Whenever I use the “Bahn AG” for going places, I make “Discoveries”. Even on the short way from Munich Central Station to Nuremberg Central Station, as last Friday, August, 6th, in the morning.

Shortly before Ingolstadt, I discovered the “Ohrakel”. It looks particularly oracle-like when seen through a curtain of constant rain.    
 INCLUDEPICTURE “http://if-blog.de/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif” \* MERGEFORMATINET Besides, it apparently had some objections to a picture of it being taken. The window of the train, the rain, bad light and the speed of the train all contributed to make life hard for me.

The riddle is easily solved. A pub or bar between Munich and Nuremberg, shortly before Ingolstadt, chose this original spelling, which is immediately noticed by someone like me who is in a partnership with Oracle.

Next to me in the compartment for six, a dark-skinned, nice-looking gentleman is reading a book the letters of which look totally alien to me. I start talking to him – and discover that he is just as nice as he looks.

He tells me about the writing I am totally unfamiliar with. It is Armaric script. It is used for writing the Armaric language (Armarisch). Well, you will find it spelled a little differently in Wikipedia, but I tend to believe my new friend.

Consequently, I make use of the hour on the train between Munich and Nuremberg in order to learn a little Armaric. It is only spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Horn of Africa. The language has lots of symbols. Each symbol represents a consonant and the following vowel. The spelling mirrors the sound exactly.

Isn’t it nice – all the things you can learn in a train. Even the game “Mensch ärger Dich nicht” (Do-not-get-upset). Mostly you play it because trains are late (which usually happens on the way back from Nuremberg). My train to Nuremberg, however, is (still) on time. To make up for it, I can practice “not getting upset” in front of the Deutsche Bahn AG toilets.

They say the air conditioning – which you will, however, not need today – is working well again. Apparently, they discovered that the trick is not to set them to produce such low temperatures. Well, they could have discovered that a little earlier, couldn’t they? After all, generations of ICE travellers permanently complained about too low temperatures in summer time in ICEs. But our Federal Railway Company never listens to its customers. They have other priorities.

For instance saving cost by economizing where the customers feel it. Now this apparently happens with the toilets. Aren’t there more than enough of them in all the trains? So you really will not need them all. Consequently, they will only be repaired when but very few of them are still in working order. Thus, the impression I started getting on my Verona trip of a little more than four weeks ago is heightened by the ICE 880 used this Friday in Munich. Now that was really a trip full of catastrophes (I forgot to mention any of it in the blog).

On the way to Verona and back, many defects were announced: the locomotive (announcement: out of working order), the dining car (announcement: no electricity) and the air-conditioning (no announcement). And in almost all the ECs (we had to use one of them against our wishes), most of the toilets were defunct. Incidentally, we are not talking Italian cars. All cars were from ÖBB and DB. And we were late by considerably more than two hours. The letter of complaint I wrote four weeks ago (maximum answer time) was not answered by DB AG to this day (I thought there was a new law…?).

🙂 But all this should not be a reason to get annoyed! Stay composed!

What a hilarious idea of the German Railroad system to put a double arrow on the doors saying that you can find usable toilets if you try either of the two directions through the long train. It shows that they have a sense of humour. I decided to take the way towards the rear end and had to walk through the train for quite some time before I found a functioning toilet.

I found signs all over the train that documented since when precisely the toilets had been out of order. In my car, for instance, the toilets had been out of order for more than four days (August, 2nd, 6.46 a.m. until August, 6th, 11.15 a.m.). During all this time, they had been rolling through Germany. On this train trip, I could have taken a lot more pictures of the same kind. However, I wanted to avoid getting caught by the conductor and being termed inimical to railroads. After all, I like going by train and frequently do so.

What I enjoy most is travelling first class. Since, however, I think going first class is too expensive, I only indulge in this luxury in case of emergency (like Friday afternoon between Frankfurt and Munich, when all trains are full and I want to work in peace). Basically, I do not understand why the train fares in Germany cost so much more than, for instance, in Italy, although both the condition of the trains and their punctuality get nearer and nearer to the Italian standards.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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