The executive cycling council, having voted yesterday to catch a bus from Marburg to Hannover today, presented their decision to the Chairman who duly, and with some haste, endorsed the decision.
So bus it was.
However before the bus was got, I took a walk around the picturesque town of Marburg this morning prior to my 1300 hour departure. As I discovered, Marburg is ostensibly a University town, population of approximately 75,000, sits
the banks of the Lahn River, and was the seat and residence of Princess Elizabeth of Hungary at some point in the 1220’s . Most famous internationally, however, were the Brothers Grimm, who collected many of their fairy tales here. The original building inspiring his drawing Rapunzel's Tower stands in Amönau near Marburg. Across the Lahn hills, in the area called Schwalm, the costumes of little girls included a red hood.
St. Elizabeth's Church in Marburg, Germany, was built by the Order of the Teutonic Knights in honour of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Her tomb made the church an important pilgrimage destination during the late Middle Ages. The church is one of the earliest purely Gothic churches in German-speaking areas, and is held to be a model for the architecture of Cologne Cathedral. It is built from sandstone in a cruciform layout. Construction began 1235 the year Elizabeth was canonized, it was consecrated in 1283, but the towers weren’t finished until 1340. Most un-German like construction pace. Must have been an English foreman in charge .
Residential street in Oberstadt, heart of the Old town. Nothing too modern about it.
The Main Street leading to the Marktplatz and town hall of Marburg. Old.
Marburgs town hall. Pretty similar to the council office in North Sydney.
There’s a story behind every picture.
Now, in my experience, people, when they don a hi-viz jacket or a have a plastic name tag on their chest, take on an air of self importance and obstructive behaviour beyond their post. Johannes the driver of this particular bus one good example ..
The scene - Bus arrives and driver disembarks to check boarding passes before allowing passengers to take their seats . He gets to me, standing there with one hand on my bike (having purchased a ticket explicitly for it ) and the other holding my iPhone with my QR code ready to scan.
Johannes - Gobblegobblegobble Nein fahhrad.
Thelaeman - (although my German is non existent I have learnt a word or three and two of them are “nein” and “fahrrad” which mean “no” and “bicycle” respectively)....erm, Ja.
Johannes - (pointing at bike and his electronic gadget ) Nein!!
Thelaeman - Erm, Nein sprichten Deutsche
Johannes - (turning to a young guy standing next to the Laeman) gobblegobblegobble sprichten English?
Enter stage left - Markus, a young well groomed University student wearing massive DR headphones just wanting to get into the bus and sleep off his jaegermeister induced hangover
Markus - (in impeccable English) he is saying that you don’t have a ticket for your bike
Thelaeman - oh but I do ( and show it to both Markus and the bus driver)
Johannes - gobblegobblegobblegobble Nein !!!!
Markus - he says that whilst you might have a ticket he hasn’t got it registered on his system so you can’t take the bike
At this point we’re standing at the back of the bus where there is an external bike rack that can hold 5 bikes. It’s currently empty.
Thelaeman - right, well it’s only a system issue as we can all see so perhaps you could ask him if he’s expecting a sudden rush of cyclists boarding his bus between here and Hannover? Because if not why doesn’t he just allow me to load the bike and he can sort it out with head office when he gets to Hamburg
Markus - I will try . With that he turns to Johannes and says .. gobblespeakgobblespeakgobblespeak
The bus driver, Johannes, at this point realised our discussion wasn’t on the timetable or agenda he was given when he clocked on and was now in danger of pushing him beyond the allowed stop time at Marburg. With an over exaggerated huff n puff he donned a pair of industrial gloves and secured my bike onto the back of the bus and pointed me towards the bus door.
This is only an observation.....but .......in my recent experience this lack of ability to think outside the square or take on a degree of flexibility when faced with an overwhelming need for commonsnse to prevail is more prevalent amongst hi-viz wearing, name tagged people of certain countries. Live by the law and instructions given and DO NOT DEVIATE seems to be the mantra .
Explains, why the Swiss for example, never cross over the centreline to give you space as they pass you by in a car. That would be breaking the law. Even though commonsense dictates it.
Anyway, bike was loaded and off we trundled to Hannover with me and my 38 fellow passengers/mates who were an eclectic bunch of punk rockers, university students, retirees, and one lone Aussie cyclist. 3.5 hours later we arrived in Hannover, this cutting off 2.5 days of cycling.
Hannover tomorrow and Sunday morning before pushing off in search of the Elbe on Sunday eve with Gareth.W and his mate Tim.