Sunday, May 27, 2007

World Heritage Site Bamberg

Mother's Day, which was a couple of days ago, was an opportunity for me and my Mom to visit Bamberg. Bamberg is a World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved Altstadt (Old Town). Other cities in Germany during WWII got bombed and their Old Town destroyed, for strategic and symbolic reasons, but Bamberg was lucky, it just happened to be of no interest for the allies. I'll be honest, I didn't think the prospect to visit old parts of a city to be that thrilling, but it turned out that this city has a lot of charm and the old houses were just lovely. We also had a very entertaining tourguide who turned out to be a former schoolmate of mine. Years ago she moved there to study medieval history of art and falling for the charm of the city decided to settle there.

I'm afraid my pictures won't do the beauty of this city justice. I'm always surprised to see how boring some pictures can appear, while in in reality the view was so nice. Anyway, maybe you will nevertheless be able to get a hint of how it really is.

But our tour didn't start on top of a hill of course, it started with a short cruise on the Regnitz, the river which passes Bamberg. This part is called "Little Venice" due to the river and the picturesque half-timbered houses on its bank. We got told that these half-timbered houses that nowadays so many people find adorable and cute were considered ugly, oldfashioned and bad taste and their owners were usually really poor people, like fishermen. The building on the right side was a slaughterhouse, a sign that this indeed was not the most expensive residential area.

That's the Bamberg Cathedral. It was built with the purpose to imitate the St Peter's Basilica in Rome (Bamberg is also located on more or less seven hills like Rome and the monarchs of those past ages were eager to find as many resemblances as possible). The cathedral, like the one in Rome, is one of the few churches that are orientated to the West instead of the East.

On the other side of the place is the Neue Residenz, the home of one of the bishops of Bamberg.

The bishop who built the Neue Residenz hated half-timbered buildings. That's part of the former bishop's residence. He would have also like to get rid of this building, but if I remember it right he didn't have the means to pay for it.

View from top of the hill to another hill with another church.

The Old Town Hall built on the bridge as a compromise to resolve the conflicts between the different rising classes among the population. If I remember it correctly, the craftsmen lived on one side of the bridge and the merchants on the other side. Both were mistrustful of each other.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Crochet an anemone

I had to crochet some flowers for this pink sweater and did some experimenting with new flower shapes. This one looks like an anemone:

These are the instructions in case someone is interested in crocheting anemones. And beware, I'm not a crochet expert and I might have done things differently than I should have.

sl st: slip stitch
ch: chain
sc: single crochet
hdc: half double crochet
dc: double crochet
tr: treble

1. Start with an adjustable ring. Instead of ch3, ch1. Sc 7. Close the ring by doing a sl st into the first sc.

2. Ch 5. Hdc1 into the 3rd ch. Dc 1 into the 2nd ch. Dc 1 into the 1st ch. Sl st1 into sc. *Ch 5. Hdc 1 into the 3rd ch. Dc1 into the 2nd ch. Dc 1 into the 1st ch. Sl st1 into next sc.* Repeat from * 7 times Hdc1 into the 3rd ch. Dc 1 into the 2nd ch. Dc1 into the 1st ch. Sl st1 into sl st from previous row.

3. Turn your work. Pick the bar in the middle at the end of the 1st petal (see picture). It's part of the sc from the first row and make a sl st. Ch 6. Hdc 1 into 4th ch. Dc 1 into 3rd ch. Tr 1 into 2nd ch. Tr 1 into 1st ch.

*Pick the bar in the middle at the end of the next petal. It's part of the sc from the first row and make a sl st. Ch 6. Hdc 1 into 4th ch. Dc 1 into 3rd ch. Tr 1 into 2nd ch. Tr 1 into 1st ch.* The last petal ends with a sl st into the first ch of the first petal.

By the way, the petals in the pictures look so straight, because I made a mistake.

Yarn: Schachenmayr "Jazz", 50 % cotton, 50 % acrylic
Hook: 3.5 mm, but I think 4 mm would probably be better.

Feel free to substitute.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Colbert Roasts President Bush - 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner

I watched this absolutely fabulous video yesterday. It's a speech by Stephen Colbert held at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner in which he mocks the president and his politics shamelessly. It's from last year, but I only had the chance now to see it. Apart from his wit he is also so damn cute. *fawn* :D

Friday, May 04, 2007

A trip to the Isle of Mainau/Blumeninsel Mainau

On Tuesday, which was a holiday here, my mom and I went on a trip to visit the Isle of Mainau. Mainau is a small island in the Lake Constance (funny, I didn't know that was its name in English till I looked it up now, the German name is Bodensee. Also in German the name of the isle is Blumeninsel Mainau, the flower isle Mainau, but in English it's just Isle of Mainau) and famous for its beautiful garden and park. It belongs to the aristrocratic family Bernadotte and as far as I understood is actually not German property, as I had always thought, but Swedish.

Right now is a good time to take a stroll there and admire the flowers. It was a four hour trip with the bus, which also included a short ride with a ferry (I love water and boats, so that was a definite bonus to this awesome day), but it was absolutely worth it. We were also very lucky with the weather, not too hot, not too cold (although it had been very cold in the morning and I had cursed myself for my carelessness), and a lot of sunshine.

I found it hard to believe that the ferry would be able to take up a whole bus, but I found it even more amazing when on the way home I saw that the ferry was loaded with four buses (!) and a couple of cars.

That picture was taken on the way home, but we won't be too picky with the timeline, will we? :D

Here's a plan of the garden (only click on the picture if your connection can handle 4 MB images :D )

At the entrance we were greeted by a giant flower.

We had to get up very early, but it was worth it, less visitors and the light was just fabulous for taking pictures. I'm not really a fan of my camera, but it was doing a decent job this day. Here are some daisies.

I'm in love with magnolias. I like the ones with big tulip-shaped blossoms in white and pink and a little bit of brownish pink, but these here were also quite beautiful.

The whole ground was covered with pink blossoms, there were still plenty of them on the trees though.

Here's panoramic view of the garden.

A peacock.

I started to feel like I was on vacation in some mediterranean country (of which I'm very fond). Lake Constance is just a lake, albeit the second largest in Europe, but it felt like I was on a beach. You could see little waves on the shore.

The name of the artist who created all these sculptures is Stefan Szczesny and while I find these to be very charming and joyful I don't find his paintings very attractive (there is an exhibition inside the castle right now). A wild mix of colors that don't go well together and a lot of nude women, which is not the shocking thing, it's that he draws them in various revealing positions and with very clear details, so that, in my humble opinion at least, he crosses the border of sensual and gets rather close to crude.

Looks a lot like lace.

Stairs with flowers.


Now to pictures of some of my favorite flowers - tulips. There were masses of them there. The light was fantastic and in fact, maybe too much as some of the pictures look a bit artificial. In any case, after getting into the mood again for traveling because of the whole atmosphere and because of taking so many pictures, I think I really really want a new camera. If you bother to go to new places, you should make sure that you can take nice memories and souvenirs home. I used to have a Canon Prima Super 120, which was such a lovely camera, nothing very fancy, but I liked the pictures I took. I probably lost it one day at the airport (I was really really late and in such a hurry not to miss my flight. I guess, I forgot to put it back into my backpack after taking it out to look for my passport :( ).

Dogwood (Cornus, Hartriegel). It's the state tree of Missouri and Virginia.

A hanky tree, I kid you not. :D With a lot of kids, too.

A very big maple (?) tree.


More Allium.

Another field of tulips.

In the butterfly house. They're feasting on orange slices. Usually butterflies do not really get close to people, these here though seemed to like showing off. I was able to get really really close to them and make makro shots and they just didn't care. As if they were enjoying people's attention. :)

Suddenly they did not look that charming anymore... :D


View from the top.


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