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Old June 18th, 2012, 07:07 PM   #381
joshsam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Good thing I didn't have any emergencies. I would
have been dialing 911
On a cellphone you can call 911 in Europe. I think it will just atomatically transfer to 112.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 10:57 PM   #382
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk780 View Post
Austria-Hungary and Germany are the birthplace of the kind of café culture that American franchises like Starbucks etc. are imitating.
That's not true. Almost every European country has a somewhat traditional café culture. Not just Austria-Hungary or Germany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattN View Post
Crikey, glad to be of assistance! 999 is generally used in the UK and it's the number which everyone knows and is promoted, but 112 works here as well.
In Belgium the usual number is 100 or 101. But 112 is heavely promoted as the Europeanwide number. Also the old number 900 is still working. So we can use 4 different numbers.

BTW: I looked up why it's 112:
-Using at least two different digits significantly reduces the risk of accidental calls from numeric keypads. Young children, vibrations, defective keys and collisions with other objects are much more likely to press the same key repeatedly rather than pressing a sequence of different keys. Accidental calls to emergency centres from mobile phones are a particular problem with same-digit numbers, such as the UK's 999.
-In the days of rotary dial telephones, using only those digits that require the least motion of a rotary dial (1 and 2) permitted a dial lock in hole 3 to effectively disable unauthorized access to the telephone network without preventing access to the emergency number 112. The same choice also maximized dialing speed. Additionally, in accordance to the previous point, prior to DTMF it was possible to dial "1" by shortly activating the hook, so repeatedly pushing the hook might result in calling 1-1-1. For this reason, Germany's police department emergency number was changed from 111 into 110.

Last edited by De Klauw; June 18th, 2012 at 11:03 PM.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 12:27 AM   #383
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De Klauw View Post
That's not true. Almost every European country has a somewhat traditional café culture. Not just Austria-Hungary or Germany.
Sure, but I'm talking about a specific type of café culture (one that is focused on coffee and cake/pastries). It's almost impossible to find that kind of place in Brussels, for example.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 12:52 AM   #384
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ofcourse not, we drink beer in our cafés. most cafés sell differend kinds of coffé but aren't specialised in it. Most cafés overhere actually are 'brasseries' where you can also eat full restaurant meals for lower prices (and lower quality) than in a real restaurant.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #385
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De Klauw View Post
That's not true. Almost every European country has a somewhat traditional café culture. Not just Austria-Hungary or Germany.



In Belgium the usual number is 100 or 101. But 112 is heavely promoted as the Europeanwide number. Also the old number 900 is still working. So we can use 4 different numbers.

BTW: I looked up why it's 112:
-Using at least two different digits significantly reduces the risk of accidental calls from numeric keypads. Young children, vibrations, defective keys and collisions with other objects are much more likely to press the same key repeatedly rather than pressing a sequence of different keys. Accidental calls to emergency centres from mobile phones are a particular problem with same-digit numbers, such as the UK's 999.
-In the days of rotary dial telephones, using only those digits that require the least motion of a rotary dial (1 and 2) permitted a dial lock in hole 3 to effectively disable unauthorized access to the telephone network without preventing access to the emergency number 112. The same choice also maximized dialing speed. Additionally, in accordance to the previous point, prior to DTMF it was possible to dial "1" by shortly activating the hook, so repeatedly pushing the hook might result in calling 1-1-1. For this reason, Germany's police department emergency number was changed from 111 into 110.
Interesting, thanks for that. I never realised Belgium had those different numbers either.

Interesting to see where the confusion on cafes came from as well. I hadn't even thought of the cakes and pastries type of thing. I suppose I've heard of them as a stereotype of Vienna but having often been in the Netherlands/Belgium/Northern France over the last few years, it's only those types of cafes I have encountered.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 11:22 PM   #386
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk780 View Post
Sure, but I'm talking about a specific type of café culture (one that is focused on coffee and cake/pastries). It's almost impossible to find that kind of place in Brussels, for example.
Like in Portugal
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Old July 1st, 2012, 06:03 AM   #387
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Aachen Day 2

Sorry for the delay in posting. I’ve been very busy with Couchsurfers in New York. But now they are gone and I can finish this thread.

The next day was Day 2 in Aachen. As my hosts had some exchange students from France arriving I spent most of the day going around with them.

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In walking around the neighborhood we came across these common plots, or allotments as they are called in England. Every country in Europe seems to have them.

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We went to the school where the exchange students would attend classes along with the children of their host. It was a Gymnasium which I learned, to my surprise, children start attending at the 4th grade.

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It was quite nice, if not particularly big.

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I think the students live close and just walk to school. Come to think of it, I have yet to see anything like a school bus in Europe. No wonder people who come from Europe take pictures of them in the U.S.

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This is the residential area where I was staying about a kilometer south of the train station.

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Not a lot of space but very tidy.

Also, nothing seemed particularly old. I think that is the result from heavy fighting in the city when it was attacked and captured by the Americans. Interestingly, my hosts referred to the capture by the Americans by saying that Aachen was the first city liberated from the Nazi’s. Not sure if it is normally expressed that way or if it was being said to an American guest.

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After going home I was dropped off in the city center which I would have some time to further explore before meeting my hosts for dinner.

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A very modern building on the university campus. Aachen has a big state university that is supposed to be very good in engineering. Due to it being engineering there are far more male students than female students.

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There were lots of pubs on the street going into the town center.

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I was in heaven when I found this store. Many people don’t know it but Gummy Bears are a German invention and are still largely made in Germany. They were invented by a company called Haribo but this store is some other German company that makes Gummy Bears. They came in all sorts of different designs and were delicious. The Gummy Bears you get in Germany are way better than what you get in the U.S. - you can really taste the difference.

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They even had Gummy Bear pies, cakes, and pizzas!!

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It was quite cool out but people still thronged to the outdoor cafes.

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German bread. Looks good, but probably fattening too.

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A very big bookstore that I spent a lot of time wandering around. Germany still has a very literate population which is good to see.

It was interesting that the store had almost nothing of what in American bookstores are just about the biggest sections - Philosophy/Religion and military history/weapons. I was also surprised they didn’t have more books on big equipment, machinery, buildings, etc than they did.

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Back at the cathederal

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Before heading off to dinner I went by a hobby store which had some great models that were something you’d expect to see in Germany:

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I can imagine some people in SSC getting quite excited by these models.

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That concluded my second day in Aachen.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 06:57 AM   #388
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Awesome. Germany seems so liveable. Really like what I see here.

Here in San Francisco the last Borders bookstore closed some months back, leaving a few independent booksellers scattered around and nothing downtown. It has left a huge cultural void as there is nowhere to sit and peruse magazines and books . . .
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Old July 1st, 2012, 04:14 PM   #389
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I missed this thread
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Old July 1st, 2012, 07:05 PM   #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streetlegal View Post
Awesome. Germany seems so liveable. Really like what I see here.

Here in San Francisco the last Borders bookstore closed some months back, leaving a few independent booksellers scattered around and nothing downtown. It has left a huge cultural void as there is nowhere to sit and peruse magazines and books . . .
There are no big bookshops in San Francisco?
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Old July 1st, 2012, 09:37 PM   #391
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Show yet again the big differences bewteen USA and Europe. Even smaller cities of pop 50.000-100.000k have big book stores in Europe. I guess American people maybe order more things online in general....

The nicest bookstore I went to was that one in Maastricht that was a big 800yo church converted into a book store
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Old July 1st, 2012, 09:52 PM   #392
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Indeed, e-shopping is more common and there are much more e-readers in the US.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 12:05 AM   #393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielFigFoz View Post
There are no big bookshops in San Francisco?
There are some nice independents, but they are off the beaten track. We have lost all the downtown stores, about three in the last year. Nowhere to even peruse magazines downtown, let alone books.

Yes, this is e-reader city!!
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 12:08 AM   #394
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Ah, that makes more sense then I guess.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 12:09 AM   #395
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Is City Lights still going?
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 01:38 AM   #396
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Yes Jane, I had forgotten about that! Thinking about it, it is probably the most central to downtown.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 11:29 AM   #397
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Book stores are struggling here against online competition too. Borders closed down its UK stores last year I think, most towns still have Waterstones and WHSmith chains and supermarkets stock the bestsellers but independents are getting rarer...
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Old July 4th, 2012, 06:25 AM   #398
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The next day, Saturday, would be my penultimate day and I would be wrapping up my trip. I would have to make it back to Paris but prior to doing so I wanted to see a bit of Cologne given how close I was.

In morning I walked from my hosts home to the train station:

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Not spacious, but certainly immaculate.

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More of these little construction cranes which were all over the place.

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After a 15 minute walk I was at the train station where I easily bought a ticket to Cologne and also got a ticket from Cologne back to Paris.

I got on the train and sat on the right hand side. This turned out to be very fortuitous.

This is why:

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From the train I could clearly see a number of huge power plants that are the power plants associated with the strip mining. Even from a longs ways off they were quite impressive.

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Above you can see three or four power plant complexes. Note they create their own clouds!!

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Rolling into Cologne.

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The Cologne station was quite large. Very large, in fact. I was trying hard to find the place to leave luggage, without success.

While wandering towards the front of the station I all of the sudden looked up and saw this:

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What a spectacular sight!!!

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BTW, it turned out there was no luggage storage place manned by humans. Rather than had a very interesting mechanical system:

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In this machine you would deposit money, place your bag inside a door that opened, and then be given a ticket to retrieve your bag when you returned. Inserting the card you would have to wait a few minutes but eventually the door would open with your bag. I assume this is a fully automated system with underground converyors. Pretty neat.

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Anyways, with my appetite wetted by what I saw through the window it was time to head out and see Cologne.

And immediately upon walking out what did I see but... some German supporters of Lyndon LaRouche actually talking about US congressional campaigns!!

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Next it was up the stairs and to the Cathederal:

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The view of the train station from the foot of the cathederal

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All I can say is if you don’t like this you don’t like Gothic Cathederals, period.

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I then decided to climb up the bell tower to get a view of the city. It was a nice climb but not for those uncomfortable in VERY small spaces.

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An intermediate level with some bells.

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From this level you could see many of the flying butresses.

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The river there is the most famous river in Germany, at least for Americans, the Rhine river.

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In the middle of the picture is the main railway bridge over the Rhine.

In tourist shops they sold post cards with pictures of Cologne in its devestated shape right after World War two. They show that bridge lying broken in the Rhine river. It is amazing how much work was done to rebuild the city.

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Check out what can be seen in the distance.

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Notice, there are lots of them.

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And note lots of cranes everywhere.

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The Rhine was a working river with barges heading up and down it.

Next it would be time to head back down and explore what more of Cologne I could in the time available to me.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #399
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Spectacular view from the railway station!

For some reason, I am more tolerant of modernist "boxes" in Germany than I am elsewhere--railway stations, offices etc. They kind of remind me of a 1950's film set; I half expect Cary Grant to run by in some kind of Hitchcock mystery! Perhaps it is because Germany seems to look after its buildings, old and new, so well.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 06:08 PM   #400
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Quote:
And immediately upon walking out what did I see but... some German supporters of Lyndon LaRouche actually talking about US congressional campaigns!!
How odd. Why would something like this be in Germany?
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