Sunday, April 22, 2012

Things I learned from one day of scootering

1. It's cold! I guess I'm not used to 50 degrees with constant 35mph winds, because it is super freezing. When I ride for like a half hour without wearing all of my layers, I get this deep shivering cold and it takes a couple hours after going inside before I warmed up.

2. Bikers know what they're doing. The leather gear is not just to look cool; it helps with the insane coldness. (perhaps more importantly, it also helps in accidents.) Same with the gloves and ankle protectors and neck warmer and all the other things you might see bikers wearing. When I think about scootering in everyday life, this is a little annoying; "suiting up" adds friction. I mean, if it takes 30 minutes to bike somewhere and 15 to scooter there, but you have to spend 5 minutes on each end changing clothes, you've lost most of your time advantage.

3. Getting out of Munich is nuts. Look at this:

Munich's streets are a maze of twisty passages, all alike, and the street names even change every 500 feet. It's a lovely city to get around on public transit, and I'm sure even a bicycle wouldn't be too mad, but it is not made for driving. (nevertheless, I still maintain that this is a good thing.)

4. It is really not hard. The first hour I was riding, I was glad I got a scooter, because I didn't think I could manage the gear shifting, but I think I could now. (the question is: do I want to? it sort of feels like busy work, unless you're really into the high-performance thing, which again I am not.) Anyway, scootering is easy and I'm quite comfortable with it.

5. It is a lot of fun.

I ended up at F├╝ssen, near the famous castle of Neuschwanstein.

Neuschwanstein was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He started it when he was 24. He wanted it to be, y'know, a real medieval castle (unlike the actual medieval castle that was crumbling in that spot). So he commissioned this whole thing to look like an 11th-century castle, but bigger and grander and decorated with scenes of knights and kings and fair maidens etc from Wagner operas, because he sweated Wagner pretty hard.

What a champ. This is pretty much equivalent to me, at my age, saying "I like Lord of the Rings. I want to build Minas Tirith. And I like Harry Potter too, so throw in a Quidditch field." It's totally nuts, but hey, now this exists; if he were sensible (or not a rich king) he'd have some house that's not very noteworthy at all. I've been reading Steve Jobs's bio too, and wondering if it's bad to be a supreme dictator after all.

Anyway, things are going well. Today the weather was bad so I stuck around an extra day, and tomorrow it's off through some serious Alps to Zurich.


  1. Did mad King Ludwig include the scaffolding :D
    Using gears on a motorcycle is easy; it also helps with accellerating and downshifting to brake. And I remember the cold. Once I rode 3 miles at 0 degrees F. Don't do that.

  2. It's cool that you went to Fussen.
    That's where I spent Christmas eve in 1976 with my friends. There was a deep blanket of snow and a hush in the streets with our trudging footsteps and my harmonica playing Silent Night. And chocolate Santas from a vending machine for presents. And a restaurant that opened for us -out of pity for the foolish travelers trying to find something open on a holiday. And there was a beautiful Baroque church that was playing gorgeous music. Gail and Geoff, if you are reading this, I'm sure you remember. I could never have imagined my boy would someday take this picture.

  3. Oh, that was here! Nice! I remember your Christmas eve story, and I remember you talking about Fussen, but I never connected the two.

    It was Sunday today, and 90% of the city was closed :)

    But I'm sure much has changed since you were here. It's quite the resort town; looks like a ski town or something.

  4. Dan - couldn't help but notice the reference to the story that spawned Drik Subx - nice!

  5. Hah, yes indeed! I was wondering if you'd read this and catch that.

  6. Minas Tirith with a quidditch field? Why not Hogwarts with Gandalf as head master, Maybe have an all seeing eye over everything. :) Seriously though, glad your having a good time. Keep on posting pictures for those of us stuck in the mundane.