dammwegThe Hotel Kalocsa hosted a big wedding on this day. We had been warned by the owner of the hotel and our room lay as far as possible from the festivities. The music played all night through.

Well, we slept fitfully. However, the excellent breakfast with a wonderful omelette saved the day. A 9 a.m., we mounted our bikes again.

First we go a little zig-zag, then we go south. We find a beautiful, long path on the dam. It is much better driving than yesterday’s paths on the dam. This is a meditative experience over 30 kilometres.

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At high school, we had a teacher in German who kept criticizing us with the following sentence whenever we tended to be too long-winded:

Brevity is the Soul of Wit.
26 digits. In twitter, that would mean you have 114 left!

In those days, I also perceived a friend of mine who was a genius and whose name was Herbert being constantly in a clash with exactly this teacher (and vice versa).

German exam time. We had three topics to choose from. One of them was “A Worldly Wisdom“.

My friend took his worksheet and wrote one line on it. After that he handed the paper to the teacher.

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You want a thief to be punished?
Do you know what this is what you want?
Well, he dared to do something
you are too chicken to do.
That is why he is to be punished.
According to Nietzsche:
Basically vengeance.
A criminal has to atone,
so that the weak can feel strong.
If the thief is punished,
this is a triumph for the coward.
Or is that not how you see it?
You Coward

(translated by EG)

bild0286This morning, we woke up well in the Hotel Barros in Budapest. It was a good place to stay overnight in Budapest. It is just opposite the railway station. Breakfast was a little “convenient”, but presented with much love.

Otherwise, the hotel is big with a beautiful fountain in the back yard (see pictures). The room was quiet, we slept well and everything was friendly and stylish.

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In the end, the connection was fine. The train to Bukarest actually waited for almost half an hour. That was some relief, because finding a hotel in Vienna, calling off the reservation in Budapest … it would all have been a little hectic.

It was a Romanian train. Immediately after departure, we went into the dining compartment, where we took the last table, which was an excellent idea. Out of the window, we saw a beautiful landscape, huge fields full of windmills, and evening sunshine against grey clouds.

bild02791 Inside the dining compartment, we enjoyed an excellent meal. While the chef de cuisine supplied wine, water, beer and food for the guests, his colleague was busy in the kitchen. We were able to watch him do the cooking, beat cutlets, peel and cut potatoes, wash the salad ingredients.

The meal – like the wine – was a dream. You seldom get this kind of meal served in our country. It seems you really have to take the night train Vienna – Bukarest in order to make that experience.

Even though late, we happily arrived at the hotel Barros around midnight (along with a Swiss couple who were planning the same as we).


Incidentally, I have and continue loading pictures on twitpic. If you are interested, just take a look. For example dthis one! It goes without saying that you may use my pictures (for instance, if you have problems adding pictures to your blog) – free content! Naturally, I would be happy if people who take my pictures made a small reference to me. Thanks!

For several years, I worked a lot with punch cards. In those days, punch cards were totally innovative. They meant an end to those stupid strip cards and more flexibility. In punch cards, it was possible to insert some text of your own (which was absolutely impossible with the strip cards).

lochkarteThe punch card in this picture (which, by the way, is taken from wikipedia) contains 40 symbols. Our punch cards were more modern than that and contained 80 symbols (columns in our “sheets”, also known as programming forms which we filled in with pencil and were given back as a package of stamped punchcards. What a programming method!).

You had to mark column 72 if the program continued on the next card. The text fields from column 73 on were reserved for numbering. Column 71 was reserved for something special (it might have been a commentary symbol or something of the sort – I no longer remember). The first 70 columns were the “useful symbols”, dependent on the language, sometimes further structured.

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Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Friday May 29th, 2009

Travel Journal #28 – Starting our Tour to Budapest.

bild0274 Another vacation. This time, we (Barbara and I) want to ride our bikes from Budapest to the Black Sea.

We want to go to Budapest and back by train. For the way out, we had planned to take the night train. However, it turns out this is not possible, after all, because the night train no longer takes bikes along. All direct trains (also the day-time trains) have stopped taking bikes. That means the slow service and change of trains twice for us, in Salzburg and Vienna. Considering this, the ticket is expensive, because there is a special offer if you take the direct super trains, but this special offer is invalid for the trains I have to take. That is our railway system for you: bikers have to suffer.

The slow service from Munich to Salzburg takes almost two hours. Time flows fast, but we are moved by what we experience: from Munich, we are accompanied by a no-longer-very-young gentleman who has just been released from prison. Through an Augustiner and 2 Jägermeister, he tells us a lot about his life. Alcohol, drugs, homeless… And then back behind prison bars, because he did not stick to his parole requirements. Regardless, he looks like a nice guy to us.

He is going to Austria, where it seems he also has a job. I wish him well. In between, he tells us that his predecessor in the cell is already 85 years old and can hardly walk any more. He threatened a neighbour with a weapon.

On arriving in Salzburg, we are met by a shocking surprise: the train from Innsbruck to Vienna is running late by 35 minutes. Our connection in Vienna for Budapest was to leave 30 minutes after arrival in Vienna!

The train attendants tell us to relax. The connecting train in Vienna is going to wait. To be on the safe side, I call our hotel in Budapest. They are terribly nice. We will not be charged … This is a relief in case we will have to spend the night in Vienna.

Now I sit in the train, on a nice window seat. It has stopped raining.

First test: my extended t-online connection works!!! And the new small Mac is even smoother than the Pro!

Now all that is left to worry about is my cold and the connection in Vienna – and then off we go from Budapest to the Black Sea!

(from the train to Vienna)
(translated by EG)
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I am on my way to the theatre, having changed into the streetcar at Ostbahnhof on my way to the Kammerspiele and being full of pleasant anticipation, because I am going to see Josef Bierbichler in “Das letzte Band” by Samuel Beckett (it is a guest performance of the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz Berlin) on this Tuesday, May, 26th, 2009, around 6.15 p.m. I chose the streetcar because of the terrible hailstorm and with this weather the best chance to stay dry lies in jumping into the streetcar at Ostbahnhof.

I share the small streetcar stop and its roof with two typical YTE’s (Young Tough Executives), both of whom look like DINKs (Double Income No Kids) Their conversation is very dynamic (i.e. loud), so I can hardly avoid eavesdropping (which, admittedly, is not altogether unintentional).
One of them tells of his great job in a big enterprise where he is happy about all the responsibility over employees he has been given. The other one listens respectfully and occasionally makes an approving sound.

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On the way back from the Mountain Church Fair in Erlangen, going by regional express train to Nürnberg, a collector of empty bottles for the deposit takes the seat next to ours. She is in an excellent mood, has already collected 17 Euros and has an additional three plastic bags full of glass bottles on her.

Competition is enormous, is what she says. The Mountain Church Fair is a stroke of luck. The sections of the soccer stadium are taken already. Plastic bottles of higher value (such as Aldi or Pet) are scarce, and the glass bottles are rather heavy.

In Nürnberg, we go separate ways. She continues her journey on the regional express train to Eichstatt, we take the ICE to Nürnberg, which (naturally) is late. The lounge for Railway Comfort Customers closes at 9 p.m., so we have to make do with MacClean, where it costs 1 Euro to use the restroom (just for a leak for men).

What a comfort that I need not earn my money collecting bottles for the deposit. Isn’t it grotesque having to collect 13 beer bottles for being able to afford one leak?

I find it a disgrace that public toilets in railway stations now cost one Euro. Poor Germany.

But we can afford a new federal debt of 50 billion for who knows what. And an inflation rate of 0 % (not long ago, MacClean in Munich cost 70 cents).

Tell me how I am supposed to understand this!

(written on the way back to Munich in the ICE)
(translated by EG)

And here is another sad song: