Sunday Music

Sunday Music

There are nice German words, especially because we Germans built new words according to our own rules. One of these words may be “Schienenersatzverkehr”.
“Ersatz” meandered into the English-speaking world, I do not exactly know what it means there. “Kindergarten” is kindergarten, there is not much to discuss about it. “Ersatz” means first of all nothing else but “substitute”, one thing (what ever it may be) is worn and replaced with an adequate piece. Like a tire, or a set of tires – they are worn, profile is too low, so they are replaced (“ersetzt”) with another fitting set. There is no value judgement in it first.
“Ersatzverkehr” is not meant with this German monstrum, it is “Schienenersatz” : The traffic (“Verkehr”) on tracks (“Schienen”) is replaced with traffic on roads.
For whatever the reasons may be, the railroad is interrupted ; so the passengers leave the train, board a bus that touches the same destinations the train would have reached, until at one point the railroad is fully functional again, and you board the railway wagon.
This can be heaven, this can be hell.
In this case it was heaven.
I travelled to a place in the big nothing called Hohenlohe, was asked to leave the wagon, and wait for the bus over there. And from then on we travelled over smallest byroads and alleyways – to my dearest delight ! It was a great day for travelling, not too hot, but with sunshine & clear air : I encountered roads I had travelled ages ago in totally different contexts ; I saw villages I had visited twenty (or more) years ago ; finally I came upon a stretch of road that I had travelled the last time nearly thirty years ago with my father, and it was good memories.
So much to see. This detour was really the highlight of this peculiar day of travelling.
When we arrived there stood a nearly new modern “Regionalbahn”, and all I can say is that this thing was designed by a Sadist & run by junkies, and maintained by – don’t know : Is there an enhancement of neglect thinkable ?
A “RegionalBahn” is something we earlier called “Bimmelbahn”, one of those trains that stop at any heap of dung (“Misthaufen”) next to the track, and that is exactly what it did : With the notable distinction that the heap of dung I was sitting in was dirtier than the one I saw outside.
Later I used a “RegonalExpress” – and boy ! it was a difference. OK, it also was designed by a Sadist, but at least it was clean and the a/c was working.
[“Designed by a Sadist” relates to the seating places in the upper level. These modern wagons are double-deck, what is basically a nice thing, because on the upper floor one can have a nice outlook. But for a normal grown, average human being it is impossible to sit by the window in an only slightly comfortable way, simply because they nailed terribly large wastebins under those windows : No one can press her or his legs under these metal boxes.
AND : It may have occurred to some engineer that some kind of cables, or whatever, must be laid on the upper floor, sometime after the original design was accepted.
So they put these cables to the (out~)side of the car – fine. Then they put a kind of box over it, so that no passenger’s foot ever can disturb the holy cable.
When you sit in a window seat, you can not put your foot down to the ground, because there is a large metal tube running under the effing monstrous wastebin : Who ever sits at the window and wants to look out has to turn their legs to the inside, and needs to somehow sort his or her spine out.
The people responsible for this idiocy clearly were never forced to travel in such a wagon for an hour or more. And the idiots who bought this crap should be shot.
I am sure a survey under the commuters (and these damn trains are meant for commuters !) would be pretty promising.]

Now it is Sunday, late evening, I am back home. I have not had a working internet connection for the last days, and frankly I did not miss it much – with the notable exemption of Your blog, of course. I did not watch “news” – thankfully people I visit have no tvs ; I read no newspapers, ah ba ! Instead I climbed nice hills on the “Alb”, drank good wine, and was allowed to eat in a very nice tavern. They won me over with their appetiser, grilled pepperoni on a stick with tons of really fresh garlic in an excellent oil with tomato-bread crunchy-hot from the oven. And whatever the man did with the lamb’s meat to produce this sauce, it was all worth the effort. The bill was regal, but this time it was worth it.
The Alb is a good place to live.
Just so, for no special reason, Keif : You Got the Silver.
I hope you enjoy the music : Have a good week. Let’s have good times !




12 thoughts on “Sunday Music

  1. “Ersatz” officially more-or-less means the same thing here. But usually more with a negative connotation of being a fake.

    I have mostly ridden ICE trains in Germany with good results for comfort and timeliness. I have also successfully taken IC and RE trains a couple of times each. My adventure with the train on the wrong track and it abandoning the route one stop before mine was on a RB.

    Pleased that you had a nice visit after the torture train!

  2. Z says:

    Yes, in Britain too, it’s clearly an inferior substitute, such as chocolate flavouring rather than real chocolate, or a poorly made lookalike. Or a bus instead of a train, which is always an inferior experience and can double the time of a journey. Also, it’s always used as an adjective rather than a noun. Glad you enjoyed the week, it sounded perfect – apart from the train, of course.

  3. Ooh, I love those unexpected diversions that can occur when travelling, suddenly all your senses come alive. And while trains are great for speed, busses are invariably much better for intimacy with the landscape.

    So glad you had a good trip; if you ever find out what the man did with the lamb’s meat to produce that sauce you must let us know! X

  4. I was going across the country because the “usual” and fast connection using ICE & IC trains is interrupted in the Rhine valley echte LẌ. Somehow heavy rains could undermine the tracks, they are pumping tons and tons of concrete in to stabilise the underground. Officially they warned and said that it would “at least” take one more hour, but knowing DB – if they voluntarily admit it it’s an hour, chances are good that it becomes two …
    So I looked at the not so fast connections. One has to change train a little bit more often, but I saw old and new areas, all went well, and except the rolling heap all wagons were well.

    “Ersatzbrot” comes to my mind – an invention of the Hungerwinter 1916 – looks like bread, contains stuff real bread is made from, and additional materials you do not find in bread in peace times. A way to economise flour.
    Interestingly I struggle to form the adjective form of the noun Ersatzersatzweise is an adverb, and – as you see – a compositum. Strange word.
    Thank you Z, the week was good, I hope I can repeat it soon !

    The bus was a little bit older Eryl, and had very generous windows. I think more modern buses do not have this any more, like modern cars – I think the windows shrunk over the years.
    I saw a very nice little “Burg”, a strong house, over a village. Accidentially I know that the mansion is to sell, of course the little imagination-machine started …
    When I return to the Suebian wilderness I will ask Mr L about the secrets of his kitchen – but I guess he will tell me that it all depends on the freshness & quality of the ingredients – damn, as if I would not know ! But this lamb was excellent.

  5. I would never have thought that German trains would have such badly designed seating arrangements.
    I think everything has shrunk over the years…. other than ears and noses.

  6. I do not know – and it makes absolutely no difference – whether these wagons carry a badge from “Alstom” or from “Siemens” : Who designed this product clearly did not start with a seat, and its surrounding, but with some technical layout. The passenger is only an additional payload.
    It’s different in the ICE and IC trains, but those do not run on the secondary lines.
    The “German efficiency” is a myth, well nursed over time, but it is a myth.
    BTW when you put side by side a car of the early seventies and a modern one, and compare their lateral or side views, you can easily notice the windows on the more modern car are smaller. The Volkswagen “K 70” (picture) is in my opinion a good example for the no-nonsense seventies design : The side windows are large, I think it is close to 50:50. From the driver’s seat you can see all four corners of the car, through the rear window you can easily detect where your car ends.
    Compare it with this picture of a new “Passat”. I think the ratio door to window is roughly 2:1. And because front and rear window are much more “flat” you can not see the end of the car properly, hence the need for electronic distant controls in the back. And regarding the front – you drive a big windscreen around and do not see the front end corners.
    They say it is because the need for a small cw-value that would help with the use of gas. but the old, more “boxy” three-box-designed cars had good cw-values either, and they were notably lighter, without using most advanced light-weight materials & stuff.
    I would like to have a car like the K70 with a modern engine, no nonsense, and as little as possible electronic gimmickry, but such a beast does not exist.
    Shrinkage – ears are the only part of the human body that keeps on growing. And noses may seem to be larger over time because the rest of the face “gives in” … Ah bah – I refuse to give in ! No surrender !

  7. The K 70 certainly is a rather elegant car. Very crisp lines. And what a glass-house – ideal for viewing the countryside as you drive through it.
    I’m glad you had such a good part of your journey in the “substitute” bus – Such a substitution would not be anywhere near as pleasant here in the UK, I’m sure (although, I haven’t taken a bus or a train in quite some time, now…).

  8. “Glass-house” – now that you mention it … if I ever have too much money at my hands and have my dream car built, I’ll spent some dosh on a good air conditioning machine too. Better than to line the interior with reflecting tin foil. What reminds me …
    Thank you for the prolongation IDV !
    I should start to do something now. But I’m not feeling “creative” right now.
    Maybe tomorrow.
    In the evening.
    Or so.

  9. Is there a little “shrinking obsession” perceptible dearest Scarlet ?
    I just started to rummage through some drawers, search for stuff, tools, bric-a-brac, and I miss my RubberDuck !

  10. Mitzi says:

    I became familiar with the word ersatz from going shopping with my gran when I was a young child.

    Is that fresh cream on those mandarin trifles or is it that ersatz muck?
    – it’s confectioners cream
    I thought as much, I’ll take a quarter of boiled ham, no thumb!

Comments are closed.