count: 2 steins.
On my fourth night in Berlin I walked outside my hotel to order a bratwurst from the metro station vendor. Shortly after I received it I was suckerpunched by one of the hoodlums hanging out there with his group of friends. It’s a long story but not worth telling. The upshot is that I decided to move to another hotel to protect my (at this point) uninsured vehicle. Alexanderplatz Hotel, with its excellent location, was where I should have been in the first place anyway. I told the receptionist what happened outside the other hotel and he gave me a deal on one of the rooms in his. On second thought maybe the deal was due to my negotiation and insistence that I could get a better price at his hotel online.
After I checked in there I rallied for a night on the town at 90 Degrees and Felix. I definitely recommend Felix.
Suliman, the receptionist, turned out to be a really cool guy. On my second night in his hotel we talked some politics. The next day I picked up my Porsche from the Porsche dealer, who had put on new front tires and a new spoiler, and left for Oktoberfest in Munich! Oh, I almost forgot, one more monument/Porsche photo: