As I’ve just returned from my September vacation I felt like giving you a little overview of what has happened before I resume a more „normal“ schedule again.
Three one quarter capitals in nine days
I started my first longer vacation time in the beginning of September: Nine Days of exploring with Janzy.
We went from Berlin to Prague by train and stayed there in a Hostel for the night. From afternoon til the evening we went through all those alleys and streets filled with tourists, across the crammed Charles Bridge, all the way up to Prague Castle and back, where we also managed to see the last display of the Astronomical Clock. We wanted to do some more exploring on the next day, but the search for our bus station delayed us quite a bit and we pretty much only managed to have proper lunch before we departed by bus to Vienna where we stayed until our return flight back home.
Charles Bridge by night
Apfelstrudel in Schönnbrunn
The Little Princess in front of Buda-Castle
For three days we used up the Vienna Pass for sightseeing where we visited amongst others Schönbrunn Castle, UNO City, the Prater and many more (I’m by the way thinking about extra posts for the efficient usage of the Vienna and London pass, anyone interested?). On our previous to last day we followed up on an invitation by EmmaN of the Nornennetz for self-made Zwetschgenknödel, which were really tasty and just one of several dishes we tried.
Our last day we used for a day trip to Budapest by bus. After some struggling with the transportation system we took a look at the two joined cities and soon discovered that we should give it a little more time and that we were pretty exhausted from all the walking around the days before…
The next day we already flew back to Berlin and with the next parts of a recording of „Moby Dick“ I returned to Neubrandenburg.
Because I’m clever and had to work three days between vacations. 😀
Con’st du noch oder schläfst du schon?*
The katzekagische Kürbisträger**
After the German Comic Con last year and the failed attempt to go there last year, Schmusejacke, AnnaTao and I finally managed to attend the Connichi in Cassel. And yes, one day I was in cosplay as well – the day after I wore a fandom mix. 😀
With two days remaining we explored some places I had visited before when I stayed at Nazgul’s in 2009: Sababurg and Zoo and the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe.
One evening we ate at a front cooking Mongolian buffet restaurant were I tried kangaroo for the first time. It’s pretty chewy…
You can read up on our exploits through our Twitter page: ASAP Chronicles.
* I’m sorry this wordplay is hard to translate as it uses the IKEA slogan „Wohnst du noch oder lebst du schon?“ (probably used as „Make a house a home“ in English, literally: „Do you still reside or already live?“) mashed up with con as short for convention in a form of can („kannst“). So probably something along the lines of: You’re still going or already asleep?
** Cosplay wordplay: Gaara, the Kazekage from Naruto, Katze is the German word for cat, Kürbisträger means pumpkin carrier: catzekagerian pumpkin carrier. 😉
A phenomenal finish
Celebrating their 25th anniversary I couldn’t resist to end the vacation with an Edguy concert in the Columbia Hall in Berlin. It was great to finally see them in a standalone concert after only seeing them at a Festival before. They are after all one of my first Metal Bands. It was stuffy and great. 😀
Well, tomorrow and Monday I’ve got to work. Tuesday is a public holiday in Germany, German Unity Day, something that leaves quite a bitter taste, seeing that so many Germans made quite a stupid choice during elections last weekend… If your German is good enough, I recommend you to check out the Hashtag #wirschreibenDemokratie (we’re writing Democracy) by the Nornennetz, where different people talk about their view on the election results.
In this time I still have to do a couple of things:
write a post for the #Buchpassion Blogparade – which I should have done already…
proof-read the translations of the newest Gamers episode – something I don’t NEED to do, but I still want to.
finish stuff for Nornennetz projects
finally get the postcards for the Märchensommer ready to send off.
continue working on this years Advent Calendar.
finally start with Inkblood for a Reading Circle that is currently facing difficulties…
and probably something else that I forgot…maybe I should go on vacation again…
With the anniversary of the beginning of WW2 today and regional elections, where brown-ish parties have a far too high chance of joining the state parliament, approaching, I decided that it was about time that I posted this second part 2 of my Journey through a bit of Germany 2014. If you remember from part 1 did I try to do something different and selected destinations for the end of the day and stopped wherever I felt like it on my way there. Unlike the first part is this just about one stop, as it deserves its own post.
Day 1/2 – Stop 7: KZ Ravensbrück
As part of my Journey Through a bit of Germany 2014 I made a stop at the Memorial for the Woman’s Concentration Camp (Konzentrationslager – KZ) Ravensbrück near Fürstenberg/Havel. Like I told you with my last post, did I want to explore a bit on my own and Ravensbrück became my first major destination for that and I had made arrangements for accommodation there. After I arrived during the evening, I got my keys and had a brief look inside my room before I set off to Himmelpfort (see last post). When I returned it was still early, but already too late to properly have a look around the exhibitions, so I just strolled a bit through the grounds instead.
Simple yet horrifying
All around the area they have small and large markers telling you what a part used to be. One of the first that caught my attention was for a small way between two buildings. It doesn’t look like anything special, just a plain, small way, broud enough to stand in, that for me became one of the places I felt tears welling up inside me: This simple way was used for executing hundreds of women (“Erschießungsgang” in German). I took a photograph to show you the contradiction of this, but I deleted it, as it didn’t seem appropriate to keep.
Just beside the way is a building that didn’t look like anything special either that housed the crematorium. Three iron – I guess – ovens standing in line, silently telling of their former use. I am honestly one of those people that couldn’t care less about other people’s – at least those I never knew – miseries, but I was barely able to step inside that room. I only had one foot inside and I retracted it as soon as I had seen everything from the door. My deepest respect for those who were able to get inside to put paper crane chains, flowers and other things on the fence that cut off the room for the audience. I couldn’t bear it to get any closer.
A little behind the crematorium is a prison complex. Again I only took a few steps inside to see that it was part of an exhibition and decided to look at it the next day. Just with this short look I already had a feeling of dread and the need to get out again, before disturbing the place any further.
Right beside the complex and across from the crematorium starts a long wall with iron lettered names of several different countries. In front of it is a field filled with small gray pebbles and signs claiming:
“This was the place where the gas chamber stood that took the lives of thousands of women and children from more than twenty different countries”
Four memorial plates are put onto what now became a grave field. The first two telling what I wrote above, the third remembering the Sinti and Roma and the fourth remembering the Jewish victims. The field stretches as long as the wall with the country names that beside Germany include: France, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Poland and more.
