Thursday, September 12, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

German psyche: Regensburg edition

The topic "everyday life and politics linked to Germany" gets a greater number of views than the analogous topic derived from "Czechia", perhaps because Germany's population is 8 times higher than Czechia's so let me post a not very groundbreaking text about a light topic.

Germans sometimes complain that we, the anti-Nazi allies, have completely destroyed the Germany's history of architecture.



Well, not so fast, there is a wholly preserved medieval town in Bavaria, Regensburg (153,000 people), and it's a gem. In 1943-1945, the Royal Air Force only bombarded Germany's largest aircraft company, Messerschmitt, and it was in a suburb of Regensburg (Neutraubling in the Southeast – which became a concentration camp for Germans expelled from Czechia's Sudetenland in 1945). If you're German, Austrian, or Bohemian and you've never spent a day in Regensburg, you should, like I did today. Well, we also went there in 1990 or so but it's a long time ago and I had no control over the places we would visit...

Click here for 380 pictures plus 5 videos. Please let me know if I forgot to remove some private stuff, access to other things, or the ability of users to edit or something like that.



Regensburg is the German twin city of my hometown of Pilsen (170,000 people). I plan to persuade the mayors to give some teeth to the friendship status – e.g. to make the Regensburg public transportation and top tourist spots completely free for the Pilsner folks and vice versa! It would actually be cool, ultimately positive, and it would carry almost no expenses because the cities are still some 200 km away and not too many people go from one to the other.



Pilsen owes a lot to Regensburg (CZ: Řezno) and Nuremberg (CZ: Norimberk) – the New Pilsen was founded in 1295 as a cleverly chosen hub on the trade routes between Prague and Nuremberg+Regensburg. Regensburg and the Upper Palatinate (DE: Oberpfalz, CZ: Horní Falc) mattered a lot more than 1,000 years ago (although the upper one was only named in this way in the 14th century). Shortly after 863 AD when the Orthodox missionaries arrived to Christen the proto-Czechs and then other Slavs, Bohemia was converted to Catholicism and for a while, the Regensburg Archdiocese was directly controlling the (early Catholic) religious life in all of Bohemia – well, before Prague got its own archbishop.

(Oops, now I see that 14 Czech princes/knížat voluntarily [globally unique] came to Regensburg to be baptized along with cohorts on January 13th, 845, i.e. two decades before Cyril and Methodius. This makes our usual claims that we got the Christianity from the Byzantine Empire look very misleading.)

Regensburg has the oldest stone bridge – which was partly used as an inspiration for the newer Charles Bridge in Prague and other structures. Well, the Charles Bridge is much more structured and full of statues etc., the Regensburg bridge is boring. But the Regensburg bridge is much cleaner.

Folks from the Pilsner Region may also go to Regensburg by train. There is a special ČD ticket for CZK 279 (some €11) that covers unlimited daily trains within the Pilsner Region and in the reverse Sudetenland ;-), i.e. in some border regions of Saxony and Bavaria that reach up to Amberg, Regensburg, and a few more limiting cities. The train route from Pilsen/Prague to Regensburg is highly suboptimal – it goes through Furth im Wald, a border town, and a nearby Cham, but then to Schwandorf (North of Regensburg) before reaching Regensburg. Because Cham-Schwandorf-Regensburg is basically an equilateral triangle, you may see how much time is wasted.

Some trains serving the "Western Express" between Prague and Munich are mostly Czech, others are mostly German. When you cross the border, you can't even notice. The audio messages are played in Czech, English, and German basically at all times. Well, the German ticket inspectors in the Czech trains look really casually dressed. There was also a drunk homeless guy who spoke to me for one hour. His German was not only drunk but it was probably also the authentic Bavarian language so I had no chance to understand him. But every 4th word would be "Pyramiden". He was saying something like I was possessing pyramids – for one hour – what did it mean? Jawohl, I made sure that he wasn't too disappointed by my failure to understand.

So I thought he had thought that I had to be richer than him, and therefore the operator of a pyramid scheme. That was my best theory for a while. But only when I was returning, I finally looked at the map app and a much more likely conjecture emerged. He had probably visited Czechia – although I am unable to reconstruct where he joined the train – and the train goes through Babylon near Domažlice/Taus. I remember he had said "Babylon" as well but less frequently than "Pyramiden". If my thinking had been faster and I had found the Czech-geography explanation on the spot, I could have told him that there had been no pyramids in Babylon, only the Babylonian Tower! ;-) I actually did say that pyramids were in Egypt but he hadn't cared. We used to swim in the Czech Babylon during some pioneer camp as kids. We also have many Czech places called Jordan, Hamburg, Ostende, Czech Switzerland, Big America, and many more.



OK, at any rate, Regensburg is both the only preserved medieval German town – which is why UNESCO protects it – as well as an example of a standard impressive German city that just works. It feels very fresh. You may see that basically all facades are clean and light. (The cement etc. is probably produced directly on the street when buildings are being fixed – maybe nations like mine haven't figured out that it may be done in this way?) But there's something else you should realize: almost all the facades are flat and boring, usually bounded by rectangles or octagons – occasionally with precise circles or arcs.

