on the road: Blog http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Ralf Holzem kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Fri, 01 Sep 2017 07:42:00 GMT Fri, 01 Sep 2017 07:42:00 GMT http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v19/u678624517-o903751228-50.jpg on the road: Blog http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Zeitperle: Photo Class http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/zeitperle-foto-klasse  



Photo Class

Washington D.C., 1985








When I took a photo course during my High School years in McLean, Virginia, we once made a field trip to the zoo in Washington D.C.  About three years after I bought my first own camera (Nikon FG) and many experiments later, I found that a given subject wasn´t the real interesting topic to work on, but rather everything surrounding the topic. In this case it was these guys focusing on whatever animal we were told to capture. Watching people watching other things was what I found cooler to capture. This shot didn´t turn out so great, because it is slightly out of focus (add the not so good scanning job) and the unnecessary space at the left end of the picture gives it a slight unbalance. There are two reasons why this pic is important in my collection. First, I discovered my preference for the observant angle of things, and secondly two of these guys were friends of mine (a South Korean and a Swede) with whom I shared a good time in a certain period of my life.






Zeitperle Gallery








kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) photography zeitperle http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/zeitperle-foto-klasse Fri, 01 Sep 2017 07:42:21 GMT
Rückblende: Bodie, USA 1993 http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/r-ckblende-bodie-usa-1993  



Bodie, California - USA 1993



Another trip from a long ago time, last century, last millennium actually. One tends to forget many details of trips that lie long in the past, but that´s one reason I started photographing. I not only found photography per se interesting, but always thought that it´s a good way of documenting things. With my way of remembering and storing events and the like tidily in my brain (I just can´t do it), pictures are just a good way of recalling and remembering.

The ghosttown of Bodie in California is perhaps a place too special to forget, but I´m still glad i have these photos for the details. For example after a few years I couldn´t remember the color of the landscape and I completely forgot about the bullet riddled Shell sign. 




Cemetery with town in background. The Standard Consolidated Mine hovering above everything else.





I always wondered who would place small artifacts like the childrens shoes into the scenery.

Tourists, or the Artifact Placer of the State Park Administration?





In early California travel guides Bodie was described as a ghost town in 1915, even

though people still lived there. Sure enough, the decline had set in. The Post Office

closed in 1942, shortly after that the last inhabitants left town.





The Wild West Town well survived into the Automobile Age...





...even though a wild west mentality still prevailed.





The bank´s safe.




















Rückblende Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) bodie california geisterstadt ghosttown kalifornien usa http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/r-ckblende-bodie-usa-1993 Thu, 31 Aug 2017 06:38:52 GMT
Framing Berlin: Fernsehturm Über Alles http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/framing-berlin-fernsehturm-ber-alles  



Fernsehturm Über Alles



The term über alles is allowed when it comes to the Berlin tv tower. First of all it literally stands above all in Berlin and its vicinity, and then the spire is simply the coolest tv tower on the planet. Currently it´s only No. 16 in the list of the world´s tallest tv towers, but the well proportioned good looks make it stand out. Designed and built by East German engineers between 1965 and 1969, it has a very high recognition value with the distinctive steel sphere slightly above the middle of the 368 meters (roughly 1210 ft.). The tower was erected right in the middle of the city and can be seen from all parts of town. Even though I´m only a Neo-Berliner, there is a certain feeling of warmth and gratitude when seeing the structure upon returning to the city from a time of absence - home sweet home.






Historic photo of 2005: In the foreground you can see the dismantling of the Palace of the Republic, the seat of parliament of East Germany. The sphere of the tower was decorated in the look of a football/soccer ball in preparation for the 2006 World Championship in Germany.






Picture of the same spot nine years later. The Palace of the Republic is replaced by the Palace of whatever -

the new structure will resemble the old Berlin Palace and will house the Humboldt Forum.






View from Rykestrasse in Prenzlauer Berg, with watertower of Knaackstrasse.






View from a roof in Choriner Strasse, Prenzlauer Berg. Red city hall to the right.






The radar tower on the former Tempelhof Airport seems to dwarf the tv tower.

The radar was first used by the US Air Force as an eye into the east during

the Cold War. It is now used by the German Army.






View from the Julius Tower of far away Spandau Citadel. Siemens City in the foreground.





