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Monday, August 19, 2019

Discovering the Munich That Isn't In the Guidebooks

Buy my AppSnax recipe book!

It's a great addition to your entertaining recipe repertoire,

and it's a wonderful gift for the cook on your holiday shopping list (it's not too early!)

Click the image above to order on Amazon.com today! It's available in print and Kindle versions.

I can even hook  you up with a PDF if you message me.

While you're on Amazon, browse around and see the rest of my books, too!


Throwback Tuesday Post (TBTP): Every Tuesday, I re-post a past post that I think is relevant and that you’ll enjoy.

This post was originally published on January 8, 2015 and updated on August 20, 2019.

The title of this post is slightly misleading in that it's actually about a guidebook, though not your typical guidebook. The book is named 111 Places in Munich That You Shouldn't Miss, and it was recommended to me by a fellow guest at a dinner party last year.

The book contains fun and off-the-beaten-path things to see all over the city and in some outlying areas. After you see the Glockenspiel, six breweries and countless beer gardens, you can select from 111 additional places that you won't find on the Tourist Information map. Since we've lived here over a year now, my husband and I were ready to find the cool stuff only locals know about. For that matter, locals don't know about some of the things on the list. The sights are things you might look at and shrug on your way to a major tourist attraction, never knowing any details.

The writing is fun, cheerful and clever; plus the author's pictures resembles Captain Kangaroo. In the one-page text about each sight, you can find historical, political or cultural tidbits. In the small paragraph on how to arrive at the sight, you can find an extra place in the same neighborhood to see, resulting in a total of at least 222 things in the book.

For example, number 78 (the items are arranged in alphabetical order) is the so-called "Shirker's Lane". It's a series of bronze cobblestones set into the middle of a short alley in the midst of Munich near the royal palace. Back in the day, people would take a shortcut through this alley to avoid having to give the Nazi salute to some guards who were stationed at a memorial on the adjoining street.

After we bought the book several months ago, my husband and I checked off about 11 things we'd already seen. Now we are making a concerted effort to see the rest of them, and sometimes we see something and later recognize it in the book.

So far we've seen 29 of the things, or just over 26%. Sure seems like more. The best part of this project are the gems we find on our way to see the sights listed in the book.

For example, this Tuesday was a very sunny, beautiful day, and rather warm. So we decided to find the Sunken Village (#97) located near the Allianz Arena that the German champion F.C. Bayern soccer team calls home. The Arena looks like a giant Michelin man lost his waistline:

At night they light the place so it glows white, red, blue or striped. It's located one long subway train stop from our place; we can just see it from our balcony. If you didn't know what it was, it is very creepy to see through the trees in the dark (read, alien invasion).

We took the train to the stop, which is still quite a jaunt from the Arena:

On our way past the giant structure we noticed people going in and out, though it wasn't a game day. So we, too, dropped in to explore.

I got a few shots of the actual pitch with my new zoom lens from the stadium corridors:

The big draw, however, was the FC Bayern Fan Shop Megastore. Now, I'm used to European versions of things like "megastore", which usually don't measure up to the American scale of such things. However, this one was right on point.
They had EVERYTHING with the colors and logos of FC Bayern. Everything from gloves to jammies to kids' bicycles. You can even have your picture taken with the German soccer cup trophy and the German soccer championship trophy (yeah, I don't really know the difference, but there are two different trophies). The photo is against a green screen where I would imagine they make it look like you're on the field with the players. It's a really big deal around here.

We resisted the urge to load up on soccer gear and continued on our way. We took a bridge over the autobahn right next to the arena. The road is named after Kurt Landauer, the longest-running and much beloved president of the soccer team (1913 - 1951). The things I learn around here!

Standing on the bridge astride the A9 (Autobahn 9), we could just see the Alps to the south off in the distance. It's the first time I'd seen the mountains from here. The weather usually isn't so clear.

Just on the other side of the bridge is a large hill called Fröttmaninger Berg, which used to be called Müllberg. Müllberg means "garbage mountain", which is appropriate because this hill and the surrounding ones are made from a landfill.

At the base of the nearest hill was this guy flying his RC quadrocopter:

We waved for the GoPro camera mounted on it as it flew over us. You may see us on YouTube.

A few paces away was Sunken Village:

It's not a whole village, but it's an artist's (Timm Ulrichs) statement on replacing the former rural village of Fröttmaning on this spot with a landfill. This "church" is an exact replica of a real church just 150 yards away. The real Holy Cross Church is all that's left of Fröttmaning. The buildings appear identical except Sunken Village looks like it's being swallowed up by the landfill.

