Tag Archives: Germany

Thursday Doors: Nordrhein-Westfalen

OstrichBabies
Ostrich mother and babies

My husband was born in the German Bundesland of Nordrhein-Westfalen (or, in English, North Rhine-Westfalia). Although the Rhineland has a long and storied history going back to the Roman Empire, my experiences visiting this state have been more mundane: they involve soccer, golf, geocaching, ostrich farms, you know, the usual stuff.

Ostrich farms? Yes, there is an ostrich farm in Essen, near Duesseldorf. The same organization also offers soccer golf, and “Swingolf,” something like regular golf but with larger balls. We spent a fun morning and early afternoon there with friends.

SoccerGolf

But this is Thursday Doors, and there aren’t a lot of doors out on the fairway. (And ostriches can’t open doors anyway). Germany’s first game in what would ultimately turn out to be a disappointing showing in the World Cup was on TV that afternoon. We watched it, surrounded by cabinet doors and other game day paraphernalia.

CabinetDoors

The whole neighborhood was rooting for the home team. Too bad they lost.

GermanFlag

Later we went to find some more geocaches with unusual doors associated with them. This cache was hidden at a church, attached magnetically to a downspout. It was not on this door, but I liked the colors of the door anyway.

NightCaching

And this cache, which we found on our way out of town, was elaborately and cleverly hidden in an old phone booth, now solely dedicated to housing the cache. Superman has found other places to change.

PhoneBoothCache

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

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Thursday Doors: Landschaftspark

The Landschaftspark in Duisburg was a steel mill and blast furnace in the previous century, but is no longer used and has fallen into disrepair. It is now an unusual public park, a heritage site commemorating the industrial past of the German Ruhrgebeit, where my husband grew up. Surprisingly, it is a source of unusual doors.

14WholeBuilding

I don’t normally like graffiti, but I found these doors interesting and attractive in a run-down sort of way.

And this windmill was closed and no longer working, a giant silhouetted against the sky. It also had a door, keeping out the tourists.

While we were visiting there was also a concert going on, so we wandered through the old buildings, climbed the hill, found geocaches, all accompanied by a faint techno-beat in the background.

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Cement wall with gate to nowhere in particular

It was an interesting juxtaposition of the modern and the historic, of old and new technologies.

01LWPDoor

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Friday Doors: Pattensen

Pattensen is a small town in Lower Saxony, near Hannover. (I’m including that detail because it makes it sound less like a “Kaff“). We passed through Pattensen on our way to visit friends and found a multicache that took us around an old church building and associated structures.

PattensenOverview

The sky was such a bright blue, leaving strong shadows. We had to find numbers on the sides of buildings (such as dates) and then do calculations to find the final coordinates for the last stage of the cache.

This process, like Thursday Doors, always forces me to slow down and look at things I would otherwise miss. Two things especially impressed me about this area: the brickwork, and the ivy around some of the doors.

Our teenage children were not particularly into this activity. They looked briefly at the buildings and then mostly stayed in the car, on their phones. Admittedly when I was a teenager I had much the same reaction to car travel and “sightseeing.” I slept a lot to prevent getting carsick, and then was groggy and cranky when I got out and had to look at something.

And even as an adult I sometimes struggle with my role while traveling. What’s interesting and what’s not? When I get home, will I wonder why I even have all these pictures on my phone? Is it the digital equivalent of clutter?

Participating in Thursday Doors for the past couple of years, and geocaching, have given me an organizing principle for some of these photos. They are collections.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has an interesting take on collections and photographs (and collections of photographs). “Taking photos,” she says, “is a common way to incorporate a mission into traveling. Not only does this help keep memories vivid, it also makes you more attuned to your environment while traveling.” She also mentions the competing truth that “for some people, taking photos can become a barrier to experience; they get so focused on getting the photos that they don’t enjoy the reality.” Both of these can be true, even of the same person; but I think the anti-photo viewpoint gets more airplay these days. I like acknowledging the other side too.

Thursday (or Friday in a pinch) Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list. This week our fearless leader, Norm 2.0 is on vacation and Mexi Movie is generously hosting the blog hop. 

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Thursday Doors: Birdhouse Cache

It’s Thursday! Summer is really over now: this past Monday was Labor Day, and my teaching job is starting up. But it’s nice to remember the summer through blogging.

Last week I showed the door of an unusual geocache in Germany. That wasn’t my favorite cache of the trip, though. This one was.

BirdhouseFromBelow

The first stage of the geocache was to find a tool and assemble it. This was in its own container, a pole; you didn’t have to supply your own, although some hard-core geocachers drive around with various things like this in their cars. But even if we were that crazy, it wouldn’t have fit in our luggage!

Smiling
Okay, now what?

My husband gave it a try first:

Husband
How do you get the cache out of this thing?

The pole had threads on one end, and the bottom of the birdhouse had an opening that you could fit the pole into, and screw it in to tighten it.

MoreGettingTheCache
This is pretty high up!

