It’s not really low humour, and besides, I’m not one to reject humour.
As an encouragement for everyone to keep the environment clean (aside from personal and collective responsibility), the ubiquitous red garbage or waste bins throughout the city of Innsbruck are all tagged with a succinct sentence that’s amusing and punny. I don’t abide by the stereotype that the German language can’t be funny; instead, the stereotype persists because of lazy ignorant thinking.
Many small red waste-bins or garbage cans are located throughout the Tirolean capital. With a real chance to causing double takes, the different sayings on the bins is a mix of Austrian German and English, encouraging residents and visitors to use them as intended. The bins are emptied when city staff open them from underneath. This “attraction to waste” is not a unique phenomenon, as various other cities employ a similar trick; for example, in Hamburg and Berlin. But when a waste-bin urges people to feed it, I find it hard to look away.
From over 1200 submissions for a public city-wide competition for the best slogans, 20 were selected and unveiled in autumn 2010 (Innsbruck informiert, 2010: 15 Sept and 6 Oct). Theses mottos are on hundreds of bins in the city. Below are 17 out of 20 for a 85% completion rate, which is pretty good for a few days in and out of town.
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On a beautiful spring morning, I set out from Innsbruck in a search for physicist Erwin Schrödinger. What Isaac Newton is to classical physics; Erwin Schrödinger is to quantum physics. In a modest church cemetery in the centre of Alpbach lie the graves for Erwin and Annemarie Schrödinger.
At an elevation of 974 metres (3196 feet), Alpbach is situated along the Alpbach river and nestled among the surrounding Kitzbühel Alps (Kitzbüheler Alpen). Many of the town’s buildings have traditional architecture with wood moulded and ornamented balconies. With population about 2600, key activities consist of summer hiking and winter skiing via a number of cable cars to the surrounding mountains including Wiedersberger Horn. Known also as “the town of thinkers” (Das Dorf der Denker), the 21st-century glass-and-wood construction of the Congress Centre was designed for the purpose of fostering and strengthening intra-European communication and cooperation. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Alpbach has hosted since 1945 the European Forum Alpbach, held annually in August with more than 5-thousand people in attendance.
This for me is classic Tirolean alpine idyll. Next time, I’d like to come back and stay awhile.
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Above/featured: On the drive west from St. Johann in Tirol to the town of Going are the peaks Treffauer (2306 m), Ellmauer Halt (2344 m), Ackerlspitze (2329 m), and Maukspitze (2231 m).
Du bist die Krone über einem begnadet schönen Fleck Tiroler Erde.
(You are the crown above a beautiful patch of Tirolean soil.)
– About the “Koasa” as the Wilder Kaiser is known by residents, written by Fritz Schmitt in his 1982 book “Das Buch vom Wilden Kaiser.”
About 95 kilometres northeast from Innsbruck, the alpine landscape in Austria’s northeast Tirol is dominated by the Wilder Kaiser (“Wild Emperor”) mountains which tower over the towns of Söll, Scheffau, Ellmau, Going, and St Johann. From a distance, the wall of rock appears like a crown over the region. Thanks to the establishment of a nature reserve in 1963, there are no lifts or ski areas on the Wilder Kaiser mountains. The benefits is the development over time of a diverse array of alpine and subalpine flora and fauna. For those who must, lifts and ski areas are available to the south on the slopes of the Kitzbühel Alps.
This day trip to the “Koasa” consisted of:
- regional ÖBB/S-Bahn Tirol trains from Innsbruck to St. Johann in Tirol;
- drive to Going (am Wilden Kaiser) for tea, followed by artisan ice cream;
- drive to Scheffau and a walk around Hintersteinersee (Hinterstein Lake); and
- drive to Gasthof Pension Jägerwirt for beer.
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