Twice as fast = twice as nice

So today the dutch railways (NS) ran a one-time Amsterdam Berlin intercity service that was 27 minutes faster than the usual 6 hour 30 minutes Amsterdam Berlin intercity service. They achieved this by omitting all stops between Amsterdam and the German border (Hilversum, Amsersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Amelo and Henglo). According to the NS it should be possible to further reduce travel time to four hours by aquiring engines that are capable of running 200 km/h on the Dutch and the German rail…

Best library ad ever...

My friend Melanie send me this screenshot from her Facebook feed. An advert for the Public Library system of Villeurbanne in the style of a promotion flyer for an african healer. Not surprisingly i find this utterly brilliant……

Patrice on the Sarkozy/Schwarzenegger plan

Patrice (who refuses to have a web presence so i cannot link him) has some thoughtful comments on the recent french initiative to combat ‘casual illegal file sharing’ by having ISPs terminate internet connections of ‘persistent pirates’. Apparently ISPs have to monitor the data streams of their subscribers and report those who are engaging in file sharing to an ‘independent body’[1] who can then issue warnings and after two warnings order the ISPs to terminate the internet accounts of the ‘pirat…

i ❤️ kids

Have been writing about the low average age of the visible population of Lille two days ago. here is my absolute favorite inhabitant of the fine city of Lille. young upstanding citizen of asian origin escorting his mother back home from church on sunday morning:…

Lille 3000

Absolutely no idea why it is called lille 3000 and not some other arbitrary number, but apparently the local government decided that 3000 sounds mighty futuristic (and 2006 would be so last year in three months anyway) and here we go… I am also not sure if lille 3000 is the same as the ‘Bombaysers de Lille’ (the sexual pun is apparently intended) exhibition that was opened with much French pompousness this weekend. Like the city of lille the exhibition is definitely worth a visit: Ashok has a gr…

Portbou train station

Have always been fascinated with border towns. The fact that another national economy with other taxes and other social norms is just across the border/mountain/river/fence tends to have interesting effects on these places, and especially what is for sale in the stores and on the streets. Now my most favorite border town in Europe is Portbou on the border of Spain and France: The tiny shops in the even more tiny city center have ridiculous amounts of Pastis on sale (for the Frenchmen who live ju…

a2+b2=c2 - The French air traffic controllers are on strike...

… and thus you have to fly around french airspace when you are going from Amsterdam to Lisbon and back. Takes about an hour and twenty minutes more than the direct route, but creates a somewhat beautiful route display on the in-flight entertainment system: Also reminds me of a picture i took like three years ago in the train station in Strasbourg. you simply gotta love the french (seriously! for lots of reasons!)…