Indiana “Goonie” Jones and the Kingdom of Dr Pepper

Good news and bad news.

A colleague visiting from the U.S. brought us two twelve-packs — one each of Dr Pepper and Mug Root Beer. How cool is that? I’m having a cold Dr Pepper right now. It’s the first one in I don’t know how long. And it’s not even a fountain drink from one of the local Subway restaurants (you can get Barq’s there, but the mix is usually off). Given that we even dilute fruit juice with fizzy water to make Schorles, a full-strength cold Dr Pepper is knocking my socks off.

But that’s not the only of my senses to be teased with a twist of Americana this evening. We just got back from an OV* showing of the most recent (last? please?) installment of the Indiana Jones movie series.

Boo.

There, got that done. OK, ok…it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, but it wasn’t as good as I’d dared hope. I think I liked it better when it was about pirates, not conquistadors, and the Fratellis were chasing the protagonists instead of the Russians. And yeah, I know both movies were Spielberg vehicles. That’s why there was a smart-aleck kid constantly combing his hair in both.

Oh, and remember that wacked-out Act III of AI? It’s here, too.

upcoming travels

Hoo, lots of neat places to check out coming up soon.

August 15th: Zürich
October 2nd-9th: Southern Ireland

The Zürich trip is with friends with a car who are allowing us to tag along. We’ll all crash at another friend’s apartment in Zürich, presumably downtown. I bet Jul‘s got tons of good tips to impart for the small group with only a weekend to spend in Zurich…right? *hint*hint*


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The Ireland trip is something we’ve wanted to do ever since asking for — and receiving, thanks Susie! — our Frommer’s Ireland 2004 book. We’ll be flying into Cork from Munich, spending a few days there, heading out via rented car to Kenmare, driving around, staying at a B’n’B, driving back, and flying home. Here’s what it would look like if we were driving to Ireland (thank goodness, we’re not):

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We’ve got a little page devoted to the trip here. Suggestions welcome!

Osteria Siciliana

The Joint

Osteria Siciliana
Schopperplatz 3
93059 Regensburg
Telefon: +49 (0) 941 8500 2990
Telefax: +49 (0) 941 8309 151
E-Mail: info@osteriasiciliana.de

http://www.osteriasiciliana.de

Cliff

Nice place, from the looks of it. The presentation of the daily specials by our waiter to our large group of mostly Americans made for great expectations. And the service was quite charming and attentive. But the food — the most important part of the experience! — just didn’t hold up as well as we’d hoped after all that buildup. I had a ham, parmesan cheese, and arugula pizza which would have been great if not for the lackluster sauce (did someone forget to add basil or oregano or something to the pureed tomatoes?). In the end, it was fine. Maybe even quite good as compared to other regions. But we’ve got a ton of Italian restaurants around here and it’ll take more than that to stand out.

Sarah

I concur with Cliff, to the letter. The location is great and they have a nice, large outdoor dining area. The prices looked pretty mid-range for such a diverse menu. The service was really great, especially considering our large party. But the food itself was a little meh. And in a place with so many good Italian restaurants, it just has to be better than that to compete.

But we might go back, if only for a beer in the gazebo.

Spain 12, Italy 11

Not talking about tonight’s soccer game!

Christina organized not just a monthly dinner for local and more distant expatriates in the area, but a whole WEEKEND this time. Sarah took over the reigns for the welcoming committee at Alte Linde as previously documented here, and last night we tried out a new Italian joint over on the Wöhrd, and tonight was the kicker — the EuroCup 2008 baseball tournament, hosted by Regensburg.

It was a pretty good game. As you can see in the photos below, great seats were not hard to come by. The Armin-Wolf-Arena is really working the small-town ballpark feel. The quality of play wasn’t comparable with something you’d expect from an MLB game in North America, but we didn’t head in there looking for that. What surprised us (pleasantly!) was the relaxed, low-key, have a good time atmosphere. And we did.

How newsworthy is the media itself?

Tim Russert died recently. He hosted a news/politics show on an American TV network, a show that I’ve admittedly never watched, and he apparently died rather unexpectedly. Sounds sad, like it would be for anyone with a personal connection to him. But I have some honest questions: why have there been three segments on Larry King Live about this? How is it relevant to CNN International’s web or television viewing audience? I don’t get it.

I don’t watch a lot of German TV. In fact, I don’t watch a lot of any TV*, which is included in our cable package as part of our rent (and we pay into the GEZ just like we’re supposed to). But I can’t shake the impression that other cultures wouldn’t flood television or other information sources talking about the death of a person with a similar role.