View from Karl-Marx-Allee in Friedrichshain.






Photographed from atop Victory Column with many landmarks in view: from left - the Reichstag, Radisson Park Inn, International Trade Centre, TV Tower, Berlin Cathedral, Red City Hall, Humboldt Forum (Berlin Palace - below crane), twin spires of St Nicholas´Church, tower of Old City Hall.






Tropical view with one of the pointy ends of the TV Towers´base structure.






View from Holocaust Memorial.






View from the Western Harbor in Moabit.






View from Treptow with legs of the Molecule Men and Eastern Harbor in Friedrichshain.






Again from the roof in Choriner Strasse in Prenzlauer Berg.






View from the Moabit side of the Spree River with the Chancellory

(Executive Office of Chancellor Angela Merkel) in foreground.






View from the tower of the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse in Wedding.

A stretch of the original Berlin Wall Strip in foreground.






A dusky view from Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg.






A view between highrises at Axel-Springer-Strasse, separating

Mitte (left) from Kreuzberg (right).






View caught from a tourist cruiser on the Spree River in Mitte.






Awkward architecture and the tower, Dircksenstrasse, Mitte.






Upper part of the tv tower during May 9th Victory gathering at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, Treptow.






View from the roof of the Reichstag building. Landmarks as in the pic from atop Victory Column, just from a different angle.






The birds.






The iconic Alexanderhaus from 1930 is one of the few buildings at Alexanderplatz that survived the war.




Berlin Gallery










kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) alexanderplatz berlin berliner fernsehturm fernsehturm tv tower http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/framing-berlin-fernsehturm-ber-alles Sat, 15 Jul 2017 13:06:18 GMT
Close to Home: Sylt - The Human Touch http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/close-to-home-sylt---the-human-touch  



Sylt - The Human Touch



The heather of Braderup in Sylt is a small hiking paradise, pristine nature along the eastern tideland coast of the island. But Sylt is only of a particular size and slightly overpopulated in tourist season. Even though many parts of the island are under the protection of some natural habitat declaration or the other, the influence of humans in nature is obvious everywhere one goes. The heather enjoys protection status as well, but it doesn´t prevent authorities to undertake minor incisions when deemed necessary. Parts of the protected areas are open to the public, a minimum of infrastructure is unavoidable. Here are some impressions from our last walk from Kampen to Braderup.







Men at work. We didn´t see them, but they´re bound to be there. The bush to the right of the sign

is the Sylt-Rose, an undemanding plant which quickly spreads from coast to coast on the island.






Excavator by the sea.






Rest and tidyness.






Couldn´t quite make out what this scenario was about.






Houses in heather from pre-protection days.





Sylt Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) braderup braderuper heide heather insel island sylt http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/close-to-home-sylt---the-human-touch Fri, 14 Jul 2017 06:46:01 GMT
Focus Photography: BlueWhite Series http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/focus-photography-bluewhite-series  



BlueWhite Series



As is often the case, while handling the smartphone with the open camera app, a photo is accidentally made and one wonders about the strange new pictures in the photo folder. I made it a habit to keep these accidental pictures and collect series of similar pictures in order to sometimes post them, or as in most cases, delete them after a while because they´re simply not interesting anymore. And then there are those accidental pictures that I instantly see and find them cool for some reason, and then start a series with the same or a similar motif. That´s how this BlueWhite Series came to life. With some photo apps one can make manual settings and these pictures are a result of fooling around with the aperture setting.












Photography Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) fotografie photography series http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/focus-photography-bluewhite-series Thu, 13 Jul 2017 07:21:22 GMT
Framing Berlin: Cool Public Transport - part 3 http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/close-to-home-cool-public-transport---part-3  



