Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Wound Spotting V

Continuing my unpleasant roundup of which injuries are “in” in Europe.

Nuremberg appears to be home to the non-specific minor face injury with at least four people walking around with surgical tape on parts of their faces mostly around the eyes.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

UK Government: “All European Children will grow up to be evil drunks”

OK, so it’s a bit of an overstatement, added with, perhaps, a bit of malicious misinterpretation of the facts, though it’s no different to the shaky evidence that this government report is based on, so I think I can be allowed the exaggeration.

To distil it down to the nub of the Governments feeling, giving even a drop of alcohol to anyone under the age of 15 *will* turn them into the raging uncontrollable drunk yobs in later life that continue to plague the streets of Britain.

So, what has this to do with Nuremberg at Christmas? Well, dotted liberally around the Christmas Market are stall after stall selling gluhwein, hot mulled wine drunk by almost everyone at the markets. Whilst all the stalls were offering Kinderpunsch (no it’s not child abuse) a non-alcoholic version, it was pretty obvious that a very large number of the Children had been allowed by their parents to have the full-alcohol version.

Given that the Christmas markets have a tradition dating back at least to the end of the 19th century in their current form, if not significantly older, this isn’t a new thing, German children have been happily gulping down gluhwein for a long time, and on that basis one would suspect they are also allowed the occasional drink at home with a meal, much like their Italian or French counterparts.

Yet, there doesn’t appear to be crowds of drunken hooded yobs hanging around on street corners yelling obscenities at passers-by in Nuremberg (or Munich, Berlin, Rome, Florence or Paris either). Those few occasions that you do see a congregation of drunks (outside of Bremen Hauptbahnhof for some strange reason), they are almost exclusively people in their thirties or forties, not gangs of “feral youth” (as the right-wing British press like to demonise them as), and lets face it, following reunification, Germany has enough social problems of its own to deserve a “feral youth”, yet it doesn’t appear to have happened, despite all the youngsters drinking.

Is it just possible, that the real message that the Government is sending out is it thinks all Brits are bad parents and everything they do is wrong. That’s pretty much the message from every other announcement.

Perhaps the real message is that all Politicians should stop taking knee-jerk reactions to every Daily Mail and Daily Express hate-filled campaign against young people. Find things for them to do, give them a bit of respect and dignity, and perhaps they won’t feel the need to hang around getting drunk as it’s the only thing to do. Perhaps, God forbid (and the Daily Mail, which thinks it speaks for God, does forbid it), we should look towards the continent for some ideas.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The British Disease continues

Today, wandering back to the hotel through the station, I noticed that again the trains were all running with massive delays (actually what I first noticed was the massive long queue to the information kiosk which alerted me to the fact that something might have been up).

I really wasn’t expecting there still to be problems, I would have thought that they could have got it sorted out, but obviously no.

The idea of Privatising the railways in the UK was to make them more responsive and more like the German railways, Deutscher Bahn now even own a couple of the companies that run trains in the UK. Sadly, it looks as though the process is working in the wrong way, and the UK’s inability to cope is now spreading through Deutscher Bahn and back into Germany itself.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The British disease is spreading

It’s heartening to know that it’s not just the Brits who can be crippled by some wintry weather in, well winter.

Normally I would have thought that snow is so common in Germany that they would have the infrastructure in place to be able to deal with even relatively heavy snowfall.

So it was somewhat surprising to see that Dusseldorf Airport had been closed for the whole of the day, and when I got to Nuremberg, that most of the trains were running with delays in excess of 30 minutes, in some cases up to two hours late (yes, that’s right, a German train running spectacularly late!)

Of course, the UK grinds to a halt when there is 2.4mm of snow, it was almost 24cm of snow that had fallen on Dusseldorf.

Glad I chose Southern Germany

For the last two years I have been going to Belgium for my pre-Christmas trip. I had originally been planning to go again this year, but back in February I got an email from Air Berlin with a spectacular offer on flights to Nuremberg just before Christmas, so I changed my plans and decided to go there instead.

And now, as I sit in the departures lounge at Stansted Airport I am feeling very fortunate that I did make that decision

If I had gone to Belgium I wouldn’t have been on one of the trains that got stuck for 16 hours, but I would have been caught up in the ensuing chaos, if not on my journey out, on my return.

And if that didn’t vindicate Nuremberg as a destination the fact that all the airlines are merrily cancelling flights to Dusseldorf and Cologne because the runways are closed (and there were people in the queue as I checked in trying to get there to get trains back into Belgium!).

My flight, on the other hand, is currently running 7 minutes late on its arrival into Stansted, so I’m hopeful of a, as close as possible, on time departure. Of course, this could be massive hubris and I am about to spend the night camping in Essex rather then in Bavaria!