Friday, September 22, 2017

Employers Giving Lectures - whatever will they think of next?

Katherine Donnelly writes in yesterday's Irish Independent in an article entitled "DCU invites employers in to lecture its students" about an interesting idea to get employers to "to deliver master classes to undergraduates about the realities of the fast-changing workplace". Donnelly goes on to write that this initiative by DCU is "aimed at ensuring that third- and fourth-year students on technology-focused degree programmes are up to date with current thinking and equipped for what lies ahead". Sounds like a good idea?

Leaving aside scheduling issues and payments, this on the surface looks like a great initiative. However - it implies that existing lecturers are not "up to date with current thinking and equipped for what lies ahead", so it is likely to be less popular with lecturers - though none of us would have a problem with someone else taking over a class from time-to-time! I think the biggest problem is getting busy employers to commit - they will have to ensure that someone is available to give the "master classes" at the scheduled time. Not impossible, but a commitment none-the-less. While there are no details in Donnelly's article about whether the "master classes" would be embedded in modules or given as separate lectures - I feel that separate "Guest Lecture" style events outside of class time would be best. This allows for a more informal setting devoid of learning outcomes and QQI standards - Q&A afterwards would also be very useful. No doubt DCU will have thought this through thoroughly and I applaud their innovation.

Preparing "master classes" (or any class for that matter) takes a considerable amount of time, so employers should not underestimate the resources and time required. Were other colleges to follow DCU's lead there could be a huge demand for such classes that might not sit well with employers unless they commit to having dedicated Academic Program Managers (such as Microsoft do).

I hope this works!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jimmy Magee RIP #DifferentClass #Legend

Sad news this morning that Jimmy Magee has died at the age of 82. Being a huge sports fan I must have listened to Jimmy's voice countless times over the past 50 years or so. One of Ireland's most popular sports commentator has passed on to that great gantry in the sky.

When I started to watch sport back in the 70s I was too sophisticated to watch a game on RTÉ with an Irishman like Jimmy as commentator. Somehow we thought that the commentators on the BBC and ITV were better. We did at times have to watch RTÉ - one match sticks out for me, the English League Cup Final between Manchester City and Newcastle United. City won 2-1 with the winner being an over head kick by Dennis Tueart - Jimmy's commentary was simply "Well, what about that!".

Definitely my fondest commentary was the 1984 Marathon finish at the Los Angeles Olympics with Jimmy rattling off all of Ireland's medal winners in previous Olympics before acclaiming John Treacy's silver medal. Magic stuff - here it is on YouTube:


When somebody like Jimmy who has been part of your life this passes away it almost feels like a death in the family. I never met Jimmy Magee and have no connection to him other than his commentaries. All sports fans will miss him greatly - rest in peace Jimmy.

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Semester! #33

It's been 21 whole weeks since my last class at the end of the 2016/2017 academic year, and it is just coming up to 09:00 on the first day of the new semester for the 2017/2018 academic year. This will be my 33rd semester as a Lecturer in NCI. When I started back in 2002 I was mostly involved with e-Learning programmes, but in the past couple of years it has been mostly Data Analytics. 

Image Source: Business 2 Community.
This semester I will be working on the Higher Diploma in FinTech for the first time - it is only the second year of this course. The module I will be teaching is Business Data Analysis (a statistics module) on Wednesday evenings. It will be a slightly awkward module in that it is a combination of two separate modules normally delivered in two three hour classes - I have four hours for the combined version.

FinTech is also a new field for me. The good thing is that Statistics is still Statistics, but I am embarking on using financial data instead of my usual scientific and demographic data for this module. This is not a comfort zone for me, so I will be learning a lot throughout the semester - I look forward to it!

This semester I am scheduled for four modules with around 200 students spread across each. I am also scheduled to supervise eight MSc students. This will mean a very busy schedule is ahead with lots of Continuous Assessment to grade, also - each MSc student is supposed to get one hour a week face-to-face supervision.