Cool Public Transport - part 3



Last year I´ve been to Moscow and have once again seen the fabulous Metro they have there. It´s without doubt the most beautiful public transport system in the world. It is tidy and shiny, people respect the public space and there is no vandalism. Also, there is enough space in most places and the public uses the Metro extensively. In Berlin people also use the U-Bahn extensively and in many stations, particularly along the outskirts of town there is enough room to swing a cat. But in the downtown areas it can get crampy. And in the most busy lines of U 1, U 2 and U 8 there is something that I couldn´t detect in the Moscow lines. A very own atmosphere per line, the looks of the carriages, the people riding the lines and of course the certain aesthetics, or rather non-aesthetics of certain stations. Perhaps it´s a subjective perception, something one sees and feels when using certain routes often at certain times. The Berlin subway deals with the unique fact that both city halfs had their own system and development going on during the time of separation. There are also two carriage sizes when it comes to the width. The narrower versions tend to be more cosy, then again they are crampier during the rush hours, which most people don´t book as a nice experience. Yet, under the line I have to say that I really like using the subway despite some of the messy side effects. Sometimes a homeless person can´t hold in their natural urge, every once in a while a drunken tourist is sick between stations. But hey, the big city is not only a pleasure ground. 







Alexanderplatz is one of my favorite stations because of it´s intersection

character and slightly confusing directives.





The iconic U 1 highline approaching Schlesisches Tor. The newest

generation carriages aren´t as cool as the older models.





U 1 at 2 am - it´s the night line.





Hallesches Tor above ground station.





U 1 rattling along.





The surroundings of Gleisdreieck are particularly interesting due to it´s long history of intensive use of all rail lines combined. The translation of Gleisdreieck means track-triangle, referring to the concentration of tracks from the former rail yard, the subway, the commuter lines and the long distance trains. 









The tiles have the colors of Alexanderplatz, but it´s in fact

a staircase at Gesundbrunnen (Nordbahnhof).





Rosenthaler Platz late at night. The slanguage term of Orient Express for the U 8 line referrs to it´s

connection of Neukölln and Wedding, both neighborhoods with a high Turkish population. 





Back at Alexanderplatz.





U-Bahn Gallery











kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) berlin bvg public transport subway u bahn u-bahn http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/close-to-home-cool-public-transport---part-3 Wed, 12 Jul 2017 04:00:00 GMT
Zeitperle: Rote Flora http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/zeitperle-rote-flora  



Rote Flora

Hamburg, 2011






Rote FloraRote Flora





A woman having her lunch sandwich on the corner of Susannenstrasse and Schulterblatt in the Schanzen-Quarter of Hamburg. The flat-roofed two-story building with the twin bays facing the street in the centre of the picture is the infamous Rote Flora, a former theatre which is occupied by leftist activists and functions as a headquarter for the autonomous movement. The recent riots during the G-20 summit concentrated in this area. The attorney and speaker for the Rote Flora commented after rioters left behind a path of destruction in the neighborhood: "We sympathize with these actions, but please not in our neighborhood; why not in the hoods of Pöseldorf or Blankenese (posh neighborhoods in Hamburg)?" He faced quite a lot of criticism, even from the left political spectrum, after these nonsensitive remarks. Another interesting footnote concerning the Rote Flora, is the story of three female undercover agents of Hamburgs Criminal Investigation Department, who managed to work their way into the innards of the autonomous clique, and even had lenghty affairs with members of the movement. Nothing new though, the autonomous movement supects that they have been infiltrated with stool pigeons ever since the occupation of the Rote Flora in November 1989.

These are the kind of places I like hanging around. They´re interesting, many people who move around are interesting, the sub-culture of these kind of places is interesting. Rote Flora is a part of the city´s moving and controversial history. Furthermore it is a place that reminds me of my neighborhood in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Taking pictures here is just easy, motifs are abundand.







Zeitperle Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Hamburg Rote Flora Schanzenviertel Schulterblatt Sternschanze Zeitperle http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/zeitperle-rote-flora Tue, 11 Jul 2017 04:00:00 GMT
Close to Home: Back in Bad Muskau http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/close-to-home-back-in-bad-muskau  



Back in Bad Muskau



The fascinating and very unusual life of Count Pückler and his legacy was one reason to once again visit the inviting park landscape of Bad Muskau (Check out my first Blogpost about Pückler and the Park). But also the provincial, the unexpected and the bizarreness of the East German current state are worth updating. I like driving around, exploring what the regions around Berlin are like, discovering what may not be so nice about Germany, seeing things that I cannot identify with, and, of course all the good things and good people that are on the way. After all, Berlin is an island life in the middle of Absurdistan, and I think it is important to try to understand why real life in Germany is so different with every turn of the corner. Figuring this out is a main motivation for travels and tours in our vicinity.