Behind the field is a wall that closes off an actual graveyard, but I only had a look at it from afar.
If you think the contradiction of the way was bad then I probably shouldn’t mention that the first picture on the side is right across from the grave field. A beautiful lake side with Fürstenberg in the background. It is partly morbid, partly fascinating how something like that can be at a place so horrible.
Not really a walk in the park…
When I had looked at the prison complex I had seen a field behind it and on my way back I went off to look at a few more buildings and found the entrance to it. Across a vast field that took about twenty minutes (This is about the time that past from when I last talked about the time with a woman from the staff until I checked it later; it makes more sense that only so little had past, but it felt way longer) to cross, lay the ruins and dug out remnants of the other complexes: Working offices, canteen, prison blocks, roll call area and right at the end a dressmaking shop, one of the few buildings that are still standing. Unlike my initial intention to only have a look at a couple of signs I walked all the way to the last building, trying to not let the bizarreness of the situation and the weird feeling I had, get to me. The field is covered with different kinds of pebbles: Small dark ones marking a pathway, grayish larger ones everything else. Where ever there used to be a building there is now a depression in the ground and there are many (about twenty in total if I remember the sign correctly).
When I reached the dressmaking shop I had a look at my watch, as I knew the exhibitions would close around six. As I still had about half an hour left until then I went inside and was greeted by creepy statues, created by an artist to symbolize the different inmates. With an even stranger feeling I crossed the whole hallway as well and only had a peek into the adjacent rooms, not daring to get inside. With a feeling as if someone would lock me in any minute I went back to the entrance as soon as possible.
As I didn’t want to return the way I came I left the path and walked behind the building towards were this walk had initially started. Shortly towards the end even came grass again where I could walk beside ruins of other buildings, like a laundry.
When I had left the field I passed a sign that told me that what was around me – the garages – were used by Soviet soldiers after they had freed the camp until 1977 and I remembered my dad telling me that when he was here during his army-time they had to pass these soldiers.
Life beside the camp
Other buildings used by the Soviets were the so-called “Führerhäuser” (Führer houses) that stand on small hills overlooking the camp. Initially the male officers – and I think their families – in charge of the camp lived in them, now one of them holds an exhibition about the houses‘ history. The inside of the house was far from what it had originally been like, as the Soviets refurbished and remodelled the rooms to house, I think, up to a dozen men. You could still see the original style – that was frankly quite beautiful with lots of wooden ornaments, but not everywhere.
Between them, the barracks and the field is also a large house with a changing exhibition. I can’t remember what it was about when I was there, I kind of only skimmed through it. The building used to be an office I believe – and it’s still partly used as such.
A bit outside of the ground stand the housings for the Guard women, one of them now holds an exhibition about their way of living, their work and their crimes and the others are part of the Youth Hostel, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
All of these buildings are part of the camp, but yet parted from it through distance, walls and gates, showing how different the life must have been for inmates and guards.
If I haven’t overlooked anything then the whole area holds six permanent and one changing exhibition, but during the night I decided to only look through the one in the entrance building and after that the three exhibitions mentioned above.
Walking the ground, with nearly no one else to see was strange and unlike my intention to just explore this on my own, I really would have liked to have someone with me. Though I doubt that even then I would have dared to look at the exhibition that would provide me with faces for the victims, I don’t think I could bear that knowledge.
While I wrote the draft for this I sat on my bed in the Youth Hostel (Jugendherberge) I stayed at for the night, in a house that used to house the female personnel of the camp, a Guard House. It was not until I woke up and realized that it was half past Midnight – directly within the ghost hour – and my inability to find sleep again that I decided to type this down right away. Even while my Laptop was making its usual noises I could still hear the unusual ones from outside: Wind or frogs/toads that sounded like broken screams, a dogs bark that reminded me of shouted commands and well the general quietness of the place. It already felt strange from the moment I settled into my room, but during the night it became worse and even though it was nearly half past two I was wide awake and unwilling to return to sleep until I gave in around four.
I’m glad that I cut out Sachsenhausen as second major destination. If I already want someone with me here I doubt going there would have been any different.
In a lot of German schools it is mandatory to visit at least one Concentration Camp – not mine, at least not my class. While I was there, there were at least two school groups, though one of them was probably a bit too young to understand everything (sixth grade maybe?). They ran around playing hide and seek between the Guard Houses, laughed and were generally quite noisy and that just felt wrong for a place like this.
Students have to get an understanding for history and memorials like this, that keep it alive, are an essential part of this. With all the stuff happening in the world, especially the rising influence of brown-ish parties, it’s more and more important that people learn about our past and most of all learn from it to not let anything like it happen again.
On a completely different note: A couple of KZs were also in the news recently as they ordered that you should not be able to catch Pokémon on their grounds. Hunting Koffings or Weezings (Gas-Based Pokémon) or the Gastly-line (Ghost Pokémon) there, is pretty morbid and inappropriate, but also a bit ironic and fitting. It could encourage people to go there, but most would probably ignore the learning aspect of the trip and simply concentrate on the catching.
Well, this concludes this part of the Journey. Have you ever visited a KZ? What were your experiences? Do you think it’s a good idea to keep such places as a memorial? What you can expect from the upcoming posts:
Day 2: Fürstenberg -> Radis
Day 3: Radis -> Halle (Saale)
(The rest of the Journey: Halle, Koblenz, Kassel)
Stay tuned. I hope it wont take me that long to get the other parts up. PoiSonPaiNter ____________________________ Read in English
Mit dem heutigen Jahrestag des Beginns des 2. Weltkrieges und den Landtagswahlen, bei denen bräunliche Parteien eine viel zu hohe Chance haben, dem Landtag beizutreten, fand ich, dass es an der Zeit ist, diesen zweiten Teil 2 meiner Reise durch Deutschland 2014 zu veröffentlichen. Wenn ihr euch an Teil 1 erinnert, habe ich versucht, etwas anderes zu tun und ausgewählte Ziele für das Ende eines Tages auszuwählen und habe auf dem Weg dorthin, da angehalten, wo mir gefiel. Im Gegensatz zum ersten Teil ist dies nur ein einziger Stopp, da er seinen eigenen Beitrag verdient.
Tag 1/2 – Stop 7: KZ Ravensbrück
Im Rahmen meiner Reise durch Deutschland 2014 machte ich einen Zwischenstopp an der Gedenkstätte für das Konzentrationslager (KZ) Ravensbrück bei Fürstenberg/Havel. Wie ich schon in meinem letzten Beitrag gesagt habe, wollte ich ein wenig auf eigene Faust erkunden und Ravensbrück wurde mein erstes großes Reiseziel dafür und ich hatte mir eine Unterkunft in der Nähe besorgt. Nachdem ich abends angekommen war, holte ich meine Schlüssel und schaute kurz in mein Zimmer, bevor ich mich auf den Weg nach Himmelpfort machte (siehe letzter Beitrag). Als ich zurückkam, war es noch früh, aber schon zu spät, um mich in den Ausstellungen richtig umzusehen, sodass ich stattdessen nur ein wenig über das Gelände schlenderte.
Einfach und doch erschreckend
Überall auf dem Gelände haben sie kleine und große Markierungen aufgestellt, die einem sagen, was ein Teil früher war. Einer der ersten, der meine Aufmerksamkeit erregte, war ein kleiner Gang zwischen zwei Gebäuden. Es sieht nicht nach irgendetwas Besonderem aus, nur ein schlichter, kleiner Weg, der breit genug, um darin zu stehen, der für mich zu einem der Orte wurde, an denen mir die Tränen aufstiegen: Dieser einfache Gang wurden Hunderte von Frauen hingerichtet („Erschießungsgang“). Ich habe ein Foto gemacht, um den Widerspruch zu zeigen, aber ich habe es gelöscht, da es mir nicht angemessen erschien, es zu behalten.
Gleich daneben befindet sich ein Gebäude, das ebenso wie nichts Besonderes aussah und in dem sich das Krematorium befand. Drei Eisenöfen – glaub ich – stehen in einer Reihe und erzählen leise von ihrer früheren Verwendung. Ich gehöre ehrlich gesagt zu jenen Menschen, denen das Elend anderer Menschen egal ist – zumindest jenen, die ich nie kannte -, aber ich war kaum in der Lage diesen Raum zu betreten. Ich hatte nur einen Fuß drin und zog ihn wieder raus, sobald ich alles von der Tür aus gesehen hatte. Mein tiefster Respekt für diejenigen, die es geschafft haben, hineinzugehen, um Papierkranich-Ketten, Blumen und andere Dinge auf den Zaun zu legen, der den Raum für das Publikum abschneidet. Ich konnte es nicht ertragen, näher heranzugehen.
Etwas hinter dem Krematorium befindet sich ein Gefängniskomplex. Auch hier machte ich nur ein paar Schritte hinein, um zu sehen, dass es Teil einer Ausstellung war, und beschloss, sie am nächsten Tag anzuschauen. Gerade bei diesem kurzen Blick hatte ich schon ein Gefühl von Angst und dem Bedürfnis, wieder rauszugehen, bevor ich den Ort weiter störte.
Direkt neben dem Komplex und gegenüber dem Krematorium beginnt eine lange Mauer mit eisernen Namen verschiedener Länder. Davor befindet sich ein Feld, gefüllt mit kleinen grauen Kieselsteinen und Schildern, die sagen:
„Hier stand die Gaskammer, die tausenden Frauen und Kindern aus mehr als zwanzig verschiedenen Ländern das Leben nahm.“
Vier Gedenktafeln werden auf das heutige Grabfeld gelegt. Die ersten beiden erzählen, was ich oben geschrieben habe, die dritte erinnert an die Sinti und Roma und die vierte an die jüdischen Opfer. Das Feld erstreckt sich so lange, wie die Mauer mit den Ländernamen, die neben Deutschland auch Frankreich, Niederlande, Dänemark, Norwegen, Großbritannien, Spanien, Rumänien, Ungarn, Polen und andere Länder trägt.
Hinter dem Feld ist eine Mauer, die einen echten Friedhof abschließt, aber ich habe ihn mir nur von Weitem angesehen.
Wenn ihr denkt, dass der Widerspruch des Weges schlimm war, dann sollte ich wohl nicht erwähnen, dass das erste Bild auf der Seite genau gegenüber des Grabfelds ist. Eine wunderschöner Seeblick mit Fürstenberg im Hintergrund. Es ist teils morbid, teils faszinierend, wie so etwas an einem so schrecklichen Ort sein kann.
Nicht wirklich ein Spaziergang im Park …
Als ich mir den Gefängniskomplex angesehen hatte, hatte ich ein Feld dahinter gesehen und auf dem Rückweg ging ich los, um mir ein paar weitere Gebäude anzusehen und fand den Eingang dazu. Über ein riesiges Feld verteilt, dessen Überquerung ungefähr zwanzig Minuten dauerte (Das ist ungefähr die Zeit, die vergangen ist, von dem Zeitpunkt an als ich das letzte Mal mit einer Frau vom Personal über die Zeit sprach, bis ich sie später überprüfte; es macht mehr Sinn, dass nur so wenig vergangen war, aber es fühlte sich viel länger an), lagen die Ruinen und ausgegrabene Reste von anderen Komplexen: Arbeiterbüros, Kantine, Gefängnisblocks, Appellplatz und gleich am Ende eine Schneiderei, eines der wenigen Gebäude, die noch stehen. Im Gegensatz zu meiner ursprünglichen Absicht, nur einen Blick auf ein paar Markierungen zu werfen, ging ich den ganzen Weg bis zum letzten Gebäude und versuchte, die Bizarrheit der Situation und das seltsame Gefühl, das ich hatte, nicht an mich heran zu lassen. Das Feld ist mit verschiedenen Arten von Kieselsteinen bedeckt: Kleine dunkle, die einen Weg markieren, graue, größere, alles andere. Wo immer es früher ein Gebäude gab, gibt es jetzt eine Vertiefung im Boden und es gibt viele (insgesamt etwa zwanzig, wenn ich mich richtig erinnere).
