Sound of Music Tour

The Joint

PANORAMA TOURS & TRAVEL Gesellschaft m.b.H.
Schrannengasse 2/2
A-5020 Salzburg
Phone: +43 662 / 88 32 11 0

St. Gilgan
St. Gilgan, on the

This is a great 4-hour tour.

SoM house - or was it?
November 2006

It was much better in November 2004 (although the weather was better this time around), owing to a much smaller vehicle and tour group size. Note to prospective participants: find out before you book whether you’ll be doing the tour on a giant tour bus (seating about 100) or perhaps in a minivan. The minivan is in my opinion, a much better deal. Both times I have taken the tour, we had Sue as our guide, who is very informative and enthusiastic.

Gabe and Cliff
and Brian in
November 2004

But I liked it better when it was just her and me and Brian and Gabe and the Vietnamese Family from Canada and Team Malaysia* piled into the minivan.


Despite the number of people on the tour bus, this was a really good time. Sue, our guide, was so knowledgeable and personable. And even though she must be sick to death of this movie, she’s able to infuse her commentary with enthusiasm. Plus, given the variety of locations, you get a great opportunity to see much of Salzburg and the surrounding area.


The Joint

Griesgasse 23
5020 Salzburg


Started off this trip through Austria correctly; that is, with a nice Schnitzel. This place had great big portions of traditional Austrian cuisine in what looked to me like traditional Austrian decor. Nothing fancy or high-falootin. And we were all happy with our stuff. I’d come back here again. The neon sign, nearly visible across the river, gave me doubts as we approached, but they were unfounded. Our waitress was friendlier than most, so that was nice too.


This place was outstanding! We found it in the Frommer’s Austria that Carolyn brought us and we were not disappointed. It’s in the old city area, about a three-minute walk from the house in which Mozart was born. There might be more than one dining room, as the one we were in looked sort of small. The place was decorated with lots of murals depicting the history of the area and old dark wood and brass around the booths. The service was wonderful and the beer was worth writing home about.

But the best part was the food! Big portions for small prices and the quality of the ingredients and preparation was outstanding. I had the Schweinebraten (pork roast) with Semmelknödel (bread dumpling), a dish I’ve had several times since moving to Germany and I can easily say this is the best permutation I’ve had yet. Don’t miss the Sternbräu if you’re ever in Salzburg!

K & K

The Joint

Waagplatz 2
Salzburg, Salzburg


Started the trip off with…goose, since I’m a Michi…gander!

This place was nice and quiet on a Sunday afternoon, if a bit smoky despite there being only one other party in the downstairs luncheon room. The smoked breast of goose was very good, if a bit pricey. But hey – it was goose, so what was I to expect? The plum strudel and walnut ice cream afterwards was delightful.


This is one of the restaurant offerings in the hotel K & K. I had the small sauerkraut and bratwurst, and for the price I expected something a little more impressive than what I got. The kraut kind of lacked seasoning and the brats tasted like the ones I just buy from the grocery store here. But the dessert was wonderful and the location of this place is pretty unbeatable.

NH Salzburg

The Joint

Franz-Josef-Strasse 26
A-5020 Salzburg, Salzburg
Phone: +43 662 8820410 Fax: +43 662 874240


Sarah scoped a great price. Too bad it didn’t include breakfast. We found out only after chowing on it that it was €14 per person. Yowch.


The price was pretty unbeatable (59€/night!) for the location, but finding out that breakfast wasn’t included was a nasty shock. But it was an awfully tasty and varied breakfast.

The hotel has a very sleek, modern lobby – somewhat japanese in style. This was kind of misleading when it actually came to the rooms themselves. They were plenty comfortable and the bathrooms (my personal obsession) were very clean with good water pressure. But there was nothing of the style from the lobby.

A big bonus here is that they have a fitness and sauna facility for all guests to use. Make sure you go down to the sauna already in a robe and carrying your towel – there’s no private changing room down there!

Back from Transylvania

  1. one turbo-prop flight!
  2. two turbo-prop flights!
  3. three turbo-prop flights!
  4. four turbo-prop flights!