Despite the heavy workload ahead, I am just as hungry and enthusiastic for the new semester as I was for my first way back in 2002. There is nothing I like better than being in the classroom with students hungry for learning. If at the end of the semester my students are more knowledgeable - great! If they are more fulfilled - great! If they think a bit differently about a subject than before - great! If their lives are changed in even a tiny way - great! And if I had even a tiny part in this - fantastic!

National College of Ireland - Changing Lives Through Education.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Visiting all 32 Counties #Fermanagh

Fermanagh County Crest.
Last evening I was in County Fermanagh and it was my first time ever to set foot in this county. It only took me almost 58 years to complete the tour of all 32 counties in Ireland, but now I can say I have been to them all. Any time I have ever been to Donegal or Derry, I skirted around this beautiful county. We were staying the night in Blacklion (only my second time ever in Co Cavan), and during our trip we crossed the border six times. Not many people there looking forward to the re-introduction of border checks if they happen after Brexit. 

We also took the chance to visit Enniskillen, the largest town in Co Fermanagh. it was early evening and the town was quiet. We had a nice walk around the town and I wanted to see the cenotaph where a bomb killed 11 people at a Remembrance Day ceremony almost 30 years ago. After the bomb the locals added a plaque with the names of the 11 dead to the cenotaph, and also added some peace doves around the top of the monument. It's horrible to think of what happened that day, especially the death of young Marie Wilson whose father, Gordon, went on to be a peace campaigner and a senator. On other trips around Northern Ireland nearly ever town and village has a war memorial. Sadly, this is missing in the Republic of Ireland - our towns and villages suffered loss just as much as the North, but we chose not to set up memorials to the dead of the two World Wars - a pity.

At the Cenotaph, Enniskillen.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Orientation @NCIRL


Today I had the pleasure of welcoming new students studying the BSc in Technology Management to the National College of Ireland. It is 39 years ago that I attended College for the first time. It is a very nervous day for everybody, and the new students get so much information on their first day that it must be difficult to remember everything - I told the new students that I forgot or ignored all advice given to me on my first day! 

Many of today's new students will be in my classes and will be with us in the College for the next four years. I really hope that College is everything they expected it to be - it is the next step on life's journey with a lot of unknowns ahead.

Welcome to NCI!


Thursday, September 07, 2017

13,000,000+ @YouTube Views #LuckyThirteen

Each time the number of views on my YouTube Channel passes a million milestone mark I boast write about it here. Since I started this channel on 7th April 2006, it has accumulated 13,005,837 views as of today. In overall YouTube terms this is a very modest number of views, but I continue to be fascinated and grateful that so many people find the videos useful. Older videos are still the top attraction, though my more recent Statistics by hand videos are gaining in popularity. The views continue to be very seasonal - currently the number of daily views is climbing again after a fall off during the summer. Lots of other content creators are doing this now, so there is much more competition for views. With a bit of luck the number of views will pass 14,000,000 early in 2018.

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Has anyone from North Korea ever viewed my YouTube videos? #BigInNorthKorea

North Korea is in the news again for all the wrong reasons - I feel a creeping sense of dread and disaster as Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump face off in a pissing contest. In the midst of all this I decided to revisit YouTube Analytics for North Korea on my channel. Between 21st September 2014 and 4th May 2015, there have been four views lasting just over 14 minutes. No more views before or since these dates. The videos were about creating Gantt, Polar, and a Progress Gantt charts. I suspected that YouTube must be blocked in North Korea, but according to Wikipedia it has been only fully blocked since April 2016, and "anyone who tries to access it, even with authorization, will be subject to punishment". I'd hate to think that anyone in North Korea would end up in jail for watching one of my videos!

Click to enlarge.


Monday, September 04, 2017

How To.. Create and Manage a Drop Down Menu in Excel @YouTube

Recently, a colleague asked me if I know how to create drop down lists in Excel. I didn't, so I looked it up and found that it was relatively easy to do. Then I thought a video for others might be helpful - it's just my 7th video uploaded this year. 



I note that there are several versions showing how this task is done on YouTube - lots of people are doing this now. Each of my 26,547 subscribers will have received an email notifying them that a new video has been uploaded - so at least that's a start in getting it publicised. It takes a long time for a video to get a significant number of views - only one of my videos published in the last 12 months has exceeded 10,000 views, it's the oldies that are still attracting views. Total views for all videos on my channel are currently between 18,000 - 20,000 daily.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dr Frank Jeal RIP

Dr Frank Jeal.
Image source: www.tcd.ie.
There are few University Lecturers that inspired me as much as the late Dr Frank Jeal from the Zoology Department in Trinity College who sadly died today. He was a very accessible lecturer and I first met him in 2nd year in Trinity when he lectured in Zoology - he made dinosaurs hugely interesting long before the likes of Jurassic Park. He was a significant part of my decision to specialise in Zoology in 3rd and 4th year, he helped and encouraged me all the way to a PhD. I am certain I would not be who I am without his advice, support, friendship, and vast knowledge. He also encouraged me to become the Chairman of the Zoological Society in 1981 - he was always a great supporter of Zoo Soc!

Frank was of course also well-known in the pubs and bars in central Dublin - he was a legend amongst trad musicians in the pub scene. I last met him in O'Neills of Pearse Street just a couple of years ago, and had the pleasure of having a pint with him. While I was both an undergraduate and postgraduate at Trinity in the 1980s I spent many a great evening (far too many for a student!) in his company singing and hearing him play the accordion. Field trips to Portaferry and to Clare were legendary - many students went for the craic as much as for learning.

Frank knew many songs, many of them such as "Glorious Ale" and "The Old Dun Cow", were very funny and appropriate in a pub environment. I found one video on-line of him in full flow with his accordion in O'Donoghues pub in 2013 posted by Niall MacDonagh. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Surrounded by Mayo and Kerry people in Croke Park #GAA

So this year's All-Ireland football final will be a repeat of last year: Dublin vs Mayo. Dublin looked awesome today as they swept aside a disappointing Tyrone. I attended the Mayo vs Kerry match yesterday, Mayo were brilliant. Have they enough to beat the Dubs? I think not.

Gaelic football honours belong to just a few counties now - Dublin, Kerry, and Mayo are so dominant that most of the other 29 counties can forget about getting their hands on the Sam Maguire cup. The GAA is for everyone - when I'm stopped in Croke Park wearing my Wicklow jersey I tell people to look at their tickets - it says "All-Ireland"!

The Connaught Telegraph has a series of fan photos on their Facebook page, and today there I am in my Wicklow jersey (bottom left) - everywhere you see happy Mayo and Kerry people standing up and cheering their team - I'm sitting down! I'm surrounded by GAA fans who know that every year they will have something to cheer in the middle and late summer - most counties don't have this.

One thing is for sure - no team/county keeps on going forever. This weekend we say two greats walking off Croke Park for possibly the last time: Kieran Donaghy of Kerry, and Seán Cavanagh of Tyrone - thank you both for many fabulous days in Croker. Time for the young lads to come through!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

PowerPoint Tips, Tricks, and Hacks from 29 Experts via @elearningart

I was pleased to be invited to contribute to a new eLearning resource created by Bryan Jones in California. eLearning Art is a web site that provides resources for the eLearning industry claiming to have the "largest library of eLearning assets on the web". It is a great resource for anyone interested in creating eLearning content.

One section shows 29 PowerPoint tips from "experts" - my tip is #17.

17. Use the notes panel for detailed printed notes

I’m a College Lecturer and use PowerPoint for Lecture notes. 
Many students want detailed lecture notes, but get bored quickly reading mountains of text on a slide.
So I use the “Notes Pages” panel for detail while keeping the slides simple – I urge students to read the notes which may contain more information than given in a lecture. 
If printing out the slides, it is essential to use “Notes Pages” print layout option.
PowerPoint Presentation Tip from Eugene O'Loughlin: Use the notes panel for detailed printed notes

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kerry 2-14, Mayo 2-14 #GAA #Wow #ILoveFootball

Ready for the match.
Sometimes football can take your breath away - today in front of 66,195 GAA fans, Mayo and Kerry served up a brilliant exciting match in the rain which ended in a draw. It was 9/1 for a draw on Paddy Power before the match, but I didn't fancy it (instead I went for a Mayo/Tyrone semi-final double #fail). A cold wet day did not reduce the excitement, though it did produce lots of turnovers and slipping. Four goals superbly taken were the highlights, with Andy Moran of Mayo putting in a man of the match performance. What a pity Aidan O'Shea of Mayo was delegated to man mark Kieran Donaghy - for me, this did not work and resulted in O'Shea being far less influential than usual.

The replay is next Saturday and I think Roma and I will go along again - if it is half as exciting as this match it will be worth going to. We are regular visitors to Croke Park and both love the day out. I even wore some Mayo colours for the match, though I still had my Wicklow jersey on. Before the game we supported Our Lady's Children's Hospital and got an opportunity to take a photo of Roma with the Sam Maguire cup - will the Mayo lads get their hands on this for the first time in 66 years before the season ends?

What Mayo people want the most!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wells House and Gardens #Gem #Wexford

Having been born and raised in the Southeast of Ireland, and coming here for holidays almost every year, I thought I had seen all tourist attractions on Co Wexford. This week I went to Wells House and Gardens near Ballyedmond and I highly recommend it for a visit - until recently I never knew it existed. It has been open to the public since 2012 and the owners are gradually opening up more of the house every year. I took the tour of the house and found it a fascinating insight as to how families lived in the 19th century (rich families that is!). The grounds are small, but there is a delightful short walk through a forest which features carvings of animals from a fallen redwood tree. There were plenty of visitors so it is proving a popular attraction - I'll certainly be back.

While looking around the house grounds and grandeur, I couldn't help thinking about the opulence of the place with wood panels carved from Italian oak, and fine furniture from England. The gardens and driveway are beautiful - but this would have all been done on the back of local labour. Were they paid adequately? What were their working conditions like? Was it enough to survive? Our tour guide told us that the owners were popular locally and that the house was not burned down during various rebellions because of this. The owners of the house (Doynes) will always be remembered - their portraits hang in the main hall. The people who built and maintained the house are long gone and are unknown - I'd love to know more about them.

Mogue's Walk.
 yyy
My new bear friend.

Well's House and Garden.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Package Wasting by @Amazon

Image source: Amazon.
Today I had a recent purchase of a Frostfire Universal Soft Car Roof Bars delivered - they look great and I can't wait to use them. They are a simple idea to let occasional users of roof bars carry stuff on the car roof - I intend to use for a canoe. The are excellent value at £19.99, and can be easily taken off and stored in the car. Postage was £7.06 (about €7.75) - again excellent value.

But...

...what wastage by Amazon! The Frostfire measures 60 cm long and 12 cm wide, but was delivered in a giant box. You can see below that most of the box was filled with air-filled plastic bubble wrap - this was almost 7 metres long! While I had great fun bursting all the bubbles, and then putting the lot into the recycle bins, I wondered why on earth a box this size was used? Surely £7.06 could not have covered the cost of this (and delivery by DHL)? The Frostfire is not in the least fragile, so does not need any protection. Perhaps this was the only box available and had to be used? While I am more than happy with the product, I am not happy to be part responsible for such waste. Amazon need to be better at this.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Remembering the 1950s

Yesterday my cousin Susan, who is from Canada and was visiting Ireland for the first time, and I went on a short tour of north central Dublin to visit where her Mum was born, lived, and left in 1958 to emigrate to Canada. Susan's late mother Catherine Byrne is my Mum's sister - she was known as "Patsy" while she lived in Ireland. I don't recall ever meeting her, she died in 1979. We posed for photos out the last house in Ireland where the Byrne's lived. Susan told me that her Mum worked in the GPO at the stamp counter - so we re-traced her (likely) steps to work from Temple Cottages, through Dominick Street, Parnell Street, Moore Street, Henry Street, and O'Connell Street. An interesting experience - especially for Susan. 

