The Paradox of Choice | Maximisers vs Sufficers

I’ve thought a lot on this trip about what makes you ‘happy’ and pleased with a sight seeing/tourist experience. I can see two extremes:

  1. Just get enough out of a day for it to be a great day: some great sights, some good food, meet some nice people.
  2. Everything possible out of the day: every small side trip.  You need to maximize your experience.

Some of the people on our bus trip were quite picky and critical of things that had no worries for me.  Probably vice versa.

I am reminded about a trip I made in 1980 with a guy I had met from the US. I was showing him round the lower half of the North Island. We went Kapiti > Paekakariki > Wellington > Upper Hutt > Masterton > Palmerston North > Levin and home, and boy did we see a lot. I got a thank you card some weeks later saying something like “Apparently there was this place in the Wairarapa we should have gone to, but never mind it was a pretty good trip anyway”

The internet helps feed our need to do everything. I alternately liked and hated having the Tablet trace some of the progress we were making along the Rhine trip.

Apparently this issue is a thing. We tend to be Maximiser or Sufficers in various contexts.

“Psychology researchers have studied how people make decisions and concluded there are two basic styles. “Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing. “Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).

“Maximizers are people who want the very best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,” says Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and author of “The Paradox of Choice.”

I found a little quiz about this

I think on holidays for a particular daytime I am a sufficer: easily pleased, no regrets. Buying lunch in a place with 54 cafes I am a maximizer.

OK, Paris in a few words (Part 1)

I found Paris overwhelming at times.


Still incredible.  That is a busker who asked me personally for money, and no-one else.  Packed often, not friendly.  Except in rare sometimes.

Eclectic Philosophy – everywhere

This is the first time for a long time I’ve been proselytized by the Scientologists.

Left Bank

Buzz of culture, food, books

Armed Guards

Outside the Notre Dame.  This was the week of the train shooting.


History.  In the Now

This is Napoleon’s tomb.  In a Huge building.PARIS NAPOLEON'S TOMB IMG_8836

The Eiffel Tower

This is a view.  This is the Trocadour.  Park.  Fountain.  Display building.PARIS FROM EIFFEL IMG_8790



Fascination with the US

This exhibition was advertised everywhere:KENNEDY IMG_8759





Getting back to London | Canary Wharf

We ended up in Dusseldorf, and had to head back to London.

Sadly the boat tour finished early in the day (all out by 9.30am) and then I presume the crew collapsed.  This meant we had a 10 hour layover with our gear.

We caught a Taxi to Hillsong (which turned out to have earmuff style gadgets, LOUD loud music with translation of the service into English)

On to London.  We had one night in Surrey and booked a mystery hotel in London.  Turned out to be at Canary wharf.

This was a remarkable place, like a little fiefdom in the edge of London.

But before that a visit to the Studmans.  Suburban London.

A real cutie!!STUDMANS IMG_8023

Canary Wharf

Modern train Station at Canary . . .TRAIN STATION IMG_8092

I saw this sign- no wonder thy serve beer warm over here:
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Floating Chapel:


Food: From Leon, in the Canary Wharf Mall

Very, very impressive place.  Probably will become a franchise.  Googled.  Already IS a Franchise.


Up Market Muffins:





I talked to the owner.  He was a great guy.  Instantly gave me the time of day and listened.  [Unlike a lot of other Londoners who just plug in and zone out or just zone out]

Here is where he worked:


Paris was great.


We went there on the EuroStar.


Walked about 25 minutes to our hotel which looked out on a delightful square. Platz des Inocents, a previous children’s cemetary.

This was next to Les Halles, a famous market I learned about in French at school.

We got a City Pass.

This gives: 5 days Metro, Eiffel Tower, Bus Tour, 34 Museums and a Boat Tour.

1. Boat trip


2. Eiffel Tower

This is the mechanism.


From the ground.


Me on the top.


3. Hop on hop off bus

I can’t find a single picture of this.

4. Tons of museums

Centre Pompadou (Modern Art)

From the top

From outside. An amazing building:

[Modern Art] . . . .

Not really sure I undersatnad it.

Case 1: A pile of pots under a video screen.

Case 2: This is a pile of cubes

Case three: You would not know what this was unless you were told:
PARIS BLIND IMG_8733It is some personal paper items like bills and receipts that have been painted over.

What the guide notes said:


Outside Notre Dame.  A huge queue. A beggar.

Now we are real tourists!!

Boat tours | one view

It was actually a tour of the Rhine and the Mosel.  I was uncertain if I wold like it.

The Bellejour: our boat

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Below: This is the sun deck.  You could sit here and watch the Rhine go past.7  IMG_7559


We met some great people. On the first night we were allocated dining tables.  At the last minute we were switched, and our group was David, Isoble, Edith and Renata.  We had a great time.

Phillipa and Edith:7 IMG_7627


One of our wonderful waiters:10 IMG_7841

The tour guide is a key person.  Ours was called Karin, and this is the first briefing.7 IMG_7521


At times I felt like I was in a Billy Butlins holiday camp.  Not too often thought.

They catered for everyone.  Walkers and wheelchairs.7 IMG_7544


The lobby:7 IMG_7545


I will not cover the camp concert, the raffle drawing and the piano accordion concert.

Farewell dinner

All the crew at the farewell dinner.  They worked so hard.  I think their attitude, attention to detail and effort was superb.

