Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Lucky Strike inanities persist

As observed in my previous post on not-so-Luckies, the current campaign shows an unattractive packet of cigarettes with some silly statement that one is meant willingly to waste time with. So, here (left), something like “make a compliment. Simply.  A stranger.”  Oh yes!  That is what cigarettes do for you. Only smoking strangers are willing to share your lethal habit and smell like an ashtray.

Let’s try another one (right). “Newly fallen in love. In 11 minutes. Offline…” I’ve no idea with that one. 11 minutes to smoke and fall in love with those that you have previously complimented in the cold and wet smoking shelter provided by your employer?

Thank goodness for JPS (left). Really simple until…one looks closer and there is a picture of one of the earlier advertising posters with those lovely young people slowly killing themselves whilst waiting to get into a festival of some kind. Interesting.

 

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Deep leisure time

I’ve had quite a busy year. Many of us have. I am, at the time of writing this, in a short period of wind down and reflection. Only in these times is it possible to see things that one does not usually notice. First of all, wonderful interventions that humans make for other creatures that make a huge difference to them but requires just a bit of broad thinking when it comes to design. The picture on the left is a swallow looking after its young – it is mid-August, so I assume it is the second brood. But if you look carefully, this is a human-made thing. And what is more, it is in an underpass that carries a cycle- and foot-path underneath one of the busiest stretches of railway in Munich. Somebody consciously put it there.

Next, graffiti. In Germany there is a lot of official graffiti in underpasses and the like. This is not official (right), but it is on the side of a school. And what a school it must be when whoever sprayed it thinks that unless you read James Joyce’s Ulysses then one has not lived their own life (or a better translation than that). The point remains, how wonderfully bizarre, even if it is ironic. The School, incidentally, is the Bertolt Brecht Gymnasium in Pasing, Munich. That might have something to do with it?

Then there’s toilets. I was cycling along, actually looking for one. And here it is (left). It has an electric door opening to a spotless pissoir that is cleaned each time on leaves. Not good on water consumption, but jolly welcome.

In Munich, I have a favourite park, Nymphenburg Schloss Park. It is a castle with just the most amazing grounds. The trees are wonderful – basically, a collection of the former Kaiser. But that aside, this is real sanctuary. But where there are trees, there is an abundance of other flora and fauna. Dragon flies are just extraordinary and easy to find in the park. This one has large fans at the tips of its wings. Look more closely and one can see that this one is having a meal. Even more extraordinary, the camera on my mobile can capture this.

 

Lucky Strike plasters Germany Summer 2019

Ok, the summer winner is Lucky Strike. Everywhere one finds their inane slogans. Here (left) “Tell. A Story. With six words”. As if I have nothing better to do. OK. I rise  to  the  challenge. “Smoking  these  brings  premature,  painful death.” Or BAT knowingly sells addictive and lethal products.” Do I win?

Come on Germany – or at least the Government – fall into line with the rest of Europe and end cigarette advertising, at least on the streets.

Travel advice – missed connections on Deutsche Bahn

We all miss connections on trains and have to work out how to manage the journey. Natives know roughly how to negotiate their own railway system – I think I am reasonably good with the UK system, though by no means all-knowledgeable – but when we travel beyond our borders, it can be a bit daunting when things go wrong, especially at the end of the day when there are no more trains going to one’s planned final destination.

So, on 27 July 2019 I was heading to Munich from Hastings in the UK. That involved four different train operators: SouthEastern Trains, UK; Eurostar; Thalys; Deutsche Bahn (DB). The bookings had to be made through each individual train operator. Using ticketing agents makes it more expensive. They do not optimise on price. When booking one has to ensure changing time between trains and some delay wiggle room. For example, the Eurostar was 25 minutes delayed leaving London and accumulated further delays en-route; for example, waiting to enter the Channel Tunnel. I’d allowed myself 75 minutes changing time at Brussels Midi (left). About right for the middle of summer when it is really busy.

The train was making good progress towards Köln where I was going to change again at 1955 on to the ICE to Munich.  Changing time was 45 minutes. Owing to a power failure at Aachen, we were delayed by 150 minutes. That was my connection lost. So, what’s to do? The Thalys train manager was at the end of her tether. It has been a tough week with record-breaking temperatures and any number of delays as the infrastructure struggled to cope. I felt for her.

Here’s my advice, get a “Bescheinigung” (right) from DB. At Köln, there was an information “Schalter” on the platform (Gleis 4) where it could be issued. Essentially, this confirms that the connecting train was late (although it was a non-DB train that was late, it was late because of a DB infrastructure failure) and that it is possible to travel on a non-booked train at no extra cost. DB conductors are quite strict with tickets, so take the argument away from them, especially when our language skills are not the best. I eventually travelled on the 2230 Köln-München train. Arrival München Hbf 0602. Not the most comfortable experience as it is not a sleeper service, but it got me to my destination.

Happy rail travelling.

Summer 2019 cigarette advertising, Germany

The current crop of cigarette billboards in Germany are interesting. JPS continues its “death is better value than you might think” campaign (left, apologies about the shadow; confirms it is summer, I suppose). JPS is a curious brand that seems not really to know what it stands for. For example, elsewhere in this blog are examples of JPS and young creative people as well as JPS innovative packaging.

Then there is Winston. Not a regular high-street advertiser, but when it is there, one wonders about the campaign managers. The latest, “for short journeys, for long journeys” is particularly fatuous. That aside, the packaging now carrying acute warnings about the effects of smoking on health seems to suggest that blindness is a badge of honour. Maybe, another interpretation from the one probably meant, blindness is the short journey and the longer journey is death? Especially if one goes for the bargain 36 cigarettes for 10 Euros?

By contrast, Camel persists with the primary colours campaign (seemingly the “Let’s Camel” campaign) and has moved away from the “Do your thing” nonsense. So, Camel eschews the health impacts by focusing on the top of the package. The tagline seems pretty meaningless “spontaneously simply ride into the blue” – rather literal, I know, but it sometimes works with German. In line with Winston and JPS, there are 35 cigarettes for a tenner.

I found another example of this campaign on one of those circular billboards which point out to the road. These can be hazardous to photograph for obvious reasons.

So this one (right) tells us that it really really tastes good. Having never smoked, I cannot vouch one way or the other for this claim. It is still deadly. Echt!

At last, something to smoke

 

It has been a quiet time on the cigarette advertising front. Those halcyon days of the Gauloises couple in the bath and the Pall Mall happy couples through the seasons. seem to have left us. The only narrative advertising at the moment is JPS (latest left). It’s couples again, one female, one male smoking, the other two watching them kill themselves. This time we are stuck in a queue on a dirt track of some description in Germany (check out the number plate); though there is some bunting on the side and a small roadside tent to suggest this is some festival thing. They have a cool box being used as a seat.

That is genius in comparison to West’s latest advertising. In-your-face West (right). Pretty  meaningless. “Gute Aussichten- Top Preis” Good view/outlook? This is all about price, though. 35 fags for 9 Euros. Red or silver. Made for good times, apparently.

And then there is…Down to Earth rolling tobacco. New up on billboards – though this one of an evening is obscured by a blue van. The campaign approach is not to disguise the harmful effects of tabacco; indeed, quite the opposite. They seem to be proud of their product’s contraceptive properties. Or even its carcinogenic qualities.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the following historical background to the product:

The company was founded in 1982 by Bill Drake, author of The Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco, Robert Marion, Chris Webster, and Eb Wicks, a plumbing contractor who took out a loan to finance the startup. In January 2002 the company was acquired by Reynolds American and is now a wholly owned independent subsidiary of Reynolds American, which is in turn 42% owned by British American Tobacco. Japan Tobacco announced in September 2015 that it acquired the right to sell Natural American Spirit products in markets outside the United States.

Just when I thought cigarette advertising was over in Germany…

…JSP is back with its “young people sitting outside” campaign. This bunch are seemingly moving house and having a cigarette in between the heavy lifting. As usual, two are smoking with the others looking on. The strapline does not make any sense to me “Mach den Umzug zum Umtrunk” – is that not something like “make the move to drink?” Whatever, it was not worth waiting for.

Another way of getting your five-a-day?

The virtues associated with eating vegetables and fruits are well known. It can be a bit messy all of that peeling, cooking, etc.

But at last the cigarette industry has come up with a much easier way of doing it. By smoking it. Or have I again misunderstood the meaning of BAT’s Cigarillo concept? Probably.

Camel tries to make its people more palatable?