Ireland is a completely different place now compared to 1958 - most of the buildings Patsy would have walked past on the way to work will have been demolished and replaced. While Temple Cottages remains the same, it is unlikely Patsy would recognise much of Dublin if she were here now. 

Outside 22 Temple Cottages in Dublin.
Susan inside the GPO.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Grave of Great-Great Grandparents

James & Catherine McCann's
daughter Anne.
Recently, when writing about the spreading of my cousin Ryan Byrne's ashes on the graves of his great-great-grandparents Richard and Julia Cullen in Gorey, Co Wexford - I noted that this cemetery has an on-line list (see http://www.stmichaelsgorey.ie/listofgraves.html). At the cemetery itself it has a map of these graves so I decided to check if my McCann great-great grandparents' graves could be found. It turns out that the grave is very close to my Cullen Great-great grandparents. There are three people in the grave, in addition to James and Catherine (née Walsh), the grave contains their son William. Incidentally - the late actor Donal McCann is related to this family (and me).

I'd love to know what James and Catherine McCann looked like - I do have a photo of their daughter Anne (my Mum remembers her granny very well). They lived in Kilnahue outside Gorey - the name "Killanean", which is on their headstone, is regarded as a typo by the map details below.

Captured from the cemetery list.



Erected 
in loving memory of 
William eldest son of 
James & Catherine McCann 
of Killanean 
who departed this life 2nd June 
1902 aged 32 years 
The above Catherine McCann 
died 2nd May 1908 aged 64 years 
James McCann husband of
Catherine McCann
died 26th January 1927

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

"Who gives a flying f@@@ about your holidays?"

This blog attracts very few comments - most that are made are spam, but one today one caught my eye. "Anonymous" wrote ""Who gives a flying f@@@ about your holidays?" as a comment on my Day of Rain post. Fair point - any reader of this blog is entitled to their opinion. A few thoughts on this:

What is a Blog?
This is my personal web page. The word "blog" is short for "web log" which was originally set up as a type of on-line diary/log. As I write this post I have noted that the "Day of Rain" post has been accessed 39 times (according to Blogger Stats) - this number is typical of most of my posts. Very few people read this blog, but I do not write for others - it is a personal diary. I don't actually care if anyone reads it, even less about their opinion. Of course I am conscious that some family, friends, and work colleagues do read some of my posts, so I am aware that I have a small audience. I publish personal comments and experiences, and while at work I write a lot about educational matters.

Who cares about anything?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many other social media sites are full of "look at me" posts. Blogger is just another one of many ways to post about any kind of activity. I am no different than anyone else in doing this - I guess "Anonymous" objects to a lot of people and their personal posts.

Freedom of Speech/Writing
Can anyone write what they like in a personal blog?  Well I do, and will not be put off by anonymous comments. As long as it does not offend or discriminate - I'll keep doing so. Writing about and posting photos of experiences while on holiday is an innocent activity and should not offend anyone.

Self Censorship
Why read something you don't give a "flying f@@@" about? Surely there is a lot of other web pages that you could spend your time more productively? If you don't want to read my posts, do not type "www.eugeneoloughlin.com" into your browser. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wicklow Man Lifts Sam Maguire Cup #GAA


Wicklow man Seán Doherty, 1974.
Image source: Irish Independent.
On the way to Croke Park yesterday with Roma to see the Mayo vs Roscommon All-Ireland Football Quarter-Final we stopped for a photo opportunity with fund raisers for Crumlin Children's Hospital who had the Sam Maguire Cup on display. For a few bob they were happy to allow people have their photo taken with the cup, and Roma and I couldn't resist. Naturally as a Wicklow man I am wearing my Wicklow jersey, coincidentally the same colours as Roscommon on the day so I didn't look too much out of place. Roma of course is dressed in her Mayo county colours. Mayo have won this cup on three occasions (1936, 1950, and 1951), and have been beaten finalists 12 times. Wicklow on the other hand have never played in an All-Ireland final, nor have ever come close to it. So, Mayo are a bit more used to it than Wicklow!

