Monday, September 28, 2009

Hitler would hate what they have done to Kehlstein

As expected, my laptop refused to work anywhere – with either wireless or cable. Hence the Blog silence.

I suspect it is a simple problem but as the operating system is in German it will still be some time before I know enough to get it working properly – by which time I am sure we will have parted company – and indeed it very nearly ended up going out the fourth floor window of the Templova Apartments in Prague.

Prague incidentally is quite wonderful but needs a good wash. The buildings are very dirty and next time I go there I am going to take a scrubbing brush and a bucket of soapy water.

The city is one of those to which the communists gave the benefit of their planning and organisational skills so large parts of it are pretty well stuffed – but are slowly on the mend.

But the roads! ‘Pedestrian Overpass’ is not something that was ever mentioned in the Roads Department (It would be wrong to call it a ‘Planning Department’ because clearly no planning ever took place).

Consequently you drive for 50 kilometers in and out of Prague along something that purports to be a main road and have to stop every 500 meters for a pedestrian to cross (to where? Are half his goats on the other side of the road?).

Hitler would hate what they have done to the Kehlstein (Eagle’s Nest). The original building is intact but is crawling with people selling tacky tourist stuff – to more tacky tourists than I have ever seen in the one spot before.

There is actually nothing to see apart from the view that Adolf had – and we were disappointed that it does not have the large outdoor area that you often see in documentaries with Adolf and Eva and their hangers on lolling about with Blondie.

This was clearly somewhere else – but where?

Anyway I bought an excellent book ‘History of the Eagle’s Nest’ and now know a lot about how it was built. I can even tell you the number of knives, spoons and forks that were supplied when it was first built. Send me an email if you need to know.

If you do go to Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgarten – don’t in fact go to the town of Berchtesgarten because it is not there. It is bloody miles away in a different place altogether – and is more difficult to find than you could possibly imagine.

We visited the Bone House at Hallstatt. It is in a ‘cave’ which is much smaller than my study. Entry cost €1.50. That is all you need to know.

We visited the Ice Caves outside Salzburg and these were ‘interesting’. You have to walk uphill for miles to get there and then inside the caves climb 900 steps. If you can stop gasping long enough there are some tremendous piles of ice to be seen and admired.

We visited the Salt Mines at Hallstatt. The best part was the wooden slides between levels that you sit astride and whiz down. There is a plastic dummy called ‘Sepp’ who tells you a story about the ‘Salt Man’ who may or may not (probably not) be thousands of years old – no one will ever know because they have lost him.

I am not sure why they need ‘Sepp’ given that the guide tells you everything else. It doesn’t add anything to the experience. There is also a part where they play music and project pictures of ancient animals and men onto the salt walls. There was no explanation of this incomprehensible interlude.


Coming home we were diverted off the motorway just before Brno by police and ended up on a side road – from which we never recovered. It was the most excruciating trip we have ever had and we ended up coming into Wien on a one lane road – it took ages.

I discovered to day that this was because the Pope was in Brno trying to drum up some business from the Czechs – who are not much interested in that sort of palaver.

The Pope said that – according to the International Herald Tribune – “history had demonstrated the absurdities to which man descends when he excludes God from the horizon of his choices and actions”.

Excuse me? Clearly they did not teach history at Trainee Pope school.

There are obviously more fatuous statements than this made by Popes present and past – but this has to be up there with the best.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! Yes, you were missed. But in your absence I did find a batch of Motivational Products from the beautifully-named Despair, Inc. Can't make up my mind which I like best!