Sunday, December 04, 2011

I am having a bit of a problem with history. Not even ancient history, just that of my own seven decades.

Forty years ago I was a regular house-guest in a lovely flat overlooking Zurich. When the weather was summery the television set would be wheeled out onto the very large balcony. One evening I was amazed that a sporting fixture... I think it must have been basketball... was being broadcast live from what was then the Soviet Union, from the land of Stakhanovite women of dubious femininity, where the suits worn by the politicians seemed to be fabricated from cardboard...

The twists and turns of history struck me again today when reading of the evacuation of 45 thousand residents of the German city of Koblenz in order to deal with the discovery made at low water on the Rhine of a 1.8 ton bomb dropped by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

And the day before yesterday while watching the rather unfathomable sport of biathlon on the television monitors at my usual café I was slightly discombobulated by the fact that the sponsor of the broadcasting from Ruhpolding (not an hour distant from Munich and understandably on manufactured snow) was Russian State Railways.

And the prestige trains of that operator... the Sapsan ('Peregrine Falcon') expresses shown above... are based on the German IC3 series trains... although widened by 33 centimetres for the Russian broad-gauge tracks... designed and built by Siemens. 

History, schmistory!

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