Meanwhile, fall in Thuringia

Shortly after coming back from Japan, I spent a weekend at home and I persuaded my mom to go sightseeing with me. Our lovely home area has quite a lot of old stones to offer and Erfurt and its majestic cathedral have become quite popular over the last years. (The Pope just visited. You might have heard.)

I have shared pictures of Erfurt and the Krämerbrücke before. And I love this little bookstore at the Krämerbrücke, which has already won many prices.

Thuringia is a magical place. It was once home to many dukes, counts and earls (and their wife) and so there are castles all over the place. And castle towns such as this little sleepy place. But really, there are a lot of such villages in Thuringia.

Soon, it's Halloween season and this little shack might be the right home for a witch. It's right next to the castle wall. Sadly, the castle has withered away.

Instead there was this building. Not very castle like, or? After the last landgrave of Thuringia had died the castle, that stood here was neglected and is nowadays in dire need of repair (there is still a little bit standing...).

After the reunification of Germany, Thuringian towns and villages got financial help to restore historical buildings. But as Thuringia is full of old stuff, in many places the financial help offered wasn't enough. Private NPOs try to safe old churches, that haven't been used for decades as the socialist regime of the GDR tried its best to denounce religious belief. So this church is in one of the worst states I've ever seen a church in. As the roof lets rain in, the NPO tried to save pictures and the altar by covering them with wood panels.

This is really a pitiful sight. Just looking at the roof tells you everything there is to know about the chance of this church to hold up the next century or so. So this little village came up with an idea to get more tourists to visit them. It's an idea that other villages also had and which makes Thuringia a state with rather exotic places. I'll tell you more later.

Another Thuringian town I really like is Bad Langensalza. I haven't been there too often yet, though. It just recently won an European price. Basically it is a "Bad" (bath), which means it has special facilities for people to get better after severe illnesses or accidents. And its really a relaxing place to be.

The tower of the church is really unusual for my home area, I have to say. It really fascinates me. From what I gather you can go up there and have a nice view over the area. The Hainich National Park, that was announced World Heritage this June, is just around the corner.

If you ever have the chance - please visit the green heart of Germany. There are many things to behold and marvel at.



Fall in HD

It was a wonderful day here in HD - a splendid fall day! And as I'm stuck with Germany (boooring!) for the time being, I should enjoy it as long as it lasts. It is and has been my motto for years: Find the extraordinary in the ordinary. And thinking from a Japanese perspective I'm actually living the dream of many Japanese - to be right in the middle of a romantic German town.

Actually buildings in HD aren't really that old. Compared to my other beloved Alma Mater town of Marburg. But I like buildings from the Gründerzeit, which can be found here and there all over the town. The facades are richly decorated and the sunlight paints nice shades.

A typical back street in HD.

Normally, I don't venture into town on Saturdays. It's just too packed with tourists. Many of which are Asian (or American). This group consisted of South Koreans. At least that's my guess because they've got a nun and my Japanese radar didn't go off. (Yes, that's how twisted I am.)

HD's most famous bakery. Always packed with people and rather pricey. The "castle balls" are the most famous treat they sell. So if you ever visit HD - you know where to go.

This couple was just too cute. Sorry, cute couple for taking your picture. If anyone recognizes him/herself in these pics I've taken - please contact me if you want the picture removed. Well, you can see how packed it is. Not cozy at all.

Well, that was my little stroll trough HD. Hoped you liked it and you'll come here in person some day.



Evolution of September

Again, let me apologize for neglecting this little space of mine in september (only 3 posts!). As you know I was kind of busy. September started innocent enough: With a view over my current home town Heidelberg with its famous bridge and castle. It sure is a lovely town and I will be sad once I'll leave for good.

Well, then I finally went on vacation after two years without any fresh air and sand under my feet. While the German summer had been rather wet, rainy and cold, my family was lucky and we could spent some nice sunny days at the seaside on Germany's second largest island Usedom. As the beach is the longest in Germany (over 50 km) one can walk on and on and feel the baltic sea water splashing against one's feet. I really love that and feel very relaxed afterwards.

At Usedoms northern peak there is a museum I've wanted to visit for quite a long time. As my parents aren't very interested in such things, I went on our last day of vacation alone. It is the Historical Technical Museum, that shows the history of rockets and space travel. Sadly, this history includes Nazis and V1 and V2 rockets, that were meant to destroy English cities during WWII. The museum really surprised me with its wide range of artifacts and its effort on showing the whole story. The question they ask about the ethics of science is sadly still very up to date. I really liked the design of the different rooms, like the one above, where there are files stacked up to the ceiling and the red letters depict "Top Secret"(*better translation: Secret command) in old German script. As you can see, the museum was quite packed with people from all around the world. English and Polish speaking people were all around me. For people, who don't know: The rocket specialists, who had worked here, were shipped off to different countries after the defeat of Nazi Germany. Most of them to the USA, where they helped developing the first rockets to carry people to space and to the moon.

The sunrise above Russia viewed from an A380 on my way to Japan. September reached its peak with my unexpected travel to Japan, about which I'll tell you next time. More pictures to come!



Back from Post-Tsunami Japan

So I'm back and fighting jetlag. My fifth travel to Japan was unexpected (I didn't even know I would go to Japan this year a mere month ago!), exciting (as always Japan is just such a great place for adventure of any kind), lovely (thanks to all my Japanese friends!) and a little bit sad.

You guys might have already guessed it: I didn't get the job!

After making me wait two long days beyond the scheduled date I was told in a rather short and funny (?) talk that I'm way too nice to work for a Japanese firm. Which makes me wonder about German firms, as well. But when the kachô (a section head) told me that I wasn't really listening anymore, because it was so ridiculous. Obviously I haven't met the firms standard in that absolutely ridiculous test I had to take right after my flight to Japan - having been awake for more than 24 hs! How was I supposed to meet any standard (especially in summing up crazy long rows of numbers)?? I had been so furious about the whole lack of planning by that firm and had already worried about my reaction if they'd actually wanted me.

I really wasn't sure at all if I should say yes at all. (But working and living in Japan had been a dream of mine - so I would have said yes, I guess. With possible disastrous future events ahead!) Even though I was kind of put out with the result, I now think it might be for the better. Well, any work is better than unemployment - that's what I think, though.

So - all things back to start!

 I need to rethink a lot of stuff in the next days and weeks to come. Just this morning I read in our local paper about the problems of my generation in Germany: We have been raised after the fall of the (Berlin) Wall in the belief to live in the best of all worlds with all possibilities. Anyone, who has had great marks in school and university, would be able to live a financially stable live, being able to consume anytime anything he/she wishes for, being able to travel anywhere and have a good pension during the last years here on earth.

 But what "destiny" (?) wants to show me is that in fact nothing is certain and while I always was a great student and met many expectations up till now, I'm now officially a "failed member of society" in the eyes of certain people. The question is: Does that bother me? Am I sensitive to other people judging me that way?

 Sure, it is really pissing me off (sorry!) to have to apply for social welfare. My finances are now at minus zero (especially as the Yen was just too expansive these days and the Euro just too weak!), most of my shoes have holes in their bottoms (really!), some of shirts have holes, too. My parents are helping me out now and then, but I really don't want to ask them anymore. So I have to grow up now and face certain consequences.

I never had to fight so hard in my life before!

 But I also want to take this hard time as a chance. A chance to rethink my beliefs implanted in me by a consume oriented society. Can I cope with having less? Nevertheless, I still have a lot. I have seen places, I have traveled, I have lived better than many of my age in most countries out there. I believe firmly, I will get a chance in doing something valuable with my work force in the future. I can do it. Somehow. I have a future. Many others don't. I guess that is something we people of the northern hemisphere have to get aware of. And that's why I'm grateful for the "hard time" I'm facing right now.

 I'm sincerely hoping you are going to stay with me, here on this blog!

 P.S.: I really loved flying with the A 380 (see above). What a "little" monster.