2007-08-15

GUCA...

...oder ein Dorf im Ausnahmezustand. Zum 47.male fand dieses Jahr das berühmt-berüchtigte Trompeterfestival im serbischen Guca statt, einem Dorf, das ca. 3 Stunden von Belgrad entfernt in den Bergen liegt. Trompetergruppen aus der ganzen Balkanregion kommen hier zusammen und spielen mit und gegeneinander. Am ersten Abend war ich in einem Zelt, wo drei Gruppen gleichzeitig gegeneinander spielten; man kann die Gruppen an den Tisch rufen und dann für einzelne Lieder bezahlen- Die Dröhnung ist unvorstellbar! Ich verbrachte also 4 Tage in einer anderen Welt- mit viel Trompete, viel Bier und viel gutem Essen, das mir jetzt als Souvenir auf den Rippen hängt. In diesen großen Tontöpfen wird ein Krauteintopf auf Glut gegart, der wunderbar schmeckt!  

Posted by steffi at 2:22 PM
Categories: places

Balaton/Budapest/Belgrad

 Ich war zum ersten mal in Ungarn und am Balaton. Was für ein Gewässer und was für eine Gegend um den Balaton! Üppig wachsen die Obstbäume und ich konnte nicht widerstehen und immer wieder ein paar Feigen abpflücken und essen. In Budapest bin ich leider nicht ins Gellert Bad gekommen, sondern habe mich in einem anderen Bad getümmelt. Budapest strahlt für mich einen eleganten, etwas abgegriffenen Charme aus, eine Stadt, die neues Make-up anlegt, in Form von Rossmann und dm Drogeriemärkten, und Restaurants. Dagegen war Belgrad, die arme Verwandte vom Land, deren Hochhäuser wie Warzen aus der Erde spriessen.

Posted by steffi at 2:20 PM
Categories: art, places

2007-06-14

Venice forever

hedgehog church  I love Venice!

Salute church as a hedgehog and the water is so turquois blue...

just some tourists worry me... must be an American

Posted by steffi at 6:57 PM
Edited on: 2007-06-14 7:15 PM
Categories: places

2006-11-26

Streifzüge

...und hier (home is where my heart is) sind Nibs London Walks (hoho, mit mir als Reiseleiterin) dokumentiert...

Posted by steffi at 7:01 PM
Edited on: 2006-11-26 7:05 PM
Categories: places

2006-11-11

OSLO

Vergangenes Wochenende war ich in Oslo. Was für eine kleine Haupstadt! Wunderbar überschaubar dehnt sie sich vom Meer bis auf einen Berg aus. Und die Norweger haben mich überrascht. Vor allem wegen ihres Nachwuchses, über den man stolpert, wo man geht und steht. Ich glaube, ich kann sagen, dass ich noch kaum eine Haupstatadt gesehen habe, in der man so viele Kinderwägen sieht...Kinderwägen? Sie scheinen eher wie Kinderwagenpanzer, große Fahrzeuge, oft für mehrere Kinder ausgelegt. Und sie werden selbstbewußt, wie Trophäen geschoben. Vielen mag der Vigeland Park ein Begriff sein. Meine Freundin Marita hat mir aber ein anderes Erlebnis geboten. Gustav Vigeland, der Bildhauer, der den Park konzipierte und die Figuren schuf, hatte einen Bruder, Emanuel Vigeland . Auch Emanuel ist Künstler gewesen, Maler und gestaltete viel Kirchenfenster in Norwegen. Sein Hauptwerk allerdings ist interessanterweise ein Mausoleum. Und dieses haben wir zusammen besucht. Die Idee kam ihm wohl auf einer Italienreise und dann widmete er etwa 10 Jahre seines Lebens um ein Mausoleum als letzte Ruhestätte und gleichzeitig Museum zu bauen, das er mit Fresken bemalte.

Das Mausoleum steht in einem Osloer Wohnviertel und ist ein kirchenartiger Bau ohne Fenster. Man betritt es durch eine kleine Türe und nach einem Vorraum gelangt man in den großen, dunklen und fensterlosen Hauptraum. Alle Wände und die Decke ist überzogen von Fresken, die eine Ode an, ja an Lebensfreude und Sexualität darstellen. Nackte Männer, Frauen und Kinder tummeln sich an den Wänden, braune Körper auf einem dunklen Hintergrund. Man sieht Paarungen und Geburten. Nur einige wenige Strahler beleuchten die Szenen, es ist kalt und fröstelig, was einen Kontrast zu den warmen gemalten Körpern darstellt. Es gibt kaum Bilder von dem Mausoleum und es ist wirklich ein Gesamtkunstwerk. Ich stellte mir vor, wie es wohl gewesen sein muss, die Wände zu bemalen, im Dunkeln, mit Strahlern, eine Art Verpuppung vor dem Tod. Gleichzeitig mit dem Pinsel die Lebensfreude auf die Wände bringen... Ja, das klingt etwas unglaublich und wie aus einem Film(also kaum real)...und gleichzeitig vermischten sich die Fresken mit den selbstbewussten Paaren/Familien draussen auf der Strasse... wenn man das Mausoleum wieder verläßt, kann man über der kleinen Türe(über der die Asche des Künstlers in einer steinernen Urne aufbewahrt wird) ein kopulierendes Skelett sehen, eina Art Abschiedsbotschaft(oder eher ein Wunsch???) des Künstlers...

Posted by steffi at 2:14 PM
Categories: places

2006-10-16

POWER

Battersea  

It looks like a table turned upside down. What you can't see is that it is derelict and the inside is empty amd roofless. Power stations are developping sites in London and transform now the power of art as seen in TATE MODERN and the WAPPING Project.

Now the attention has turned west to Battersea. This magnificant building once provided 20% of the power for London. And the architect also designed the famous red telephone boxes. Now the power station is open to the public for the first time; it houses the exhibition CHINA POWER STATION with contemporary Chinese Art and then the area will be developed to a super modern center. They advertise that the power station will be a building the size of Trafalgar Square, but it is funny: When you stand in the skeleton of the power station appears much bigger than Trafalgar Square!

However: if you can go and see it untill November 5th: GO!

Posted by steffi at 9:33 AM
Categories: places

2006-04-12

Kassel kämpft

Kassel kämpft mal wieder für, mit und gegen sein Image...

Wurde es doch bereits vor Jahren zum 'öden Ort' gekürt und hat mehrere Dokumentaleiter zu bekehren versucht... Diesmal nach einem Artikel aus dem Zürcher Tagesanzeiger, der Kasseler Herzen in Wallung bringt und Ex-Kasselern sicher einige Schmunzler entlocken wird. Viel Spass beim Lesen!.

Posted by steffi at 12:29 PM
Categories: misc, places

2005-10-13

Recklinghausen

There is always a there. A there where you could be as well. An alternative, a vanishing point, another possible life, you sometimes long for. Last saturday I got mail from the education authority in North-Rhine-Westphalia(?), which informed me that I was allocated to a teacher-training in Recklinghausen starting in february next year. The first thing I felt was a deep relief, that I am here in London. Recklinghausen is a blank space on my inner landscape not connected with anyone or anything. I would have been like a pot plant again transplanted in a different soil. And after the uncertainty of the last year I am not really ready for brand new places. London embraced me and I wonder how many people I actually do know here. And although I do not know how the techer training in Germany and especially in NRW really is, I feel that this ist he right place form e. We learn how to integrate multicultural issues into our lessons and more than anything else we are stimulated to inspire the pupils as well as ourselves. I am comfortable position to watch the developments of Germany under ist first female chancellor from the outside. And on a bad day, I migth dream of a quieter life in Recklinghausen...

Posted by steffi at 9:04 PM
Categories: places

2005-10-05

The world's best places to live

According to an article in todays' Guardian the six best places to live are

1. Vancouver

2. Melbourne

3. Vienna(!!!)

4.Geneva

5. Perth

6. Adelaide

Three Australian cities amongst the best places to live! WOW! London is on place 47. When I visited Melbourne and Adelaide I thougth they were good places, but best? Vienna is definately a good place, not so much because of exciting places, but more because of its 'Gemütlichkeit'.

Of course, my number 1 is London at the moment! And I will think about a further ranking...

Posted by steffi at 8:27 PM
Categories: places

2005-09-08

London called me -and I followed

Here I am. London.

Who would have thought that 6 months ago. Not me anyway. I nearly missed my plan on tuesdae, but this is just how everything went during the last weeks and months since I came back from Japan- tension and exitment untill the very last minute. I took a cab from the station to my new home and the driver called me ‚Darling’. When I arrived there it was already dark. Within minutes my trunk was all over my new room; when I looked out of my window I saw a fox walking along the street and moving towards a house on the opposite side of the street. I love foxes. In Japanese they are called ‚kitsune’. Foxes are magical creatures in Japanese belief and they can change their appearance and even become humans. Very often they fool men, but usually they don’t harm anybody. In Japan I saw a breathtaking Kabuki play in which a fox was bound to a magical drum which was made out of the skin of his fox parents...When I closed my eyes the other day in my new room I saw an imaginary hunting crew riding after my neighbour, which I call ‚Mr Kitsune’. Of course my Mr.Kitsune would find a perfekt hide-out from them. However I am sure he was guarding my first night in the new bed(a futon, by the way) and makes my first dreams in my new bed come true.

Posted by steffi at 7:34 PM
Categories: places

2005-06-26

new place

my new home reminds me of a birds nest. I am living high up on the 4th floor and the light in the rooms is like a therapy for me. The street is very lively with cafes and restaurants and regularly I can hear the music from street musicians passing the cafes and restaurants for some change. Every place has its own feeling and athmosphere. The street lies in the former eastern part of Berlin, but has been renovated, so it gave me the feeling of a stage at first.I am cooking with gas again(great!) and exercise whenever I climb the four floors to the apartment. The two rooms were furnished and I occupied them with my paper-life. The closest post office is the one I used before, which now lies two tube stations away: In the supermarkets here I have to find my products again or other supermarkets with my products. But the best thing is that I live over the treetops. In the evening, when the sun comes around the house I can see the sun and wind playing with the leaves while sitting at my desk. After my nomadic time I can feel how I needed such a space within homely walls. The first days I only left the house if necessary, just to hurry back up to my nest-
Posted by steffi at 7:39 PM
Categories: places

2005-06-07

dogs and their droppings

Berlin is definately the city of dog droppings. They are everywhere on the pavement and often enough the street is ‚mined’ with dog-shit. You learn to live with it and develop a certain awareness to what is lying on the ground ahead of you. And then I read this news. The polititians think about developing a genetical test for dogs and their droppings (IT IS TRUE, I am not joking!)- So every dog dropping could be traced to the dog and to the dog owner. In Japan people are more...responsible(?)- anyway, you often see the dog-owners carrying plastic bags with the dogs droppings behind their dogs(a sight which always could raise my mood). However in Japan you take off your shoes when you enter a house or apartment. I strongly recommend this for Berlin too.
Posted by steffi at 12:16 PM
Categories: places

2005-05-31

yellow, beige and light blue

When my friend Eva asked me if I wanted to come with her to the East-Sea f.or a couple of days there was no way to say no. It was my first trip to the German part of the East-Sea. The contrast between the not yet restored and the over-restored buildings and places is kind of confusing. Especially places like Kühlungsborn seem like pure facades or stages, so clean that they do look fake. Most houses are painted in light yellow, beige and blue. But to make the picture complete the major part of visitors is over 60 years of age and guess what kind of colours they are wearing? Yes, yellow, beige and light blue. It seems like a camouflage- Anyway the two of us reduced the average age and like children we collected stones at the beach. My preference were stones in the shapes of hearts and penises, while Eva focused on chickens’ gods(stones with a hole).
Posted by steffi at 10:30 AM
Categories: places

2005-05-18

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

I was curious. Especially as there was this huge and longdiscussion about the monument, about memory and finding a form to visualise something one can’t imagine. Coming from the cool and modern Potsdamer Platz I was a little disappointed at first. The first colums start so innocently and small. I had expected a forest of colums, frightening, high and dark, but this was rather open and inviting. The mood of the people was curious and bright. Some were sitting on the smaller colums, children were playing, dogs were looking for their owners who had entered the part with the higher colums and disappeared. The ground is going up and down, so people can get out of sight and reappear even in the straight lines. The whole place appears as a kind of labyrinth. To all for sides the colums open to a street. I have to say that I don’t like the floor made of small neat cobble stones which seem too homely/remind me of private gardens. But the visible part is only one side of the monument, which goes on underground. And this exhibition is really impressive as it wants to bring the viewer closer to the people and families who have been killed by the Nazis. We meet souvenirs and photographs of individuals and the cruel facts of the holocoust. I was shocked that I had been aware about the numbers of Jews that had been killed, but not where most of them came from. Poland and Russia. There is a computer where you can search for names, see, which Jews were living in your city and read what happened to them. I recommend everyone to visit the monument and the exhibition; it does, what it is meant to do: it keeps in mind and tells names. link to official website
Posted by steffi at 8:36 PM
Edited on: 2005-05-18 8:40 PM
Categories: places

colour courage in Berlin

This is what I like about the east of Berlin- Maybe the winners of the fall of the Berlin wall/collapsing of GDR who had inherited houses in Berlin and wanted to show that something has changed, did so by painting some houses in bright colours that challenge the eye. Sometimes you just do not believe it, but the colour is still there after rubbing the eyes. Bright blue, yellow and orange make some houses pop out of the row. For me the colours always raise my mood greatly in this horrible spring, which forces everybody to carry an umbrella wherever you go and turn the heating on again and again.
Posted by steffi at 8:32 PM
Categories: places

moving on again

Again in a new place After my friends cold place, where I stayed fort wo weeks and which could only be heated with coal, I am now in another temporary home with central heating. How luxurious. And even though I had wanted to go to my Aikido lesson this evening I decided to spend the time next to the stove and write my diary. Here I have got a radio and a cd player and am able to listen to music again. The music from my laptop is ok, and the sound is surprisingly good, but still it feels a little like can-sound... This place is nice and in a friendly order which makes me jealous. Though my order is kind of perfec at the moment, with all my belongings in some banana boxes under my parenst pingpong table. Slowely I really do long for an own place, where I can stay a little longer than just a couple of weeks or days. Right now I am listening to a new cd, a supplement to a book by the German author Michael Schindhelm, ‚Das Kamel auf der Startbahn’- it is a book about a journey to Mongolia and the music from there is -very strange. Not so much the jurte-feeling I expected(and maybe longed for), but a good background for working. Unfortunately I have slept here before so there is no oracle to be expected from the coming night-
Posted by steffi at 8:30 PM
Categories: places

2005-04-11

ON THICK ICE

In Elianes car we drove out of the city of Ulan-Ude and through the steppe towards lake Baikal, the blue eye of Siberia. We were invited to stay in a datcha at the lake side and to see an angling competition on the frozen lake. The view of the frozen surface of the lake was incredible- a wide white desert. At the shore the waves were fozen and immediately there is the feeling of being in a magical surrounding. We spent the evening as usually with a lot of food and alcohol, which was followed by a morning prayer of the only womens fishing team of the competition which was followed by alcohol again to drink on a successful participation(they had also invited a lama and his wife, to be prepared). Yes and then we got into the cars and drove on the ice. There are paths and we met some cars on the wqay, also on the way to the competition. It feels so queer: driving on ice. The sound of the tires in the dry snow is incredible. But do not imagine the ice-surface just flat. There are cracks and piles of ice pieces lying around and it often feels like a gravel road. And: There is lake Baikal undernesth us! The eye and the imagination try to find orientation... There is no way to describe this! Fishing for competition and compliments Our women team was prepared in every aspect. First of all: they looked fantastic with their hats and feather-furs and sticked out of the men dressed in camouflage patterns. Of course the men were shaking their heads. Unfortunately we could only stay untill 2 o’clock, when the fishing palces were decided with a lottery. All around we could see fishermen drilling holes in the ice and sitting there like penguins on eggs. I felt like an alien on a foreign and fascinating star.
Posted by steffi at 12:58 PM
Edited on: 2005-04-11 1:27 PM
Categories: places

2005-02-23

Berlin Notes: a matter of trust or stupidity

I went to the Russian embassy to apply for a visa. It was a cold Berlin morning, but against my usually practical appearance I desided not to wear every onion layer. This was a mistake. If you want to get a Russian visa, you are not entering the embassy building from the front entrance and just proceed to the visa department. No, you go to the back entrance and there you are waiting outside of the building in a bulk of people. From time to time the back door will open and a man comes out to read out the names of some people who are allowed to enter the buidling. Then you try to give him your passport(which he will only accept aafter a while), he will then take it inside for a moment (for no particular reason) to come out again a little later, maybe to read your name, maybe not. Ok. But you should not have a backpack with you, which, of course, I did not know. He called my name, but told me that I could not bring the backpack inside. SHIT! There was no locker around and I would have to go fo the next station, some ten minutes away. An older man came out of the blue to me and offered to take care of my backpack, I could leave it with him. He even showed me his id-card. I took a deep breath, took out my visa papers, left my backpack with him and entered the building. Inside I went to the visa department, got a number, queued up in a line and waited for my turn. I had time to contemplate about my decision to leave my backpack with my laptop inside in the hands of a complete stranger. And I had to wait. A Frenchman needed a visa within 2 tays and had to pay 145 euros...somebody lacked the right travel insurance... when it was my turn, my papers were all right, I was told to pay 45 euros and to come back on the 4th of march to get my visa. Uff. Now I hurried downstairs. The old man was waiting for me with the words’here is your backpack; these things are a matter of trust’. Ok I thought, but lets not test the trust too often.
Posted by steffi at 6:35 PM
Categories: places

2004-12-17

VENEZIA, again and again

Baiser-doveI am not sure if you need to invent reasons to visit Venice again and again. Of course the art world provides you with a Biennale every second year which makes Venice to a kind of Mekka for everyone involved iin the arts, but I just came back from a out of season visit to a Venice in winter. This grand dame of citys was not, as expected clothed in mist, but welcomed me with blue sky and at least warmer temperatures than German. Again I was fascinated by the human size of the city. You can go from one end to the other on foot, so meeting someone is not hindered by a one hour tube ride and also: you meet the people you know on the street or in some cafes. The beauty of the architecture(which always reminds me of old cream cakes in the shop-window of an old pasticceria) moves to the background when you know the city better and come there more often; then you are more drawn to the poetics of the every day, you do not vist the Pallazzi, but the small lanes and you drink your coffeee and spritz al banco, which means standing at the bar. A la prossima! Spritz
Posted by steffi at 9:09 AM
Categories: places

2004-11-30

Leipzig

'down to earth' is maybe the best description of Leipzig. I mainly go there to see my friends and not even the x-mas market with all its kitsch can take away the pleasure of this city. The change is a constant resident of Leipzig and whole blocks of houses remind of snakes who change their skin. Driving there is a challenge and maybe the cars will grow some ellbows after a while as the people seem to regard the street as a battleground. Today I took the tram back to the station. The ticket machine only accepted cards with a certain cash function, which I did not have of course. The woman driver was annoyed with my question for a ticket and told me grumpily that she had run out of tickets and her tone told me to get lost. My need of a ticket was definately my problem, not hers. A woman behind me said that she had a handicapped card and could say I was accompanying her in case of a ticket check(in Germany a handicapped person can be accompanied by a person for free on trains and trams). She got off at the station before mine and told me not to worry. I didn't and look forward to come back to this homely place.
Posted by steffi at 4:01 PM
Categories: places