Previous month:
November 2010
Next month:
January 2011

December 2010

Hamburg "Beatles-Tour" with Stefanie Hempel

Stefanie Hempel at the Kaiserkeller

ABOVE: Stefanie Hempel sings "Rock and Roll Music" (with ukele accompaniment) in front of the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg's St. Pauli district.

by Durant Imboden

Stefanie Hempel is a singer-songwriter in Hamburg, Germany, where the Beatles played regularly from 1960 to 1962. A few years ago, Ms. Hempel came up with the idea of a musical Beatles walking tour of the locations where the Beatles lived and performed during their Hamburg years.

On a recent visit to Hamburg, I joined "Hempel's Beatles-Tour" and grabbed a few video clips as Ms. Hempel talked about the Beatles and performed their songs to the accompaniment of her trademark ukelele. The YouTube video below will give you an idea of what to expect after you've booked the tour on Stefanie Hempel's Web Site at

  • Tip: If you're going to Hamburg, you really should book the tour, assuming that it's available during your visit. Stefanie Hempel is personable, a great performer, and an expert on the Beatles' life and gigs in Hamburg.



Fly an iPilot simulator at Munich International Airport


ABOVE: Why settle for Microsoft Flight Simulator when you can fly the kind of virtual airliner that professional pilots use?

Now you can fly in a Boeing 737 without leaving the airport--and in the pilot's seat, at that. iPilot, a purveyor of "flight simulator experiences," has installed an iPilot Flight Simulator in Terminal 2 of Munich International Airport (which just happens to be one of our favorite airports).

You can book a 30-minute "trial flight" for €69 or a 60-minute "flight experience" for €129. And if you get hooked on simulated flying, you can earn a "Virtual Type Rating" for just €699. (Gift certificates are available, and the airport has two hotels next to the terminals where you can sleep between simulated flights.)

According to MUC's communications team, "The simulator mirrors the original cockpit of a Boeing 737 Next Generation. An experienced pilot instructor is on hand to guide participants through the simulated flights under real conditions. Simulator pilots can choose from 500 different airports routes. The most interesting of these include the route to Hong Kong's former airport Kai Tak, landing on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, and flying from Munich Airport over the Alps to Innsbruck."

The iPilot simulator is in the public area of Terminal 2 (the terminal used by Lufthansa and Star Alliance airlines), and it's open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information. see Google Translate's English-language version of the iPilot Web site at

35 pages of Civitavecchia port information

Civitavecchia railroad station

ABOVE: Trains run at least twice an hour in each direction between the Civitavecchia railroad station and central Rome.

Comune di Civitavecchia sign We've just published 35 pages of illustrated articles about Civitavecchia, Italy, which is the deepwater cruise and ferry port for Rome.

Our articles, which are at Rome for Visitors, include:

If you've booked a cruise to or from Rome (or if you're planning a trip by ferry), use the links above for port information. Or go to our Civitavecchia index page, where the articles are organized by category.