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Brückenschläge und Schlagworte

Tag: water (page 1 of 9)

Gravestenenbrug in Haarlem, the Netherlands

There is something about draw bridges. I think maybe I’ve been a bit taken with them ever since I lived in Greifswald, where they have an example of surpreme beauty. But this one in Haarlem in the Netherlands left an equally great impression on me. Gravestenenbrug, Haarlem, NetherlandsWe drove through Haarlem on our way back to Amsterdam from the North Sea coast in Zandvoort. Walking through the small town at night, when it was all lit up, was a treat in itself. Beautiful architecture is all around, and little cute canals gave the town its remarkable atmosphere – an even cozier, cuter version of the Dutch capital. What I liked most though was, of course, the walk down the river Spaarne that led us to this beauty of a bridge.

The sky had this intense dark night blue colour, and the reflection in the water was so clear cut that you almost wouldn’t think it was a living, moving surface. I did feel reminded of Greifswald, which made the place feel very familiar in this great sense that grants safety and security and is not in the least boring. The arms of the bridge looked like they were ready to open up any minute now, visions of sailing boats majestically gliding through and on through different canals and into the open sea crossed my mind, and I thought that maybe this is why I like draw bridges. They connect the banks while still appreciating the river’s path and its opportunity to lead us on, on to different shores far away.

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!

Bikes, Sand Dunes, a Memorial, and the North Sea

You read me, so you know I love the Baltic. Now the important question is: Can you really love the North Sea when you love the Baltic? My hometown Hamburg is approximately the same distance from either sea. Most of my family and friends have a clear preference. It is either North or Baltic Sea. You can’t have ‘em both. My sister once phrased it as follows: “I like the North Sea better than the Baltic, because I like the Elbe River better than the Alster.” For someone from Hamburg, that makes immediate sense. Baltic Sea and Alster River are calm and domesticated, while Elbe River and North Sea are moody, wild and untamed. Now here’s the kind of girl I am: I like the Baltic Sea and the Elbe River. I’m annoying. I want it all.

North Sea, Zandvoort, NetherlandsGranted I hadn’t been to the North Sea in a very long time. You see, as opposed to the Baltic Sea, it is not in Central Eastern Europe which made it hard to integrate it into my travel schedule. But when Jan and I did our trip to Amsterdam, we agreed that we would absolutely have to rent bikes at some point, and where prettier to do that than at the coast. So on the second day in the big city we took the car out to Zandvoort, found rental bikes quickly (and very decently priced at 10€ per day per person) and off we went.

Zandvoort, NetherlandsThe town of Zandvoort is a beach resort, the likes of which I know from Germany (and from both teh North and the Baltic Sea) – too many buildings with questionable aesthetics line the coast and make the view from the beach inland rather grey. Looking out to see is grand though. And the good thing about this being a town with good infrastructure is that there are also decently tarmaced bike trails. They lead us out of the immediate town and into the National Park Zuid Kennemerland.

Zuid Kennemerland, NetherlandsThe soft up and down of grown-over sanddunes. The width of the clear blue sky sprinkled with solid-looking clouds. The fresh air and the smell of the sea. The wind in my hair as I speed up on the bike. There is no route planned, no final destination, nowhere to get to. Just moving along through the landscape that I find so beautiful in its simplicity. I don’t need mountains. I just need a wide sky.

The bike trail leads us away from the immediate coast line, inland. Trees line the freeway we drove down when we came into Zandvoort by car. Bike trails are on either side of it. Yes, Holland is bike country. There is a path heading away from the street, and out of curiosity, we take it, unsure where it will lead us. A few hundred yards into it, we come across a small bike park where we place the bikes and make our way along the path on foot. I look back as we leave our bikes, locked together, almost looking like their cuddling. So symbolic. It looks like I am definitely not travelling alone this time.

Bikes, Zuid Kennemerland, NetherlandsWalking on sandy ground, but through beautiful wildlife, I find everything to be very green and leafy. Generally this reminds me a little of the bike tour I did on te Curonian Spit two years ago, but the forests lining the Baltic Sea there are coniferous. The deciduous plants around here give make the green so juicy, the smell so fresh, not as earthy and wooden as I am used to. The path we follow offers new pretty outlooks and views around every corner.

We find a small outdoors theatre that looks like it may once have been a memorial and goof around behind the stone stand. Not a soul around – although that is not true. There are animals, most notably the toad I almost stepped on walking down the path. It’s a very peaceful place. As we move on, we climb up some stairs, and finally come across this:

Memorial for Resistance Fighters in WW2, Zuid Kennemerland, NetherlandsAlthough information is scarce, we realize quickly that it is some kind of burial ground for victims of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Later, research online will tell us that it is a memorial cemetery for resistance fighters who were shot in these exact dunes. There is almost no background given, and really almost none to be found on the internet either, which I regret. Walking around, Jan and I get into a discussion on war and peace, on the surpremely priviliged position our generation finds itself in in Western Europe, on Ukraine, on World War II, on our parents and grandparents. It is quite intense, and it leaves us more grateful for this day than we could have imagined.

Zuid Kennemerland, NetherlandsWe linger at the memorial for quite a while before we get back to the bikes and move on. Down into the forest. Out of it. Coming across meadows (although protected by fences, so we can’t throw ourselves onto them). Along the freeway. And finally, when it is almost time to go back into town to return the bikes, we find the sea again.

North Sea, Zuid Kennemerland, NetherlandsThe North Sea. It is indeed much more untamed. It is also very blue and not as grey as I generally perceive the Baltic to be, but I’m not sure if that’s just its mood today. I find the North Sea to be quite moody. It just goes away every now and then, what is up with that! But today, I have to admit it: The North Sea is being really really good to me. The way the light glistens on its surface, and the sand on its beach is as shiny and as rich in different shades of colour as the water, and the sea grass on the dunes moves in the breeze – all of this touches me.

After we’ve returned the bikes – much too soon for both our tastes – we go back to the beach for dinner, and then stay to watch the sunset for as long as our shivering bodies allow us to. It was warm during the day, but once the sun is down it is quite chilly. The light show that nature has prepared for us is amazing though. Nothing can be said against a sea that allows you to see the sun set in it, slowly, every so slowly disappear into the depths of its water, reflection turning the waves into shimmering bodies of liquid light. Magic moments. And I think I am more of a North Sea fan than I knew before.

North Sea, Zandvoort, NetherlandsWhat do you say – North Sea or Baltic? Or is it another one entirely for you?

Blauwbrug in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

My summer travel destination was chosen mainly for the fact that it promised to hold many, many, many bridges. And man, did it deliver!

Blauwbrug, Amsterdam, NetherlandsAmsterdam was, of course, never going to disappoint me, the fangirl of water, of rivers and canals, and of bridges. I’m afraid my Bridges on Sundays series will contain Amsterdam pictures for a long long time to come. Bear with me. I’m starting you off with one of the prettiest though.

The Blauwbrug, or Blue Bridge, is a late 19th century architectural marvel across the Amstel river. It is thus not one of the many canal bridges. The Amstel river is much wider than the average Amsterdam gracht, and thus allows for a more elaborate bridge structure. Elegant looking young business people were crossing the Blauwbrug in the drizzling rain. In its majestic grandeur the bridge differed from the more laid-back, relaxed and proverbial liberal side of the Dutch capital. I took to its beauty nonetheless. Especially since, when standing on it, you had the next gorgeous bridge in eyesight. But I’ll leave more on the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) for another day.

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!

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!

Footbridge in Malbork, Poland

I have lost count of the times I’ve been to Gdansk. Yet I had only once been to Malbork, the favourite tourist day trip from my beloved city and home to the largest castle of the Order of the Teutonic Knights. My visit there was in 1993 with my family and I had hardly any memory of it. The more thrilled I was that during my last stay in Gdansk I got to visit it again. And this picture alone shows why it was worth it.

Footbridge, Malbork, PolandThe wooden footbridge crossing the river Nogat swings slightly when you cross it. But I had to get to the other side to enjoy the view of the bridge AND the castle all in one. Have you noticed how it is all red brick stone? You know I’d love it. Even with a cloudy sky I think the bright red of the castle contrasts so beautiful against the grey, and the dark colour of the bridge is so intense in its reflection in the Nogat’s steady, calm flow. Malbork Castle is an impressive place looking to intimidate the attacker – but looking at it from across the bridge today, it is mostly peaceful and pretty.

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!

Šeher Ćehaja Bridge in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina

My life has been rich and colourful lately, even without me travelling much (at least not internationally). I do have some exciting plans for the summer, but as of now I am revelling in the quiet excitement I find in routine. And yet every now and then I dream myself away. Away to countries that hold my heart. Away to my most recent adventure – away to Bosnia.

Seher Cehajina Bridge, Sarajevo, Bosnia & HercegovinaThe first bridge in Sarajevo across the Miljacka River that comes to mind is certainly the Latin Bridge – especially in the year of the one hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand which happened just around the corner from the pretty little Ottoman bridge. I must say, though, that I almost prefer the one in the picture above – Šeher-Ćehajina ćuprija. „Ćuprija“, by the way, is a Turkish loan word in Bosnian and means bridge (when standard Croation or Serbian would be „most“). I love the word in all its intercultural richness.

I couldn’t find out what the name of the bridge refers to or much about its history. I just know how beautiful it is to look at when you sit on a bench next to the river on a hot day in early June, eating Burek and, for desert, strawberries that are so sweet you wonder what people actually need candy for. I know how I felt looking at the city hall, to the left in the photo, which was still a brown grey-ish burnt out ruin when I last visited the city and is now restored to its old beauty (even though it can’t be entered yet). I know how full of giddy anticipation I was when I crossed it with a small crowd of people to go for dinner in the Sarajevo Brewery; and also how well-fed, deeply content and happy I was when I returned from that dinner. What can I say. It is a good place.

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!

Bridge, somewhere in Bosnia & Hercegovina

This bridge is random. It doesn’t have a name. I don’t remember exactly where it was or which river it crosses. But look at this beauty: Bosnia & HercegovinaThe bridge is not even entirely in the picture, it is more like I’m on it – in fact, crossing it on a bus – taking the photo. When I went to Bosnia a few weeks ago, I travelled there on a plane for the first time. Approaching Sarajevo, the plane went lower and lower above the green hills, my heart grew wide, and as we touched ground, tears shot out of my eyes with great force. I was coming to collect part of my heart that is tied to that country. Forever. I had to leave it again when I left.

From Sarajevo I took a bus to Mostar. It took me through the landscapes of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from what opened up for me outside of the window. It wasn’t the first time I was in awe facing the different shades of green in the hills and the emerald colours of the rivers, but I was enchanted yet again. Was it the Bosna we crossed here, or the Neretva? I don’t know. I just know there is a bond tying me to that place as strong as any bridge made from stone, steel or wood could ever be.

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.

 

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