Once I had the pole attached, the bottom of the birdhouse cache came off pretty easily, and could be lowered to the ground, where you can finally see the door (the only door in this post):

And then there’s getting the whole thing back up there again:

GettingTheCache

I have hidden a few geocaches around my neighborhood but nothing like this. It amazes me the ideas people come up with.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Mundane Tuesday: Water Color

Dr. Katherine at Mundane Monday chose a gorgeous theme this week: water colors. She was out on a lake without internet for 9 days when she took hers. I took this from the deck of a cruise ship on the Baltic Sea. The location information says “Leningrad, Finskiy Zaliv” (Gulf of Finland, near St. Petersburg).

BalticSeaCruisePink
Pink, Leningrad, Finskiy Zaliv

All the colors one can see in water have some component of reflection, some more than others.

GreenDuisburg
Green, Duisberg, Germany

Or, it’s a “reflection” of the changing depth of the water:

LayersBavaria
Blue-Green-Brown Gradient, Unterfoehrung, Bavaria, Germany

This water reflects the gray clouds:

WhiteGrayBavaria
White and Gray: Staffelsee, Bavaria, Germany

Or, sometimes your mind plays tricks on your eyes. I was sure this water was deep pure blue on the clear, cool winter morning in Pacifica when I took the picture before I went to teach in the school around the corner. But when I went back and found the picture for posting to the blog, I realized that it had been the sky I remembered most. The water was white and a bit wild.

BlueWhitePacifica
White and sky-blue, Pacifica, California

And these last two make an interesting pair. Lakes reflect the shadows of trees, and the sky makes all the difference.

Thursday Doors: Achtung, Baby!

While regular doors on buildings are a staple of Thursday Doors, I have also liked varying the theme a bit, especially to include doors on other structures, such as trucks, little free libraries, electrical boxes, or porta potties. Or geocaches. Germany is the place for elaborate geocaches, in places and containers and behind doors you might never expect.

For example, what would you think of if you saw this box?

DoorClosed

It looks electrical, and like something you should avoid, right?

Well, in fact, it’s a geocache. Something called a “Travel Bug Hotel.” Travel Bugs are items with a tracking code attached that you can follow online on the geocaching site.People pick them up and drop them off, and they travel from cache to cache. Sometimes they have a goal, a specific place they want to get to. In some cities people set up large caches that can hold many travel bugs at once for drop-off and exchange. These are known as Travel Bug hotels.

Open this door, and this is what you see:

DoorOpen

No danger of electrocution, but unfortunately there were not as many travel bugs as we hoped. The owner appears to have been expecting more too. We dropped one off and took one. And then visited more hotels!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my trip with this and previous posts:

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Thursday Doors: Ku’damm

Ku’damm stands for Kurfürstendamm, one of the most famous avenues in Berlin. The miniseries Ku’damm 56 is set in a mid-20th century Berlin dance school. Ku’damm is also the home of the KaDeWe, the landmark department store originally owned by the Jewish entrepreneur Adolf Jandorf. The hotel where we stayed was also located there, called the Hollywood Hotel. Each room honored a different movie star. Ours was Merle Oberon.

HollywoodHotel.jpg
A red carpet leads up to the door of the Hollywood Hotel

The hotel was in walking distance to the famous Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche.

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The old church ~1900. Source: wikipedia, By nl:User:GerardMOwn work.

The church was badly damaged in 1943 during an Allied air raid, and the ruined building has stood ever since in the middle of the bustling city as a symbol and reminder of the war’s horrors.

In 1956, the architect Egon Eiermann integrated the ruin in his design for a new church. The new design consists of concrete honeycomb elements with stained glass inlays.

Honeycomb
Door and honeycomb design of the rebuilt church, built 1959-61

The church was closed as we came back to our hotel in the evening. And these days a Fair Trade Shop sits across from its entrance doors.

FairTrade.jpg

Several doors on the old structure are in use.

But they are not as striking as the empty eye where the stained glass window once sat.

KWG1

Or the arched spaces that have earned the nickname, der hohle Zahn or “the hollow tooth.”

KWG2

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my trip with this and previous posts:

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Mundane Monday: Faces (of clocks)

This week’s Mundane Monday Challenge from Dr K Ottaway has the theme, Faces.  I don’t feel completely comfortable putting up human faces here. My kids have taken a huge number of selfies showing their faces, but they’re old enough to curate their own online social media histories without me getting involved. And I’m just not feeling ready to post pictures of the faces of friends, strangers or acquaintances. I could post my own face, but ugh.

So I had another idea as I was looking through trip pictures: clock faces. I happened on this one from Guernsey.

GuernseyClock

It was in an upscale souvenir shop near the Little Chapel, a sweet tourist attraction on the island. These clocks were extremely inventive. This one played Spring from the Four Seasons, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Morning from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, the theme from Beethoven’s Symphony #6 Pastorale, and maybe Pachelbel’s Canon. (If not, there was definitely another one playing–and playing and playing–Pachelbel’s Canon). Especially cool was that the face of the clock came apart into the flower shape shown here, whirled around to the music, and finally went back together when the music stopped. We didn’t buy it but it was fun to watch.

DistortedClockBadSchussenried

This is another unusual clock face, this time from Bad Schussenried, Germany. The workings of an old tower clock (Turmuhr) from 1750 were made into artwork on the side of a building. This one is not going to tell time for you.

AnnivClock

And this last “face” is on an Anniversary Clock, the name for the type of golden torsion pendulum clock under glass shown here. This one was given to my step mother-in-law by my late father-in-law when they were married. She was his second wife after he was widowed in 1989. He passed away in 2015, just before we moved to California.

Legend has it, when he died, the clock stopped. It later started again on its own. It still sits on her windowsill, facing the room, now with fresh batteries.

Thursday Doors (on Friday): Berlin Walk

BerlinerBaerHi! I’m back (if anyone is still reading this blog!)

I didn’t intend for my break from blogging to be this long. I was on a trip to Europe, then I visited my parents, then I had a really busy teaching week. I can see how one gets out of the habit, especially with a full-time demanding job. And then all of the sudden you look up and a month has gone by.

I also have a bad case of photo fatigue. I showed my parents the pictures from the trip on TV and it took two 2-hr sessions to get through everything.

A couple of years ago I started participating in a weekly photo challenge called Thursday Doors, now run by Norm 2.0. Thursday doors goes back to 2014 in Montreal. and it now includes weekly links to posts from all over the world. I find that doors provide a unique view of a place: doors show not only the architecture but the street culture and the history, the way neighborhoods cohere and don’t, and what people find important at the moment.

Although Norm tends to show closed doors, I have been surprised at how often the doors I am trying to photograph are open, leading to posts that are more about Thursday doorways. And I have wrestled (but not too hard) with the question of whether a gate is a door (answer: for blogging purposes, yes!)

So, for this Friday’s version of Thursday doors, I’m continuing what I started in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate.

Weather in Germany is different from weather in California. I’m biased, but I like California weather better. In the past when we have gone to Germany in June and July I have felt cheated out of a real summer. It’s just not summer when your normal clothing to go about the day comprises long pants and a jacket. IMO.

But that is Berlin for you. Like many European cities, most of the buildings in Berlin are made of stone. The trappings of modern commerce, especially around and in the doorways, manage to look both dignified and out of place at the same time.

This effect is especially apparent to me under a gray sky. Gray to match the buildings.

On this day it rained a little bit, too. It wasn’t even enough water to make real Germans think twice.

05Apotheke

We were still a bit jet-lagged and tired from the 9-hr time difference, but we were getting out there because we were in Berlin and we were supposed to. So the experience felt a little surreal, wandering through alleyways (because that’s what these stone buildings make the streets feel like) in search of food and a geocache.

What is this man doing? Laundry? No, someone hid a geocache in a sock in the middle of a street in Berlin! It’s not a door, but I thought it was still worth showing. I’ve never seen a cache like it before. I’ll also point out that he is 6’4″ tall and still had to reach up pretty high to retrieve it. I probably couldn’t have gotten it on my own.

My husband finding an actual geocache hidden in a sock
My husband finding an actual geocache hidden in a sock

We had surprisingly good luck just finding places to eat, and this was a nice restaurant, a cozy place to eat and wait for the rain to stop.

 

Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

So I am here in Berlin, and I have wifi. Woot!

“Tor,” which sounds a lot like “door,” is the German word for gate. (It’s also the German word for “goal,” which you’ll be hearing a lot of with the World Cup about to start). The most famous Tor in Berlin, and perhaps in all of Europe, is the Brandenburger Tor. According to wikipedia, “the Brandenburg Gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.”

I lived in Germany for 8 months in 1983. I graduated from high school young and took a gap year between high school and college, living with my family while my professor father took a sabbatical at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin.

This is what the Brandenburger Tor looked like back then, in a picture I took with a Kodak Instamatic. You could only see the back of the chariot on top, from a distance, behind the Berlin Wall, and the whole structure was pretty dirty.

“Achtung! Sie verlassen West-Berlin”

“Attention! You are leaving West Berlin,” the sign informs you, in case you were confused about the concrete wall, the no-man’s land, and the guard towers nearby.

BrandenburgGateWall
Brandenburg Gate from the West, May 1983

(Admittedly, the faded color printing doesn’t help, but it’s held up surprisingly well for 35 years.)

This is what it looks like today, from the other side, on the famous avenue, “Unter den Linden.” The gate itself has been cleaned up, the wall is gone, and there are tourists everywhere.

IMG_3514

This souvenir shop now hangs the opposite sign over its door: “ACHTUNG Sie verlassen jetzt Ost-Berlin” (Attention you are now leaving East Berlin). Our kids, who weren’t yet born when the wall fell, don’t remember anything different. To them, Berlin’s Tor has always been open.

Achtung

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) at Norm 2.0’s blog here.