The structure was installed in 2006 at the same time the arena was being built for the FIFA World Cup competitions.

While nosing around the "church" we saw a group of young men coming over the hill behind it. They all seemed to have a common purpose and all of them were carrying similar bags. Then we noticed that they were playing frisbee. Then we noticed that there is a frisbee golf course on the hills. We were gratified to know they were using the landfill for good instead of just letting it sit there.

I spent a lot of time (procrastinating on writing this post) to make this next graphic to show you exactly what was happening (because you can't really see the frisbee unless you know it's there):

You're welcome.

I highly recommend the "111" book. It's available in several languages and for many cities. I've seen it for Berlin and Mainz, plus London and Vienna. It's enhanced our knowledge and enjoyment of our adopted city; I'm sure it could do the same for you.

BTW, speaking of good books, have you bought any of my books yet? If so, thanks! If not, get a move-on!

Photo for No Apparent Reason (you know who you are):

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chimney Rock National Monument near Scotts Bluff, Nebraska

I told you that I witnessed this year's Pony Express re-ride in Nebraska earlier this summer. Since the ponies weren't supposed to show up til later in the day, I took the opportunity that morning to visit Chimney Rock. I was in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, and I had to drive only about 20 minutes to the Chimney Rock National Historical Site, as they officially call it.

On the way, I saw a crop of longhorns sprouting in a field:

And I saw them working on the railroad all the live-long day:

Finally I caught my first glimpse of Chimney Rock from the highway. Then, as I took the turnoff to the visitor center:

You can see for yourself that it lends itself perfectly to being a major landmark for pioneers on the Oregon Trail, and for Native American tribes before that. On the side road was a themed tourist snack bar, which wasn't open at the time:

From the visitor center parking lot:

And some drama as we waited for it to open:

No, it wasn't a rattler, just a bull snake. The staff there said the bull snake was resident there and helped keep the rattlers away from the center.

Anyway, I entered the visitor center and paid the fee ($3.00) and beelined it out the back door to get these shots:

Here you can see the spire that rises about 300 feet above the conical base. They believe that it may have been 30 feet higher at the time of the westward settler migration. Layers of volcanic ash and brule clay compose the spire, the materials dating back to between 23 and 34 million years ago. From the base of the cone to the top measures 480 feet above those cows.

Here you can see the layers in the spire:

You can hike to the rock and do some climbing, but they caution against it because of the rattlesnakes that live in the area. So I opted out of the three-mile jaunt (ok, I wouldn't have done it anyway).

There was the requisite covered wagon skeleton, too:

Back inside the visitor center was a thorough display in pleasant surroundings. A timeline:

Lots of taxidermy from the area:


And this:

I bought a pin and a tshirt at the gift shop. My second favorite display there was in the kids' area - a ring toss game made out of a model of Chimney Rock:

And my most favorite thing was the donation box:

They said he showed up at Halloween and never left. My donation is hanging in the top slot for the photo. Yes, I pushed it in after I shot it!

What a great sight to see, and the visitor center was top-notch. Well worth the money and time to drive out there.

Note: there are other Chimney Rocks around, such as Chimney Rock National Monument in southeast Colorado, but this one in Nebraska is the one famous for being a landmark on the Oregon Trail. It's somewhat remote, but the area has lots to see and was totally worth the trip!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

Monday, August 12, 2019

Auer Dult, Munich's Thrice-Yearly Household Goods Market at Mariahilfplatz

For some easy, no-cook (and cook, too!) recipes, buy my AppSnax recipe book.

It makes a great addition to your entertaining recipe stash

and a wonderful gift for the cook on your holiday shopping list (it's not too early!)

Click the image above to order on Amazon.com today! It's available in print and Kindle versions.

I can even hook  you up with a PDF if you message me.

While you're on Amazon, browse around and see the rest of my books, too!

Throwback Tuesday Post (TBTP): Here's a retro post I think you'll enjoy.


This post was originally published on November 12, 2014 and updated on August 13, 2019.

Just a quickie post today because I'm knee-deep in finalizing my book manuscript! A couple more proofreads and it should be available on Amazon in a couple of weeks. I'm so excited! Of course I'll keep you informed about when you can buy your own copy and copies for all your friends, coworkers and family for holiday presents (hint-hint!).

