a “stroll” to atzelsberg & two mud monsters

after a rather sunny morning — which had us planning about doing a [walberla][] tour — the weather has turned rather gray and we instead decide to go downtown and get our walking sticks looked after (on one pair the telescoping parts very often won’t lock, quite annoying really) and get some more winter buffs.

[walberla]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walberla

afternoon sky above erlangen as seen from atzelsbergwe are back at around 14:45 and decide to take a stroll…which, when we get to the schwabach grund, we decide to extend a bit into the meilwald forest north of erlangen…once there we realize we might as well do it properly, and keep on “strolling” up to atzelsberg…

…about 30min later we arrive at the [_atzelsberger_ pub][] (the way was signed posted as a one hour walk 😉 and have an apple cake (mrs d), nĂŒrnberg sausages, sauerkraut & a [schlenkerla][] (me) — quite good 🙂

[_atzelsberger_ pub]: http://d2h.net/wiki/index.php/Gasthof_am_schlo%C3%9F%2C_atzelsberg
[schlenkerla]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlenkerla

atzelsberg, gasthof am schloßas it’s slowly getting darker outside, we start our way back to erlangen…outside the _atzelsberger_ we see a nice sloping track leading back in roughly the direction we need to go and give it try — about half way through it turns into a mud track and we start collecting half the track on our shoes! when we emerge on _terra firma_ again, we look like mud monsters…

still, a very nice “stroll” (not a walk technically, as it’s below the 10km mark).

* DrWhoWiki: [gasthaus _atzelsberger_](http://d2h.net/wiki/Gasthof_am_schlo%C3%9F%2C_atzelsberg)

a visit to nĂŒrnberg: christmas exhibition, toy museum, literatencafĂ©

st hogwards, nĂŒrnbergthursday: day off! unfortunately, mrs d has to work 🙁 so i decide to do something i’ve been planning for a long time to do: visit the [toy museum in nĂŒrnberg][]!

[toy museum in nĂŒrnberg]: http://www.spielzeugmuseum-nuernberg.de/

i take the 30 bus from erlangen to nĂŒrnberg thon, then the 4 tram to hallertor, and for the last bit the 36 bus to hauptmarkt…first stop: the christmas tree ornament exhibition at the cityhall — as it is past christmas, the world famous nĂŒrnberg christmas market is already being dismantled and i’m almost the only visitor to the exhibition. it is quite interesting: i learn about “leonische drĂ€hte” (very thin wires, the art of manufacturing which dates back to the 1500s and was introduced by artisans coming from lyon), tinsel, glass spheres, war-time folding christmas trees (“only takes up one half of a front package!”) and a bit about the history of the nĂŒrnberg christmas market.

next stop: coffee at [café neef][], then the toy museum.

toy museum day passlots to see, but i’m really fascinated by the mechanical toys of the [ernst paul lehmann patentwerk][] section (better known today for their scale IIm indoor & outdoor model trains), the mechanical construction kits ([meccano][], [mĂ€rklin], [trix], [bing][], et al) as well as the [anker builder construction kits][].

[café neef]: http://www.confiserie-neef.de/home/home.aspx
[ernst paul lehmann patentwerk]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehmann-Gross-Bahn
[meccano]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meccano
[mÀrklin]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A4rklin
[trix]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trix_Metallbaukasten
[bing]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bing
[anker builder construction kits]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anker-Steinbaukasten

however, the _piece de resistance_ is the _omaha, nebraska model train layout_, built in [S gauge][] by dr. wolfram bismark — and that is “built” in the literal sense: he (and a couple of helpers) built everything from scratch, trains, building, tracks, everything. the whole layout is about 30mÂČ large and very detailed. the amazing thing is that he never ever was in omaha, nebraska (the video about him and his work, therefore, nicknames him the _[karl may][]_ of model railroads)…i spent about an hour taking it all in.

[karl may]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_May
[S gauge]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S_gauge

"bombenstimmung"concluding my visit to the toy museum is a special exhibition titled “Oh, What a Lovely War! War and Propaganda in Parlour Games” (the english translation of the title is a bit misleading: it is really about board games, not parlour games; the exhibition is running until 18 february 2007) about
> _…the preparation for and beginnings of World War II as reflected in the world of parlour games. These games were to serve as propaganda tools, strengthening morale, demonising the enemy or hinting that victory might be possible at the throw of a dice. They were played in parlours and nurseries, but also in air raid shelters, at the front or in POW camps._ —[[toy museum exhibition][]]

quite interesting, showing games and puzzles from all participants of world war II — all about equally weird…

[toy museum exhibition]: http://www.museen.nuernberg.de/english/english/spielzeug_e/pages/veranstaltung_e.html#exhibit

i browse through the toy museum’s toy shop, find nothing that really entices me, and decide to finish the afternoon with a coffee in the literaturcafe (where i continue reading _[seegrund][]_, spend some time observing people, and have a latte macchiato, a dry sherry, and an apple tart 🙂

> _p.s.: in case you are interested, [dr toy][] has a [nice write up of the toy museum][]…_

[dr toy]: http://www.drtoy.com/
[nice write up of the toy museum]: http://www.drtoy.com/about_drtoy/sprechen.html
[seegrund]: http://www.kommissar-kluftinger.de/

christmas eve walk to kalchreuth

frosty morningthe november-december edition of [country walking][] had a section on christmas pub walks. needless to say that those pages set my mouth to slobbering mode — and, also made me a bit envious…until i realized, that, hey, we can do the same in erlangen (where we are staying this year for christmas)! so…when the weather this morning cleared up and revealed a blue sky with lots of sunshine after a frosty night, we decided to do it!

[country walking]: http://www.countrywalking.co.uk/

sun, ice, forestequipped with a map of erlangen and the parts east of it and a compass we set off by way of the nature reserve and then into the seemingly endless [reichswald forest]. the weather is fantastic: cold but sunny. during the night we had frost and all the grass and ground flora is just frosted over making for fantastic photo opportunities 🙂

[reichswald forest]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%BCrnberger_Reichswald

the reichswald forest is really quite large and getting lost is easy. a couple of times we need to resync our idea of where we are with reality — in the end though we arrive in [kalchreuth][], not only the destination of our walk but also the highest point (413m). after looking around a bit we settle for the _[landgasthof meisel][]_ pub (dating back as far as 1560): excellent beer (_wolfshöher_) along with a goose breast (dr who) and tenderloin pan (mrs d).

[landgasthof meisel]: http://www.landgasthof-meisel.de/

mrs d in front of kalchreuth castle

[kalchreuth]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalchreuth

shortly before 15:00 we start again and are on our way back to erlangen…about two and half hours later we are back home. a fantastic christmas eve walk!

* _stats: 24.25km, 340m altitude diff_
* DrWhoWiki: [landgasthof meisel](http://d2h.net/wiki/Landgasthof_meisel%2C_kalchreuth%2C_germany)

“…the time has come for us to go into the real estate business in cyberspace”

> _Well I think that the time has come for us to go into the real estate business in cyberspace. I want to build a place that’s accessible from the network, and let the hackers homestead there. Let’s see what they create. I want to do this as a real estate deal and get somebody to fund it on the grounds that they’ll just own a lot of the real estate there. And these hackers will make it valuable in exchange for getting some plots of land. I’m a believer that this ought to be done commercially. For a while you support the economy by hiring them to do useful things in the universe, like, touring people around, building the library, or some of the basic community facilities for accessing data and seeing what’s going on. But then you allow them to set up their own businesses of creating tools or creating personas, and so on. At first you’d probably have to have a few draws, like some entertainment._
> — ([danny hillis, wired 2.01, january 1994][wired: kay & hillis])

[wired: kay & hillis]: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.01/kay.hillis.html

i quoted the first sentence of that paragraph in the _summer of 1995_, when writing my phd thesis. _today_ i did my first two real estate transactions in cyberspace!

dr scofield in front of hursley castle...since monday i’m the proud owner of two [secondlife][] [avatars][], _dr scofield_ (my IBM work avatar) and _bit moody_ (my private avatar) (both look alike due to some unfortunate mishap during the incarnation of bit moody: the linux secondlife client is still labeled _alpha_ …and crashed shortly after registration, somehow resulting in bit moody having rather quite a bit of facial hair and a black head — not quite fetching for a female character…i ended up just copying _dr scofield_ over to _bit moody_).

so, today i decided to take the next step and buy some property — the idea being to hook up our [photo gallery on our web site][] to a gallery in secondlife (eventually).

the first plot of land (a rocking 512qm of _[first land][]_) was nicely located view-wise, but suffered somewhat from the drawback of having rather noisy german neighbors who apparently had had aspiration on the plot of land i had just bought but were too slow figuring out how this land buying business works (tough luck or _pech!_). to my immense surprise a lady called _modesta heying_ from modland inc —

> _We specialize in providing unique lots to meet the needs of our special clientele. Whether it be lots on the edges of a volcanic crater, cliff-side lots overlooking the horizon, or special oasis within a garden, we will do our best to satisfy your purchase._

— contacted me and offered me almost ten times as much as i had paid for the plot of land in the first place! well, i accepted 🙂 i guess she was buying on behalf of a client…

[secondlife]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life
[avatars]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_%28icon%29
[photo gallery on our web site]: http://d2h.net/blog/wp-gallery2.php
[first land]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_estate_%28Second_Life%29

sunset over husiview...that, though, threw me back to square one: find a plot of land for my photo gallery. after some looking around i’ve found [a nice plot on Rosyth][] (sorry, currently not open to the general public, access only after prior arrangement).

in addition to the photo gallery, i’ve got a couple of work related ideas (which i can’t disclose here at the moment) and as [IBM is really going into secondlife big time][ibm-sl], we might have a chance of actually pulling off a couple of them 🙂

[ibm-sl]: http://eightbar.co.uk/2006/12/16/what-an-amazing-couple-of-days-being-part-of-the-ibm-12-island-launch/
[a nice plot on Rosyth]: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rosyth/55/46/60/?title=HusiView

exciting times ahead again!

yum, yum: road kill café

browsing through _[spiegel online][]_ i stumble across the new BBC 3 cooking series: [road kill café][] in which

> Fergus [Drennan] goes to the sleepy Kent town of Sandwich to persuade locals to go foraging for the first time and discover the delights of road kill.

yum, yum. i guess, instead of having to watch out for [shot][] it’s time to start watching out for glass shards and bumper sticker rubber…

[shot]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_shot

also, as [tim worstall][] points out in his blog:

> Now, a little bit of extremely valuable legal advice here. One of the easiest pieces of roadkill to obtain is pheasant: early evenings they are known to come to the roadside of the little back country lanes around the shooting estates to pick up gravel for their gizzards.

> It’s not as if you’re trying to hit them as you speed around those lanes, but it does of course happen (Oops, sorry Guv’!). Now, if you hit one and then pick it up and take it home to eat it that is poaching. Tsk tsk. However, if someone else hits one and then you pick it up that isn’t, that’s entirely legit, you’re picking up roadkill, however fresh it might be.

now, what’s for christmas again?

[tim worstall]: http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/7172195
[spiegel online]: http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,454803,00.html
[road kill café]: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/12_december/14/bbcthree_factual_ent.shtml

midnight gÀmel-sledding

euthal churchit’s way past midnight: i’m just back on _terra firma_ from a 30min ride on a _gĂ€mel-sled_ — basically a milking stool with a little stub on each side to hold on to, all mounted on a single ski…

we (a party from the [SAC zindelspitz][]) started out at about 23:30 from the druesberg hut (hoch ybrig area), after a leisurely cheese fondue, going down the closed-off track from the druesberg hut to weglosen — without any lights aside from our very own head lights…

stearing a gĂ€mel is a bit of a challenge, especially when you are a bit on the tall side. the ski gives you virtually no traction whatsoever, so the only tools available to influence the direction of this strange vehicle or even the speed are your legs and feet! as long as we have nice powdery snow all is fine and even i (notorious faint-of-heart that i am) enjoy the ride — as soon as we hit icy parts, however, it’s panic stations! the knowledge that just beyond the edge of the road is a precipice and eventually a creek doesn’t exactly help…

[SAC zindelspitz]: http://www.sac-zindelspitz.ch/index.shtml
[duesberg hut]: http://www.druesberghuette.ch/

as i said, i eventually make it down. an exciting evening! and a fun evening!

but, given that we plan to start again this morning at about 6:30, i ask mr r to sign me off and leave before the rest of the group has has made its way down as well — it’s an hours drive from [hoch ybrig][] to adliswil for me.

[hoch ybrig]: http://www.hoch-ybrig.ch/

real estate agents…

to be a little bit closer to our favourite walking grounds we are looking for a flat in [wĂ€denswil][]. last week “the online real estate portal [homegate.ch][]” one of the newly advertised flats looked quite interesting and i had agreed on a viewing with the real estate agency for today, 16:00.

so, i take the 15:29 train from rĂŒschlikon to wĂ€denswil, getting there at 15:45, quickly find the location and wait for the real estate agent to show up.

…and wait…and wait…and wait. at 16:30 i call their head office in zĂŒrich — only to learn that the real estate agent i had an appointment with had not received my confirmation email and was now out of the office doing another viewing.

strange, especially as my mail server’s log shows that they did receive my email!

i return via zurich, where i buy a proper head lamp at [transa][] for the midnight sledding session next friday.

[transa]: http://www.transa.ch/
[wÀdenswil]: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C3%A4denswil
[homegate.ch]: http://www.homegate.ch/homegate/index?layout=&agency=&lang=en

another “last 2006” walk…

yep, another “last walk this year” walk 😉 mrs d has worked out a circular walk starting in lachen then up to stöcklichrĂŒz (non-german speakers: this requires an update to your [laryngeal system][larynx] to pronounce right…) onwards to gueteregg (aiming for a lunch at the gueteregg alp) and back via pfifegg to lachen.

[larynx]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larynx

it’s a another [“small” tour][] — hah! — of only 23km and we are aiming for 6 hours to finish it…it’s 9:25 by the time we reach [lachen][] (hard to believe, but that stanchion of reliability, that defender of the punctual timetable, the SBB, was dawdling for 5 minutes in lovely pfĂ€ffikon instead of leaving on time!) and the fog has still not lifted. as a consequence it’s quite chilly and i’m glad to have brought with me the gloves and the fleece buff!

[“small” tour]: http://d2h.net/blog/2006/11/19/a-small-walkbroken-tombstones/
[lachen]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lachen%2C_Switzerland

dense fog at lachen

it’s only when we reach brĂ€ggerhof that we leave the fog behind and are in full, unobscured sun shine! the view is just fantastic —

a moment of quiet above the sea of clouds

— and we quickly shed the winter garments and make our way to stöcklichrĂŒz! the weather is really fantastic up here, above the clouds, and we take lots of pictures. yep, mrs d has got herself a camera and is taking pictures as if she’s never done anything else on our walks 🙂

we reach gueteregg 30min ahead of our schedule and are pleased to see that its “pub” is still open — and so are approximately 30 other walkers and mountain bikers: the place is brimming. we have lunch with beer (an _einsiedler_ for me) and cidre (for mrs d).

filled up we trundle down along the way to pfifegg — only to have to climb 100 altitude meter again to reach rindsweidhorn (they do have funny names, don’t they?) from where it’s an almost “level” walk to pfifegg.

pfifegg surprises us with magnificent views towards the wĂ€ggital, an area that we’ve come to really love walking-wise.

view from pfifegg towards wÀgital, bockmattli, schieberg and others :-)

then it’s almost straight back to lachen, downhill all the way. halfway down the fog welcomes us back and seems to want to make up for the “lost time” by becoming rather thick. at times it’s a bit of a struggle to stay on the path — it’s 16:50 when we reach lachen station again: +20min on our original schedule.

a fantastic day!

> _p.s. oh, and we took some nice pictures as well, [mrs d’s are here][pix-mrs-d], [mine are here ][pix-dr-who]_

[pix-mrs-d]: http://d2h.net/blog/v/mrs_d/2006/2006-12-02-lachen-pfifegg-lachen/
[pix-dr-who]: http://d2h.net/blog/v/dr_who/2006/2006-12-02-lachen-pfifegg-lachen/