Outside the park




The grave of Machbuba on a cemetery next to the Pückler Park and Castle. Count Pückler bought her on a slave market in Cairo on his travels through Egypt and Sudan, she was his companion and mistress until she succumbed to the harsh climate of her new home far away from home. Machbuba is a town legend and she is respected by locals, her grave is tended for despite right wing tendencies in the region.





The deeper meaning of this Trabbi squeezed between a wall and a pillar in a shop cum showroom beats me. 





The manual signal lever on the not quite finished station for the scenic light railway.




Inside the park




A tourist in the park.




The Polish side




On the Polish side of the park a young oak grows out of the leftovers of the Herrmann-oak,

a tree that stood in Pücklers lifetime and was named after his grandfather.














The German side










The old and new castles.









Saxony Gallery










kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Bad Muskau Count Pückler Fürst Pückler Pückler Sachsen Saxony http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/close-to-home-back-in-bad-muskau Mon, 10 Jul 2017 08:31:32 GMT
Rückblende: Cabalgata Argentina 1998 http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/r-ckblende-cabalgata-argentina-1998  



Cabalgata Argentina 1998



Would we have travelled to Argentina if it hadn´t been for a friend who lived there? Even though we lived in Brazil at the time, the answer would most probably have been No. Brazil was adventure enough, a huge country with many climate zones and something in the bag for every taste. But then, if you know people who live strewn across the planet, chances are good that you´ll land somewhere where your common sense wouldn´t have taken you. This particular friend proposed a horse treck along the Argentina-Chile border. A remote region that is not on the trodden path of the average traveller. It was, no imagination needed, a special trip. 






From an already remote village we started off towards the border region.






The landscape varied and sometimes changed from lush meadows to barren dryness within half a day.






What looks like a soft moss cushion, was surprisingly a hard moss-like bump in the grass.

Turned out that these were quite common in the region.






Mars-like and uninhabitable - except that there was more than enough fresh oxygen.






Approaching a night camp. Valleys with a small stream or a creek for washing and

cooking water were preferred camp sites.






Night camps were in front of rocks or other natural upheavals for some wind protection. The horse blankets

from under the saddles were our mattresses and sleeping bags our covers.















































































Once every couple of days the older guide vanished for an hour or two, to return with a freshly slaughtered goat. He knew where the few shepherds were roaming with their herds. Once in the wild, the skinning and cutting of the animal seemed as normal as sleeping under the stars. Even though I´m not fond of goat meat under normal circumstances, in this instance it was just delicious.








The only natural shower on our trip. It´s amazing to see how long one endures without a decent

bath when the few chances of bathing are not an option due to disagreeable temperatures.







Approaching our highest altitude at the Argentina/Chile border. According to our guide this spot was at a little

over 4,000 meters (more than 13,000 ft.). It surely felt and looked like 4,000 meters.












































Wind swept barrenness. In the course of our trip we surely criss-crossed the border many times.







Coming back down into more moderate zones.












Another night camp. After a days ride the horses were happy to graze

and most of us fell into a deep sleep like babies.









Rückblende Gallery










kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Argentina Cabalgata Cavalgata Chile Horse Horses Pferd Pferde South America Südamerika http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/r-ckblende-cabalgata-argentina-1998 Fri, 07 Jul 2017 09:53:01 GMT
Framing Berlin: Random Berlin, pt. 4 http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/framing-berlin-random-berlin-pt-4  



Random Berlin, Part 4







Berlin-Mitte. Backside of the controversial reconstruction of the old palace. The exterior of the palace will have the old looks but the interior will supposedly be a modern cultural multi-purpose meeting place. The whole complex is going to be the Humboldt-Forum






Berlin-Mitte. A staircase in one of Berlin´s typical endless courtyards.






Berlin-Mitte. This is a very unusual picture for Mitte, as it has become the epitome for rising neo smugness

and the nouveau-riche normally don´t have Refugees on their agenda.






Berlin-Mitte. Rough corresponding translation: In Berlin please take care, ´tis construction fury - so beware.

Some things never change. A photograph and a cartoon from almost a hundred years ago (early 1920s) on

a present-day construction-site fence, prove that Berliners are used to unsystematic construction madness.







Berlin-Mitte. The domes of the newly constructed palace and of the Berlin Cathedral

reflect in the glass front of the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt).






Berlin-Mitte. Pock-marked facade next to Sophienkirche in Spandauer Vorstadt of Mitte. Confusing, because this is nowhere near Spandau. In the olden days this was the part of old town close to the Spandau-Gate. The road leaving Spandau-Gate led to the next town, which was Spandau, some 13 km to the west. Some bullet-riddled facades are kept this way as a reminder of the fierce street fighting that was going on when Soviet Forces liberated the city.






Berlin-Kreuzberg. The Fatih-Mosque and the Catholic Church Of Our Lady in close proximity. Both are involved in neighborhood projects in one of the poorest boroughs of Berlin. The catholic church also houses a branch of the Missionaries Of Charity, the congegration founded by Mother Teresa.






Berlin-Mitte adjacent to Berlin-Friedrichshain. The iconic trio towers of the BVG headquarters,

the Berlin Public Transport Company. 





Berlin Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Berlin Castle Humboldt Forum Kreuzberg Mitte Moschee Mosque Schloss http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/framing-berlin-random-berlin-pt-4 Sat, 17 Jun 2017 12:43:13 GMT
Close to Home: A Walk In The North http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/close-to-home-a-walk-in-the-north  



A Walk In The North - King´s Harbor in List



King´s Harbor (Königshafen) is not actually a harbor but a bay in List, close to Germany´s northernmost point on the island of Sylt. A good place to meet wind and rain, but on this day it was dry and nice. Cloud patterns changed by the minute and the sun was out quite a bit. It´s a bay that faces it´s open end to the east, towards the mainland; i.e., towards Denmark. The bay is named after Danish King Christian IV., who successfully defeated the Swedish-Dutch fleet at this spot during the Thirty Years´War in 1644. Instead of cannons and blood it´s oysters and birds nowadays, the bay is a bird sanctuary and part of the cross border Wadden Sea National Park. After the fishing industry had to endure losses due to quotas and other measures against overfishing, the idea of oyster farms came up again, reviving an almost lost thousand year old tradition.







All pictures were shot facing north across the bay.


























Sylt Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Denmark Dänemark King´s Harbor Königshafen List National Park Nationalpark Sylt Wadden Sea Wattenmeer http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/close-to-home-a-walk-in-the-north Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:37:38 GMT
Rückblende: Steaming Jungle http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/r-ckblende-steaming-jungle  



Steaming Jungle in Kakum, Ghana



I never really made it into the jungle, not this one at least. Kakum is a leftover jungle famous for it´s canopy skywalk. Once the strip of jungle ran all the way through Westafrica parallel to the coastline. But with the urban sprawl and hunger for tropical wood there are only a few patches of it left, this being one of them. It is supposedly home to the last Westafrican Forest Elephants. They were the reason why I always wanted to make a jungle hike, but unfortunately the plan never materialized. Exactly thirteen years ago, in June 2005, while visiting the canopy skywalk once again, I stood at a point at the edge of the jungle where I had this grand view. It was steamy, very humid and filled with pleasant natural noise.


























Ghana Gallery













kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Ghana Westafrica canopy skywalk jungle kakum http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/r-ckblende-steaming-jungle Thu, 15 Jun 2017 15:33:27 GMT
Focus Photography: The Bauhaus Series http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/focus-photography-the-bauhaus-series  



The Bauhaus Series



I have a lot of fun creating photographic series. There is no particular concept behind the idea, except that most series have the same, or a very similar object in mind. But even this is not always true, there are series in which I took pictures of different objects in different places. What got them together into a series was the similar mood and atmosphere. There are already quite a few series I´ve presented in this blog, just punch series into the search field above and they´ll pop up, or visit the Photography Gallery.

The idea to present series came by coincidence. Ever since I started with photography, I´ve been collecting pictures that normally would´ve been a case for the bin. Not pictures for show but for my personal archive, to remember certain situations and moods. Only later did I recognize their potential for a series. Gradually I started to set pictures together that somehow belonged together, or had a similar topic. And only with my start into digital photography did the series of one and the same object increase. Most of us know the situation: you take hundreds of pictures of the same motif, just to pick the best one. You´re plannng to trash the others. This is the moment where I hesitate, I delete a lot but also save some for later use. 

And here is a classic example. I took a lot of pictures of a staircase in the Bauhaus building in Dessau just to get that one nice shot. Most of these pictures were planned for the wastebasket but in the end found an afterlife as a series.





