NOTE: This refers to my ATFT: Germany cookbook, which is already published. Click here to buy your copy!

Book or no book, there is always something going on around here! In the course of walking from the tram stop to my husband's company party a couple of weekends ago, we noticed a huge market set up in the square surrounding one of the giantest churches in existence.The next day we went back and visited the market during open hours.

Of course, I did research about it all beforehand. The market is called Auer Dult and it's held three times a year. The first part of the name, Auer, is because it's on the river Au. The second part, Dult, comes from an old German term meaning "observance". The fair started as part of a religious observance of some sort. Today, the word Dult just means "fair". This is the only time I've ever seen the word used for anything.


The market's focus is on household goods these days because the religious fair evolved into a gathering of artisans and guilds who provided things like pots and pans, tools, and ceramics. Today, the household-goods theme is adhered to very loosely. In addition to wooden spoons, ceramic bowls and brooms, there was a whole row of people hawking merch just like infomercials. There were about 300 stalls selling such diverse items as antiques, books, Christmas decorations, silverware and snacks. Plus there were kiddie rides.

The giant church is called Mariahilfkirche ("Mary Help Church") and the surrounding square is Mariahilfplatz. We were somewhat familiar with the area because the immigration office is just across the street. In fact, I visited the church some time ago while my husband was taking care of his work permit paperwork there. I didn't have my camera at the time, but I plan to go back for church pictures. Stay tuned.

The market was different, though. I had camera in hand and here are some shots from the market.





Do carnivals in the States even have real ponies anymore?


 Of course there was a little Gasthaus and Biergarten just outside the fair:

Hope you enjoyed the trip to the Auer Dult. I could have spent a million Euros there. But I'm going back the next time with lots of money in my pocket!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Pony Express Lives! Annual Re-Ride, Part 2

I left you hanging last week waiting on the Pony Express in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, in the parking lot of the Scotts Bluff National Monument. Oh, yeah, and the rider was four hours late. And there was a really intense thunderstorm.

I just sat in the car in the rain with the wind rocking it back and forth, just like about ten other cars in the parking lot. But about 7:30pm or so, a heavenly break in the clouds materialized in the west:

And a wonderful rainbow appeared across the road:

These were very good signs indeed! Also at that time, the fresh rider arrived and unloaded a fresh horse from a trailer:

I shouldn't have worried about lighting for my photos. See that beautiful golden sunshine pouring through the clouds?

I was gratified to see that the rider was a woman. Excitement was building! We were all out of our cars and on the road at that point - the rain had stopped and a chill wind was blowing, but I don't think any of us minded.

About a half hour later, shouts went up: "The rider is here!" And this is what I saw coming out of the storm clouds in the east:

In the above photo you can see the fresh horse's trailer in the foreground on the right, three escort cars in front of the rider, the rider's red shirt as the horse trotted nearer, and the fourth escort vehicle bringing up the rear. I was standing with my back to Scotts Bluff.

As the rider grew nearer, I could see that she was a woman, too! She urged the horse into a gallop for the last few steps. Drama queen!

Once she veered off the road onto the trail, a small team immediately set about removing the mochilla (leather mail-carrying saddlebags) from the arriving horse and placed it on the fresh horse:

Then the fresh rider swung up onto her mount and was away! You can see there were several people in the way of my getting a good shot, but I wanted to watch also, which means I missed a couple of good opps. But I did manage to get this one with the Bluff in the background:

Here's the scene as the fresh rider literally rode off into the sunset:

And, although you can't see the rider very well in this shot, I like the dramatic effect:

The arriving rider hung around for a while to talk to us and I got this shot:

The horse's name was Ricky-Bobby!

As the little crowd dispersed and I was making my way back to the car, I overheard a woman say exactly what I was thinking: we'd waited hours and hours for two minutes of action. She compared it to seeing the eclipse a couple of years ago, which I'd also done. Both of us had the same opinion: "Totally worth it!"

Epilogue: All this was on 12 June. You may remember from my Gothenberg, NE post that I discovered you could send in a form, some money and two box tops (just kidding about the box tops) and have a letter carried by the riders. I sent my form and $10 (there's a $5 option as well) to the PE Association. They put it in the mochilla in Missouri at the beginning of the ride, and it rode all the way to Sacramento - it was in the mochilla as the horse went past me in Scotts Bluff! Toward the end of the month, I received my ordered letter, with the coveted commemorative postmark (boy, WAS it commemorative!) and a history of the PE inside:

Photo for No Apparent Reason: