The Allied Tomatoes (A Short War Story)

The plane roared as ally John jumped into the emptiness underneath. A short moment of total freedom came up to him. Flying like a bird, almost weightless, he inhaled the feeling.

A few more seconds and it was time to open the parachute. It would pull him up again and then bring him to earth in a slow hover. He had to land in a field slightly away from a huge manor. Unseen, unnoticed, on an almost moonless night.

The parachute did not open. He pulled the string again, pearls of sweat on his forehead. Now it would open! But again: nothing. No up-swing, no hovering, instead a deadly fall. Panic rose in the paratrooper John. He fell faster and faster, the earth came closer, he recognized the trees, the house, the landing-field way too far away already. He felt his face heat up, despite the icy air that was now grabbing at his skin. His pulse-beat as fast as his ever-faster fall speed. Under his helmet a drop of sweat ran into the collar of his jacket. If not for a miracle, it was his end. He thought of the girl that he wanted to marry, she was waiting for her war hero. He began to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

His feet broke through glass, he landed rudely on something … soft. He heard a splash around him, feeling wetness everywhere, sweeping over him. He snorted, it smelled sour. Puzzled he touched his face, licked his lips, he knew the taste. When the moon emerged from behind a thick cloud and shone into the greenhouse, he recognized he had landed in a huge pile of tomatoes. He began to laugh and laugh and did not stop. John was the son of a tomato farmer.

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Lübeck’s Marzipan in a Museum

Lübeck without Marzipan would be like New York without the Liberty statue. Impossible to think. The most famous is the Niederegger Marzipan, but there is more. And we have been in the museum of the Marzipanland.

I heard about it but have never been there though I passed a few times the last years when I was in Lübeck. My friend from Lübeck, the one I have my discover-and- coffee-and-cake-Sundays now for years every time when I am in town, thought last weekend it would be time to have a look in the museum and have our Sunday coffee in the cafeteria.

The shop, museum and cafeteria are in one of the old warehouses from the Hanseatic League times, they are called Speicher. The shop is small but full of all kinds, shapes, sizes of Marzipan and everything around gifts. On the first floor there is the little museum.

The museum displays ‘situations’ around the marzipan making, you can see the old molds where once they gave the shapes to the marzipan, there is machinery for the preparation of the almond paste and much more. It seems so in the room they also do the show cooking during the summer months. All explanation are in German and English.

We didn’t buy any marzipan in the shop, but the temptation was strong. If you like marzipan I would recommend buying ‘Bruch’, which are not perfect marzipan pieces they sell for half the price.

We left the museum and shop to go next door to the cafeteria. It is located on the first floor but has also a ‘balcony’ inside and a beautiful backyard which will be open when it’s sunny and warm outside. Very recommendable! The building is from the 12th century.

We had Marzipantorte, Marzipan cookies and coffee and sat there for a long while. It is a very cozy place, not loud at all though it was pretty full when we were there.

It was an interesting visit at the museum. I maybe expected it to be a little bigger but still very interesting. There is no entrance fee. Very interesting that the master of Marzipan, Burkhard Leu, was several times in the Guinness book of records, for the biggest marzipan pig (more than 1.000 kilos of almond paste!), the first and only gown made of marzipan pralines and more.

A curiosity: outside the building most of the Buddenbrook-movie was made. In the museum you can find a few mentions and articles about the filming.

Lübecker MarzipanSpeicher, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

For further information:
An der Untertrave 97-98
23552 Lübeck

Opening: Monday to Saturday 9 am to 7 pm
Sunday 10 am to 6 pm

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Hamburg – Urban Views

Hamburg is an amazing city, full of life, full of architecture, full of history. And when the weather is like yesterday, the city offers millions of photo possibilities.

I was there last weekend for totally different reason than a photo-shooting-tour. We went to a fair for old seeds. More and more young people are interested in growing old varieties of fruits and vegetables, but also flowers. It was very interesting and packed with information.

Later we went to the EnergieBunker to have a coffee. That is an old bunker transformed into a clean-energy producing place with a coffee-shop on the top. Great views over Hamburg and the ‘flat land’ inclusive.

We also had a little tour of the harbour and just driving around from one rainbow to the other, discovering many huge roundabouts full of daffodils and getting inspired by the incredible light of the ‘bad’ weather (which is for photographers the best weather!).

Enjoy some of my photos taken in Hamburg!


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To Arrive or Not to Arrive (a package tracking story)

A few days ago I ordered some books on the Internet. Then I got the email of the arrival.

Me, email to a friend: How fun is that? I just clicked on the tracking web page of a courier for my amazon package. It shows a road map and where the courier is right now. I can follow him on my computer! He is just a few blocks away, only another 2 stops before me.

Me, thinking: Yuppieh, soon he will be here. I already can dress to go out soon, that’s perfect!

My friend, email to me, joking: The route of your package:
   Warehouse Pingopongo-south
   Highway rest-area Pingopongo-north
   Highway rest-area Sity
   Restaurant The Wild Boar
   Bar The Great View
   Police station Metropolita

Your package will arrive 48 hours later.

Me, looking on the map, thoughts: Why is he going now to the next village instead of coming here? That doesn’t make sense, he was just two blocks further. OK, maybe I see something wrong here.

Me, email to my friend: That’s funny, it seems right the way you were joking before. He just decided to go to another village instead of driving two blocks down to deliver the package here.

My friend, email to me: He is looking for you! You can follow him, but his GPS doesn’t work! Technical failure!

Me, email to my friend: Yes, it looks like that. But the 2 stops are done, let’s see what happens now. On the map it looks like he started to move and stopped again a few houses later. Or his girl-friend called or maybe he is having a sandwich.

Me, thoughts: Why is he not moving? It’s more than 5 minutes he is in the same place. So I am right, call or sandwich.

My friend, email to me: What did you order?

Me, email to my friend: Just 2 books.

Me, thoughts, observing the map: Ah, he is finally at the traffic light. Please turn right now. Hey, right I said, not left! Why did you turn left?? And why are you going back the same road now? How did you turn that way there? What a stupid thing!

Me, email to my friend: The driver maybe had really something to drink or maybe reading my books! He left the road he was before and turned into the same road again!

Me, thoughts, still observing the moving dot on the map: Oh, finally he turned right, now he is on the right road and on the way here!

My friend, email to me: He is reading your books! I think this tracking the package on a map is not a real good idea for you.

Me, email to my friend: No, definitely NOT! He turned on the highway now and is going to the next city! I need to go before I get a heart attack!

Me, writing a letter to the courier:

Dear courier, After you have been two blocks away, just to drive over to the next village and now you are in another city and after I am sitting for half an hour dressed in coat and boots waiting for you, thinking you will arrive in a few minutes, I need to leave. I beg you to leave the package at my neighbour’s or alternatively in the garage. Thank you! I wish you a nice weekend …

The books arrived an hour later, when I was out. To follow a courier on his way to deliver my order I won’t look on a map again! I swear!

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Industrial and Technological History in Lübeck

Lübeck was once the ‘Mother of the Hanseatic League’ and a merchandise center. In the last century it still had one of the biggest businesses in North Germany: the furnace plant in Herrenwyk, just a few kilometers outside the city-center and on the shores of the Trave.

Sometimes – or most of the times – it is with visitors that you start to learn about the place you live. They are hunting for special places when you just go to the supermarket or maybe window-shopping or to the theater. So this last winter my sweety asked how the industrial museum in Herrenwyk is and if it is worth to go. I had no idea. So we went and I was really surprised. But of course, I had no camera with me.

This time my friend from Lübeck told me she always wanted to have a look at the museum, and we agreed to go there. And this time I brought my camera!

I remember Herrenwyk very well as an industrial area, where metal was worked and the Flender shipyards played a big role. I was also aware that all was closed in the nineties.

The museum tells the story from the beginning, the foreign workers that lived here and had their own village. The museum is located in a former grocery store.

The museum provides a multitude of photos, a lot of text that is impossible to read in one visit and many tools that were used during the centuries for the work. The museum’s director is an amazing source of knowledge. He knows also some English but mainly it’s all in German unfortunately.

Herrenwyk is a furnace plant and was founded in 1905. It had the most employment in Lübeck. In 1975 the furnace plant was bought by the US Steel Corporation.

The amazing thing is that they built a village around the furnace plant. With an own grocery store, baker’s shop, butcher’s shop, and they even had medical provision. In the sixties there were more than 2.000 employees, Germans and foreigners.

In 1992 the whole industrial area was demolished and remediated. In 2009 the last remaining building, the cooling tower, was demolished.

Today it seems all to me a normal neighbour-hood with nice little houses. I know many people who once came from Turkey live here. I guess most of them are house-owners in a second generation from the era of the furnace plant.

I very much enjoyed to look around in the museum, to see old photos, areal views how it looked like in the sixties, to read old documents and learn how people lived once here. It must have been an extreme difficult work and I know many people died early because of the pollution, the heat and hard work.

Industriemuseum Geschichtswerkstatt Herrenwyk, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

For further information:
Industriemuseum Geschichtswerkstatt Herrenwyk
Kokerstraße 1-3
23569 Lübeck

Opening: Friday 2 pm to 5 pm
                 Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

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