Trippin’

You have not been alive when you can’t say that you once travelled on the Suebian railway (“Schwäb’sche Eisebahne”). So join me on a photographic journey from Neckarsulm to Metzingen. We start in Neckarsulm (Ger., Eng.), that dates back to a Roman foundation. Today it is mostly known for its automotive industry.

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Neackarsulm station in all its renovated glory

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Next we will reach Heilbronn (Ger., Eng.), a former Reichsstadt. The city is mostly indescribable, simply because (with the notable exception of the KIlianskirche (Ger., Eng.)) there is nothing worth to be described. Here usually strange people enter the train, humans wearing training gear, who have no qualms to describe intimate personal “things” in a fully seated railway carriage. Conversations may start with “Yeah, I’m out on probation now.”, phone calls may include “Only ten grams ?! Make it fifteen shithead, and we’re good. You owe me …” You get the idea.

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Heilbronn. There is always a train outbound.

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Next stop is Nordheim (Ger., Eng.). Obviously they like to leave assuring, positive messages on the walls.

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Nordheim says “Be positive” !

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Our next stop is Kirchheim (Ger., Eng.). They like their Abstandsgrün here.

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Kirchheim am Neckar. The river must be somewhere behind the greenery.

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Now we fly into BIetigheim-Bissingen (Ger., Eng.), where we are greeted with modern architecture.

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Bietigheim-Bissingen has one of these modern “Turmhäuser”, tower houses.

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Next is Ludwigsburg (Ger., Eng.). It was founded in the early 18th century, it is a planned settlement (“Planstädte” (Ger., Eng.), and shows how an 18th century ruler wished a city should look. Many barracks.

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Ludwigsburg

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Now we reach Stuttgart (Ger., Eng.), the Suebian capital The station is a terminus, but they are not satisfied with that, and dug a large hole, where billions of € vanish. They promised to keep the old (pretty ugly, but architecturally & historically relevant station building), but astoundingly a lot of it had to be cut down. Now some rumours of corruption go round (Ger.), a fool who thinks bad about it.

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This is still above ground, the new station will mainly be below ground. Nobody said that it would look any better.

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And now we leave, I just had to sit on the opposite seat to avoid unwanted bodily reactions.

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Leaving Stuttgart

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Wendlingen (Ger., Eng.), here we come !

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Wendlingen

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Oberboihingen (Ger., Eng.). Where is Unterboihingen ? Every time I pass one of these pubs along the travel route, I feel the urge to stop and walk into the establishment. Of course I never do.

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Oberboihingen and its promising pub.

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I can not say something about our next stop, Bempflingen (Ger., Eng.). The structure in the distance is the Schwäbische Alb, a good place.

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Bempflingen

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And finally we reach the end of our little journey, Metzingen (Ger., Eng.), where they produce clothes.

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Metzingen. The cheap casino is on the other side of the track.

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And finally one last picture, somewhere in Suebia.

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Looks like snow.

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Sunday Music

I do not know why, but since the last days were seriously eventless, they were tiring too. Especially yesterday, a day spent travelling. A neighbour needed my help for a trip to Switzerland. She does not like to drive long distances on the autobahn anymore, so I step in. Sadly my neighbour also has a prolematic attitude towards punctuality, so when we agreed to start at 9:00 I showed up ready to jump into the car, only to learn that the first (!) round of bags & suitcases needed to be brought down to the parking lot. We finally left shortly after 10:00. But things did not become better after this, because the German autobahn system seems to be one giant construction site nowdays. The first 80 kilometers southwards were nice, then it was traffic jam after traffic jam, and through the Rhine valley it is a 120 km speed limit nowadays.
My neighbour had booked my travel back home by train in advance – what gave a very attractive price btw – but sometime around midday it was clear that we were not able to reach our destination in time, and we weighted our options. One was to bring her as close to her destination as possible, and stop in a city where I could jump on the train. She would take the wheel and drive the last 40 kilometers over ordinary roads. It worked just in time, I waited on the platform for less than five minutes, and took my reserved seat at the window just one station later than booked.
I enjoyed looking out of the window, while I tried to ignore some really bonkers blather, sometimes I think headphones are not the worst invention. Some forms of the Hassian dialect are even worse than Saxonian, and that means something.
But I do not want to niggle, it was a relaxed & carefree ride to Frankfurt mainstation, where I made a big blip on the junkies’ radar : In the fifty minutes of my layover I was panhandled four times, all friendly, nothing aggressive, and they left me alone while I ate my buttered pretzel.
When I arrived in the Franconian capital sometime after 22:00 I learned that my bus had left five minutes ago, the next one would leave over one hour later. So it was time for a cab, a young Sikh (Eng.) man drove me home. There I opened a bottle of beer and became a bit silly.
The destination I did not reach yesterday lies at the banks of the river Aare (Ger., Eng.). And because why not, today’s Sunday Music is the video of a dive in the river Aare. You can mute it, the background music is just what it is, the fish are silent anyway.
I hope you enjoy the dive – may the week be bearable for all of us.