The German architecture is incredibly simple, straightforward, and functionalist. Well, I say "functionalism" and "functionalism" in Europe really started in Czechoslovakia of the late 1920s (although the pioneering architects tended to be German). But there's a sense in which the medieval German architecture was precisely functionalist, too. I almost see no difference. Many buildings in Regensbrg may be older than some other buildings in Pilsen but the Regensburg structures look newer because they're effectively functionalist – while the Pilsner buildings have a lot of complicated shapes on them. Such functionalist houses were built at all times – while Pilsen of the 19th century was all about neo-Gothic, neo-Baroque, Art Noveau, secession etc. – much more complex or contrived styles.

I can feel the psychology of the Nazis who emphasized that kind of German functionalist architecture – and the admiration for the "Germany that just works" that existed even outside Germany – because Nazism took this kind of approach to the limit. I believe that this kind of architecture distracts the people less so they may focus on other things. So yes, the more you go to the East, starting from Slavs and Eastern Europe, continuing through Turkey etc. but ending in India etc., the more you see round shapes, complicated shapes, colors, and assorted complex decoration on buildings. I think that these things may be nice – but they also automatically devour the energy of the onlookers – and because Germany has avoided these things since the Middle Ages, it could have been more efficient than it would otherwise be.

Well, I must say that the St Peter Cathedral is a stunning counterexample to these claims – it has as many complexities as you can imagine and it's basically a sibling of the St Vitus Cathedral inside the Prague Castle.

Cars look similar in Regensburg and Pilsen – the only difference is the vastly greater number of Mercedeses and Teslas in Regensburg (e.g. electric taxis which are Teslas). We have no Teslas in Czechia and Mercedes is far from the bestselling brands in Czechia because it's still too expensive for most buyers. But the other cars look similar – and of course, I saw numerous Škodas over there, too.

Well, one Škoda had a Prague plate, the family was eating their own food, so I immediately made a joke with my self-confident Lumogerman – telling them that they must pay a fine for eating in the street. Too bad, they didn't understand a word. A Russian family rented the car in Prague where they started the tourism. When I switched to Russian, I no longer had the energy to redo the joke, especially because I think that Russians aren't trained to similar pranks. So when I did similar jokes with others, I made sure that those people actually spoke Czech – three groups only.

And the inhabitants ride bikes – the number of bikes (and bike paths) in the city is huge. There are lots of bikes in Czechia but there's a difference. A bike is really viewed as a sport by most Czechs – and a big portion of Czechs does this sport – something you do in a leisure time and you are more expected to sweat during the activity. So when you see bikes in Czechia, and the number isn't negligible, they're dressed as "athletes" and the bikes usually look athletic, too. On the other hand, in Germany or at least Regensburg, it's really a mean of transportation. I have lots of understanding for that – in that respect, I would be a typical German because that's how I use a bike, too.

In the 1990s, I would still find it wonderful to see how many inhabitants of Regensburg use their bikes to get through the city etc. But I can't be enthusiastic about it anymore. When I think "what are the reasons why this person or another rides a bike", I end up believing that most of them actually do so because of some insane environmental propaganda – or even the global warming religion. They have either been brainwashed to believe that fossil fuels are harmful – or they are terrified by someone who dislikes fossil fuels. And I am terrified by the huge influence that the anti-fossil-fuel loons have accumulated. The numerous bikes are just a "human face" that the green totalitarianism has painted over its monstrous face.

Quite generally, I think that one can feel lots of fear in the air. Fear is probably partially explaining the German discipline. Even a trivial, non-environmental thing may be an example of it: I look at the girls etc., think about what I see, and sometimes I turn my head to stare at a girl AB. Another girl XY sees it and makes some facial gestures indicating that I have made some mortal sin. XY is also cute and sort of attractive so I sit next to XY and stare at her a little bit, too. Would she call police because of that? ;-) Maybe but this is a kind of a risk that I am simply willing to take. And I think that most Germans avoid such a thing as the devil avoids a cross, or whatever is the English version of that idiom. The German society looks rather scared. The drunk homeless guy was one of the three "seemingly happiest" people over there. The other two were blonde girls in the train back from Munich to Prague (Prague was just one stop, they had plans for Greece, Malta, Spain, and more). Their discussion was enthusiastic and happy – on par with similar Czech students. But those are girls who are traveling outside Germany so they have seen people from more relaxed nations etc. I think that most Germans are rather isolated in this sense and they don't realize how anomalous their uptight approach to life is.

There are some blacks (starting with the "Czech" train) and Arabs over there but I wouldn't call it emergency in Regensburg. However, when I was approaching the old stone bridge, the whole city heard an extremely loud siren. It could have been a terrorist attack or a nuclear blast but now I see that it was probably a scheduled drill. Yes, the filename of my video shows it was exactly at 11 am. We have more friendly sirens in Czechia at noon – on the first Wednesday of every month.

Germans have always been focusing on their discipline and work ethics – while not enjoying themselves too much – but I think that in the present, this bias has reached new extremes because it was amplified by the politically correct discipline.

P.S.: I am no longer sure there are more than one Tesla. The Tesla model S85 in the morning and in the afternoon was the same one, the plate number R TS 904, and I could even easily find out that the driver on several pictures is Werner Koller? LOL. It's too hard for too visible men to hide too well from too experienced Internet users. ;-)

Add to del.icio.us Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (0) :