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Tag: Germany (page 1 of 8)

The Wall That Once Was

Tomorrow Germany will celebrate an important anniversary. Tomorrow 25 years ago, the Berlin Wall came down.

It is one of my favourite topics to write about, the past of the devided Germany and what it means to me and my life. Everything would have been different. I wouldn’t have majored in the same field. I wouldn’t work in the same field. I wouldn’t have lived in the same places. I wouldn’t have met the same people.

25 years ago tomorrow, Günter Schabowski announced new regulations on Free Travel for GDR-citizens in a press conference, and when he was asked when they would come into effect, he said he supposed they would come into effect right now. It was more of an accident than a thought-through, political decision, but it gave the peaceful revolution its decisive twist. So many people went to border crossings that the guards couldn’t control them for long. People were crossing. People were going back and forth. By the end of the night, people were dancing on the wall.

Footage of that night drives tears to me eyes every single time.

Today and tomorrow, an installation set up in Berlin. White balloons are set up to mark the line where the wall used to seperate East and West. Tomorrow evening, they will take flight, the balloon border will vanish, and this will remind us all of the way the wall disappeared.

Balloon Wall, Berlin, GermanyI live in the old West. This morning, I had a doctor’s appointment in the old East. I went there by bike. I have mentioned before how there is a cobblestone strip in the pavement where the wall used to be, and I cross it every day when I go to my work which is also in the old East. It often elates me. But today it was different. Going through the balloons indicating the wall, the eerie feeling I sometimes have in this spot was much stronger. I very significantly realized that 25 years ago, the world would have ended here. No trespassing, or else I would have been shot.

What I found stranger yet though was that I also realized how little one knew of this border as soon as it was out of sight. The balloon wall had been up for a couple of days already, or at least in the making. I hadn’t noticed much of it. People ask how it was possible to live in a divided city – the difficult truth is that it must have been fairly easy as long as you didn’t live right next to a visible sign of it. Thomas Brussig, a German author, once wrote that the strange thing about the wall was that the people closest to it took note of it the least. It was an unquestioned fact. How incredible it must have been when it actually did change – when it actually moved until it fell. And without violence. Dancing on the wall, where days before one would have been shot. A gap was bridged. Ultimately.

Going through the balloon wall felt like crossing yet another bridge.

Living in this city is amazing. I am reminded of the historical dimension of things constantly, and it doesn’t only make me understand better how this country and this world came to be what they are, it also allows me to understand myself. I feel myself in relation to everything that has been and will be in this place. And I love Berlin, I love it for making me aware of things I couldn’t have learned anywhere else in the world.

This is my last post on this blog. I have written on it for almost 5 years, with higher and lower levels of professionalism. It has been about travel and about culture, about identity and alterity, about myself and all the things I have seen that were so different from everything I knew before. I have loved sharing my views with you, but it is time to move on. Time to settle. I have new projects lined up in my personal and professional life, also writing projects, but those will be in German. I really miss writing in German. And I miss writing about things other than travel, as much as it has meant and does mean to me.

Be assured of one thing though: I will always be keeping bridges.

A Medieval Ruhr Surprise – Hattingen

The beauty of life is that you always find things that defeat any kind of stupid prejudice about any area in the world that is supposed to be boring, ugly or not worth visiting.

The Ruhr area is Germany’s industrial hub. Coal has been mined in the region since the 19th century. It has a reputation of being quite ugly. North Rhine-Westphalia, where it’s situated, is the most populous federal state, and in the Ruhr, city follows upon city when you travel through by train – and well-known, big ones, too: Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg. All of them have largely fallen victim to architectural catastrophes committed in the 1950s and 60s after being horribly bombed during World War 2. Although the area was Culture Capital of Europe in 2010, it is hardly your most obvious travel destination in Germany.

Hattingen, GermanyYes, the beauty in the world lies in how it surprises you. I at least never would have placed a town as charming and pretty as Hattingen in the Ruhr area if you had shown me pictures of it beforehand.

Hattingen, Old Town, GermanyShowers of rain had come down in the morning, but when Jan and I get to Hattingen, the sun is out in glorious early autumn warmth. The day is bright and beautiful and lies ahead of us in all its weekend peace. The first thing we come across even before we enter the actual old town is a church. We both have a thing for churches, and I don’t see us passing one by in our foreseeable travel life without at least checking if it’s open. This one is. Quite plain inside, beautiful red brick stone buttresses line the cupolas. We stand, just the two of us, and look up quietly. I link my arm in Jan’s and start singing. The acoustics are amazing, and the way the sounds ring through the church makes me feel utter joy. Stepping back out into the sunlight, there is one more little blessing hanging upon this day.

Hattingen, Old Town, GermanyWe move on and into the old town. Signs send the visitor through the centre with little information boards that explain any point of greater or smaller interest. I am instantly taken. There are half-timbered houses, some overgrown with ivy or wine, the leaves already changing colour into bright autumn red. The tiny tollhouse – which, we learn from the board, was never used as such – is especially pretty.

Tollhouse, Hattingen, GermanyOther houses are made of schist (boy, have I never heard that word in English before!), and while I might have thought before that schist would turn out rather dark and dull, it is shimmering in the sunlight. Medieval tiny streets are opening up onto small squares, and there is street cafe upon street cafe.

Schist house, Hattingen, GermanyIt’s a lively little town with people all out and about. We window shop our way through the main walkway until we see a tower to the side that looks like it might belong to an interesting building – it turns out to be the town hall.

Town hall, Hattingen, GermanySaint George, the city patron, sits proudly on its stele in front of it. In fact he is everywhere in the city: as a statue like here, as a mural in the old town, as a bronze in the entrance to the biggest church that is of course consecrated in his name. And that is what we’re off to see now. On we go down the small streets, following the church tower that is slightly bent and crooked.

St George, Hattingen, Germany Finally we pass through a narrow passageway that opens up to the friendly market in front of the church. There’s a noticeable memorial called Hattingia which commemorates the victims of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 that ultimately led to the unification of Germany in 1871. Jan comments that you don’t get many of those anymore. I realize how true that is. Commemoration of the World Wars has almost extinguished a living memorial culture that refers to anything that happened earlier. There are good reasons for that I guess, but I only just now realize that it’s probably quite remarkable.

Hattingia, Hattingen, GermanyLots of little retail shops line the square, not just the big chains you have everywhere. One we enter is, the friendly clerk explains to us, a “shelf shop” where people can rent space on a shelf or two to expose their own handcrafted items. There are scarves, pillow cases, little dolls and puppets, beanies, pacifier keepers, handbags, jewellery and all sorts of cute little selfmade giveaways. It’s incredibly unique and I wonder why us arrogant metropolitan hipsters always think that these things can only be found in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. I had already noticed the many shops for wool and needlework all over town – Hattingen seems to be a creative place.

St George, Hattingen, GermanyThe church itself, a protestant one, is yet much plainer than its catholic sister we visited earlier. We don’t linger long but move on through the alleyways to come across more pretty houses, more cute shops, more inviting cafes.

City wall, Hattingen, GermanyWe finally end up at the old city wall. There’s another memorial that shows statues that are… interesting. But maybe I am a philistine. They surely have artistic value – they are supposed to remind of the history of steel refining in the area.

Iron Men, Hattingen, GermanyWhen we feel like we’ve walked the old town thoroughly, we return to the church square for some coffee and cake. The waitress notes our order down on a plate of slate with chalk. When she’s brought us our cappuccinos and cake (which is heavenly, I should add!), she sits with a friend and starts knitting. It’s beautifully down to earth, unpretentious and comforting in its comfortableness.

Hattingen, GermanyAnd at the end of the day, it is Jan again who points out what makes this little town so unique and special. It is a small reminder that everything has always been here much longer than we think. The Ruhr didn’t come into existence with industrialization. It’s been around as long as any other place. And Hattingen shows us part of the region’s history that is much older than 200 years.

Guest Post: Lift Bridge in Karnin (Usedom), Germany

Guest post are a rare event on my blog, mainly because I am not monetized and I don’t do backlinks or anything like it. The more joyous the occasion wheh a friend wants to write about a bridge nonetheless. And possibly even more wonderful when it’s a real life friend and not a travel blogger I met on a social media channel. My friend and former flatmate Luise is an avid traveller and came to travel blogging just a little later than me. On her site Such a Lot of World to See she blogged about her trip through the Balkans, Turkey and Georgia to Azerbaijan. I’m excited she’s bringing you such an insightful post – much longer than my own usual bridge post; she sent it to me saying she „got carried away a little“. That should tell you more than enough about her curiosity and passion for the world.

This year the First World War is more present in German public discourse and consciousness than WW II – usually it is the other way round for various reasons. But anyway it is a “super memorial year”: 100 years since WW I started, 75 years since WW II started, 25 years since the Wall came down. It’s always a mix. When my parents visit me in Greifswald in the North Eastern corner of Germany where I study, we also get to see a colorful mix of old and older, traces left both by the wars and the GDR, and new, what the decreasing population in this region outside the university town do to give it some new direction.

We visit Anklam, a small town 40 kilometers from Greifswald. It was heavily destroyed in the end of the war and modestly rebuilt. When industry closed down after the reunification people started to leave and there are some problems with right wing extremists round here. So I have to admit we are somewhat surprised to see some creative projects going on here. Young people and artists built all kinds of gliders and flying devices decorating the half destroyed church – which even has a roof again – of the hometown of aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal. It is a bright May afternoon and so we have a fantastic view from the tower all across the wide flat lands where he took his first flights.

Flying Equipment, Anklam, GermanyFar to the East we can see the enormous structure of the Karnin lift bridge which is worth a visit as the guide at the church tells us. After criss-crossing through the fields and along small alleys (some of them remarkably bumpy) we reach the harbor of Kamp where we have a fish sandwich and then start out for the bridge. We just have to walk around the corner at the pier and there it is, the huge lift bridge once enabling Berliners to reach the fancy beach resorts on the island of Usedom within two hours by train. It also gained military importance when the Army Research Center was opened in Peenemünde in the Northern part of Usedom in 1936.

I have been listening to quite some documentaries on 1914 lately, the war that was sparked on a bridge, a quite small one. Here is a bridge that after being an icon of German engineering was sacrificed by its own people at the very end of the next war. When German forces retreated they blew up all parts of the bridge except for the lift. That part was drawn up to allow for the German navy operating in the Szczecin Lagoon to escape to the Baltic Sea if necessary. And that is how we can still see it, the way it was left in the final defeat nearly 70 years ago. Eerie.

Lift Bridge, Karnin, GermanyThe 50x30m lift bridge was part of a two way railroad bridge opened in 1875. It wasn’t rebuilt, partly because of the new German-Polish border now dividing the island across the main railroad. Ever since the war people have to drive further to the North West to Wolgast, cross the bridge there and drive a long way back on the island to reach the so called Kaiserbäder (Emperor’s resorts), more or less doubling travel time from Berlin. There are actually talks of rebuilding the railroad and the bridge, we don’t have border controls between Poland and Germany anymore. This region is trying to become less of an outpost at the far edge.

Usedom, GermanyUntil then the former railroad dam is accessible by a nice sand path populated by salamanders and the waters on its sides are home to beavers while the birches that died in the rising waters hold an incredibly huge colony of the prehistoric looking cormorants.

Change is the only constant, even with a door left open by a fleeing army several decades ago.

(Photos by my mother D. Schmidt)

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Germany. Football. Patriotism Revisited.

Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post on Germany and its perhaps peculiar relationship to patriotism. For a long time it was my most successful post, and it is still among the most read on the blog.

Only last week I closed comments on the post. It may be a bit cowardly of me to do that, but frankly, I was tired of justifying myself for my very personal view on the matter (which happens to be shared by quite a few people). In fact, from all the discussions I have had on the issue, my view is fairly moderate. I love Germany, although I have my (personal!) problems with the expression „national pride“, and I am very much aware of historical responsibility without wanting to propagate or feeling myself a personal and individual guilt. Other positions exist and I never denied that they did. There are, as the comments on the mentioned post show, people who do take pride in the fact that they are Germans and are not afraid to say so. Others find anything remotely patriotic completely unsuitable for Germans and equate patriotism with nationalism. And then there’s loads of people somewhere in the middle of that. Why would Germany differ from any other country in that respect? It wouldn’t. Only, and this was my one central point in the post, the connection between patriotism and nationalism has history in my country, and I think it suits us to be aware of that and handle the subject with care.