However, I am not the first Wicklow man to get his hands on the Sam Maguire Cup - the great Seán Doherty from Greystones captained Dublin to win in 1974!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Last Day on Continent

Today I had to travel from Heidelberg in Germany to Maidstone in the UK via the Channel Tunnel. A day was lots of time to do this. I decided that first I would visit the Castle near the hotel, but it was raining heavily - this slowed me down. The Castle is fantastic, but hard work in the rain. I saw the largest wine barrel ever, and some fantastic ruins - a pity that the castle was destroyed by fire and lightening. The views from the Castle over Heidelberg, especially of the old bridge,  are majestic. One good thing was that the rain finally stopped as I was about to leave Heidelberg.

My first stop was to visit Schengen in Luxembourg - my first time ever in this country. Schengen is famous for the Agreement that allows free movement across borders in Europe. There is a wonderful display of national flames beside the Mosel river - sadly the Irish tricolour is not among them, largely because the Union Jack isn't there either. Schengen also marks the location where the borders of Germany, France, and Luxembourg come together.

Just for the he'll of it I decided to travel through the Channel Tunnel to get from France to the UK - so quick! I was struck by how few bikes (4) were on the train, not many cars either. It was mostly empty.

Some photos from today:

Heidelberg Castle in the rain...



Heidelberg...



The largest wine barrel in the world...



The village of Schengen in Luxembourg...



The bike is on Luxembourg, straight ahead is Germany, while France is to the right...



An almost empty Le Shuttle...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Road to Heidelberg

It's approaching the end of this European holiday and it is time to head home. Roma and I had breakfast in the market in Innsbruck before we parted - her on a bus to Munich (to fly home), me - I was off to Heidelberg in Germany (440 kms). It was tough parting as we had just the best 12 days together. 

I first went to the local Harley-Davidson Store in Innsbruck to get a souvenir t-shirt (which I managed to do despite their dreadfully small selection). Then it was turn around and head west towards the town of Motz which would be my signal to turn north. After a while I noticed that there was no signs for Motz yet, but I kept going because navigating the Tyrolean valleys is easy - or so I thought. Just when I begun to think I had made a wrong turn, I noticed a sign that I did not want to see: "Italia". I had somehow managed to ride directly south rather that west. I also had to pay €9 for the privilege of using this road, and €9 back. In all I lost about 1.5 hours and a lot of pride! Italy was the sixth of 8 countries I will travel through on this trip. Soon after crossing into Germany the rain came and stayed for the rest of the day. My rain gear is good, and just my gloves were wet.

In addition to the rain, roadworks and awesome traffic jams made the day a lot longer. At one stage I was stopped so long that I got off the bike to take photos of the traffic ahead and behind (see below).

I am staying at the Hotel am Schloss, a basic but comfortable hotel. The view from my window is the incredible ruins of Heidelberg Castle, which I plan to go up and see in the morning. I was in Heidelberg before on business (with SmartForce), but remember very little. Tomorrow it is on to Calais through Luxembourg and Belgium - two countries I have never been to.

Traffic jam forwards...


Traffic jam backwards...



The wonderful ruins of Heidelberg Castle in the evening...


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Innsbruck

Yesterday we rolled into Innsbruck - a pretty city between huge mountains lining a valley. For the last leg of our holidays we are staying in a self catering apartment in the centre of the Old Town. Yesterday we walked about to check the city centre - Innsbruck is a lovely place with everything very close in a small city centre. Today we went up to the top of a local ski slope to get a better view of the Alps and Innsbruck. Smashing. We used the Funicular and ski lifts to get to 1,905 metres above sea level. We we came back down we went on the Sight Seeing tour, first big stop was to Schoss-Ambras which contains the world's oldest museum. Later we went to the Panoramaunde Bergisel Ski jump site - awesome. 