The Photography Gallery








kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Bauhaus Dessau fotografie photography series http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/focus-photography-the-bauhaus-series Wed, 14 Jun 2017 14:37:55 GMT
Close to Home: Northern Dyke http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/close-to-home-northern-dyke  



Sylt´s Northern Dyke



So it was Sylt once again. On our diverse trips in Germany, since we returned from abroad three years ago, we´ve been on all major islands Germany has to offer along it´s North Sea and Baltic coasts. Usedom, Rügen and Sylt are the three largest, the first two being in the Baltic Sea and the latter in the North Sea. And now we´ve been on Sylt for the third time within a year, whereas we´ve been to Usedom and Rügen only once respectively in the past three years. Why? Well, to break it down to a very short answer: it´s the ruggedness of the North Sea. Obviously it must be more than just this one reason, but it really brings it down to everything the rugged sea influences. Apart from the North Sea itself, it´s the wonderful dune landscape, the super unforeseeable weather and the location of the island in the northernmost part of Germany, it almost has a feel of isolation to it.

The following images are not the tourist brochure images, but a snapshot of a very particular walk on a very particular part of Sylt. The Mövenbergdeich (Gull-hill-dyke) is a recently renovated dyke along a bay in the northern part of the island that has also been elevated to an up to date coastal protection height.






Before we got on to the dyke, we passed the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, a polar and marine research institute.

What I like particularly about the area around the dyke, are the curves and straight

lines in structures and landscape.










You know you´re in Germany when a bench in public has to fulfill some absurd safety norm.

Reflectors at the edges of the bench prevents absent-minded tourists to kill themselves

in foggy and dark circumstances.




















The Sylt Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) List Mövenbergdeich Sylt deich dyke insel island http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/close-to-home-northern-dyke Tue, 13 Jun 2017 07:00:20 GMT
Zeitperle: Memorial Day http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/zeitperle-memorial-day  



Memorial Day - A Gay Veteran



Congressional Cemetery, Washington D.C.

February 2014




Gay VeteranGay Veteran





It´s Rolling Thunder time again and a lot of veterans and supporters have their big day. But apart from the bike show it´s really about actual soldiers who fought and died, who went missing in action or were held prisoner and often not properly released as intended by the Third Geneva Convention. Memorial Day is about commemoration and to solemnly remember and reflect sacrifices that were made - by all who fought.

There is a similar holiday in most countries and there is also a similar way of viewing the dirty business of war as something extremely masculine and testosterone driven. Which is true for the most part, but there are and were those soldiers who don´t quite fit the general picture. One group are the homosexuals of both sexes. The issue of homosexuality in the military has progressed somewhat in recent years, but there is still widespread homophobia amongst uniform-bearers.

Memorial Day can also be a day of reflection for what lies ahead. How can conflicts of the future be solved in a less violent but more effective and sustainable way? A big question that needs many answers. Along the way the problems with LGBT topics should be small ones to solve, not only in the military but in free and open societies in general.






Zeitperle Gallery










kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Congressional Cemetery Memorial Day military soldiers http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/zeitperle-memorial-day Mon, 29 May 2017 22:11:49 GMT
Close to Home: Prora http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/close-to-home-prora  



The Lunacy Of Prora



The craziness and monstrosity of Prora can only be fully grasped when one is actually on location. The sheer lunacy of the project can´t really fit in a blogpost, so whenever you´re close-by, please convince yourself of the existence of one of those weird things you´d never thought could possibly exist, albeit in the minds of alien-controlled conspiracy psychopaths. It´s crazy, it´s huge and it´s mind-boggling.

Prora was planned by the Nazis as a centralized vacation and recreation factory for the masses. The ideological motivation was to keep the Germanic race in a good temper amidst all the consolidation that was transforming German society. A happy and content Nazi won´t question the leadership and its plans and goals - such was the reasoning of the propaganda masterminds. The plan never took action because the war interfered with the completion of the project, even though more than half had been constructed. The concrete nightmare fell into oblivion, and after the war the East German Army used parts of it.

