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A Failure to Communicate Click Here To Comment!

There is lots to love about Germanic efficiency. For example, the city bus stops have the bus routes numbered and colour-coded. The main bus stops have electronic signs that tell you how many minutes you will wait for your bus. You can count down the minutes and, like clockwork, the bus appears during “0” minute. Very nice.

... but when it stops, nobody knows.

… but when it stops, nobody knows.

I know about 20 words in German – enough to get around without offending people. And everyone seems to have at least 100 words, often much more, in English so it is all good. ¬†I can’t do anything more complex than the pleasantries.

Enter the mildly complex problem of trying to ascertain the arrival of a bus that has no electronic number to indicate its arrival time. Blank screen. It was around 9 p.m. Had the buses stopped running? That didn’t make sense – it wasn’t that late and there were still lots of people around. I thought I’d ask when I bought my ticket. I went into a souvenir/corner shop. The proprietor is of Asian descent:

Prop: (something in German, probably can I help you?)

Me: (smiling) Yes – I’d like to buy a ticket for the bus.

Prop: (smiling) Oh, I don’t sell those. You need to go to cigarette man (pointing).

Me: Ah, ok. Do you know if the buses are still running now?

Prop: (puzzled, stlil smiling) Yes, the buses run right past here. Stop there. (Pointing)

Me: Yes, I know the bus stop. But are they still running now, at night?

Prop: (insistant) Yes, the buses run right past here. Stop there. (Pointing)

Me. OK.Thank you.

Alright, maybe cigarette man will know. No buses had gone by in the last five minutes so I was starting to get concerned. Dodging city buses is a newly acquired Salzburg skill of mine.

Me: Hi – I’d like to buy a ticket for the bus.

CM: (nods)

Me: By the way, have the buses stopped running tonight?

CM: The bus stop is here. (Pointing)

Me: Yes. But are there any more buses stopping here tonight?

CM: (staring at me like I’m an idiot American which is categorically incorrect. I’m a dumbass Canadian.) The bus stop is here. (Pointing)

OK … I’ll just wait here for a while. ūüôā I’ve got lots of time. I’m on vacation.

Magically, the bus appeared within minutes, even though the sign refused to predict this. See what happens when you set my expectations high around efficiency? I now expect consistency!

 

Random Thoughts II – Salzburg Click Here To Comment!

8. Soundscape: Unbelievable.  The glorious cacophony of all these towering bells and glockenspiels, all trying to state the time simultaneously. Dozens, hundreds of languages. Clip clop of horses gently towing the tourist buggies carriages around.  Lots of birds singing, especially around Nonnberg and Miribell Gardens.

9. Don’t Miss It (3): The composer of ¬†my favourite Christmas carol was born in Salzburg.

Silent Night Composer - Joseph Mohr

Silent Night Composer – Joseph Mohr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. When is a throne room really a throne room? The Austrians seem to have struggled with the concept of the separation of Church and State. The term “Prince Archbishop” seems to have been thrown around a lot prior to the Napoleonic wars. The creative forces behind the movie Amadeus must have taken character design from the paintings in Festung HohenSalzburg (the big castle) and in the Salzburg Museum. Speaking of that movie, think of Mozart’s father pleading with the Prince Archbishop for his son to be forgiven for some misdemeanour or other. The Prince Archbishop was second only to Emperor Joseph. In any case, the state rooms, at the very very tippy top of the castle overlooking Salzburg, have been left in more or less their orignal condition, mostly wood, ornate and rich designs. But … who wants to go all the way to another floor to do one’s unofficial business? Here is a throne room inside a throne room!!

Throne Room

Random Thoughts – Salzburg Click Here To Comment!

1. Free WIFI: Festung Hohen Salzburg (Salzburg Castle) has free WIFI. Cool!

2. The destitute: There are more panhandlers per square km here than I have ever seen in Toronto or anywhere else.

3. Universit√§t Salzburg has 12,000 students who have to fight through the Sound of Music / Mozart / Music / Photography buffs who roam these tiny streets daily. Most of the students seem to be earnest, serious, clean-shaven young white men riding bicycles. They congregate on street corners in the inner parts of the city, smoking and arguing with each other in emphatic German. The presence of a strong student population makes it possible for the Mozart, Haydn and R. Strauss themes to be juxtaposed with places like Jango, the world music cafe and the Afro Africa Cafe. Aside from this, you’d have to look hard to find a radical counterculture here.

4. Was ist diese Anschluss¬†von dem Sie sprechen?¬†I always thought “anschluss” meant “annexation”. Then I rode around on the Salzburg city buses a while. The automated voice repeatedly says “anschluss”, as it relates to specific stop. “Next Halt – Griesgasse … anschluss, Haupbanhof.” It means “connection”. I couldn’t figure out how bus stops were related to annexation. *facepalm* If Captain Von Trapp were riding the bus, Herr Zeller could say, “If the anschluss is coming, and it is coming Captain … perhaps you’d find your way back to Hotel Bristol if we set the bus connections to music!”

5. Don’t Miss It (1): If you spend too much time staring at the horse fountain in Residenzplatz, you’ll miss the commemoration of the Nazi book-burning in 1938.

Commemorative Plaque - Residenzplatz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. #1 Leading Cause of Concussions in Salzburg: If you are 5′ 8.5″ tall, and are agog at the interior of St. Peter’s Cathedral, so much so that you stop RIGHT IN FRONT of the door you just came through so you can take a picture … you might get a concussion from the next person coming through the door. There is a sign about this in tiny letters on the door. ¬† See the tiny blue plaque?

See the tiny blue sign?

See the tiny blue sign?

 

 

 

Now, imagine going through this door with no expectation of seeing this …

 

 

 

 

First Glimpse - the Wow Effect

First Glimpse – the Wow Effect

Some football hooligan dude came through the aforementioned door at full speed while I was trying to set up this photo. Ow. He apologized in German or some similar language.

 

 

 

 

But then there was this, so it is ok.

Ducky takes a moment.

Ducky takes a moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Don’t Miss It (2): If you spend too much time reveling in the magnificence of St. Peter’s section of the city, you may miss that part of it served as the headquarters for the Gestapo in WWII.

Confiscated by Gestapo

Confiscated by Gestapo

The translation, loosely, is something like: This cloister was confiscated by the Gestapo from 1938 to 1945.  In memory of torment, torture and death of (untold?) victims. The City of Salzburg.

 

Continued in next post …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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