I mean, do Germans even know the names of their nightly newscasters if you stop them on the street and ask? Maybe they do (but I sure don’t). But I really wonder if this is a particularly American phenomenon. Maybe I’m losing touch with my own roots the longer we live over here, or maybe the limited TV exposure (thanks Mom and Dad) at home growing up didn’t foster a perceived personal connection to the voices and faces in the glowing box. Is this perceived personal connection, or the implication of its existence, a symptom of something very unsettling in modern popular American culture?

I guess what I’m asking is:

  • Have kids grown up with so much television exposure that there is a personal connection to media personalities? Of course it’s a one-way street, so how sick is that? I’m guessing television watching hasn’t decreased at all since the time my skull was still soft, so what are the implications for today’s kids?

  • Is it important for Pfizer, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKlineBeechWellcome and the like that you are fully aware of the Tim Russert tragedy so that you can ask your doctor* about their exciting new product lines designed to keep you — and your other TV-family members — safe from circulatory system problems?

Now that I’m complaining about the media coverage on the media coverage, it feels like I’m part of the problem, and I’m getting a little woozy from looking into that infinite series of mirrors.

Time to head out to the ol’ ballpark. Stay tuned.

Alte Linde

alte_linde_fronleichnam

late summer view of the Regensburger dom

Beer Night 1

The Joint

Müllerstraße 1
93059 Regensburg
Germany
Tel./Fax: 0941 – 8 80 80

http://www.altelinde-regensburg.de

Cliff

We found this place pretty quickly when we first moved here. It’s great, in my opinion, for a drop-in shady outdoor meal or snack. Don’t take it personally if you get the crabby old lady waitress who’s seemingly always there (perhaps whence the attitude?). If you’re lucky you’ll get the middle-aged guy with the butch haircut and the earring — he’s a good sport, if a bit more jokey than I’d like initially, and outwardly kind of gruff at first, but there’s a twinkle in there. The view from the Biergarten is quite nice, and even in the winter it’s not too shabby on the inside. And Tammy and Matthias did their wedding reception there — also lovely. They have beer varieties I like, food selections I like, pretty good schnitzel, and some of the best potato salad around — all good reasons to stop in. But our luck with larger (≥ 6 persons) parties has not been good. Read Sarah’s opinion for the details.

Sarah

I like Alte Linde a lot. I like it when it’s warm and breezy and you can sit outside and look at the river and the Dom. I like it for an impromtu schnitzel-and-potato-salad craving. What I don’t like is the attitude we seems to get when we try and plan ahead for a large party – which always seems to take place during soccer tournaments.

The first time I tried to snag a reservation there for about 8 people was during the 2006 World Cup and I went over there personally with a friend (to avoid language-related misunderstandings) about 3 days before we actually wanted the reservation. I was very clearly told that they were not accepting reservations for the night we wanted (the night of the Germany-England game), but to get there early and it shouldn’t be an issue. So Cliff and I went over about 3 hours prior to gametime only to see a sea of ‘Reserviert’ tent cards on a variety of tables. Maybe it was due to my language skills. Maybe he said ‘We’re not taking any more reservations for that night.’ I just know that we were less than pleased.

This most recent time, I was feeling braver and decided to reserve over the phone. A very nice man spoke slowly and clearly with me and confirmed everything that I outlined. Outside? Check. 10-14 people? Check. 8pm on the 20th? Check and check. Great! That was painless. Until we got there anyway. We saw 3.5 members of our party wandering around saying, ‘Um, there’s no reservation.’ Cliff went over to the guy with the big book and asked about the reservation under my name. And he responded with ‘Oh, you mean the one that you called about and postponed until Monday?’ Um, wie $%#¢&§@ bitte?! I reserved it under ‘Sarah’ and I think that there’s a good chance that there’s more than one of those in Regensburg, so I can understand the confusion. I just don’t get the crappy attitude. Especially, as local expert Rainer pointed out, since the confrontation wasn’t necessary: they had a table of adequate size available. It wasn’t reserved, but it worked out just fine. Why annoy the source of of their income by trying to convince us that we had cancelled our reservation if there was ample room for our party?

That potato salad isn’t going to make up for the nasty attitude forever.


kicking off the baseball weekend

Beer Night 1

Beer Night 2

Beer Night 3

Sarah organized an evening out at Alte Linde which really hit the spot after closing out the work week. We were looking forward to perhaps exposing the less local people to Alte Linde who haven’t been there before, but in the end it turned out to be all locals or local expatriates who showed up (most were familiar to us but there were a few new faces too). It was a little bumpy at the beginning with the reservation (click that to see our review and get the details) but it worked out in the end.

Tonight we’re scheduled for dinner at some Italian place on the island and we’ve signed up tomorrow for the final game in the tournament. Hope the weather stays as good as it is right now.

P.S. — No hot dogs at the ol’ ballpark, but you can get a Bratwurstsemmel, according to Christina and Rainer. I guess that’s close enough.