Now, parts of the ruined buildings are being renovated and rebuilt for touristic and money generating reasons - real estate firms set up and sell luxury apartments for prices that would be asked for in the Hamptons. But the east coast of Rügen and its beaches are not the Hamptons and still there seems to be a clientele ready to pay any asked price. Apart from that, other parts are being used as a youth hostel, a high-end hotel, and a museum about the place and its history. 






Berlin wall artists on the move, or does Rügen have its own sub-culture?





Redevelopment underway...




...old windows are replaced by up-to-date ones.









Just a small part of the 2.5 km (1.5 miles). The original plan was allotted for 4.5 km (2.8 miles).





Just a few yards from the colossus lies one of the most beautiful beaches of Rügen.





Part of the planned shipping pier...




...where cruise ships of the national "Kraft durch Freude" organization were to

pick up the masses and make them even happier than they already were.





The signs read Education by the sea  and  ...more education.

Absolutely compulsory in these times.









The ruins, the beaches and redevelopment efforts attract a lot of tourists.





Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Architecture Architektur Prora Ruegen Rügen http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/close-to-home-prora Wed, 10 May 2017 09:02:47 GMT
Zeitperle: Rowing Party http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/zeitperle-rowing-party  



Rowing Party

Latvia, 2004





Rowing PartyRowing PartyLatvia 2004





Just one of those many family photographs. Yet, while sifting through older family photos, this picture stood apart from the others. A cloudy afternoon on a lake in Latvia with my son and my father. I can´t remember how exactly this picture came about, wether my son turned by chance or if I called him. But the mischievous look is just great, and my father wasn´t aware that I had him in the frame as well. 






Zeitperle Gallery










kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Fotografie Lake Latvia Lettland Photography Rowing Rowing Boat Zeitperle http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/zeitperle-rowing-party Tue, 09 May 2017 20:19:05 GMT
Framing Berlin: Myfest http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/framing-berlin-myfest  



Myfest in Kreuzberg



May 1st is a date on which every common-sense Kreuzberger tries leaving the city, or at least the borough, for the sake of saving ones ears and nerves. The demonstrations by unions and socio-political, very often far-left leaning groups have become small and insignificant. Instead, Kreuzberg officials support the widely popular Myfest, a non-political fun event, that draws tens of thousands mostly young people into the beat infested streets. The major reason for this support was the violence of past political and pseudo-political demonstrations that often ended in senseless destruction and chaos. In this sense the Myfest is a big success, ever since it was introduced 14 years ago, violence has ceased. On the other hand It´s a sad fact that people, especially young people, aren´t interested enough in the idea behind the international May 1st movement. But that´s a different matter altogether.

A lot of locals roll their eyes when the noise starts and people come dancing through the streets. The party-goers are mostly into drugs and huge amounts of booze, leaving behind an impressive trail of refuse and excrements. Doorways, parks and greeneries are being used as public toilets, the temporarily provided sanitary utilities are more than insufficient. But that´s the way it is. Even though there is room for improvement in organisational matters, the choice between a fun fest and a violence-ridden demonstration is easy to make. Living in the middle of it all and being locals ourselves, we went out to get an impression. 














The jute bag reads "Froh dabei zu sein" - happy to be part of it.




























Such days are good ones for deposit collectors.










Kreuzberg Gallery









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Erster Mai Kreuzberg May 1st Mayday Myfest http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/framing-berlin-myfest Fri, 05 May 2017 09:05:48 GMT
Framing Berlin: Cherry Blossom Walk http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/framing-berlin-cherry-blossom-walk  



Cherry Blossom Walk



Time for another walk in the neighborhood. It´s blossom time for many plants and trees and walking the urban parks and greeneries is particularly nice at the moment. From our house there are many possibilities to walk and explore, one of our favorite standard tours is the three-boroughs-walk. We start in our beloved Kreuzberg district, walk along the canal (Landwehrkanal) for about ten minutes until we cross the canal into Neukölln, then walk another ten minutes along the bank towards Treptow. Once we cross another bridge over the canal we´re walking along the former course of the Berlin Wall. It is here along the wall-strip-turned-into-a-public-park in Treptow where we find the prettiest blossoms.

The cherry trees are the result of the Sakura Campaign, a call by Japanese TV station Asahi to donate money for the sheer joy over German Reunification. More than a million Euros were collected, enough for some 9,000 trees which were eventually shipped to Germany and planted in various places across Berlin and Brandenburg. In Treptow they symbolize the course of the wall along the bank of the canal, but more than that they symbolize peace, departure and transience. Of course they also symbolize the friendship between the Japanese and German people. As the trees grow older, their blossom splendor increases.

