Tag Archives: Germany

Somewhere in Germany

stands this water castle. It was on the road from Jena to Darmstadt and the village was called Friedensberg or Friedenshausen, or something like this…

In case you want to go 🙂

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Lynxes and more

After MeiĂźen and Dresden, the Schloss Moritzburg was on the to-visit list. Unfortunately, the regular exhibition was closed so that the I was not as impressed as I probably ought to be.

But anyway. What was really cool was the walk to and then through the wild life park close by the castle. Some of it is quite old and some cages – especially for the foxes and some of the martens –  are awfully small, but you could also see that new, much larger enclosures were built.

The one thing I could have spent hours doing, had it not been as cold as it was, was to watch the four young Lynxes that were playing under the watchful eye of their mother. They are part of a programme that reintroduces lynxes into the wild. More than a hundred of them are living again in the Eastern part of the country and one day, they will roam free to.

Though the irony is that the mother animal is born in captivity and will never see the wild. At the same time, there is no risk that she gets shot by a hunter or is run over by a car. It’s sad and but somehow, it’s hopeful too.

MeiĂźen

The stop in MeiĂźen was part of a week long trip through Germany, mainly the eastern part. Most of the time, the fog was way to bad to make good pictures but the day in MeiĂźen was just absolutely beautiful.

Wenn einer eine Reise tut

  • The Deutsche Bahn is finally replacing human announcements about how welcome the travellers are on board – and which most of the time sounded like “I couldn’t care less that you are here but my company obliges me to read this stupid announcement” – by artificially cheerful recorded welcome message.
  • When crossing the train bridge over the Rhine to get on the left side of Cologne, there are plenty of padlocks* hanging on the fences – a few hundreds I would say. Does anybody know why?

* Vorhängeschloss, cadenas

Love-hate relationships

Today: Trains – with a particular reference to the Deutsche Bahn

The German railway services are ridiculously expensive, often unreliable (according to public impression: always) and altogether a company that still needs to learn more about its responsibility towards customers, employees and stakeholders.

171 Euro for a Stuttgart-Cologne round trip are excessive (by comparison Paris-Brussels: 134 euro; 24h advance booking). I’ve never seen the ’29 euro on any distance ticket’ available online no matter how much time I booked in advance and I really would be looking forward to some more competition by the SNCF (though certainly not a role model on open and fair competition policies itself) on the German rails like recently announced.

That was the kind of thought running through my mind while sitting comfortably first on a Thalys and then on a ICE; 2nd lass equipped with plugs (in both trains), heating and coffee service. I admire modern technology – the shape, the style, the systems. We so easily rely and depend on them and even easier ‘bitch’ about them if they fail – and might it be only a 5 minutes delay. We are taking it for granted without acknowledging the skills and complexity behind. Sitting on the platform and watching the trains coming in and going out with an almost meticulous precision is witnessing a masterpiece of engineering and beauty – in Germany as well as in France.

Munich

Back in Germany, well kind of…

If ever you came to associate Germany with Lederhosen, Blasmusik und WĂĽrstchen*; please go to Munich. It’s of course all stereotypes – and it’s all true.

A part from this, Munich is very beautiful, very closed on Sundays (don’t plan shopping) and very German: People will ask you if the four places around you are free before sitting and to transport the second dog on the metro, you need to buy a children ticket.

It has some beautiful museums of which I could visit only two – the Royal palace and the Neue Pinakothek (modern art), a lot of really good food and many more attractions worth visiting. Next time I have to come for longer. Jawohl!

* leather trousers, brass music and sausages

Afterthought N°1: It was a rather strange choice of the three French friends I visited the city with to spontaneously elect me as leader of our little group even though I kept on insisting that my knowledge of the city was exactly zero. “Mais tu es allemande”, is not a reason.

Afterthought N°2: I really liked the Hofbräuhaus. It is a stereotype brought alive but the food is really good and not expensive. For the drinks it is important to know that a pint is the smallest you can order; but only women and foreigners don’t look ridiculous doing so.

Afterthought N°3: I didn”t even mind the Bavarian music; at least for a while. It just fits within the overall atmosphere. Weird but somehow appropriate.

Munich; 18° rain

I swear I didn’t bring the bad weather. It followed me. The pilot did in extra turn over Stuttgart to shake it off. Didn’t work.

Small consolation: It’s not any better in Brussels.