It was an organized trip by bus, with about 50 participants, including many middle-aged. In the price all lunches were excluded, except the last day of return, had in Florence. Were excluded drinks for dinner on the first day and entrance fees to museums and castles. The total cost was 500 euro per person. During this trip I noticed a few things that differentiate southern Italians from these Nordic countries.
The first concerns, obviously, the weather conditions. The temperatures encountered there, during these five days of the beginning of December, ranged from 30,00°F to 23,00 °F , and just after crossed the Brenner in Italy, while coming back, the temperature gradually has increased from 32,00 °F to 42,80 °F. We’re not really used to such low temperatures.
The second concerned the houses, from the morning when we went out, till the night when we returned to the hotel, I have never seen a person looking out a window or on a house’s balcony. The lights of the houses were always off, as if in the early morning and in the late evening no one was at home.
The third difference is about hospitality. In general, all of us have noticed coldness in relations, especially in the staff of hotels, restaurants and shops. Walking down the street often local people do not even look at your face, everyone detached from his thoughts or commitments. Some retailers even aware that we did not understand the German went ahead to speak in German and did not grasp our demands. In many beer-halls, perhaps because too crowded in these days, the waiters often not even listened to what we were asking and bathrooms, almost everywhere, were dirty and smelly. In a couple of beer-shops, to be considered as restaurants, the bread was a precious object, and you had to pay separately if asking some other slice of bread. In Italy, food and service are part of a fixed item in the bill’s amount, even if you ask for more bread during the lunch.
The first hotel we stayed at, was inadequate to be considered a four-star hotel, somewhat old and shoddy, where we also found bathrooms not so clean, with nothing more than a soap dispenser on the wall. For us, it could be considered just a good two stars. The second hotel, a little better than the first, could be considered a good three star, but not a four star. The cleanliness of the rooms left to be desired, the Wi-Fi in the rooms is with fee and in the bathrooms, only a bathtub without no-slip, while some useful used accessories (like soap, shower caps, etc.) were no longer given every day. Besides, a sour note about the waiters that during breakfast, seemed more “controllers” than anything else, banning us to take some toast to eat later, if it was not consumed at table on the spot.
The last disappointment is about the coffee. Although constantly we all always were asking for an Italian espresso, the coffee was made with small coffee machines that give a watery and tasteless coffee. Strange, given that in many shops, selling household goods, were proudly displayed “coffee maker machines by pods” , which if nothing else, give a coffee that is very close to a real Italian espresso. Cafes so luxurious and equipped, on the border with Italy, which does not equip themselves to provide customers with a decent coffee….why?
1st Day – Departure from Naples at 6.00 am. Stop for free breakfast and lunch en route, arriving in the evening at ‘Hotel Sailer’ in Innsbruck, where we later had dinner.
A brief stop for breakfast at a roadside and another later for lunch. We get to Innsbruck at about 9 PM, where we have dinner. A sad note, the waitress asked if we wanted water, wine or beer, I asked for 1l of red wine for me and my two friends sitting next to my family, since we preferred wine to beer. Drinks were excluded from the paid lunch costs and fee. At the end of the lunch, the waitress asked for it 16 euro. Too much for a simple light and anonymous wine, which in Italy does not cost more than € 3-4 per liter!
2nd Day – Breakfast, departure to Füssen and tour of the Neuschwanstein’s castle , fairytale castle, the symbol of Bavaria. Free lunch. In the afternoon departure for Munich with a short night visit. In the late evening night, lunch in the famous “Hofbräuhaus” beer hall.
We found snow on the way to Fussen and it began to snow hard. A stop was necessary to put snow chains. Arrived in the village the weather worsened, the castle is about 2 km and it was not the case to walk. There were some small traps for 10 people, drawn by two horses, and perhaps because of the weather, the price required to be brought to the top in the vicinity of the castle, was inflated and we were asked 6 euro per person. A lot of people were waiting for the carriage. The castle tour was booked for 12.15 and it was 11.30, therefore somewhat late to be able to take place on a carriage, so somebody decided to get to the castle on foot. It was a blizzard and everyone was shivering from the cold, while those who had continued to walk had a bad time really. Apart from the unpleasant smell of piss horses, the carriage left us in a clearing about 300 meters from the castle, where there was a small shop. Some took shelter inside, while to arrive on time, we took the road that led to the castle. Because of the dense snow that the wind blew in all directions, the castle could barely be seen from afar. Hooded and head down I went ahead and despite the gloves my fingers were frozen and could not feel them even. I had with me, as usual, camcorder and digital camera I tried to use from time to time. I used most the camcorder because waterproof, while too risk to take too long the camera out of the bag. After visiting the castle, the storm calmed down a little, we went down to take a carriage. Back down to the village I took some photos and then reached the bus, there were some people who complained because we were left alone, with some who were not able to climb up to visit the castle. A disorganization, due to the adverse conditions which certainly had not been foreseen. Here’s some pics.
Around 6 PM we were in Monaco again, and after a walk through the streets of downtown, we arrived at the brewery HB. Hundreds of people in various and large rooms, facing a small stage where some musicians were performing, with a traditional Bavarian costume. The dinner consisted of a broth with small balls of bread, pork shank in sauce with knoedel (a ball made of flour and potatoes, I think), Strudel of apples, bread and 1 pint of beer each. Although there were more types of beer, the one we got was not to my liking, too flavored and honeyed.
to be continued…………