Some photos from yesterday and today:

Bridge over the River Inn...



In the City Tower with Roma standing on glass at the top of 133 step staircase...



View from the top of the city tower....



Only mad feckers jump this thing in the snow...



At the Schloss Ambras...



On top of the of the mountain at Seegrube...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Zell am See

Just for the hell of it we decided to take the bike out for a spin to Zell am See - about an hour from our hotel. It is a pleasant ride through the mountains, but as we got closer we noticed that many others had the same idea as us as the road was very busy. The town of Zell am See was packed with tourists, and as we were in our biker gear we found it very hot. We did not stay long and instead had lunch in a biker friendly cafe near Mittersall. On the way back to Kitzbühel I took a wrong turn, but overall it was a nice ride - Zell am See was not a great experience.

In the evening we were joined by Paul Radic from Enniskerry - he's a BMW rider, but otherwise OK. We had a great dinner together and shared our summer biking stories.

Some photos from today...


The bike:



A fine Alpine view:



With Roma in Zell am See:


What happens to old bikes when they die:




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Kitzbühel

Known more for its reputation as a ski resort, Kitzbühel is also a popular summer destination - especially with hikers. Not being much of a hiker, I decided with Roma to give it a go. Rain was forecast from 10:00 (it did not come until 16:00), so we decided to set out early to go to the top of the Kitzbüheller Horn (2,000m) - we were the first people on the lift up (an extraordinary €37 for the two of us just to go to the top). The views from the top in all directions were magnificent - the hills were alive! We made our way down through an Alpine Flower Garden, and stopped in the Alpen Haus for an iced tea. We intended to take the easier route down, but somehow managed to take the most difficult one - it was very tough. But we made it to the bottom 3 hours and 40 minutes after leaving the top - my shirt was soaked with sweat and my legs felt like jelly. Nothing for it but to check out the hotel's spa where we enjoyed the pool and the no clothes allowed sauna (a first for me!)

Some photos from today:

At the top of the Kitzbüller Horn...



Near the Alpine flower Garden...



My new Facebook profile picture...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Salzburg

Today we made the short trip to Salzburg by bus for a little sight-seeing and some lunch. Jaysus - Salzburg is crowded! Just after we got off the bus we were outside Mozart's Residence, and decided to have a look. It is an interesting story and exhibition about the famed composer and his family. Some of the instruments he played and music (and letters) he wrote are on display. The Museum is well worth a visit and does not take long to go through. Later we went to the Old Town where we visited the opulent cathedral and saw Mozart's statue - one would think that he was Salzburg's only citizen, his name is everywhere! We had a smashing lunch in Mozart Platz and following a wander we got the bus back to Berchtesgaden in time before the spectacular thunderstorms hit. Tomorrow we move on to Kitzbühl in Austria - weather is starting to become more uncertain!!!

Some photos from today...

Lunch at the KK restaurant:



Salzburg's best view...




The statue of Mozart...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Berchtesgaden

Today we had the pleasure of visiting two of south Germany's most popular attractions: Königsee and the Eagle's Nest. First up was an early morning visit to the lake at Königsee - we had no problem getting on a boat for a pleasant trip on very calm waters. The scenery was astounding - high cliffs either side of us all the way. Plenty of waterfalls to see and lots of clear Alpine water. The boat trip is about half an hour to the end of the lake. We walked for a while and enjoyed the woods and lake in equal measure.

Following above we made our way to the Eagle's nest overlooking Berchtesgaden. We took the bike to the basement car park and followed this with a bus trip up the mountain. Very organised. At the top bus park we had a 40 minute wait to take the elevator up the final 124 metres. Once we were through we were in the Eagle's Nest - Hitler's retreat in 1938. It was very crowded and because you had to reserve a bus back down we were against the clock all the time. The views were breathtaking, and even though Hitler was a bollix, it was interesting to think that we walked in the same places as he did today.

Some photos from today....

On the boat in Königsee:


Waiting for the return boat...


Trying to blend in with the scenery:


Roma and I at the Eagle's Nest: