| Entry 9 of 49
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I was in a bit of a flap at this Paris railway station because the platform is not announced until 20 minutes before departure. Being rather more used to British Railways, no platform is normally a sign of foreboding, but not in this case. We departed on time (1524hrs) and have enjoyed the spacious seats in first class. The price of the food (snack bar prices) is however a horror. We have not been able to resupply since Morrisons, Troon, which seem a long time ago. We will have to wait until Munich and survive on crisps, chocolate biscuits, water and the last of the Spanish wine. The fine Morrisons Italian style bread with olive oil and tomatoes was eaten for lunch en route to Paris.
Well these were my thoughts at 1700hrs until train staff announced that international first class passengers would be served a meal at their seat (including wine or beer). The Burnett family morale has improved considerably. The airline style meal filled a space and father swapped pudding for white fish and ended up with three bread rolls. Fathers are supposed to be a bin for unwanted food, which would of course be a sin to waste! The red wine was not at all bad.
The internet is a little unreliable at times. I tried around a dozen sites to try and establish the distance (in miles) from Paris to Munich. As answers have ranged from 427 to 516, I will use a rough average of 472 miles. The journey takes approximately six hours, giving an average speed of 79 mph. Not quite what I had in mind but a lot more comfortable and quicker than driving.
"A French high-speed train (TGV) has smashed the world record for a train on conventional rails by a big margin, reaching 574.8km/h (356mph).
The previous TGV record was 515km/h (320mph), set in 1990.
The record attempt by a modified TGV took place on a track between Paris and the eastern city of Strasbourg. The train travelled almost as fast as a World War II Spitfire fighter at top speed."
BBC News - 3rd April 2007
Today our journey took us from Paris to Munich (Munchen) via Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Ulm & Augsburg.
The city of Strasbourg has quite an interesting history. As a settlement it dates from pre-Roman times but became a strategic outpost of Empire facing Germanic tribes. Since the fall of the Roman Empire in the west it has been a prize fought over by various tribes that we now recognise as the French & Germans. In 1262 Strasbourg broke free from the control of the ruling bishop and became an independent imperial city, which developed into a republic.
"In the 1520s during the Protestant Reformation...the city embraced the religious teachings of Martin Luther... Strasbourg was a centre of humanist scholarship and early book-printing in the Holy Roman Empire and its intellectual and political influence contributed much to the establishment of Protestantism as an accepted denomination in the southwest of Germany (John Calvin had spent several years as a political refugee in the city). Together with four other free cities, Strasbourg presented the confessio tetrapolitana as its Protestant book of faith at the Imperial Diet of Augsburg in 1530."
Unfortunately Strasbourg's independent status was crushed when the city was annexed by King Louis XIV of France in 1681. This situation continued until the city was annexed by Prussian forces in 1871 and became part of the German Empire. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 returned Strasbourg to France, but the Germans reclaimed it in 1940, only to lose it to again in 1944. Every annexation or reclamation has caused great trauma to the local population and infrastructure. But at least with the advent of the European Union the wars between France and Germany should be a thing of the past.
"The European Parliament represents, in the words of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, 'the peoples of the States brought together in the European Community'. Some 375 million European citizens in 15 countries are now involved in the process of European integration through their 626 representatives in the European Parliament.
The first direct elections to the European Parliament were held in June 1979 when, 34 years after the end of Second World War, for the first time in history, the peoples of the nations of Europe, once torn apart by war, went to the polls to elect the members of a single parliament. Europeans could have devised no more powerful symbol of reconciliation.
The European Parliament, which derives its legitimacy from direct universal suffrage and is elected every five years, has steadily acquired greater influence and power through a series of treaties. These treaties, particularly the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, have transformed the European Parliament from a purely consultative assembly into a legislative parliament, exercising powers similar to those of the national parliaments. Today the European Parliament, as an equal partner with the Council of Ministers, passes the majority of European laws - laws that affect the lives of Europe's citizens."
As a strange by-product of European peace, the European Parliament meets for some of its sessions in Strasbourg (12 x 4 day plenary sessions), whilst the majority of business in conducted in Brussels. This is clearly not a cost effective arrangement but it is better than the possibility of conflict between European neighbours.
We crossed the river Rhine at 1800hrs and passed into Germany.
"Karlsruhe is the seat of the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and the highest Court of Appeals in civil and criminal cases, the Bundesgerichtshof."
We stopped at Stuttgart at around 1910hrs. This is the capital of the Baden-Wurttemberg administrative region. Once the seat of the Counts of Wurttemberg, it was severely damaged by allied bombers during WW2. It is after all an important rail junction connecting the Danube with Northern Germany and the Rhine. It also has a large Daimler-Benz car plant. On a more positive note it has a large publishing industry and is a centre for wine production.
We stopped in Ulm around 2015hrs. Ulm was declared an imperial city by Friedrich Barbarossa in 1181. In 1803 it lost its status as an imperial city and in 1805 the city was captured by Napoleon following the Battle of Ulm. Less of a battle and more of a strategic envelopment, the events of Ulm generally refer to Napoleon's manoeuvring to surround Ulm and the subsequent Austrian surrender.
"In 1805, the United Kingdom the Austrian Empire, Sweden, and the Russian Empire formed the Third Coalition to overthrow the French Empire. When Bavaria sided with Napoleon, the Austrians, 72,000 strong under General Mack von Leiberich, prematurely invaded while the Russians were still marching through Poland. The Austrians expected the main battles of the war to take place in northern Italy, not Germany, and intended only to protect the Alps from French forces.
Napoleon had 177,000 troops of the Grande Armee at Boulogne, ready to invade England. They marched south on August 27 and by September 24 were in position facing General Mack, around Ulm, from Strasbourg to Weibenburg in Bayern. On October 7, Mack learned that Napoleon planned to march round his right flank so as to cut him off from the Russians who were marching via Vienna. He accordingly changed front, placing his left at Ulm and his right at Rain, but the French went on and crossed the Danube at Neuburg.
Trying to extricate himself, Mack attempted to cross the Danube at Gunzburg, but clashed with the French VI Corps at Elchingen on October 14 in the Battle of Elchingen. The Austrians lost 2,000 men and returned to Ulm. By October 16, Napoleon had surrounded Mack's entire army at Ulm, and three days later Mack surrendered with 30,000 men, 18 generals, 65 guns, and 40 standards."
Our last stop before Munich was Augsburg (2100hrs). This is another interesting German city with an extensive history. Founded on the orders of the Roman Emperor Augustus in 15 BC, Augsburg later became an Imperial Free City under the protection of the Holy Roman Emperor (1276 AD). Like Strasbourg, Augsburg adopted the Protestant faith and is famous for the Confession of Faith submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530.
"Most Invincible Emperor, Caesar Augustus, Most Clement Lord: Inasmuch as Your Imperial Majesty has summoned a Diet of the Empire here at Augsburg to deliberate concerning measures against the Turk, that most atrocious, hereditary, and ancient enemy of the Christian name and religion, in what way, namely, effectually to withstand his furor and assaults by strong and lasting military provision; and then also concerning dissensions in the matter of our holy religion and Christian Faith, that in this matter of religion the opinions and judgments of the parties might be heard in each other's presence; and considered and weighed among ourselves in mutual charity, leniency, and kindness, in order that, after the removal and correction of such things as have been treated and understood in a different manner in the writings on either side, these matters may be settled and brought back to one simple truth and Christian concord, that for the future one pure and true religion may be embraced and maintained by us, that as we all are under one Christ and do battle under Him, so we may be able also to live in unity and concord in the one Christian Church."
The document is a compilation of the chief articles of faith of the Lutheran Church and the 'abuses corrected', which separate them from the Church of Rome.
"Inasmuch, then, as our churches dissent in no article of the faith from the Church Catholic, but only omit some abuses which are new, and which have been erroneously accepted by the corruption of the times, contrary to the intent of the Canons, we pray that Your Imperial Majesty would graciously hear both what has been changed, and what were the reasons why the people were not compelled to observe those abuses against their conscience."
It reminds me of later theological statements, such as the 'Scots Confession' of 1560.
"As the Scottish Parliament met on 1 August 1560 they were presented with a petition for the abolition of Popery, according to Brown, ‘Parliament wanted to know what they were to put in the place of the Romish error. It was not their part to formulate a Confession of Faith..."
"In answer to the first request, the Parliament directed the Protestant ministers to draw up a Confession of Faith. This was done hastily, though not without mature preparation, in four days, by John Knox and his compeers. The document was read twice, article by article, and ratified by the three estates, August 17, 1560, 'as a doctrine grounded upon the infallible Word of God.'... The adoption of the Confession was followed (Aug. 24, 1560) by acts abolishing the mass, the jurisdiction of the pope, and rescinding all the laws formerly made in support of the Roman Catholic Church and against the Reformed religion. A messenger was dispatched with the Confession to Queen Mary, in Paris, to secure her ratification, but was not graciously received. Her heart's design was to restore in due time her own religion."
The Presbyterian Scots were rather more radical than the Lutheran Germans. I would liked to have got out and explored some of the Lutheran churches around Augsburg but time does not allow on this trip. How many times have I said this before? Perhaps when I retire? We pressed on towards Munich.
It was rather tired Burnett’s who gave up the luxury of 1st class and walked down the platform at Hauptbahnhof Munchen at 2138hrs. Not a single train had let us down on this trip from Belfast to Munich.
"The first German railway line ran between Nürnberg and the lesser known town of Fürth in Bavaria. The locomotive's name was "Adler": Eagle. Only a few dozen of years after Napoleon was defeated by guns and cavalry at Waterloo the Bavarian King Ludwig I had the first train station built in Munich, not very far from the site of the present building. This building burnt down only a couple of years after its inauguration, and King Ludwig had his renowned architect Gärtner build a new, larger one - 110 meters long. This building came into use around 1850 and barely met the needs of mass transportation that exploded around the 1880s. The building received several new annexes. During World War II it was heavily damaged by allied flight squadrons and had to be torn down after the war. In around 1960 the construction of the new building, which is still in use, was finished. In the 80ies, the interiors of the station were drastically modernized."
We headed for the Munchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund (MVV) – if we call it the local U Bahn & S Bahn system you will get the drift. I had already printed out a route with schedules and costs, thanks to the English version of the MVV website. This helped us negotiate the ticket machines and find our way to the right trains. We travelled the short distance from Hauptbahnhof Munchen to Sendlinger Tor (U1) and then changed to take the U3 to Thalkirchen (Tierpark or Zoo). With written directions provided by the YHA Munchen Park we eventually arrived at around 2220hrs – very good time indeed.
I want to show the girls a range of accommodation on this trip from hostels to upmarket boutique properties. So we are starting with the YHA and making our own beds – all character building stuff. But enough for today, it is time to turn in.
| Entry 9 of 49
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