Four turboprop flights to, from and within Transylvania…ah ah ah!

So, I’m back from my business trip to Timişoara and Iaşi, Romania. I suggest you follow those links (to the cities’ respective Wikipedia entries) — there is some neat trivia there.

It was a very interesting trip — my first to Eastern Europe (outside of Prague, Czech Republic) and my first business trip to one of my company’s “low-cost countries.” My goal was to select some candidates that HR in the region had identified to help me (and other members of my department) with administrative daily work that has been bogging down our creative processes. I hope that it was not in vain, but I won’t know for a couple days probably whether the interviewees will accept our job offers.

Iaşi’s Cultural Palace — thanks, Wikipedia!

Unfortunately, our schedule and the weather together really didn’t give me much chance to snap any pictures. So the best I could do were these shots from my seat on the plane on the flight back to Munich from Timişoara. Iaşi struck me as slightly more charming than Timişoara, probably owing to its hilly landscape and less-industrial / more-artsy architecture. It was, however, still very easy to point out which buildings were constructed during Romania’s communist era and which had predated it. Gray concrete columns juxtaposed with ornate pointy steeples does give the place a surreal touch.

I am sure that I will have to visit Iaşi again sometime in the foreseeable future; I am glad that I got the chance to check it out this time. Next time, I am sure I will be doing more work and having seen the airports (tiny!) and lived through taxi trips (harrowing!) already will certainly be a benefit.

Hotel Unirea

The Joint

Piaţa Unirii
Street No. 5 Code 700056
Iaşi, România
Phone: +40-(0)232-20.50.00 Fax: +40-(0)232-20.50.26

This is a great hotel. I’ve stayed here twice now. It’s beautiful inside, and as beautiful outside as can be expected, I guess. My only suggestion for improvement would be to make the non-smoking section of the mezzanine (breakfast room) larger. Romanians love them some tobacco — almost as much as the Viennese, it would seem!

7 days, 6 flights

  1. On Thursday night last week, I departed for Paris.
  2. On Friday evening, I headed home to Regensburg.
  3. On the following Sunday evening, I departed again for Timisoara, Romania.
  4. On Monday evening, I departed Timisoara for Iasi, Romania.
  5. Early Wednesday morning, I’ll depart Iasi for Timisoara.
  6. A little later Wednesday morning, I’ll depart Timisoara for Munich.

And then I get to back to work for a day and a half before heading into vacation. I am already pretty tired of traveling though, and I’m only two-thirds through it!

when it rains, it pours…

…and when it’s not raining, it’s *really* thick fog, as if the rain is being proactive by getting closer to the ground in vapor form before condensing into drops heavy enough to fall.

But of course I meant it *figuratively** because I’d been having a dry spell at work with regard to business-related travel. And now, this month, right before I go on vacation again and get everyone all mad at me for having the audacity to use the vacation allotted to me, I have two business trips planned to three locations in two different countries inside of a week. The countries don’t even share a border!

One of the trips is to the Paris area, but alas I won’t be spending any there outside of the factory, except the night I arrive. I’ll be performing a training with the users of the database/software I’m responsible for there. The other trip is much more interesting, because it’s Romania, and outside of 2 small excursions to Prague in 13 years, I’ve never been to Eastern Europe. Lots of stuff is going on there for my company, so I’m curious to learn more about it.

Oh, and thank you America, for sending a message with your votes. Dems, however, I wouldn’t break out the champagne* just yet. Apparently, Keith Olbermann asserts

“There is no line this President has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party, in power.”

So let’s see how the rest of this presidency plays out.

Travel plans for 2007?

We had such a good time in May 2006 carousing through France that we’ve kind of decided we want to head back there in 2007 (maybe also May).

Who’d like to join us at this B&B? I’ve traded a few books with the proprietress via and we’re very excited about the possibility of returning to that region of France and staying in a B&B (and why not in hers? Looks great from the pictures!).

We are now accepting travel buddy applicants, especially because for four people, the price drops to €25 per person per night! We are thinking of a flight from Munich to Nice and a rental car drive from there up to Rémuzat.