Posts tagged: train

Stuttgart21


Stuttgart21 is a zoning project which has as purpose the complete redesign of the main train station in Stuttgart, Germany. As part of the project, the station will be transformed from a terminus station to a pass-through station and all of it will be moved underground, below the current station. A total of 57km of new track will be laid, out of which 30km as high-speed track (designed for speeds  of minimum 200km/h and up to 350km/h). Since the city of Stuttgart sits in a valley and it’s surrounded by hills, a total of 16 tunnels (around 33km) and 18 bridges will have to be built as well. Parts of the the old (and recently renovated) main station building are also to be demolished, even though they fall under the law which protects old buildings.

The project will be funded by the Deutsche Bahn, the Baden Württemberg state and the federal government and it will transform the whole Stuttgart area and mainly the city center in a construction site for years and years. The initial costs were 2.6 billions Euros and now they are up to 4 billion Euros.

Needless to say, there is a huge opposition for this whole project for years now. Despite all the opposition, the project went ahead and recently work started at the land clearing, demolishing and tree cutting near the main station building. That is when the people started to get out in the streets and there have been a lot of demonstrations, people tried to stop the demolition crews, many of them tying themselves to the trees about to be cut and so on. Yesterday night things  got rather violent and the riot police intervened against a legal  demonstration with water guns, tear gas and pepper spray. Many people got hurt, among which a lot of young kids who were also taking part of a legal demonstration.

People are now in uproar and supportive demonstrations are taking place in many German cities and not only. A new bigger demonstration was planned for tonight and since Stuttgart is Freya’s hometown, she is not amused about the whole issue (that is a rather huge understatement). I am also not indifferent at all towards the whole issue, so we drove to Stuttgart and took part in the demonstration. Depending of the source, there were between 50.000 and 100.000 people present, the sight of so many people in one place was overwhelming. The demonstration was peaceful this time and at least until we left, nothing happened.

Yes, I made pictures too but they don’t do justice to what happened there:



Thieves

It had to happen to me too. Actually, it didn’t HAVE to happen but it did anyway. They stole my wallet :-( I don’t know exactly where but most likely it was in the Central Trainstation from Utrecht, while I was waiting for my train. I arrived there earlier and I had to waste some time. I assume it happened at the Burger King, I had my jacket on the chair and I was typing some at the laptop. In any case, after I got out of there I tried to reach for my wallet and it was just gone. All I had left was 1,70 euros in my jean’s pocket. Luckily, I had the train ticket in the backpack and not in my wallet or I would’ve been beyond screwed.

Of course, lots of problems suddenly became apparent. I had no more money, I had lost lots of cards (credit, debit, insurance, gas, etc), driving license, lots of bills and receipts for which I can’t get reimbursed anymore and so on. The bad thing was that the train ticket only works in combination with the card which was declared when it was bought online. Luckily, the guy felt sorry for me and accepted my passport as ID. I had to call all the banks and tell them to block the cards. The replacement credit card will get to me soon but the debit cards will take at least 2 weeks (plus 10 euro per card replacement fee, bastards!). The card I use at the gas stations will take at least 4 weeks.

It’s a bit more complicated with the driving license, I can’t do anything in my village, you can only do this in the capital of the Landkreis. But by the time I found this out they already closed for the day. They close at 12:00h, we don’t want them to kill themselves working. And without my driving license I can’t obtain this parking permit which allows me to park around the house. Which means I will start getting parking fines (I have already started … ).

So basically I had arrived at the Utrecht trainstation at around 14:00, shortly after that my wallet got stollen which means that by the time I got to Stuttgart at 22:00h, I was almost fainting from lack of food. Lucikly Freya came to my rescue with a sandwich and money to get my car out of the parking. I had to do some talking with the security dude since I didn’t have the parking card anymore. Yep, you guessed it , it was in the wallet.

Murphy strikes again! “If shit can happen then shit WILL happen”

Train blogging

I have finally a breathing moment, I am currently in the ICE train which takes me to Utrecht, where I have my SNRS Cisco course. I will be in the train for another 6 hours or so. I don’t think I will be able to post this before I get to the hotel though.

What a week of nightmare! I have worked like a madman until the last moment when I had to leave to the train station. Since Wednesday I had rented a van, a Fiat Ducato, and ever since we’re packing and moving stuff continuously, from early in the morning until well after midnight. It’s unbelievable how many things can fit in a apartment. Not to mention the heavy stuff which really kill you: oven, dishwasher, wash machine, dryer, fridge, etc. I think every single muscle hurts, my back is killing me, fingers, palms .. even the bones.

My brain is not really functioning right now but I will list some of the past week’s highlights, in random order.

IKEA. At the IKEA in Stuttgart they opened a couple of unmanned checkouts. You scan the products yourself, pay with the card and then you’re on your way, quick and easy. Everything works on trust (and a little bit of surveillance, probably). But I really don’t think too many people will try to cheat. I asked myself when will they implement such a system in Romania but then I started laughing.

Trash. We produced incredible amounts of all kind of trash: rubble, old wallpapers, carpets, metal trash, electric devices, old wood, etc. Two van loads. The solution here for something like this is what they call a “deponie” (dumpsite). You go there with your car, van, truck etc and you pay based on weight. I paid 15 euros first time and 25 euros the second times, which I really don’t think it’s so bad. I was afraid I would be stuck with the mountain of trash. Then you just drive to one of the big containers and drop the stuff in there, based on the type of trash: stuff which burns, metals, ceramics, etc.

Fiat Ducato. It’s pretty cool to drive that van and look from above at all the other cars. For some reason it made me  think of my Unreal Tournament days when I would be sniping from a high spot and my toon would say some like “Die, bitch!!” whenever I would score a headshot and splash someones brains all over the ground. Good old days.

Cold. I know I said this before but here it is again: do not move in winter. Ever!

“Vacation”

Typical day of our “vacation”, today for example:

  • alarm clock goes off at 7:30 am after coming home late the previous day and sleeping only 4 hours.
  • get ready, put clothes on and leave. We had to be at the house early because the carpet we ordered for our apartment is supposed to be delivered  in the morning.
  • work, work, work (clean kitchen, remove old and yucky things from all over the house).
  • actually start to wake up couple of hours later.
  • more work, remove old carpet from our bedroom and the living room.
  • yet more work, take piles of trash downstairs.
  • guy from VW dealership calls, my car is ready (yay!). I go there, drop the replacement car, get my own.
  • more work, clean the garage, rearrange the insane amount of trash bags so I can actually move in that room in the basement.
  • walk to the VW dealership, pick up my private car which I had left there, drive it back home, get back to the house with bus and train, fall asleep in the train coming really close to missing my stop, waste 2 hours in the process.
  • the carpet is finally delivered. Of course, not in the morning as expected. If we had known, we would’ve slept a bit longer. Great.
  • more work, help paint the yucky red tiles we had in the kitchen.
  • go quick and get some small pizzas at the nearby Hoagies.
  • yep, more work. Paint the ceiling in the kitchen.
  • drive back home, stop the the Kaufland to get a few things to eat.
  • write post, take shower.
  • drop dead.