Finally, after another ten minute walk we cross the canal for the last time to get back into Kreuzberg and to the front of our house. A truly pretty and historic walk, enjoyable over and over again.






Looking at the canal junction and from the Neukölln bank into Kreuzberg. The houses to the right are in Treptow.





Beginning of the former wall strip in Treptow.

The wall took the course of the paved path.









The strip.





Bushes along the canal, Kreuzberg on the other side.










Actually my very first blogpost on April 25th, 2013 was about the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.




The Berlin Gallery










kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Berlin Cherry Blossom Kreuzberg Neukölln Trees Treptow Walk http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/framing-berlin-cherry-blossom-walk Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:52:03 GMT
Close to Home: Sachsenhausen http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/close-to-home-sachsenhausen  






To the day exactly 72 years ago the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was liberated by Polish and Soviet Forces advancing from the east. They encountered about 3,000 survivors and some nurses and doctors who were left behind by the Nazis who evacuated the camp shortly before, taking with them the prisoners who could walk. Thousands of those did not survive the death march.

What happened in Sachsenhausen is not different from what happened in other camps: Hard labor, pseudo scientific medical experimentation, random torture and executions, and of course the usual sadistic and perverse show of power and brutality over helpless and innocent inmates. What made this camp different from others was its status as the administrative headquarters of all concentration camps. Also, it was designed as being the ideal camp, a model for others to be established. The triangular shape and the layout of the barracks was supposedly perfect for total supervision and control. Needless to say that the arrangement also intended to crush every mind, soul and psyche. The proximity of the camp to Berlin was convenient for inspection and visits of high-ranking officials for show and propaganda purposes.

The following pictures were taken on a recent visit to the Memorial and Museum. What really got to me during the visit was the absurd smugness and banality around the Memorial. Family homes, snack bars and the clean and shiny evidence of urban infrastructure (Oranienburg). I suppose life goes on in a town, even when unspeakable horror unfolded itself within viewing and hearing distance. But strange it is. I am convinced back then everyone knew everything, there was nothing like innocence and ignorance. Oranienburg had a huge industrial and labor infrastructure around the camp that was maintained by the prisoners. The no see-no hear-no speak doctrine doesn´t count in my view. Most Germans were Nazis, most Germans knew all, most Germans raised their right arm with enthusiasm and ecstasy. Very very few exeptions. This is important to understand, to acknowledge and to spread in times of growing efforts to make neo-nazism, populism and nationalism seem like part of normality. The Nazi crimes were everything but banal and are absolutely not comparable to other atrocities commited by other terror regimes. The Nazi reign of 1933 - 1945 was the single-most horrific catastrophe that humans ever cast on themselves. There is no way around it. That´s why it´s so important to keep the memory alive, to keep the facts together and to show how the camp-terror worked. That´s why it´s so important to visit the Memorials in Germany and other parts of Europe.

I´m glad to have grown up into a post-war prosperousness, Germany came a long way since 1945. And even though there is so much pessimism and personal frustration nowadays that finds its vents in political blindness and convenient mind patterns, I´m convinced that the road ahead is safe because most people are willing to keep on learning what the past was about, and what our chances are today. German society moves on a strong platform of democracy that made remarkable progress, and has become a role model for others.







The infamous slogan drawn into cynical mockery.






A glimpse into the death-strip with barbed wire.










Most of the barracks have been demolished. Framed pebble stone fields outline the spaces where they once stood.










A group gets some information before entering the central Memorial site,

where some of the ovens of the crematorium remain.






The sub-terranean firing trench where prisoners were shot. The cenotaph in the background.






The medical barracks and the pathology.












The "neutral zone", also called the death strip. The sign reads: "Neutral Zone - shooting live ammunition without warning".

The barbed wire fence was electrically charged.





Interested in learning more? See my blogpost about Buchenwald.









kalimpong66@gmail.com (on the road) Concentration Camp Konzentrationslager Oranienburg Sachsenhausen http://ontheroad.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/close-to-home-sachsenhausen Sat, 22 Apr 2017 10:22:56 GMT