Questions, Questions, Questions…

(Originally posted on Blogger.com on Thursday, May 25, 2006)

I had a look at my server log files today, and I stumbled across an interesting phenomenon: While most of the visitors just hack in a few keywords, like lake garda italy, some of the users actually enter full questions.

Here is my personal top 10 list for the month of May, along with my answers:

1. How long does it take to drive from Rome to Italy?

Actually, Rome is located in Italy, so technically speaking, it just takes you seconds to get from Rome to Italy. But the question is indeed valid and almost philosophical. Each Roman will proudly claim that “Rome is the heart of Italy”, so he sees little need to leave Rome at all (except maybe for the big holidays in August when it’s getting very hot in Rome). And if you are looking for the “true Italy”, which is by far not identical to Rome, you will find that it takes you about an hour or so by car to get there. The time obviously depends on the number of traffic jams and road incidents you encounter on your trip. However, once you have left Rome behind, you will find that life gets very peaceful and quiet, and completely different from the chic, loud, and hectic Rome. In case you are still puzzled: Sabaudia may be a good target for your trip away from the capital.

2. When Rome is called Italy?

Ho-hum. This question seems to be linked to the question above and indicates that some people have a problem understanding the meanings of Rome and Italy. Now, Rome is a city, and Italy is a country. Rome is located in Italy, like San Francisco is located in the United States of America. And you surely wouldn’t ask a question, like, “when San Francisco is called USA?”, or would you?

3. How much do restaurants cost in Rome, Italy?

I can tell you this much – it’s not as cheap as outside Rome, but you can still find many affordable restaurants everywhere across Rome. It’s hard to recommend a certain place, or to quote actual prices because it varies on your meal. But you should try to avoid the tourist traps directly at the main Piazzas, as these are charging extra for their touristy location. A good indicator for a rip-off is whether the menu offers pictures – then you are probably facing a tourist trap. Another idea to check the value of your money in the Eurozone, or in fact anywhere in the world, is the The Economist’s Big Mac Index.

4. What do they use the Neuschwanstein Castle for today?

It’s a museum. They are showing, erm, the castle and that’s it. More correctly, they are telling you about King Ludwig II, his weird ideas and bizarre lifestyle. You will get to see all the rooms that have been completed or almost completed before works were stopped (thirteen in total, if I remember). You can see some photos of the castle in our Neuschwanstein Gallery.

Detail of Cape Agulhas Monument
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

5. What is the southernmost point of Africa?

The place is called “Cape Agulhas” and is just 12,745 km away from New York. To be more concrete: The tip is located 34°49’58″ south and 20°00’12″ east, and it can be found about 1 km west of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse. Despite being the southernmost point of Africa, there is actually very little you can do there except wondering why you can’t go further down south. But when you are there, make sure to have a camera ready to make a photo of you and your loved one next to the mark like we did. See the proof in our Cape Agulhas Photo Gallery.

6. How to find girls in Munich?

Good question. How do you find girls in other cities in the world? Maybe you just meet them on the street or on the bus? Or you look through the ads in the newspaper? The Internet? Or you go to the Oktoberfest, which can be a good point to meet Munich girls. But make sure to wear the right clothes (see next question) – otherwise they might just laugh at you, and you walk home alone again.

7. What to wear to Oktoberfest?

Another good question, and I would say, that’s a frequently asked question when the topic comes to Oktoberfest. If you are from Bavaria, you should come in a Tracht, the traditional clothing for boys and girls, men and women. The male clothing consists of Lederhosen (leather trousers), a white shirt, grey socks, and black shoes. The female clothing offers more options. You may come in Dirndl (a long or short dress), a white blouse and flat shoes. Alternatively, you can also wear a female version of the Lederhosen, but this is typically frowned upon. Which is true for all non-Bavarians wearing Tracht anyway, so if you are asking this question in English, you better come as you are. And no, I do not own a Tracht. I am from Northern Germany.

Update: Please see my ultimate answer on this question here (including sample photos).

8. Where is Hundertwasserhaus in Austria?

It is located in Vienna, Kegelgasse corner Löwengasse. You can reach it using tram line N. And here is a photo: Hundertwasserhouse.

Mark Zanzig's Bachelor Party
Jörg Weissbach/whitecreek.de

9. How is a bachelors party?

Like, weird. You know, this is supposed to be your last night as a “free man” before you enter the holy state of marriage (other words spring to my mind, but I don’t want to ruin your fantasy). Your friends will hopefully take you out to have a huge party, and they will pay for everything, but these savings come at a price: you have to fulfil certain tasks, like getting addresses or phone numbers from unmarried women. You might as well have to wear a certain shirt (they will call this funny) or be lead around in the city in rather revealing clothes. If you are lucky they take you out to places you will most likely never see again for the rest of your life. It all depends on your friends. Here is a photo report of my bachelors party.

10. Where is Lake Garda in Italy?

I see, vacation season is coming again, and questions about Italy are piling up in the log files. This question, however, is easy to answer. Lake Garda is situated in Northern Italy, and it can be accessed from Milano if you come by plane. If you want to get a better picture, here are two links for you:
Lake Garda Photos
Lake Garda at Google Maps

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