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World of Wonders

When one travels around by train – not that I would do much of this, I just “commute” between Franconia, Suebia, and now the bookmines for some time, so at least I can speak with the air of the regional trains’ seasoned user – when one uses trains, one uses a whole lot of infrastructure that is built around the ferrovia too, a word I use here simply because I like it, “eiserner Weg” or “eiserne Straße” in German, “iron road” perhaps ?
Of course there are the station buildings, some in the state of semi ruins, a long way since their start as “Cathedrals of Progress”. Even the most humble building on the countryside was planned and part of a larger attitude of self-representation, and (I may be wrong) I think these buildings were the first standardised houses used throughout the whole of Germany after 1871, and even before the unification of said year at least the Bavarians had developed some standard solutions for train stations and necessary outbuildings. No need to speak of Prussia, they surely had enough experience from building barracks, what else.
In the early times a station was graced by the “Bahnhofsbuffet”, where travelers were served even at ungodly hours, when other civilised taverns, pubs and watering holes were closed. Often these buffets were run by experienced innkeepers who went for quality in their kitchen. But, sadly, these days are gone.
Through the everything (at least in Europe) overthrowing Twentieth century the “Buffet” became the “Bahnhofskneipe” ; if it still exists, it is usually a dimly lit last refuge for beer drinking smokers, who start their daily grind (12 Pils, zwei Päckchen Maulbohro) early, and take their work seriously. It is not advisable to order something to eat in there, regardless if the final product is bought, just heated, and comes in its original wrapping, or “prepared freshly” in the sacred halls of said establishment. If you want to leave on your own legs …
So the hungry traveler better uses something else, and the friendly Bahnmanagement took care of these needs too by renting out the empty spaces to some chains that run supermarkets or snack dingalings. If you enter the hall of Würzburg station there are at least three different food stores plus a Macdonnels competing for your hard earned cash.
They usually offer more or less the same assortement of sandwiches and “baked” goods – they all have the hot air oven in the back where they heat prefabricated doughlings – the German technical expression is in fact “Teigling”.
But now and then someone becomes bored and/or creative with the endless standard products, and creates something new. I saw, and tried, interesting playful cross-breads involving Bretzel, Salami, and very much cheese. Also exist “pizza” variations, usually under a thick layer of cheese ; I usually meet these with suspicion, it is an all too easily tempting way to get rid of various leftovers, similar to the “Gulasch” of older times (or if need be, it was called “Pfefferfleisch”, pepper disinfects (and covers) anything, just boil the cra* through …).
But this week I found something that was really new to me :
The Currywurstpizza.
Everybody knows the poor people’s of Napoli food that conquered the world like organised crime, so there is no need to talk about pizza.
The Currywurst has its own history that starts sometime somewhere in post WWII Germany. As I remember there is a discussion if the creation was firstly served in Berlin or somewhere in the Rhineland / Ruhrgebiet. I do not know, and frankly I do not care. The trick is that one slices a sausage, drowns it in Schaschliksauce, and adds curry powder. Of course there are tons of variations, but this is the basic receipt. I always wonder who was in possession of curry powder in post WWII Germany ?
But as you see, it is a sliced sausage in a sauce, so it is served in a small paper bowl – how can you combine this with pizza ?
Easy.
You use a really thick piece of dough, splatter the sausage over with something that may resemble the vague idea of sauce, and cover it with – of course You guessed it – cheese. Put it in the hot air oven until the cheese covers everything, voila there it is, 2,50 € please. I tried it, and can assure you that it is worth not one single copper penny.

I returned from the bookmines, simply because there was nothing more to do – waiting for the shelves, they’ll call me next week when the material is delivered. On the upside I found time to sort through the archival materials, and group related papers, so that the authorised person from the active administration can look at the stuff easily. I am sure that 75 % is not “archivwürdig” and can go directly into the shredder, while the rest needs to be archived, but stored at another location in the central building. This is already discussed with the man in charge, and if it all works out I can finish this whole thing next week.
But in the world of Currywurstpizza anything is possible.

Eloped

In case you accidentially see a middle aged man of not very high built and small embonpoint, who looks a bit confused, wears a vanilla coloured vest and a beret of undefined colour, please be so kind and point him in the correct direction.
Just to be sure, because this discreption is a bit vague after all, his unique feature is a little black suitcase, a real one, not one of these things people trail behind. He may seem to be a bid “unstable” on his feet, but it is not caused from drink or ungodly shenanigans, but from work in the bookmines.
Usually friendly & carefree, just do not mention words like “removal”, “relocation”, “moving box” et al. Also a discussion about “cataloguing” is not recomended. Avoid libraries in general as dinner conversation, and all will be fine.