Leave the stress at home with these tips for smooth trav­el­ling, pack­ing and gift­ing over the fes­tive sea­son

BC Business Magazine - - Contents - by Char­lene Rooke

Tips for smarter travel from Nord­strom Canada’s Lisa Tant

As if crowded trans­porta­tion hubs, in­clement weather and fam­ily gath­er­ings aren’t anx­i­ety­caus­ing enough, there are less ob­vi­ous hol­i­day travel headaches. Here’s how to avoid a few of them.

BEAT THE WRAP: At an air­port, what­ever you pack might be in­spected, even in checked bags. Savvy trav­ellers leave presents un­wrapped (and throw in gift bags and tis­sue).

DO A SOLID: For fly­ing, if it’s not solid at room tem­per­a­ture, it’s a liq­uid/gel. Snow globes and cans of soup are fluid ex­am­ples that the Cana­dian Air Trans­port Se­cu­rity Au­thor­ity (catsa-ac­ ad­vises to put in checked bag­gage.

PIC­TURE IT: If you want to fly with some­thing you’re un­sure about, send a photo or ques­tion to CATSA ( face­

CATSAGC or Twit­ter @ CATSA_GC), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. week­days. KNOW YOUR WORTH: When cross­ing the U.S. bor­der, know the value of gifts you’re car­ry­ing (re­ceipts aren’t a bad idea).

BOT­TLE SHOCK: Fly­ing within Canada, you can pack and check up to five litres of booze (24- to 70-per­cent al­co­hol) un­opened in re­tail pack­ag­ing— cush­ion bot­tles well and get your bag tagged “frag­ile.” Keep in mind that some prov­inces tech­ni­cally have lower lim­its for bring­ing in per­son­aluse amounts.

FOOD FLIGHT: You can fly with cakes, pies and even pro­duce and some meats (within Canada, check catsa-ac­ what­canib­ring). U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion al­lows baked items, most cheeses and pack­aged items ( like condi­ments, honey, cof­fee and tea)—leave rice at home, be­cause it can har­bour in­sects. To be safe, de­clare ev­ery­thing that’s ed­i­ble.

of mo­nop­o­liz­ing Ger­many’s wa­ter­ways, it makes ar­ti­sanal leder­ho­sen. This isn’t the stuff you can find in ev­ery tourist shop in Ger­many for $200 a pop, ei­ther. It’s the real, cus­tom, hand-stitched item that will put you on a year-long wait­list. Ap­par­ently, the leather is a good choice in the mer­cu­rial Bavar­ian cli­mate and isn’t only worn dur­ing Ok­to­ber­fest. (Though if you don’t sport a pair in Ger­many then, you’re not even a tourist; you’re like an alien or some­thing.)

The lat­ter is Ger­many’s old­est dis­tillery, open since 1692. Grassl doesn’t use any aro­mas or per­fumes for its schnapps, ei­ther; they’re all-nat­u­ral, to the point that many of the shop’s spe­cialty prod­ucts are still made up in the moun­tain ranges and bar­rel-aged for three years.

Ber­cht­es­gaden has also cornered the mar­ket on a cer­tain Olympic sport with a mas­sive luge/bob­sled track that Ger­man ath­letes flock to in all sea­sons. It seems like a per­fect lit­tle par­adise, but as with all such places, our time here is too short.


Af­ter an­other bus ride through the moun­tains, we ar­rive in the cap­i­tal of the state of Bavaria. Spot­less Mu­nich is one of the rich­est ar­eas of Europe, but there are some ec­cen­tric­i­ties amid the beau­ti­ful build­ings that shape the city cen­tre.

Per­haps chief among them is the Rathaus-glock­en­spiel, ba­si­cally a huge merry-gor­ound, at­tached to New Town Hall. At 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. (and at noon in the sum­mer), bells chime and fig­urines ro­tate, play­ing out scenes from Ger­man his­tory.

To Mu­nich res­i­dents, it must be as triv­ial as Gas­town’s steam clock is to Van­cou­verites, but there’s al­ways a swarm of peo­ple wait­ing to see what the fig­ures will do this time. (The smart money is on them mov­ing in a slow, cir­cu­lar fash­ion.)

There are other pock­ets of weird­ness. A Michael Jack­son memo­rial gets a sig­nif­i­cant amount of play, and no one’s sure why it’s here. But the shrine is still nicely main­tained, with fresh flow­ers com­ple­ment­ing the pho­tos and news clip­pings.

And al­though land­locked Mu­nich is miles away from the near­est beach, it’s known for its down­town surf­ing. The Eis­bach, a man-made river that runs for two kilo­me­tres through the city, is a hot spot for surfers who come from around the con­ti­nent to ride the waves. It’s also pop­u­lar with tourists, of­fer­ing plenty of prime view­points for watch­ing those brave enough strut their stuff.

Mu­nich is a col­li­sion be­tween old and new, as the state cap­i­tal grap­ples not just with its past but with the changes that mod­ern­iza­tion brings. Many an­tique struc- tures stand tall, while new shops and fancy ho­tels in­creas­ingly sur­round them.

One thing that hope­fully will never change in this town? The beer. Au­gustiner-bräu has been mar­ry­ing wa­ter, malt and hops for 670 years, and when I step through the heavy doors to the brew­ery’s ac­com­pa­ny­ing restau­rant, I’m trans­ported to a sim­pler time. There are no bigscreen TVS, and all the ta­bles are long, not so much en­cour­ag­ing in­ter­ac­tion with fel­low cus­tomers as de­mand­ing it.

The at­ti­tudes are from an­other era, too, as a server takes my or­der of a lager and a weis­s­wurst (white Ger­man sausage made with minced veal and back ba­con) and jokes that the ta­ble of women sit­ting nearby, dressed in tra­di­tional Ger­man dirndl skirts, could help me cut it.

Once I carve through the skin (on my own, thanks very much), it’s de­li­cious. As for the beer: cen­turies later, the stuff holds up. Light and re­fresh­ing, yet packed with a com­plex af­ter­taste, it makes for one of those mo­ments that screams, “How do I stay here?”

The writer re­ceived travel help from Lufthansa and Kempin­ski Ho­tels, nei­ther of which re­viewed this ar­ti­cle be­fore pub­li­ca­tion

HANG ZEHN Mu­nich's Eis­bach river draws surfers from all over

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