Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Angelico Austrian Adventure - define service ceiling?

This morning we woke in good spirits and proceeded downstairs. The interminable process of eating, the humans' favourite pastime, was soon over and we got on the bus. Unlike yesterday the skies were as blue as we try to make them in The Gondoliers and the sunshine was doing its job of illuminating everything. Midga made sure he had his camera with him, at least a few shots should come out well.

We had to pay extra for today's tour, but it was well worth it. The first stop was Krimml Falls - the most amazing series of waterfalls you could imagine. There was a walking trail to get up to the top, but we only made it about half way up before it was time to head back down again. Still, the views were stunning, and we saw several flowers that might have been edelweiss. On an unrelated note, Midga got to play with his camera a lot, including macro mode and lots of zoom.

As we got higher our rate of climb dropped. It took us about five minutes to do the last 25m, and since service ceiling is defined as the point where rate of climb at maximum takeoff power drops to 100ft/min we were well above our ceiling. At least we didn't need oxygen masks.

From there we went to Kitzbuhel, which is a skiing town but has enough people that aren't tourists with no sense of the value of a Euro that we were able to find a bakery selling apfelstrudel for a reasonable price. From the way the humans ate it I can well believe LeBeau would count it as his first choice for a means of using Treatment A on Schultz.

There was also a railway station, with a level crossing which had a long express setting so we got good warning of a train approaching. As a station it was nothing special (the stations on whatever network this is are very like ours - minimal facilities, bare concrete, etc) but we had two EMUs and two freight trains go through in the space of a lunchtime, which was perfect for taking advantage of the great photo weather.

The road to Kitzbuhel parallels an old narrow gauge line (it looked like about 2'0" or 2'6" when we crossed it), where diesel trains run regular services but during summer two trains a day are steam hauled. We passed one of each on the way, but photos from a moving bus aren't easy to take. The steam loco was a 2-8-0 with a four wheel tender. The driving wheels were tiny but the loading gauge was quite generous so I bet it had quite a decent bit of tractive effort. Probably the strangest thing was seeing narrow gauge rails on 100% concrete sleepers with deep ballast. It's like being in the Queensland coal fields but even more so.

What with the weather and the scenery (and the trains) it was probably the best day we've had yet, but there really isn't much to put into a blog post. So to pad it out I'd like to tell you all how funny it is to hear Midga trying to speak German.

Having lived his entire life speaking only one human language and one or two computer languages (apart from that brief episode in which he tried to learn French, with very mixed success), he is now madly pulling together everything he's absorbed unconsciously from the Goons, Biggles, various war movies and the technical specs of German planes and trains, and trying to use it in conversation. Guten morgen. Haben sie, bitte, ein T-Mobile SIM card? Nein? Danke schoen. Of course it helps that almost everyone speaks English, and that there are some conversations (Ullo. T-Mobile SIM card? Nah. OK.) which sound exactly the same in both langauges.

Interestingly, the guttural sounds we always expect to hear in a German phrase don't seem to be much in fashion here. Apparently that's mainly from the Swiss. Everyone here sounds just like Fraulein Hilda, even when they're locals talking to other locals rather than to foreign tourists trying to absorb the local culture.

But just like the French, they reward tourists who make an effort. Today when Asha ordered strudel in Kitzbuhel, she did it in German and was rewarded with a big dollop of whipped cream for no extra charge. (She couldn't finish it but she has a devoted husband who is always willing to help out with such things.)

Tonight there's a trivia quiz, with tour guide Spencer as quiz master. Should be fun! And tomorrow - Salzburg.

1 comment:

Talldad said...

Re: 2-8-0

A Consolidation, not quite a Mikado which is a 2-8-2.

Maybe Poo-Bah got the other 2?