Crowbar Travel turned 1 today!

Crowbar Travel turned 1 today!

The mysterious hummingbird moth we found in Possenhofen/Pöcking, Bavaria.

Chinese New Year - Manchester - England

[Visited - 2nd February 2014]

It was a bright, sunny February morning when we started our trip out to Manchester to celebrate the Year of the Horse. For the last five years we have been making the trip into Manchester. (One of the trips inspired the name of this blog). This year was no different, though with the sun and pleasant weather far more people were in attendance.

Arriving around 11.30 we had a brief look around the art and crafts shop which was busy but not as crowded as it can be after the parade. They sell a lot of books with kanji but sadly I’m nowhere near proficient enough to read them. They also sell a lot of small, pretty items like phone charms, key rings, fans and stickers.

Meeting the rest of the group we went into Wasabi - a Japanese restaurant which has a rotating sushi bar and set menus which offer 3 plates of sushi from the conveyor and a rice/noodle dish for just £8.95. The udon noodles in there are massive. The food was really tasty but there was no way I could finish it all so I gave up after a while.

Believing the parade to be at 1.30pm we headed to the Manchester Art Gallery to pick up leaflets for what was on, only to realise the parade was in fact at 1pm. Rushing back we had no chance of getting a good view of the parade but we tried to get as close as we could for a glimpse of the dragon.

Then began the crush.

Why people think it’s appropriate to bring pushchairs and small children I don’t know but without fail every year there is some kind of crush as people try to go in four different directions at once and fail miserably. This year someone tried to kick one of my friends as she tried to get through and out of the crowds which were becoming a little overwhelming.

Escaping we made our way to Albert square where we watched some weaponry demonstrations and then participated in some Tai Chi. The man giving the demonstrations was hilarious and told the story of a 84 year old Tai Chi master who had protected his village from a raging bull with his use of Tai Chi.

Unfortunately the queue for Churros was beyond our patience limit so we wandered back to the Manchester Art Gallery to watch some traditional Chinese music played by masters of their field. I especially enjoys the pieces on the Erhu - but then I quite like stringed instruments. We also got to see the last day of the Grayson Perry exhibit.

I’ve never seen modern tapestries before and the content was quite darkly amusing, following the life of a man called Tim as he moved through the social classes. There was so much detail in each piece you could look for a long time and still find new things. They are moving next to Birmingham and then Liverpool and Leeds and are well worth a look if you happen to be in the vicinity. I especially liked his Print for a Politician.

By then the group has split in two so we decided to meet up in the Arndale and as we made our way back through the Chinese Gate we saw some dancers doing what appeared to me to be a pizza dance - they were using material and making motions very much like those made to spin pizza bases. We paused for a few moments to watch before heading off to our destination and then onward to home.

Gong Hey Fat Choy!

A photo set tribute to Hohenschwangau Schloss. Not really sure what is going on with the preview pictures here but hopefully it’ll stop when I upload.

A photo set tribute to Oktoberfest 2013. I was slightly tipsy when taking some of these photos but it was great fun and who doesn’t want to eat a meter long wurst?

Putting another new theme on, like this one much better than last night’s attempt. \o/ Finally a layout that I don’t instantly hate once I’ve put it on!

A photo set tribute to Neuschwanstein Schloss. A couple of these photos were taken by travelling companion using my camera. Sadly the mist had descended so long shots were nigh on impossible. Damn you Neuschwanstein.. well played.

Sorry for the long Hiatus. I will get round to finishing the blogs from Germany and adding some photo sets together because I couldn’t really do much with the hotel’s wifi.



~ Germany In Motion ~

Cologne, Hamburg, Lübeck, Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich, Neuschwanstein.

8 cities in 12 days

Map of journey

It was a great experience to travel with my three good friends - two DSLRs and a tripod.

There were much more cities to take photos of, but due to some visa constrains I managed to do this route.

Stunning landscapes, fantastic experience and truly hospitable people made this journey possible.

Tag 4 - Neuschwanstein - Deutschland

[Visited - 1st October 2013]

We set off in Marqus with the goal of visiting Fussen and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. After a beautiful drive through the Bavarian countryside we reached Schwangau without incident and parked half way across the car park from any other vehicles. It was then we realised how busy it was going to be. The whole town is practically based on the tourism of the two castles there. Joining the queue the English tours for Neuschwanstein were rapidly selling out so we decided to visit Hohenschwangau first and left Neuschwanstein until later.

Unfortunately the mist had descended and so the castle I most wanted to photograph was veiled mysteriously. Great for atmosphere, not so great for getting a clear photo. Unphased we collected our tickets and completed the 20 minute walk in about 5 minutes. That said neither castle is great for those with lesser mobility - Neuschwanstein would be particularly difficult. We managed a quick browse in the shop before we got ushered into the castle. Though we were somewhat herded round the tour group wasn’t too big and the guide made sure everyone was there before starting to explain what was going on in the room. Aside from that he was pretty humourous and definitely knew his stuff.

We had time after the tour to stop for food and a rest before we did a bit more shopping and then got the bus up to Neuschwanstein - good job too because it was quite a trek up there. It was obvious this was the destination everyone had come for as it was packed out by lots of people of varying nationalities. We struggled to take some misty photographs before we were rapidly herded around the castle. It was a good thing I got a guide because I missed half of what our guide said because of the accoustics and because we were at the back of the tour.

After we were turfed out we decided to go to Marienbrucke to see if we could get a photo - we half managed to as the mist was clearing slightly but Neuschwanstein was still playing hardball and we could only get half decent shots.

Walking back down after managing to get some tourist free photos of the front we started our quest for food. As most of the tourists had gone most of the places were closed and when we asked at a hotel we were directed down to the lake to the ‘evening restaurant’. (Literally swan lake.) This is where we commensed the embarrassing spectical of our romantic meal for two. Fortunately they had a table free, unfortunately we’d walked into Ritz.. where they served our sprite into wine glasses with vase like carafs.

They also charged us £20 for a main meal. We ended up doing the age old British thing of staying despite being in entirely the wrong place at the wrong time and trying to eat and leave - harder said than done. Finally they released us after coffee and I managed not to burst into hysterics until after we got outside, despite singing Bella Notte from lady and the tramp to my travelling companion mid meal.

Locating Marqus we headed off back to our hotel, grateful that we were going somewhere decidedly more low key.