German flag, Berlin, GermanyThe post’s viewing numbers recently spiked, and I am fairly sure that it is to do with Germany’s performance during the football world cup. In fact I expect them to spike again today in the course of the discussion that is marked on twitter by the hashtag #gouchogate. I am not sure if it’s made international media yet. The story goes as follows: The German team was welcomed at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin yesterday with celebrations for winning the World Cup, and a few of the players did a little dance that goes „This is how the gouchos walk, the gouchos walk like this“ – crouching down, looking beaten, and then „This is how the Germans walk, the Germans walk like this“ – walking upright, jumping, celebrating.

Now some of the German media, and I quote here, find this performance to be a „gigantic own goal“ because they think that it defames Argentina in unacceptable ways, turning the German  team that has played a tournament of fairness and tolerance into a bunch of idiotic nationalists.

Excuse me, but WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!

The German twittersphere has largely reacted by pointing out how ridiculous it is to make a dance – one that is a well-known and established part of German football culture – a national affair and basically play the Nazi card yet once again. They have also shown that it is completely out of proportion to claim that the #gouchogate affair throws shade on the entire tournament and the achievements of the German team. But the story does prove that showing German pride is a problematic issue still when patriotism is not a big deal in other countries.

Throughout the whole world cup I have been confronted with it. It starts with the anthem. I always sing along, however sometimes quietly. I don’t, however, put my hand on my heart. It feels weird to me. That is just my very personal standpoint. I sometimes wish I could do it. But I don’t. And that is my very personal choice, as is singing along. Back to that: I have watched games with people who thought it was sad that no one else sang along. I have also watched games with people who said (if in jest): „If you sing along I might have to spit in your face.“

Football plays a huge role in the whole patriotism debate in Germany, and always has. It is weirdly connected to big historical moments and the evolution of German cultural identity. When Germany won the World Cup in 1954 they called it a miracle. It was a moment when Germans won back their dignity, when for the first time after World War 2 the country was associated with something positive again. I can’t say much about 1974 because I am not an expert, I am just relating my own thoughts here, unresearched. But in 1990, just before reunification and after the downfall of the Berlin Wall, it was one of the defining moments for a new era, a new Germany coming into existence, because the GDR followed and cheered for the West German team as much as the the Federal Republic did. 2006, when the World Cup was held in Germany, flag waving and the general display of black-red-gold felt normal for the very first time since the 1940s, and it was a four week celebration of happiness down to the game that got Germany third place and beyond that on to the final between Italy and France.

And now, in 2014, it’s done. Germany has won the cup. WE have won the cup. Together as one. And it feels wonderful, truly truly wonderful.

The day after the final I wore a shirt to work that had black-red-gold rims and four golden stars on it. And I was actually surprised that no one judged me for that.

When I went home after work yesterday, after the celebrations at Brandenburg Gate were over, I passed by the Monument for the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial. A drunk football fan dressed in black-red-gold stood on one of the stelae and loudly sang songs about beer and schnaps. I will say that it made me feel uncomfortable. But it would have done so without him wearing national colours. He didn’t respect the idea of the place, and it bothered me.

What I am trying to say is: It is not as easy as saying „Get over it, Germany, and be proud of what you are today.“ It is not as easy as saying „We may never be happy and celebrate our country ever again“, either. There are implications, contexts, and what’s most important, there are people involved, with feelings and emotions and standpoints in this debate, and they should all be heard and acknowledged, however much either one side does not agree.

I do hope very much that one day Germany, and we as Germans, will find our balance when it comes to this. Because I truly love my country. I’m not proud of it as a whole, in fact I’m really quite critical of it at times. I am not proud of being German because, really, it’s not an achievement. But I am, and I repeat myself from an old post, immensely grateful and happy that I am allowed to live here and for all the things this culture has taught me and given to me. And right now I am proud of my national team that has fulfilled a collective national longing and won a sports tournament for us, and I applaud them and thank them for the face-splitting grin they have put on my face these last few days.

Bridge in Berlin (Lübars), Germany

Berlin is huge. I know, not by, what, American standards, but it is the biggest city in Germany, and even being from the second biggest in the country, it took me quite a while to get a grip on it. But the beauty of it is: There is so much to discover.

Alt Lübars (Berlin), GermanyA few weeks ago I took a metro, met a friend, took another metro and a bus to reach a rather remote area of Berlin called Lübars, a part of Reinickendorf. It is very close to the border to Brandenburg. That means that the border between the GDR and West Berlin used to be just here. Nothing to be noticed about that. It is just beautiful nature now. Fields and marsh.

The runway in the picture crosses the creek called Tegeler Fließ. Tegel is South of here, you might be familiar with the name because of the airport. It wasn’t a particularly pretty day, but I enjoyed it all the more because there weren’t many people out and about. One wouldn’t believe that you were in the capital, in this huge urban mass of skyscrapers and monuments and malls. It was peaceful.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Bridge in Zislow, Germany

Summer hasn’t made much of an appearance in Germany this year so far. But the Saturday a few weeks back that I spent driving around the beautiful lakes in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg was one of the most glorious early summer days ever.

Zislow, GermanyI finished it by driving into Zislow, a village at the Plauer See (Lake of Plau) just across the border of Brandenburg into Mecklenburg. It was dusk, and after a sunny and hot day, clouds were coming in and spreading over the wide Northern German sky I love so much. The sun fell through them and sparkled on the water so preciously.

The bridge just made the situation a little more perfect. I have really come so far with my love for bridges that whenever I discover one, my heart beats a little faster. I marvel at every pretty photo of a bridge that I discover, and I giggle when the bridge is used as a metaphor by someone who doesn’t know what it means to me. So while by now almost any bridge will make me happy, this one did so especially. It is of a kind that I especially love – unobtrusive, not big or pompous, let alone famous, but of perfect harmony – in itself with the soft curve in which it bends across the water, but also with its surroundings. It just fits in.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Moltke Bridge in Berlin, Germany

Like probably every decent traveller, I love airports and I love train stations. Berlin has one of the biggest train stations in Europe, and when you exit toward the Spree river and walk towards the water, this view is your reward: Moltkebrücke, Berlin, GermanyWhen I’ve spent a weekend away inside of Germany, I often take an early morning train back to Berlin and walk from the main station to my work. I could public transport instead of walking. But I love arriving in Berlin and being welcomed by the river, the bridges, even the government buildings you see in the background of the picture. This is also part of the pulsating, thriving capital I love, even far away from cool hipster neighbourhoods like Kreuzberg and Neukölln.

The bridge in the picture is called Moltkebrücke. Helmuth von Moltke was chief of staff of the Prussian army in the late 19th century. The bridge certainly shows Prussian grandeur with its red sandstone structure and its delicate ornaments. If you google it, you will find pictures of it with the old Lehrter Bahnhof in the background – the beautiful historicist train station that once stood in the place of what is now the modern, steel and glass main station. Berlin, a palimpsest made up of different time layers – if only you want to see them.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Sunshine on Water – Brandenburg and Mecklenburg

Some time has passed since my little field trip with a rental car into the Brandenburgian outback. I read back my post on the fieldstone churches I came across that day, and it puts a lingering smile on my face. Too often do I forget how healing the effect is that travel, however limited the time, how ever close the distance, has on me.

Wustrow, Plätlinsee, GermanyI drove through Lindow, a proper little town with a cute tiny market square. It looks a lot like Lübbenau in the Spreewald region South of Berlin. I guess it is the Prussian history. The town is settled snugly along the first lake I encountered that day, the Gudelacksee. I sat by the lakeshore in restaurant that seemed rather too big for such a small place, and had coffee, listening to the sounds of tiny waves and shivering yet a little bit in the shade. Across the small bay all of a sudden someone started playing the trumpet. I broke into smile. It was a bit off-key, but it was played with vigour and enjoyment, and it made me happy.

Lindow (Mark), GermanyOut of the town, I drove along the wide Brandenburgian alleys enjoying the interplay of rape fields and green grass – and the occasional bit of shiny blue water when there was another lake. There are many in this area.

Brandenburg, GermanyThe day was sunny and bright. It was a day that felt on the verge of spring to summer. I felt the warm breeze in my face as I drove with the windows open, wonderfully aimlessly, not a care in the world, no duty, no pressure, just the moment and me. I came across Rheinsberg with its gorgeous Prussian castle which I will write about in another post. I had to park the car well outside of the town centre because it was very well frequented. The beauty in that was that I got to walk all along the promenade of lake, Grienickesee, back to the castle.

???????????????????????????????The reed stood high, the sun was dancing on the water, and the shady walkway along the water was not too busy. Too little girls were selling earthworms in jars. I was actually close to buying one just to see them smile. But they were smiling anyway and I really don’t have much use for earthworms in my life. The walk of about one and a half miles to the castle was every bit as pretty as the castle itself. But as I said, that is for another day.

My next stop was a random village called Wustrow – just outside of Brandenburg in the very South of Mecklenburg. I wouldn’t have stopped if it wasn’t for a small unobtrisive sign just by the freeway that led through the village. It said „Badestelle“ – a place for swimming. So I parked the car and followed the sign. I figured it would probably be one of the loneliest places I could come across because it was well outside of almost any civilization.Grienickesee, Germany The lake, Plätlinsee, was gorgeous. The forests looked black in the distance, and there was freshly mown grass to spread my blanket on. I tested the water with my feet, but it was quite too cold to actually go in all the way. So I settled for lying in the sun for a long time. Happy. Writing music in my head.

Mariella, Plätlinsee, GermanySince I had come this far, I decided to go the distance and drive the last bit to the Müritz, Germany’s second biggest lake after Lake Constance and the biggest one entirely on German territory. Where I ended up as the sun came down though was a different lake even further on than Müritz which is called Plauer See. I went to the village of Zislow, a place I had actually been before, went down to the lake shore, and witnessed what I can only describe as amazingness.

Zislow, Plauer See, GermanyThe sky had gone overcast, and the surface of the water was dim with the rippling of tiny waves. It was as though the water was shivering in anticipation of rainfall. Single sunbeams came through the clouds and drew patterns on the water in the distance. In German, some people call single, visible rays of sun that look so mainfest that you can touch them „Engelsfahrstühle“ – elevators for angels. I felt like I would have to see winged creatures ride up and down the streams of white light and dive into the water like children on a slide.

Zislow, Plauer See, GermanyAs I sat and watched, the clouds parted, and the sun came out again. The dance of light it performed on the water is plainly indescribable. After a day filled with peace with my thoughts flowing freely, a day with nothing to crave and no one to miss, this was indeed the perfect dusk, the perfect transition into night, into whatever would come next. You cannot seek out these moments. They are given to you. It was a moment of pure grace.

 

Bridge in Germersheim, Germany

This week my being grounded was shortly interrupted for a quick work trip – out of the 16 federal states of Germany the train took me through seven to get to the little town of Germersheim in Rhineland-Palatinate. Germersheim, GermanyI didn’t spend much time, and to be quite frank, getting off the train the town made a rather dull impression on me. But when my work commitment was done and I was walking with my colleague through town to the smaller regional train station, the sun had come out and Germersheim presented itself as quite charming.

We walked a long a runway just above a small river that runs into the Rhine outside the centre of Germersheim. The name of it must be among the funniest German words I have ever heard, it is called Queich. The runway ended in the little bridge you see in the picture, opening up onto a wide square just in sight of Germersheim fortress. I mentioned that I thought it was quite pretty. My colleague said: „There is just about one pretty spot in Germersheim, and this is it.“ I smiled. Leave it to me to find and enjoy anything that is even the least bit pretty. I guess that is a gift.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Lohmühlenbrücke in Berlin, Germany

On a recent short photo tour along the canal, I realized just how pretty the Lohmühlenbrücke was that connect the districts Neukölln and Treptow, with Kreuzberg just around the corner.

Lohmühlenbrücke, Berlin, Germany

I am sure I have mentioned how much I love blogging and the way it drives me to learn more about the places I want to tell you about. I only now learned what a „Lohmühle“ is. The English word is bark mill, and it’s a mill that grinds kindling into a poweder that is then used for tanning leather. Apparently there used to be bark mills around this area. None of that to be seen today, but I still like the bridge a lot. Just behind it, one canal flows into the other. Water all around, and the Neukölln coat of arms glistening colourfully in the centerpiece of the bridge.

Until 1989, the Berlin wall stood at right angles to the bridge on the Treptow side of it, which made the bridge lead into a dead end. The idea of a bridge being thus bereft of its intentional use fascinates me, as do so many broken, ruined and disfunctional things. But there is nothing like witnessing their restauration to their original use, as is the case with the Lohmühlenbrücke.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

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