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On our tour we ate a lot.  One night the meal was six courses, but usually just four.  But this is what we had for a snack at Koln:KOLN IMG_7984

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Waiter serving skills

Probably shows how little I have watched waters and waitresses.  I was fascinated by their skills.  Rarely have I so often spent 70 – 90 minutes over so many meant.

Clearing is the real art

On the roof.  The archetypal evening snap.  Isolde, Edith and David.

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We met folk from Israel, Germany, USA, Russia, Croatia, Italy, Bosnia and Australia.

So, not too bad at all.





The Moselle | on being a tourist

The Rhine tour went up the Rhine, then back down to Koblenz, then up the Mosel River.

It is smaller, less commercialised, although it still takes 110m barges in the lock system.  People live on these, with cars, playpens and gardens.  Below is lunch ON a barge: note the playpen as well.


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Our captain:

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The Moselle has vineyards. 10,000 hectares, each of which produce around 10,000 bottles of wine. That is 1% of what California produces.
It is hard hard work I am sure. The vineyards are very steep.
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There were a lot of camping grounds.10 IMG_7780

There is village after village which look like they come out of a Picture Postcard photo gallery.

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This view (below) from 100m vertically up the valley side.  This was a little town called Cochen.  Another random castle.  Destroyed by the French, then rebuilt with private money by a guy from France.  Go figure.

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This from the township of Cochen. The narrow leaning building.

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At the juncture (confluence?) of the Rhine and the Moselle.  Kind of like an ordinary place once you get a few hundred metres from the river.  Cars, people, clothes shops, businesses and ordinary buildings.

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Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preußen

This is a statue at Koblemz of Wilhelm the Second (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preußen).  Kaiser during WW1.

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From Wikipedia, about this guy: “…gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,—technology, industry, science—but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success,—as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday—romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers’ mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother . . .  “

In summary, our guide called him “Silly Willie”

If you are interested in a nice succinct summary of some of the events in Germany after 1900, this article I found quite interesting:,_German_Emperor

But it is quite a read!!

End of the tour

After Koblenz, on to Cologne.  We were able to stay out until 2am (Sunday morning), but couldn’t face it.  Instead we were up at 6.00am in the lounge watching us return to Dusseldorf.

Walking tours | Speyer

On the Rhine tour – visiting Speyer

It was here I started to realize how much the history of this region is dominated by the war between French and German groups.  I say ‘groups’ because it is much more complex that to say France and Germany.  Speyer was destroyed by the French at least twice.

Built around waterways. 9 IMG_7679

One of the best ways to see the city is these glass topped boats.

There is a complex lock system.
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And: huge cathedral. With a complex astronomical clock. Wall to wall people.

I am still not sure I am really a tourist like some of the others around.

Some snaps of the town.

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These snaps are for Gary and Linda.

They had street markets.9 IMG_7721

9 IMG_7726More to come.



Buckingham Palace.

Well, here is what you see from the back rows.6 IMG_7333

Rampart commercialism

Did you know London has a three story very very busy store devoted to nothing else but M’n’M’s? We saw kids leaving with half a litre of the things in a plastic bag. Think of the sugar high!!6 IMG_7361

Names for an eatery

There are three I quite liked:
None of which quite is what I actually want. Scoff implies just a bit too much speed and lack or peace. Banter: maybe, but it may have the connotation of just too much energy and hype.

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My current favourite:  Coffee and Conversation. Just doesn’t have much of a vibe.

On the train/tube

Some people carried bikes. A few ate their tea.
Most people however are not interested at all in talking. They prefer their own internal worlds.

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For Richard

Just in case this news did not make it down south.  What a buzz eh?

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For Daniel

I’m not sure really what to believe.  It says a snack provides enough protein to repair after exercise.

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D-day Museum | Portsmouth

Well, there was chaos in London, a tube strike.  Supposedly costing between 50 and 300 million pounds. So what do we do?  Catch a train in the opposite direction.  To Portsmouth.

D-Day museum. This was along the foreshore at Portsmouth. We arrived on the train at a station that was pretty munch on the wharf.

Next to the Spinnaker, a climbing thing that was 105 high for people, and 170 to the top.  People were climbing up the outside. Across the harbour and a bit out to sea was the Isle of Wight. Yes there was a music festival coming up.

Lots of lifestyle houses.
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Boats stored in a giant grid.
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There was yet another “Millennium Walk” that linked up a few of the attractions.
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Fairgound. Really high quality food (anything you like provided it was pure sugar or deep fried).6 IMG_7431

Motzeralla Joe’s. Where we had lunch.  Now you could get 10% off with a voucher, but every voucher had been removed from the pamphlets in the tourist Brochure racks.  Pretty cunning of Joe.
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Beaches. No-body really swimming.

Genuine Fish and chips (with curry sauce if you wanted it)

Then a little further on to the museum.
I was particularly taken by a poster with a handwritten list of all the units that were involved in D-Day.

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The film was great, just a 15 minute presentation of the leadup to D-Day (including the original ‘peace in our time’ speech). Sadly it finished with a kitchy appeal from some veterens.

Then on to the displays. Real landing craft. Inside a plane. Sadly, only one picture in the whole display of the engineering work that went on to make the day happen.  This is my first memory of learning about D-Day when I was young: the engineering.

Not going into London for the day gave some space to reflect.  Here is what Henry James said:6  IMG_7391


This is a quote from the London Museum (just about the city of London back to year dot) but I’ll write about that another time.