Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the hangover.... the end of a party

oktoberfest muenchen, afterwards

The first "Oktoberfest" occurred in Munich, on October 12, 1810. For the public commemoration of their marriage that took place five days before, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (namesake of the Theresienwiese festival grounds) organized a great horse race. The event was so successful that it was decided to renew it in 1811. An agricultural show was added to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse race persisted until 1960, the agricultural show still exists and it is held every four years on the southern part of the festival grounds.

In 1816, carnival booths appeared; the main prizes were silver, porcelain, and jewelry.
The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility for festival management in 1819, and it was agreed that the Oktoberfest would become an annual event. Later, it was lengthened and the date pushed forward, the reason being that days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

In the year 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday. 120,000 litres of beer were poured. In 1913, the Bräurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests.

From 1939 to 1945, due to World War II, no Oktoberfest took place. Since its beginnings the Oktoberfest has been cancelled 24 times due to war, disease and other emergencies.

There are many problems every year with young people who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol. Many forget that beer has 5.8 to 6.3% alcohol, and they pass out due to drunkenness. These drunk patrons are often called "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses"). For them as well as for the general medical treatment of visitors the Bavarian branch of German Red Cross operates an aid facility and provides emergency medical care on the festival grounds, staffed with around 100 volunteer medics and doctors per day.

A pipe bomb was set off in a dustbin at the restrooms at the main entrance on September 26, 1980 at 22:19. The bomb consisted of an empty fire extinguisher filled with 1.39 kilograms of TNT and mortar shells. Thirteen people were killed, over 200 were injured, 68 seriously. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of Germany after the Munich Massacre. Governmental authorities propounded a summary of official inquires, purporting that a right-wing extremist Gundolf Köhler from Donaueschingen, a social outcast who was killed in the explosion, was the lone perpetrator. However, this account is disputed strongly by various groups.
Oktoberfest figures (2007)
  • Area: 0.42 km2 (103.78 acres)
  • Seats in the festival halls: approx. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres (126,900 litres non-alcoholic)
  • Wine: 79,624 liters
  • Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres
  • Coffee and tea: 222,725 litres
  • Water and lemonade: 909,765½ litres
  • Chicken: 521,872 units
  • Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
  • Fish: 38,650 kg
  • Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
  • Oxen: 104 units
  • Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich's daily need or as much as a four person family will need in 560 years)
  • Expenditure of gas: about 205,000 m3
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m3 (as much as 27% of Munich's daily need)
  • Waste: 678 t (2004)
  • Toilets: about 980 seats, more than 878 meters of urinals and 17 for disabled persons
  • Phone booths: 83, also for international credit cards
  • Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and even crutches.

Nearly 1,000 tons of garbage result annually from the Oktoberfest. The mountains of garbage created are hauled away and the ways cleanly washed down each morning. The cleaning is paid for in part by the city of Munich and in part by the sponsors.

After 2004 the queues for toilets became so long that the police had to regulate the entrance. To keep traffic moving through the restrooms, men headed for the toilets were directed to the "Pissoir" (giant enclosed grate) if they only needed to urinate. The number of toilets was increased in 2005 by 20%. Now approximately 1,800 toilets and urinals are available.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Reminders of the great days of railroading (6) .... a social institution

In the great days of railroads, the railroad company were sometimes also the biggest local employers and took pride into taking care of their employes.

Begin of the 20th century the Bavarian railroad constructed in Nuernberg what became to be one of the biggest shunting yards in Germany. The little hill was used to divide up the trains.
The wagons were uncoupled and rolled down the track to be redirected to form other trains. Now the whole yard is modernised. The dark installation is a brake, which electronically slows down the wagons depending on weight, speed and distance to the waiting train.    

For all the people working there they also built this neighbourhood in 1912. The engine above the entrance was stolen at the end of WW II, but returned when it was found in the harbour of Bremen and ready to be shipped to America

They not only built houses, but also schools and churches

This building in the middle was called "die Burg" and had separate entrances to all the appartments.

These buildings had a typical southern Bavarian style.... otherwise the buildings of this time in Nuernberg were from non-plastered/sandstone-blocks. 

You could even rent (and still can do so) patches of land between the tracks as little gardens. They call it railroad agriculture
In the 50ties and sixties, a completely new quarter named after the planets of the solar system was constructed next to the railroad town.
Part of it were separate houses, part of it big appartment buildings in the style of the time.
The hall like building was not used for entertainment, but it provided for central heating of the whole new neighbourhood.
The little station serving the railroad men is long out of use. They now take a car to work....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

harbour view

Scheveningen (the Hague) harbour.... a midsummer summer night's dream

but: remember the bitter end...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Annals of water management... Poldergemaal Limmen, Akersloot

Since the Dutch polders are beneath sea level, water has to be pumped out constantly, otherwise the land would fill like a bath-tub. Originally, the famous windmills were used for this purpose
In 1879, the two windmills of Polder Limmen were replaced by a steam driven pumping installation, called a "gemaal"
The archimedic screw used by one of the windmills to pump up the water was kept and integrated in the steam powered installation. The teeth of the left wheel were from wood. Therefore they were easier to replace, since it happened frequently that a dead cow was caught in the mechanism... the farmers used to throw dead cows into the canals to get rid of them.
The transmission belt was made from thin leather stripes held together by screws. If one of the leather stripes broke, they were easy to be replaced without replacing the whole belt.
After 40 years the steam engine was replaced by an electric motor. Since the electric engine turned much faster than the steam engine, an additional drive wheel and transmission had to be installed under the roof of the building. The whole electric installation including the safety plugs, which were much bigger than now, is still there.
After 111 years of service, the whole installation was replaced by a modern electric pump in a little shed next door

Friday, May 14, 2010

Boat reflections

Reflections of a beautiful morning among the fishing boats
 Scheveningen harbour

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Annals of transportation (9)..... the Patiala State Monorail Tramway

A monorail steam engine? No that is no joke....
It existed. The Patiala State Monorail Tramway operated from 1907 to 1927. For one of the two lines, 4 steam engines were built, the other one operated with animal carts.
Fortunately, after the lines were closed, the rolling stock was not scrapped .... it was forgotten. 35 years later, it was rediscovered and one of the little engines is actually operating in the Delhi railroad museum

The monorail was built into the ordinary road. 95% of the weight was supported by the rail, only 5% on the support wheel. In contrast to an ordinary railway, track adjustment was much easier and therefore cheaper


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the struggle for life....(2)

Another big project is the construction of the Delhi metro, which in fact does mostly run on bridges
New metrostations are finished in an incredible speed. Apart from providing appropriate means of public transport for a city of 13 million, the project also provides work and income for many thousands of poor peopleMost of them live on the construction site and without running water, sewage and electricity.
When the works are finished, they will have to move on

Garbage accumulates outside the shacks
Children search for recyclable plastic, paper or metal....
Another way of income is to collect cow dung, dry it and sell it as fuel
and the final result, the shiny new and top secret metro station of Karol Bagh

the struggle for life....

In 2010, Delhi will host the Commonwealth Games. Big efforts are made to turn the city in the shining capital of a developed nation ......
One of the projects is the renovation of Connaught Square, the commercial center of colonial delhi. During the renovation workers sleep in makeshift huts close to their workspace
These women are busy removing the rubbish and rubble left over from the construction works...
Their children sleep closeby under a pillar