In visited the German City of Lindau on July 9 2012. I spent several days in this beautiful city on an island in Lake Constance (Bodensee) after leaving nearby Feldkirch in Austria. Lindau is a unique jewel of traditional architecture in southern Germany. All the area, Vorarlberg in Austria and also nearby Liechtenstein have many beautiful houses which date from many hundreds of years, but only Lindau is known to consist almost completely of houses conserved since medieval times, and this even in all of Germany.
I was surprised that, while talking to some Germans in Lindau, they would express their dissatisfaction not only with the economic situation but also with the German government’s negligence towards the city and the lack of interest on side of local and federal authorities about the proper conservation and restoration of the architecture jewels in this old city. It surprised me that virtual strangers would confide such things to me, a mere tourist, in the course of casual conversations. The problem is that there are apparent differences between the infrastructure of Germany and Austria, which appears far better maintained until now. Note: Click pictures to enlarge.
What must be mentioned when Germans complain about their authorities, the excessive taxes in the country and the pointed neglect of business and infrastructure by authorities is that the German government has been very busy during the last decades squandering the economic base and throwing the money of the country out of the window shovel-wise – that much must be clear to anybody who has followed news with minimal attention.
Among the more disgraceful “accomplishments” of the German regime during the last decade was to gift Israel with 6 submarines which have been re-equipped to carry nuclear weapons. The issue was object of a short, laudatory “controversy” in the German media earlier this year, in which it was stated that the “only 4” submarines cost “only” about 200 million Euro each. Outside Germany this disgraceful issue has been known for many years, and the prices mentioned are of about 500 Million Euro each. Apart from the moral decrepitude of the German regime, which is below contempt, what is interesting is that this gift happened during a time when the German population was subjected to increasing economic hardships, increasing taxes and creeping fascism.
While any German who expresses political views which are not of the liking of the regime risks being labelled a “right-extremist” or a “Neonazi”, the government loads the taxpayers with billions of Euros of costs for submarines capable of launching nuclear ICBMs being gifted to a terrorist and criminal organization posing as a state and which exhibits all the attributes of the evil NS-regime. At the same time infrastructure and historic jewels like Lindau slowly degrades because there is no money for its maintenance because the government has other, more important, interests.
This is apparent, for example, at the light tower in the harbour, which appears in postcards. From far away it is beautiful, but close-up and inside the building look in disrepair, having creaky stairs and filled with the graffiti and filth of a decade or more of heavy use by tourists.
Similar observations can be made for the railways of Germany. In Lindau, a touristic destination where room prices easily go over 100 EUR/night, the train station looks like it had not been overhauled since WW2 and most trains could easily have been leftovers bought from the Soviet Union. The contrast could not be greater to the rail systems of Austria and Switzerland. The Swiss trains look crisp and well-maintained, and in Austria most railway stations have been overhauled or rebuilt and a whole new generation of locomotives and wagons has been deployed during the last decade – it should be noted that traditionally these three countries have held great pride in having well-functioning and dependable railway systems which have also served as the backbone of these economies for the last century or so.
All the while Chancellor Angela Merkel, who apparently has better things to do than to care for the crumbling infrastructure of the very people and country who pay her extravagant salary, hangs out with the wheeled German minister of finances and her buddies from international high finance and signs away the German economy and indebts Germany to the tune of 100 Billion Euros “to save Spain” to be handed over the bankster cartels who have ruined the economies of the countries in the EU.
From Lindau I moved by train between the cities and villages of the region, spending my time looking at the architectural landmarks of ancient and modern, admiring the beauty of the landscape and the architecture. I walked between the fields and climbed mountains. I saw and enjoyed the beauty of the nature, the trickling water, the roar of thunderstorms and the rustle of leaves moved by summer breeze. I admired greatness of the tops of high mountains, the black and white clouds hugging valleys and dispersing in the beautiful scenery of natural art which can not be described in words and lines.
The shining flecks of white snow still littered the tops of the Alps, talking to the natural green of summer and defying the sun, flirting with the black and white clouds and sternly facing the hail of storms and thunder and rain.
The train was passing between mountains and high plains in the middle of the green forests and alpine pastures. From the window of the train I saw what scenes which I would never be able to see from the windows of an airplane. I saw picturesque lakes, running streams, beautiful homes surrounded by flowering roses. I saw a small cave and hay bales on fields waiting to be stored for the coming winter, I saw birds flying, cows and sheep grazing in the green pastures on the slopes of the mountains between woods.
During travel by train I listened to detailed explanation about many towns and places by my husband, who explained me the meanings of the names of the places we passed. Sometimes I laughed from my heart, and sometimes I listened with great attention and eagerness to his explanation. I laughed when he jokingly explained me the meaning of “Sulz” (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulz_(Vorarlberg).
When the train stopped in Rankweil, my husband told me: “From here comes the apple and orange juice which we drink. The products of Rauch in Rankweil are distributed in many countries throughout Europe and even in Arab countries”. Actually, Rauch is only one of many very successful companies delivering high-quality products which are established in the Austrian upper Rhine valley. The whole region, along with the Swiss side of the Rhine valley and Liechtenstein, is populated with high-tech companies, many of which are world-wide success stories and often enough leaders in their industry segment.
I stopped at Rankweil to visit Rauch factory some hundred meters from the station, where I was met by a friendly lady who gave me a product flyer. I took some pictures of this nice city and followed on my way to Bludenz.
I laughed about the funny accent of the announcer in the Liechtenstein bus, but this was actually cheerful laughing. After having been able to look at this corner of the world for a week, my impression is that these people, Swiss, Germans, Austrians, have built up an incredible success story with a combination of hard work, sticking to their traditions and respecting their heritage, using what they have with measure, and limiting external influence to an acceptable measure.
In Germany, the stark contrast between the lovingly kept private houses and businesses and the decaying public sector infrastructure can be attributed to a government which has left its people standing in the rain.
When I compare the area to my native Palestine, I see in Vorarlberg the same farmer mentality of the villages around Hebron, and I think that the Palestinians could have built our own success story if we hadn’t been abused and pestered every hour of the day for the past 70 years by the zionist occupation and betrayed by the PA, all under the connivance of most UN members.
I wish all these beautiful people only the best, that their success may continue and that industrialisation may continue being respectful of their heritage and traditions. I equally hope that Palestine may soon be ridden of the occupiers and those who collaborate with them.
Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state (Land) of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area (Vienna is the smallest) and population (Burgenland is less populated), it borders three countries: Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg via Lake Constance), Switzerland (Graubünden and St. Gallen) and Liechtenstein. The only Austrian federal state that shares a border with Vorarlberg is Tyrol to the east.
The capital of Vorarlberg is Bregenz (28,000 inhabitants), although Dornbirn (45,000 inhabitants) and Feldkirch (30,000 inhabitants) are larger cities in terms of population. Vorarlberg is also distinct in that it is the only province in Austria that does not speak an Austro-Bavarian, but rather an Alemannic dialect; it therefore culturally has much more in common with its Alemannic-speaking neighbors Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Swabia than with Bavaria and the rest of Austria. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorarlberg