Berlin is an amazing city. Its history is somehow palpable as you walk the streets. There are pieces of the Wall, burnt out churches, freestanding facades of old buildings and amazing new construction all around. We went to the Reichstag, saw the bullet holes in its columns and made the trip to the cupola on the roof around sunset. We were able to look out over the whole city which was amazingly lush and green. Every experience we had in Berlin was rich. The landscape here is in constant flux and there are so many opportunities for revealing history, telling stories and digging deeper. Berlin is a place we will certainly return to.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Jessica and Alexander welcomed us into their home in Heidelberg, Germany this week. Heidelberg is a beautiful city. The Neckar runs through it and mountains rise up from the river on both sides. We did some great hiking and biking, but I think Ian and I still gained 5 pounds from the tasty bread, pretzels and Jessica's cooking. Their children Julian and Laurin didn't like that I couldn't speak German to them or understand anything they were saying, but they soon realized that Ian could and he became quite popular and proved a great playmate. I was attacked on numerous occasions by a band of 3 saber-toothed tigers. It was however bittersweet to visit Heidelberg as this was a place we had heard so much about from Jamie and had hoped to one day visit with him. Jessica and family made it a much more joyous visit with their hospitality and we hope they will soon make it over to visit us.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Ian and I spent the past two days in Duisburg, Germany, an interesting town with a down to earth, blue collar atmosphere. It kind of reminded us of a German version of Cleveland. The night we arrived there was some sort of rally for their football team. Everyone had their team scarf on and there was an energy pulse through the town. We made the trip to Duisburg so that I could visit and photograph Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord. I shot a series in black and white that will capture the essence of this park. It is a landscape dominated by enormous infrastructure and beautiful small details that slowly reveal themselves as you wander around and keep your eyes open. The scale makes you feel small but not insignificant. After all, the industrial revolution is part of us, part of our past. This park is a place of exploration and play, a playground for all ages. One can wander around and find something new at every turn. There is a beautiful juxtaposition of machinery and flora as well as the two designs on site; the design of an ore smelting plant and its changes and adaptations over time and the design of the landscape park that embraces, celebrates and cleans up after this former plant. Trees grow in and around the infrastructure, ducks swim in the old water treatment pools and charming walled gardens can be found in the former ore storage bunkers. It is a magical place that feels somehow off limits to someone who has had to trespass to take photographs of decaying infrastructure. We finished off our tour atop one of the blast furnace towers, where we could look back over the park we explored and watch it fade into the green valley beyond.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I wrestle internally with the desire to travel, move around and see the world, and my desire to settle down and put down roots somewhere. I sometimes wonder why I want to travel when it so often leads to uncomfortable accommodations, confusing situations and requires more money than it seems it should. I wonder if it is related to a fear of boredom; after being in one place for too long an itch to move or travel sets in inexplicably. Perhaps boredom is not the best way to explain it, perhaps it is more a desire to be challenged, a need to be reminded that change is the only constant. In any case, Ian and I are in for a challenging summer as we pack up our lives, hand off our cat and prepare to leave for the Emerald Isle.