I have been reporting that Camel’s “Do your Thing” campaign was all about putting some of the most unpleasant looking people on a poster smoking a cigarette – or threatening to. The campaign slogan could just as well have been “bollocks to you”.

The latest that I have found seems to be softening that with a woman sporting flowing long hair and who is either vigorously shaking her head or being confronted by a wind machine. Either way, “smoking is deadly” as the warning at the bottom maintains.

Tandem Tour 2018 Part 5: Dürnstein to Klosterneuburg/Vienna

I reluctantly observe that very large cruisers have replaced the barges along the Danube. They have their own particular bulky cargo that is decanted at points along the way. The towns and villages adjacent to the berths have spikes of activity as the visitors arrive en masse. So it was with Dürnstein, across the river from our campsite at Rossatz. It looked gorgeous at night illuminated, but the central area at peak time is congested. There are gift shops galore. And plenty of attempts at flogging of the local wine. We did find a bakery for breakfast, but even parking the tandem safely and out of the way was a bit of a task. Incidentally, just a little way out is a cyclists’ cafe, probably a better option.

We’d also been advised that the path on the north side was really nice. We can confirm that the south is probably better through Mautern rather than Krems. Krems has a historic western approach, but once the path reaches the prison (which riders cannot miss), then it is downhill from there. The path is incoherent and actually quite difficult to follow. We took the first post-Krems opportunity to cross the river back to the southern path over a relatively new bridge in the direction of Wagram where the cycle track is built under the roadway (right).

We think we were right to revert to the southern path. We found ourselves in a riverside restaurant at Traismauer, suitable for lunch. Then all very quiet until Tulln which is quite a resort. There is a camping site, a live stage floating on the river and a multi-activity park. As well as a bakery, naturally. It is also, as we noted, at the end of the S-Bahn to-and-from Vienna. It might not be a bad place to base oneself. However, we decided to go further to Klosterneuburg which is very much a suburb of Vienna. Another 20kms further and, by this time, we were feeling it. But Klosterneuburg has a great camping site, frequent trains to Vienna, and its own very particular brand of restaurants and cafes (including an icecream parlour where ridiculous quantities of icecream are loaded onto a way-too-small wafer cornet). It is fun to watch and delicious to eat. But impractical.

We took two days out in Vienna. The tickets by train to – and around – Vienna currently cost €9.30 (taking in trains, Underground, tram and bus). We visited a cafe that we had failed to get in during previous visits; namely Harvest (above left). We also visited the Jewish quarter and came across Rachel Whiteread’s holocaust memorial (right). A signature concrete construct with books to symbolise both knowledge and, of course, the Nazi penchant for book burning. It is fitting and just-about works. All of the Nazi death camps are listed around each of the four sides. Chastening.

Vienna is truly a gift for anyone interested in architecture. Whilst there are plenty of examples of imperial architecture associated with the Habsburgs, there is also quite a bit that is – and was at its time – rather challenging (particularly to the establishment). But eventually became accepted and then celebrated in the city. Take, for example, the Postsparkasse (left) built in 1904-12 by Otto Wagner. It is an imposing building and is not fancy apart from very small nodules being placed perfectly in vertical and horizontal lines. To see them, readers will need to click on the photograph and then enlarge. It should not work, but it does.

Wagner’s art nouveau and modernist architecture is not in short supply in the city. Wagner was a founder member of  revolutionary artists’ association, Vienna Secession. I suspect our next visit will take in all of these buildings in turn. Apparently we will be hunting down a number of residential properties, railway stations (U-Bahn) and the Danube Weir. The Postsparkasse is, clearly, not art nouveau, but apparently it is a masterclass in modernist interior as well as exterior. Seemingly everything from radiators, counters to desks and door handles are worthy of note.

For readers wanting to get back to Munich, we can report that the operator of the rail route between Vienna and Salzburg (Westbahn) does not accept tandems. So we had to come back with OBB and Deutsche Bahn via Leoben. Not the most direct route, and certainly not cheap. There is dedicated cycle space, however. It was wonderfully scenic. The ride in to Vienna to get to Hauptbahnhof took about an hour. The path takes riders past Hundertwasser’s power station (right) and then further along the Danube canal to Schweden Platz. From there one needs help as Hauptbahnhof is not well signposted. We resorted to Google Maps.