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small gray square A bit of discouragement Sunday - the plan was a visit to Wasserburg, out in the country, but my goal was frustrated. The cheap weekend railpass worked fine, but it turns out the "old town" of Wasserburg is miles from the new train station, and no buses on Sunday. I set out walking, but it became cloudy and started raining, so I retreated, to spend the gray afternoon in heated trains and waiting rooms, reading.

small red square So I tried again yesterday, and Wasserburg is great! Its a small medieval town on the land surrounded by the Inn River as it makes a hairpin turn. A single bridge crosses the river, entering the town through what looks like a great fortress, called the Brucktor ("bridge-gate"). Many of those arched arcades line the streets - it was a fun place, and Im glad I made the extra effort to get there. Plus the necessary bus riding Ive been doing has been an interesting alternative to the train - I took an alternate, longer route to get there, transferring from rail to "coach" back at Rosenheim. Not sure why I wanted to go there, but I think the catalyst is a picture in an old "National Geographic" <1>. Go "Touristik" at this site to see photos of the town.

small yellow square Last night in the "Tegelmann" supermarket I did what Jerry Seinfeld called an "impulse not-buy" <2> which turned into an incident. At the checkout I decided I didn't want those cookies, so I said so, figuring the hefty register-clerk would just scan it again and my total would be reduced, but no.

"Nix," I insisted.
"Nichts?" she asked. "Nichts?!"

She paused, then started fidgeting with the cookies' packaging, hoping I'd relent, but I stood firm. Eventually some chatter occurred between her and the clerk in the next aisle, who had overseer capability, as it turned out. She passed a bundle of keys across, something was unlocked and the item scanned again - but I still had to pay the original total. Only after that transaction was I refunded the cookies' price, with that gesture I've decided is the European cashier's method of expressing contempt: many coins of smaller denomination are rendered, rather than using larger ones (which are obviously available).

small cyan square This trip has now passed the chronological half-way point, and Im feeling weary. Not just aching from all this walking - yesterday I pulled, sprained or strained a muscle around my right rear hip, which is making walking up stairs a particular trial. If it gets worse the situation's potentially disastrous, so Im taking Advil and trying to take it easy.

small orange square Im writing this in a dim bar called the Cafeteria Nikolai in Villach, Austria. In the back room two small computers are set up on a table; I can hear the dice tossed in a backgammon game being played in the front. This town looks like nothing familiar, yet I was here with L twenty years ago - we spent a cold night in a tent somewhere here before resuming our train travels south the next day. Tomorrow I head in a slightly different direction, destination: Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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small violet square What's this song I'm hearing which incorporates samples from "You Only Live Twice"? Its those Muzak-y strings from the soundtrack version of the Nancy Sinatra song - just heard it again.

nichts - not
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<1> June 1959 - "Modern Miracle, Made In Germany"

<2> "Now that I'm all grown up I love the supermarket - buy whatever I want. And if I don't want it I set it down anywhere - I don't care if the manager's looking right at me. 'Yeah, those are my peaches on the PennZoil - what of it?. You've heard of impulse shopping? Well, instead of an Impulse Buy, that was an Impulse Not-Buy.' "