I must say the most exciting part of the day was our visit to EMPA. There are many very innovative and fascinating things being done there. An acoustic curtain with numerous holes of varying lengths and sizes which put echoes to shame stopping them dead in their tracks. Can you imagine socks that are so incredibly smooth that friction no longer exists and therefore blisters stay right out of the neighborhood of your tootsies! They are already being used by the Swiss military who I suppose decided it would be a cheaper investment then the constant re supplying of band-aids. A this point this writer put a question forward to do with the socks in connection with the acoustic curtain….I’m going to keep this to myself, mwa ha ha ha simply because our guide through this wonderful tour liked the idea. And then there is a sheet to be used in hospitals to alleviate the problems of decubitus. In fact, the decubitus never even gets a chance with this particular material because it warns the nurse to turn the patient.
There is even something for violinists! Having a fungus among us in our violins is actually a good thing. Why? In the days of the Stradivarius it seems that a particular fungus attacked the trees used to construct the Strads giving the violins their particularly rich sound. In the contemporary construction of violins one misses this richness of sound. EMPA has found a way to introduce the fungus to the wood and constructed a violin which was then compared to a Strad and the sound was the same!!!! How about that!!!! Fascinating!!!! From fungi and Strads we were shown the breakdown of a mobile phone right down to the nano particles explaining they had as yet no way to save those np’s from going to waste simply because they could not be “caught.” This writer came up with yet another question/idea and the young lady was then told by our guide she should be writing this down. No, I’m going to keep that under my belt as well;-) Our guide continued telling about bullet proof vests that would actually keep the wearer cool which in itself is pretty cool unless your the cop or maybe the perp who is caught because the cop is cooled! The last thing had to do with orthopedic implants and then we went downstairs, took a test and had something to drink and off we went to the following place. EMPA, you need to think about cross over between labs to find more novel solutions to problems. In other words cooperation between differing labs. Or just call me….
We arrived in Gossau where we would have lunch. The was something for the vegetarians like myself but unfortunately it was disappointing. However, a woman witnessed me kick a bollard in frustration and sheer hunger and walked over asking what the trouble was. Gordon and I explained and she took us on a whirlwind run to a small restaurant that had closed, brought us round the back, walked in and asked if they could throw a couple of salads to take away for us. The owner of the restaurant, after hearing the explanation from Helena, immediately did the deed where upon Helena led us back to the WAVE area and off we drove. Helena, you are our hero of the day and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!!!
Baden was our next and final stop of the day at the APP, the company that develops and builds the Chademo chargers for electric vehicles. The mayor spoke and he has a full plate what with the greening in all its facets of Baden. A brave and determined man and I wish him strength and determination in his endeavor to further green his city. It’s been another long day and now we are in the youth hostel by the river listening to its flow of white noise in the night. An early morning will bring us to the Zurich Festival. Tomorrow will also bring that report.
Making a bead for the next town within this run of towns an Audi pulled out of its house with its owner at the wheel right in front of us. The Audi was colored gold and this proved to be the first clue that its driver was a colossal psychopathic barf brain. He drove slowly and we needed to pass him. At the moment we were next to him he hit the accelerator. We saw an oncoming car and darted back behind him. At that very instant the jerk hit the brakes which led to Gordon hitting the brakes which, by the way, work better than any brakes I have ever encountered. We tried to pass again and apparently this moth eaten ding-a-ling liked summer repeats and did the same thing. This happened a total of four times, the last one being when he suddenly decided to hit his brakes 15 meters before the green light. An elderly man on the sidewalk looked at the gold Audi with utter confusion. Thankfully he turned off to some side street and we could continue. We eventually came to a town called Rorschach which is most likely where that particular test was developed. It seemed this was the best place for our gold Audi fortzengorgle to be tested for vehicular homicidal tendencies. It was time to head for the hills and the hills turned out to be a youth hostel…more tomorrow, the day has been long, the terrain beautiful and the kids were a lot of fun.
The road had to be hit by 07:00 Jack and we were ready to hammer that sucker. Gps’ing the mountain road and we were stopped dead in our tracks by a road block weighted down making clear the gravity of the situation, the road chewed and effectively made rabid we made for the proverbial hills and the aid of a local. Zell Am Ziller was now in our sights. The goal reached we charged the batteries including our own with lattes under dark green umbrellas baking in the sun. Thankfully there was a reticent breeze but we had to keep moving and get to Innsbruck in the middle of town in a stone square and nary a tree big enough to provide shade. Frankly this shocks me every single solitary time!!! Those stone covered city squares reach a colossal 65*C and there is no one who can tell me they find this delightful. Trees would cool those city squares and, in fact, the cities themselves. The human over heated grump n drop factor would decline dramatically in city dwellers!!!! And then one must take into consideration that on a world wide scale this planet would no longer be suffering an ultimately deadly fever if we would simply replenish our rain forests around the world. In fact, the Growing Air Foundation is busy with this and the more people, corporations, banks etc join in we can cool our planet down.
Landek was our next stop of the day and another small square covered in cement/stone with umbrellas providing the shade…….how wearisome this is….I don’t wish to harp but trees would provide not only shade they would also provide a pleasant cooling affect. Our cement, stone, tarred, glass, bricked cities have become death traps and that includes the fossil fuel guzzlers dumping their heat, fine particulates, and let’s face it poison into the air. Trees, the replanting of our rain forests and sustainable vehicles are the present and future for a healthy planet!
The battery was finally charged and we could leave Landek for Tsent and we would be taking Louis with us. The back seat was reorganized in record time and looked very respectable although some things threatened to attack anyone attempting to sit next to the tidy pile of suitcases, bags, and other paraphernalia. Louis stepped inside, closed the door, I moved my seat forward to accommodate his long legs and Gordon began to drive to Tsent. Louis hardly had a moment to breathe
As we came into the town the band began to play and we all disembarked. Louis headed for the Mayor, Gordon headed for the plug box and I headed for what ever might be headed for completely headless from lack of sleep causing me to be heady. However one must look towards the future and head for the next hill which in this case was the next mountain, namely La Punt. We were given a fabulously informative verbal tour of the beautiful areas we passed as well as information of the protected forest visible from the road in all its majesty. Again upon arrival and on our last juice bar of electricity Louis disembarked, Gordon began the pluggers progress and I wondered how bunkers could be above ground and came to the conclusion that the only way to enter them in order to bunk for the night was…..the bunkers must be hydraulically lifted, a monumental feat of Swiss engineering and then lowered again. We entered the building turned the corner and there in a large room was a long table decked out with the most wonderful buffet in the world pretty much most of it vegetarian! A dream come true and I stood there gobsmacked and slack jawed at this delight for the eyes and stomach. It was absolutely scrumptious and I will add many many thanks to our hostess for this phenomenal meal.
After our WAVE photo on the bridge in Weissensee we headed out for Heilingenblut…..yes….that silly angst about vampires since it still means holy blood or could actually mean blood of the saints. Considering the altitude to which we were being elevated and the literally dizzying affect it had one begins to understand the full meaning of those words.
The air becomes thinner the higher you go and so you become dizzy because of the low oxygen level in your blood. Well, since this writer hails from Amsterdam which is below sea level offering one the inevitable idea that the Dutch have truly overly oxygenated blood climbing ever higher to reach this berg has made me, for the first time, oops another first, an extremist. Heilingenblut welcomed us with a speech, ladies in traditional dress, sandwiches off various wild meats and others with cheese and tomato. The vehicles were being charged and a beeline was made to a small supermarket for a few very needed things. Gordon bought a typical Austrian hat which happened to suit him as well as a handful, of various flower seeds from the area. I searched for a baseball cap style hat in white to shield my brain from the baking sun. Within a couple of hours we began the climb to the Großglokner Pass/ Franz Jozef Glacier. This was going to be a climb of immense proportions and Gordon’s advice to eat sweets and drink water certainly helped and even if it hadn’t the task of doing both kept me so busy that I might not have noticed the altitude sickness gripping my brain. However the altitude also produced positive eye popping views the likes of which I had never seen. Oh dear, there we go again, another first. I have never been up that high in the open air and it was majestic. And that dear reader is a limp description of what was witnessed. Majestic begins to tickle the edge of the proper description for it was far more.
To stand up there and look upon the glacier and know in your gut that the glacier has grown smaller and the negative affect we, mankind, have had on this blue planet is mind boggling. It is a physical pain that brings one to tears seeing what every member of the WAVE has witnessed today on that glacier is something that every single member of mankind must witness. To ignore it or hide from it and not speak up and act is a crime against life, all life and only condones the crimes against nature. The criminals must be stopped, punished and as far as this writer is concerned forced to see the damage they have done and be made to pay to repair it, to bring forward the cure in the form of the Double Edged Sword Against Climate Change. Our blue planet, our home must have the prescription filled immediately for reforestation of our rain forests and the implementation of sustainable energy in the form of solar and wind now!
We were in Aibl and needed to drive to Torborgen in Aibl where we could have a lunch and leave according to a schedule whereby teams left in an alternative order of appearance. Cars were being charged, speeches were being made, people milling about photographing the cars, asking for autographs. Another first for me….was I now what I call a famousy? An odd experience what with a paper WAVE flag stuck in my hair which as time rolled on looked more and more like a birds nest. The flag would surely attract a tenant now. Before that happened, however, we had mounted our trust steed and we were off and driving to the next destination, 60 kilometers down the road Völkermarkt on the Hauptplatz where we would recharge all the cars and enjoy a stupendous vegetarian lunch of of Käse Nudeln (cheese noodles) that are the local specialty. They look similar to Italian ravioli and the herbs, the sauce the texture the…the.the, they were awesomely delicious and a delight like angels dancing on your tongue. The salad was equally delightful and refreshing.
Weissensee appeared on the horizon after a drive of 64 kilometers through some beautiful landscapes. We arrived by the skin of our teeth. Having heard this term many times the revelation that teeth could even have skin was truly amazing. There they were bare to the world and our eyes were filled with a most beautiful town. Stupendously green, staggering skies of rarely seen stars and the Milky Way baring down in gentle folds of gossamer in the night sky. The lake shimmered sneaking up on the ducks taking a lazy midnight stroll on the water as someone stood fishing on a small wharf. It was there that in a large hall an astounding presentation was given by Raphael Domjan about Planet Solar and his story of how this magnificent ship was built and sailed around the world.
Afterwards there were prizes awarded and we, Team 20, won the prize for best design. Our day was further made by the night sky as described above. The following morning we all gathered on the bridge for a WAVE photo and then we were off to Heilingenblut which means holy blood leaving one with a vague angst about vampires which we would discover to be totally unfounded. Read the next blog to find out why!