Als ich in der Schneiderei ankam, schaute ich auf die Uhr, denn ich wusste, dass die Ausstellungen um sechs schließen würden. Da mir bis dahin noch etwa eine halbe Stunde Zeit blieb, ging ich hinein und wurde von gruseligen Statuen begrüßt, die von einem Künstler geschaffen wurden, um die verschiedenen Insassen zu symbolisieren. Mit einem noch merkwürdigeren Gefühl überquerte ich auch den ganzen Flur und warf nur einen Blick in die angrenzenden Räume und wagte es nicht, hineingehen. Mit dem Gefühl, als ob mich jemand jede Minute einsperren würde, ging ich so schnell wie möglich zum Eingang zurück.
Da ich den Weg, den ich gekommen war wieder zurückgehen wollte, verließ ich den Weg und ging hinter dem Gebäude in Richtung des Ortes, an dem dieser Spaziergang ursprünglich begonnen hatte. Kurz gegen Ende kam sogar wieder Gras, wo ich neben Ruinen anderer Gebäude, wie einer Wäscherei, gehen konnte.
Als ich das Feld verlassen hatte, ging ich an einem Schild vorbei, das mir sagte, dass das, was um mich herum war – die Garagen – von sowjetischen Soldaten bis 1977 benutzt wurden, nachdem sie das Lager befreit hatten, und ich erinnerte mich das mein Vater mir erzählt hatte, dass sie, als er während seiner Armeezeit hier war, diese Soldaten passieren mussten.
Leben neben dem Lager
Andere Gebäude, die von den Sowjets genutzt wurden, waren die sogenannten „Führerhäuser„, die auf kleinen Hügeln über das Lager hinwegsehen. Ursprünglich bewohnt von männlichen Offizieren – und ich glaube, ihrer Familien -, die für das Lager zuständig waren, ist jetzt in einem von ihnen eine Ausstellung über die Geschichte der Häuser. Das Innere des Hauses war weit entfernt von dem, was es ursprünglich war, da die Sowjets die Räume renovierten und umgestalteten, um, glaube ich, bis zu einem Dutzend Männer unterzubringen. Man konnte noch den ursprünglichen Stil sehen – das war offen gesagt recht hübsch mit vielen Holzornamenten, aber nicht überall.
Zwischen ihnen, der Kaserne und dem Feld befindet sich auch ein großes Haus mit einer wechselnden Ausstellung. Ich kann mich nicht mehr daran erinnern, worum es ging, als ich dort war, ich habe es irgendwie nur überflogen. Das Gebäude war früher ein Büro, glaube ich – und es wird auch heute noch teilweise als solches genutzt.
Etwas außerhalb des Geländes stehen die Unterkünfte für die Wärterinnen, eine von ihnen zeigt jetzt eine Ausstellung über deren Lebensweise, ihre Arbeit und ihre Verbrechen und die anderen sind Teil der Jugendherberge, aber dazu komme ich gleich.
All diese Gebäude sind Teil des Lagers, aber dennoch durch Distanz, Mauern und Tore von einander getrennt und zeigen, wie unterschiedlich das Leben für Häftlinge und Wärter gewesen sein muss.
Wenn ich nichts übersehen habe, dann beherbergt das ganze Areal sechs Dauer- und eine Wechselausstellung, aber in der Nacht entschied ich mich, nur die im Eingangsgebäude und danach die drei oben genannten Ausstellungen anzusehen.
Es war seltsam, über das Gelände zu gehen als fast niemandem sonst zu sehen war und im Gegensatz zu meiner Absicht, dies alleine zu erforschen, hätte ich wirklich gerne jemanden bei mir gehabt. Obwohl ich bezweifle, dass ich es selbst dann gewagt hätte, mir die Ausstellung anzusehen, die mir Gesichter für die Opfer gegeben hätte, glaube ich nicht, dass ich dieses Wissen ertragen könnte.
Während ich den Entwurf hierzu schrieb, saß ich auf meinem Bett in der Jugendherberge, in der ich übernachtete, in einem Haus, in dem früher das weibliche Personal des Lagers untergebracht war, einem Wärterinnnenhaus. Erst als ich aufwachte und merkte, dass es halb nach Mitternacht war – direkt in der Geisterstunde – und meine Unfähigkeit, wieder Schlaf zu finden, entschied ich mich, dies sofort zu tippen. Noch obwohl mein Laptop seine üblichen Geräusche machte, konnte ich die ungewöhnlichen von draußen hören: Wind oder Frösche/Kröten, die wie gebrochene Schreie klangen, Hundegebell, das mich an gebrüllte Befehle erinnerte und die allgemeine Ruhe des Ortes. Es fühlte sich schon von dem Moment an seltsam an, als ich in mein Zimmer kam, aber in der Nacht wurde es schlimmer und obwohl es fast halb zwei war, war ich hellwach und nicht bereit, wieder einzuschlafen, bis ich gegen vier Uhr nachgab.
Ich bin froh, dass ich Sachsenhausen als zweites großes Ziel gestrichen habe. Wenn ich hier schon jemanden bei mir haben wollte, dann bezweifle ich, dass es dort anders gewesen wäre.
In vielen deutschen Schulen ist es Pflicht, mindestens ein Konzentrationslager zu besuchen – nicht meiner, zumindest nicht meine Klasse. Während ich dort war, gab es mindestens zwei Schulgruppen, obwohl eine von ihnen wahrscheinlich etwas zu jung war, um alles zu verstehen (sechste Klasse vielleicht?). Sie liefen herum und spielten Verstecken zwischen den Wärterinnenhäusern, lachten und waren im Allgemeinen ziemlich laut und das fühlte sich für einen Ort wie diesen einfach falsch an.
Schüler müssen ein Verständnis für Geschichte entwickeln und solche Denkmäler, die sie am Leben erhalten, sind ein wesentlicher Bestandteil davon. Mit all den Dingen, die in der Welt geschehen, insbesondere dem zunehmenden Einfluss von bräunlichen Parteien, wird es immer wichtiger, dass die Menschen etwas über unsere Vergangenheit lernen und vor allem daraus lernen, damit sich soetwas nicht wiederholen kann.
Etwas ganz anderes: Ein paar KZs waren kürzlich auch in den Nachrichten, als sie forderten, dass man Pokémon auf ihrem Gelände nicht fangen darf. Die Jagd auf Smogon oder Smogmog (auf Gas basierende Pokémon) oder der Nebulak-Linie (Geister Pokémon) dort ist ziemlich morbid und unangemessen, aber auch ein wenig ironisch und passend. Es könnte die Leute ermutigen, dorthin zu gehen, aber die meisten würden wahrscheinlich den Lernaspekt des Ausflugs ignorieren und sich einfach auf das Fangen konzentrieren.
Nun, damit ist dieser Teil der Reise beendet. Hast du schon einmal ein KZ besucht? Was waren deine Erfahrungen? Hältst du es für eine gute Idee, solche Orte als Gedenkstätte zu behalten? Was ihr von den kommenden Beiträgen erwarten können:
Tag 2: Fürstenberg -> Radis
Tag 3: Radis -> Halle (Saale)
(Den Rest der Reise: Halle, Koblenz, Kassel)
Bleibt dran. Ich hoffe, dass es nicht so lange dauert, bis ich die anderen Teile fertig habe.
As my plans for a visit to London are thickening and I’ve already talked a bit about travelling this year (Most ridiculous experiences, Worst experience), is it high time that I catch up with my travel logs, so here is the first part from my Journey through a bit of Germany 2014.
A different experience
That year I thought I’d try something different by travelling a part of my Journey by myself. I wanted to experience what it was like to not be confined to anyone not willing/able to participate or waiting for me to pick them up/drop them off.
So, what did I do?
For the first three days of my vacation I selected destinations for the end of the day (2 youth hostels and my aunt’s place in this case) and just stopped everywhere I felt like stopping along the way.
Through this I wanted to explore all those things that I had noticed while driving by but never had the chance to actually look at. And it felt like I stopped a lot of times.
Before I go into more details about this stop I’d like to add a few thoughts on the translation: In German we often use the word Schloss to describe different larger buildings that were mainly inhabited by nobles and the actual translation would be castle. However, most people associate castles with high towers and maybe even draw bridges and stuff, but most of the German castles aren’t like that. So in case of the Jagdschloss I chose the term Hunting Lodge, while the other one feels more like a Manor. If you know a better term to describe those two, let me know!
Arriving in Prillwitz I first looked for a place to park my car, which I found beside the old church. It is a simple and quite shabby looking church, but with the coat of arms on the benches, grave plates and the carved mural (?) behind the altar it was still quite charming.
Still, my actual goal was to take a look at the Jagdschloss, but unfortunately it was closed and I could only take a glimpse at it through the trees and hedges. It didn’t look as fancy as I would have expected and I didn’t like that it was closed. Realising that, I went a bit alongside the area of the Lodge and found a lake behind it. Just in the middle of it was an artificial island that was buzzing with birds that I do believe were either seagulls or cormorants.
After that I turned back to the road and went on to
You can still visit the memorial and some other rooms of the Manor for a small entrance fee , but most of it is used by an office of the Müritz National Park. In an adjacent building you could also see the remains of the exhibition from the anniversary of the memorial in 2013. I looked at both things and at some point I felt a bit ridiculed by the repetitive description. I understood after the first time that there was the memorial of Queen Louise of Prussia in Hohenzieritz, I didn’t need to be told that it was for several more times …
Behind the Manor there is a huge park. It is quite beautiful and tranquil and I would have liked to explore it more, but as the sun was burning down on me and the distances seemed rather far I only looked at a few places. While walking through it I thought about taking my parents – especially my Mum – there, as I am certain they would (have) enjoy(ed) it. For a moment I rested in one of the rose hedge constructions and made notes for this post, while enjoying the quietness of the place – except the buzzing of bees and bumblebees.
Stop 3: Weisdin
After that I returned to the main road and continued down and made couple of minor stops. In Weisdin I wanted to look at the church – I really like looking at churches -, but it was closed and instead I went a bit down a side road and found a small Manor at the end of a pebble road. That one still seems to be in private usage, as I saw sun loungers in the backyard that also had direct access to a lake.
Also beside a lake was one of the many private accommodations you have in the area. Whenever I drove by I saw the sign advertising it and wondered who would actually stay in a place that close to the road and honestly a bit creepy looking. Curious as I am, I stopped and asked what exactly they were offering. Confused at first the owner was quite nice and showed me the small bungalows that looked directly onto the lake behind the house. The bungalows reminded me of the way most Lauben (small houses in gardens, but not as big as the translation summer house might suggest) I know are build. For 5 to 15 Euro you could rent them and even get a rowing boat as well. If anyone is interesting in such a thing: Just let me know. 😉
Stop 4: Neustrelitz
Another town that is deeply associated with Louise and her family is Neustrelitz which not just has the Neustrelitz Manor (Schloss Neustrelitz), with the Manor Park (Schlosspark), but also several other places I did not visit.
What I did take a look at – or at least tried – was the cemetery church, but too many people were lingering around and I only admired the architecture from the outside. Interestingly the cemetery itself seems to have quite a number of mausoleums or buildings similar to that.
In the end I went on and decided to get some lunch in the restaurant „Am Glammi“ (At the Glammi; with Glammi being a shortened nickname for the Glambecker See/Lake) overlooking the Glambecker Lake. Unusual for me I even decided to sit on the porch and order a fish dish. I can’t say I regret that decision. 😉
The next stop wasn’t really a stop but more of a not-wanting-to-get-lost-and-finding-something-funny-instead kind of thing. I actually wanted to reach the Müritz National Park, but the entrance didn’t want to appear before me, though through this I came across the Hilly & Billy Town ranch.
At first I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the entrance sign to a ranch in the middle of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern that was something I did not expect to encounter. So I had to stop. I parked in the ranches parking lot and went on to take a look around. Soon I was greeted not just by funny signs (see picture), but also a quite nice and large dog (I think some kind of Dogge/Mastiff?).
Soon my looking around was discovered as I got closer to the inn on the grounds and – I think it was the owner – chatted me up, asking if they could help me. She told me that you could rent bungalows on the ground, participate in riding lessons or ride a pony or bring your own horse for tours. Pretty convenient for a holiday for a rider. Though not for me then. 😀
Stop 5: Fürstenberg/Havel
For quite some time now the church in Fürstenberg had caught my attention while passing by it on our way to Berlin. From the outside it looks stunning, as it thrones above the market place and now I finally had the chance to see it for myself.
As I needed to drive a bit further to reach the hostel I parked my car in a parking lot near the turn and walked towards the church. In that short distance I could personally experience why the inhabitants of Fürstenberg want the highway (B96) out of their town. It’s no fun walking beside the road on a small walkway while trucks pass by directly beside you… For twenty years the initiative „B96 raus!“ tries to get rid of the highway with little to no success and for their sakes, I really hope they will succeed one day.
After a short walk in the sun I finally made it to the church. I enjoyed the view from the outside for a moment, circling around it before I entered through the main gate. Well, I was quite disappointed. On the inside the church tries to be semi-modern. It has a few abstract paintings and murals, modern chandeliers and a simple wooden organ. Not at all what I was expecting. 🙁
To overcome this I got myself some (self-made) ice cream and went to the harbour, sat down on a bench and ranted at my Mum over the phone …
After that little break I drove to the Hostel and checked in before I went to my last stop.
But long before Santa settled here there were monks that not just founded the local monastery, but also gave the village its name.
As two monks stood on a nearby hill they looked up to where Himmelpfort now lies and were awestruck by the light falling down before them and declared that this certainly was the gate to heaven (Himmelpfort or Himmelspforte means Heavens‘ Gate or in Latin: coeli porta). And thus they founded their monastery and from it and around it the town was build.
By now there is only the ruin of the monastery left. Beside it now stands a church, a bell and even a small labyrinth. Within the church you can find the Coat of Arms of the family von Trott (Trottsche Wappen) and according to the flyer from the church its origin is similar to the legend of the Merseburger Raven that I mentioned in one of my stories over at DF.PP Entertainment, but with a nicer twist as the people who were accused of stealing the family jewellery were not killed, like the ones from the other legend. Still, both families decided to include the thievish animal into their Coat of Arms. Nearby is also a lake that has some more stories to it regarding a greedy fisherman, but I wont go into more detail here. All in all a quite a beautiful side this whole area.
But let’s get to the interesting stuff: The Santa Clause Post Office. The Post Office consist of a letterbox outside of the main house which includes offices for the helpers, a restaurant and I believe some rooms for travellers. In the yard behind it there is Santa’s House and I really couldn’t resist taking a look around.
The house is stuffed with Christmas trinkets, memorabilia and all thinks Chrismas-y. To see this in the summer was a bit weird, but well, I chose to go there that time of the year. 😉 In the winter months there are all kinds of events and a Santa will be around for visitors, but of course not during the summer.
So after I got some refreshment I followed a couple of elderly people into a herb garden nearby and saw one of the largest Insect Hotels I ever came across – needless to say I got my dad a small one for Christmas that year.
Stop 7: Ravensbrück
After exploring Himmelpfort I went back to the Hostel and already did some first exploring on the side of the KZ (concentration camp), but I’ll talk about this experience in a separate post.
This concludes day one of this part of the Journey. I hope it wont take me that long to get the other parts up. I decided to split it here as the log was already quite long and the other days would have made it even longer.
Last year I told you about my experiences with Halloween and that I consider it to be one of the most interesting feasts I know.
Last years Halloween in Hamburg was fun – and I still owe you the review on the HellNights part of it – but it was still just Halloween in Germany and the same old story I already told you about.
We ended up in an Irish pub on the Reeperbahn, with a hilarious live band, nice drinks and a really funny barwoman, but the only costume was a Batman that briefly entered the room …
This isn’t technically something bad, but as you might remember did I also tell you that
it is one of my goals to one day spent a Halloween in the U.S. and/or other places with Halloween/Samhain traditions to see how it is celebrated there at first hand.
(Quote from the other post)
With this and the fact that I still had quite a bunch of vacation days left for the remainder of the year an idea started to form.
An idea that became a plan that would have me spent
Halloween in Ireland
(and not just in an Irish pub 😉 ).
The original plan spanned over two weeks, starting from the 24th October to the 2nd November. This way I would have also been able to attend the Bram Stoker Festival. Unfortunately everyone I asked or told about this was unable to cover the costs for such a trip. With no one to accompany me, on what would have been my first flight ever, I canned the idea and stopped thinking about it.
Yet, it was still there at the back of my mind, waiting to be unleashed again. I wanted to go and the fact that I was also suffering from Fernweh at that time didn’t really help my case. In the meantime I had changed my plans to spent Halloween in Hamburg again. This time with a former fellow student of mine: Janzy (the one from the Jazzfrühling).
But when the trip to the MPS in Hamburg didn’t still this urge to go travelling, the idea returned on our way back.
Hamburg has an airport after all.
Not even a day after the medieval festival I started making preparations for the shortened trip (only from the 31st October to the 1st November) by working up my courage to write to one of the persons that started it all: Edward Mooney.
With his amazing help I managed to not just get an outline of activities, but also learn about things I would have otherwise spent hours googling for the same information.
Let this be a HUGE (public) THANK YOU, Ed!
As I wanted to surprise Janzy with this idea and give her a part of it as Birthday present did I not tell her at first and simply grinned like an idiot when she mentioned wanting to visit Ireland when we were on the phone one evening.
Still, the more concrete my plans became, the more I felt that I’d be overwhelming her if I only told her on my arrival.
Yet, I wanted to SEE her reaction. Luckily there are things like Skype. 😉
When I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer and had her ok, that she wouldn’t mind travelling somewhere two hours away from Hamburg we changed from phone to Skype for the revelation.
The part I gave her as gift was The Dublin Ghostbus Tour and I sent her the link for it.
She scrolled up and down the page to then start the following conversation
„And where do I see where it is?“
„Up at the top in the headline: DUBLIN Ghostbus.“
„Yes, but there isn’t a Dublin two hours away [from Hamburg].“
„Sure, by plane.“
The gears were visibly turning in her head until realization dawned upon her.
„No, no, I can’t accept that as a gift!“
„Everything is already planned.“
She was really delighted, yet shocked, about this turn of events.
And I was glad she liked the idea as much as she did. 🙂
So now after booking everything, struggling with car rentals and anticipating this moment for months it is finally happening!
When you are reading this post we hopefully safely landed in Dublin! 😀
Some weeks ago, when my largest vacation this year drew near I thought about what to do in those two weeks.
A fellow student of mine suggested to have a look around Denmark, but that was unfortunately crossed out due to lack of money and time.
While contemplating the whole Denmark thing I also thought about travelling some places in good ol‘ Germany and asked people I knew, who would be available in the time of my journey. With this knowledge I created a route that took me through half of Germany from Sunday to Sunday. I kind of felt like a Traveling Salesman planning it…
Schawarma, a slice of Monster-Pizza and a Church in between
Anyway, my journey started on July 15th in Berlin (B).
Throughout the day Artok (I’ll be using nicknames for this) took me around Germany’s capital city. More or less through the not so wealthy parts of it. We went from Lichtenberg to Neukölln and further.
Along the way we passed a food store that sold Schawarma…
What can I say?
Having watched The Avengers I simply had to try it…
I kind of wonder how many people had the exact same idea after leaving the cinema that was just across the store. XD
And I now can totally understand why the Avengers did not say a word when they ate it, as it just gets more and more while you eat.
I had a version with chicken meat, a lot of it, and some vegetables and sauce. It had a quite interesting taste, though it was rather dry…
Later I heard, that there are versions with potatoes, yet mine had none. 🙁
Moving on we passed a quite interesting church.
It had both old and new elements in its architecture – not as much as some other churches, but still interesting to look at:
The Church in Berlin
As well as an „funny“ inscription above its doorway coming from Luke 24:29:
„Stay with us, for it is nearly evening“.
That kind of foreshadows the end that is depicted in the bible (in this case) and other old stuff, like the Edda or the Maya calendar and stuff…
Okay, it also stands for the time Jesus returned to his followers and they wanted to make him stay, but I consider my interpretation a bit more funnier…
Anyway, we later went into the Görlitzer Park that was rather pretty seeing its surroundings.
It had large stones and stone blocks lined up to create some kind of stairway that ended into a pool of sand. (We entered from above and had a good view over the whole thing) According to Artok it even used to hold water that dripped down the stairs. It was nice to sit there and talk the time away.
By the way, they had a Café there and the hot chocolate they sold was really tasty.
The evening I spent at Liathano’s place. She would have accompanied us throughout the day, if she hadn’t had to learn for her final exams, which she by now managed to write and hopefully pass.
For dinner she made pizza and as she is a vegetarian it was a pizza void of any meat. It was tasty, yet she called it a „Monster-Pizza“, because she „ruined“ the mixture for the dough. It was like 5 cm thick, but it was tasty.
It was covered with read beans, white mushrooms, maize and (on 2/3rds of it) onions and of course tomato sauce and cheese.
While I stayed there I had the chance to read some short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. „The Tell-Tale Heart„, „The Mask of the Red death“ and „The Black Cat„. Very interesting stories, especially the „death“ one. I would really like to see a cinematic approach on that.
Just earlier this week I received a Mail advertising the comic version of the last two by Gris Grimly that is now available in German.
Don’t trust Google, go sightseeing instead
From Berlin I drove to Frankfurt (Main) (C) and I tell you, do not trust Google on how much time you need for that distance!
It told me it would take 5 1/2 hours, it took me about 6-7 (excluding breaks, a diverted road through Belitz and me driving towards Frankfurt (Oder) for 11 km…)…
Finally arriving there to drop of my passengers, I made the last kilometres towards „Unyx“‚ place, where I stayed till Thursday.
On Tuesday she took me to the Senckenberg museum in Frankfurt. It was her forth time there this year and I really hope she still had fun showing me around. They had like everything. From dinosaur skeletons, over a whole floor of mounted animals and birds, towards the remainder of the animal version of the „Body Worlds“ exhibition. It was really interesting. Though probably not for Unyx‘ dogs which had to stay in the car and as we had them with us to take out for a walk in the city…
We later drove a bit out of the town to let them run in the fields as an apology.
Now I nearly forgot to mention the „Hilton bug“ or rather the enormous Hilton Hotel at the Frankfurter plane station that looked like a gigantic bug with really funny legs, as they were constructed to look like those plane entrance tunnels. It kind of looked like a bug to me.
Besides that does the inner city of Frankfurt look rather modern. All kinds of round shapes and stuff. It looks really amazing more like a glimpse into the future than something made in our time.
In the evening she usually takes her dogs into the house, so she did this time as well. While she restraint the still rather bubbly youngsters (5 months old) their mother could run free. And she likes to pose as a lap dog. Being a fully grown Belgian Shepherd Dog this is not really comfortable if you are the one providing the lap…
She looked pretty huge when she came up to me, but she was nice to me at least and only licked my glasses and trampled on me. XD
The next day we went to participate in a guided tour through Mainz. We learned about the importance of the Rhein in its history and the reasons why Mainz has a town hall with lattice-windows and no sign saying what it is.
Our last station before we left the tour was the dome.
A quite nice dome with a funny history:
Right on the day it was supposed to be opened for public usage, well, it burnt down…
The dome was festively decorated and a lot of candles had been lit, as it was rather dark in it due to having only some small windows. The decorations hung low into the room and it didn’t take the lit candles long to ignite them. As the architecture of the whole thing wasn’t too clever either the fire couldn’t pass up towards the high arched roof usually seen in old churches and extinguish, as this had a flat roof, that was made of wood. This in turn resulted in the rebuilt of the whole thing and probably some humiliation for the archbishop.
This kind of reminded me of Ken Follet’s „The Pillars of the Earth“ (Though I only know the movie version starring Matthew Macfadyen, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Hayley Atwell and the German actress Natalia Wörner), where the cathedral that is built throughout the story burns down as well, shortly before being finished.
What was created after the fire was still a rather dark inner room that later had additional windows and walls added to it. It is kind of a mixture between the different epochs. One guy who recreated one of the towers, who once was insulted by his co-architects for trying to use the original style of what he rebuilt rather than the style used at that time, is now greatly thanked by the restorers who are trying to do just that these days.
Afterwards we’ve been in a Medival Torture Museum in Rüdesheim.
The most interesting about this, was that the navigation system guided us through the Rhein, or rather on a route to a ferry above it. The second time this happened to me this year. XD
The museum itself was…hmm…nothing special and somewhat half-heartedly done in comparison to other museums of this kind, like the one in Penzlin just around the corner from my home. That one is a place where the tortures had actually happened and in combination with the „Burgfest“ („Castle feast“) or the feast for the „Walpurgisnacht“ and its music and the people in medieval clothes, the visit becomes rather memorable.
In the evening Unyx showed me Frankfurt by night. The later it got the harder it was for me to keep my eyes open until a succumbed into a nap on our way back … I know what it’s like to drive while your passenger(s) sleep(s), I’m terribly sorry…
The breathtaking Dome and the evil Comic Book Shop
Next stop was Köln (Cologne) (D) for the day. I visited the one, who inspired me to listen to Metal. I think I owe him quite a lot for that. =D
We visited the dome, which is even more breathtaking than the one in Mainz…heck that thing leaves you practically speechless…
Inside the Dome in Cologne
The Organ in the dome
Whereas I couldn’t decide what to take a picture of in Mainz (though in retrospective I know what I should have taken a picture of), I this time took some in Köln.
But pictures and words can’t really describe how amazing the architectural work here is…
If you ever have a chance to do so: Take a walk through those halls!
Aside from that – and I’m not really able to describe the dome any further, just go look at it yourself – quite close to the dome is a museum for Roman archaeological excavations. They had some quite interesting finds outside their exhibition rooms:
Typical Roman Shoes
Diverting from the dry topics of history we went to a Comic store, where I kind of bought a lot of stuff…
I now am certain that Comic stores are just as evil as Book stores: They never let you get out without having bought something.
Were Frankfurt was fascinating in its sense of architecture, Köln was intimidating due to its high buildings. Coming from a small city that is something completely different than what I’m used to. I kind of wonder how it will be if I ever manage to visit a huge city like New York…
For the night I drove to Bochum (E), where Feuerflügel had asked a friend of hers to provide a couch for me, but forgot to tell me what the guys name was.
So I stood in front of the house not knowing which bell I would have to ring …
When I finally got the note what his name is and brought my stuff upstairs we went to the Tavern „Zu den vier Winden„. It was a real nice evening seeing and talking to Feuerflügel and Mila again. Drinking some tasty mead (honeywine in the flavours: currant, strawberry and some other I forgot) and eating some delicious „Flammkuchen“ I wish I could have stayed longer, but Murphy was against us so I had to depart a day earlier to Kassel (F), as I originally had planned.
Poodles, Music and Art
But it wasn’t too bad. I’ve already been there two years ago for a whole week, where we explored like about every available interesting museum in and out of town. XD
Having some time left on us Nazgul and I went to the Comic Galerie, yes another Comic store and yes I bought something again…
I am now the proud owner of a quite funny „Nichtlustig„- Shirt. Nichtlustig („Notfunny“) has „Death“ among its characters and Death has a Poodle (remember my comments on poodles regarding Mephisto? 😉 ) and the Shirt simply shows Death holding the Poodle, saying:
„Nothing against the Poodle of Death“.
Ironically, I wore it some days ago when I accompanied my Mum to the hospital …
I mean even sick people have to understand a joke right? I hope so …
Anyway, later that evening we went with a friend of Nazguls to an alternative „disco“ called „Savoy„. What can I say? We nearly were their only guests that day.
So after the guys had some beer we went on to the „Musik Theater“ or „MT“. There were some more people around and the music wasn’t too bad that day either – at least in the Dark Area
Again I had some tasty mead, this time hemp(?) aroma (called Thor’s Tears, having a rather odd green colour…) and old fashioned cherry mead or „Viking’s blood“.
The worst of that day was, that I had to leave my car behind because of my „Don’t drink and drive“-policy…
We had to walk back to Nazgul’s place for nearly an hour and my baby stood there all night by himself and nearly the whole next day … 🙁
When Nazgul finally got up on Saturday (I had finished nearly two comics by then) we went to see some of the free exhibits of the dOCUMENTA (13) in the Karlsaue.
They were mostly weird and I don’t think I got at least half of them …
I don’t really know what an artist wants to tell me if he or she hangs up tons of gourds and puppets in a tree above stuff that looks like a makeshift camp….or another hanging up boats and nets in a tree above a camper and a shack full of random garbage like newspapers or old bicycles…or someone putting a stone into a tree … though that one looked rather fascinating due to its location:
The Stone-Tree in the Karlsaue
Just as fascinating was the location of a Ferris wheel behind the Orangerie:
Ferris wheel in the Orangerie
That one left us contemplating whether it be possible to create a Ferris wheel that actually goes through a building. It would probably be more like a roller coaster than a Ferris wheel though …
Later that evening we met up with some more of Nazgul’s friends before we again went off to the MT.
This time for an event in the Dark Area called „Feuertanz“ (Firedance) where they played some medieval (German) metal like Schandmaul, In Extremo, Letzte Instanz and so forth, but also some other stuff in that direction. Its been again a quite funny evening, especially when one of his friend and me sang the refrain of Schandmauls „Das Tuch“ together; or the Dove-Lady that used to move her head when she danced in the way a pigeon moves its when it walks…we just had to look at her, look at each other and started laughing…
Nearly as funny as the Dark Noir parties in Neubrandenburg. 😉
Home Sweet Home
Last Sunday I (finally?) made my way home. Taking passengers from Kassel to Hamburg and from Hamburg to Greifswald even caused my refuel-bills for the trip to even out completely.
All in all it was an interesting, yet exhausting, experience that I would like to repeat some day. Hopefully with new destinations added to it, though there are still places to be explored in the „old“ ones.
Thanks goes to everyone who made this trip possible, the ones who provided me with a place to stay, entertainment and/or interesting conversations.
Its been a great time and a wonderful vacation.
Looking forward to see you guys again some day!