An Evening in the Rape Field

Have you ever smelled blooming rape? There is a sweet, honey-like scent all over when the huge fields of rape start to bloom. Endless bright yellow fields, surrounded by fresh green just coming out in spring under a dark blue sky with white, fluffy clouds. That is the most beautiful scenery in spring!

Rapeseeds or also colza are used for canola oil many people use in their kitchens. It is one of the largest vegetable oils we have and is used also for animal feeding and biodiesel. Everybody for sure tried the rapeseed honey. Rape flowers are great for bees but the plants are also heavily GMO. The greatest producers of canola oil are Canada and China. Health-wise the oil is rich in omega-6, there is a long way of processing from plant to oil and there is a lot of saturated fat. There is a long list why it is harmful if used on a regular base. There are much better oils to use like coconut, avocado or olive oil. But the plants are good for gardening as they help to make a better soil. Be careful though: the plants grow every year again easily, they can get really big that you need to dig them out deeply, and they don’t let very much grow nearby. But again: for the mind they are wonderful: the color, the smell, the vision of the big fields…

Yesterday evening I drove at 8.30 pm out where are the rape fields. I enjoyed very much the sunset light, the blue sky and the white and also dark grey clouds. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet scent of the rape and the colors. Cool wind blowing through my hair and just me inhaling beauty and natural scent. I took a lot of shots there.

Enjoy the photos!

For further information:
An interesting article about how healthy or unhealthy canola oil is

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Dominican Monks in Lübeck

Monasteries are always a very interesting to know a place. Lübeck is not different and when I had the possibility to visit the Burgkloster (castle friary) I started to research a little bit more about monasteries in Lübeck.

There were actually 5: The St. John friary (St. Johannis) for Benedictines and Cistercians nuns, St. Catherine friary (St. Katharinen) for Franciscan monks, the St. Maria Magdalena friary of the Dominican order, St. Michael Priory of the Sisters of the Common Live (similar to the Beguines) and the St. Anne (St. Annen) of the Saint Augustine nuns. For a city with around 20.000 – 25.000 inhabitants it is a good amount of religious institutions.

On the ground where the nowadays friary is located there was once a fortress called Bucu, a Slavic stronghold of the 8th century. In 1148 count Adolf II of Hostein founded here the city of Lübeck after the victory over the Danish dominion of nearly 50 years. People from Lübeck built the friary on the remains of the old fortress dedicating it to Maria Magdalena and offering the monastery to the Dominican order (a Mendicant order) in 1229.

It was heavily damaged in a fire in 1276 and re-built. The brick-Ghotic architecture you can still see today. During the centuries there were done many additions and changes around the friary. During reformation in the mid 16th century the friary was dissolved and changed into a house for the poor, a so-called almshouse. Until 1806, when the last priest was shot during the battle of Lübeck in the war of the Fourth Coalition. Since then, there was no mess anymore in the church which, in 1818, was demolished.

50 years later at the same place there was built a school and the friary was used as court. Later it was a museum and now it is part of the European Hansemuseum. Today there is still to see the chapter house (Kapitelsaal), a side-chapel, the sacristy and the cloister and courtyard.

The chapter house has an unbelievable beautiful ceiling with colorful paintings. Same for the sacristy. In the cloister there are no paintings to see on the ceiling but I guess there were once. The sacristy has a nice flooring with mosaics. The vault consoles in the chapter house are very elaborated with biblical scenes.

On the 1st/2nd floor we saw the court and two individual cells for prisoners in investigative custody. Very impressive and modern: each had a toilet (seat) which could be cleaned from outside the cell. The hall of court was not too interesting. In some other rooms we could follow the end of the Hanse and what is remaining from it today. There are still Hanseatic Culture Days (I have been on the one in Lübeck a few years ago, spectacular!) and in Germany 3 cities with the official name of Hansestadt (city of Hanse): Hansestadt Lübeck, Hansestadt Hamburg and Hansestadt Bremen. Other cities call themselves with the same appellative or additional name but it’s not the official designation.

I enjoyed my International Museum Day at the European Hansemuseum at which the Burgkloster is part. This way I learnt a lot about clerical institutions in Lübeck and that there were even more female monasteries than for monks.

Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

For further information:
A little bit about Lübeck

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International Museum Day 2019 – The European Hansemuseum

The International Museum Day this year happened on the 19th May. The day was created in 1977 where museums in all the world were invited to promote the role of museums by creating unique and free activities for everyone. Today there are participating more than 150 countries and more than 40.000 museums. In 2018 there were 41 languages and nearly 1 billion people taking information about the event.

The International Museum Day is organized by ICOM – the International Council of Museums. It organizes also the European Night of Museums, which was held this year during the night of the 18th to the 19th May. Museums will be open until 1 am and free of charge. For some reason in Lübeck it will be on the 31st August.

I decided to visit on this years Museum Day the European Hansemuseum together with some friends. It’s a long time that I wanted to jump in the Middle Ages and learn more about the famous Hanseatic League but for one or the other reason it never happened before. This was the occasion!

I started from Travemünde (where I am located currently) in a thick foggy weather condition. Luckily in Lübeck it was sunny and nice. Parking space was available and after a short walk I arrived at the Burgtor/Castle Gate where the Hansemuseum is located. I just had to follow a man from the Middle Ages…

The museum offered a reduced entrance fee but also a great Medieval market with stands of food, cooking like they did in that period, handcrafts and music. Waiting for my friends I had a look around.

We paid a reduced entrance fee and with a lift we got to the basement. Here we had the possibility to learn about one of the greatest periods of the city which is also European history.

The museum was built in 2004 where once was an air raid shelter and a sailors home. Nearby there is the castle (Dominican) friary, the castle gate and the mews. The opening was in April 2015 after a multiple delay because of the many archaeological excavations in site. On 7.000 sqm/75.000 sqf there is a permanent exhibition with original artifacts, interactive sites and much more. It is the largest museum about the Hanseatic League. The architecture of the museum building is modern though in bricks (recalling the brick architecture of the Middle Ages).

The many, many explanation boards don’t leave out even one historical moment and are overwhelming in information. It is very interesting to see the many written letters and documents. The museum itself is located in the basement and pretty dark but everything is displayed with a lot of light. On the top of the new building there is a terrace which gives a beautiful view on the river Trave and the port constructions. Vis-à-vis you can see the ‘Lisa’, a Hanseatic cog.

From this terrace you go also to the friary which is not connected internally with the museum itself but should be visited definitely. I wrote a separate article about it.

I am very glad that I finally have been in this so interesting and exciting museum. It gives a really great overview of a remarkable period, about the Queen of the Hanseatic League and historical moments like the ‘Black Death’, when a third of the people in Europe died. Even though I wrote about the Hanse several times, I still found a lot of things I didn’t know. I think the museum should be a ‘must’ during a stay in North Germany, in Lübeck and at the Baltic Sea.

Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

For further information:
Europäisches Hansemuseum
A little bit about Lübeck and the ICOM

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Hidden Lake in the Woods

Some days on my way home from shopping I took another road than normally and passed in an area with woods. Honestly I know that road for a while but never take it on the way home.

This time I was pretty early in the morning, sun came up only shortly ago, and so I stopped. And yes, I had my camera with me, because I thought to go somewhere else for maybe some shootings. Though passing in this little wood I thought why not starting here with having a look. Instead, I stopped only here… it’s a super peaceful place!

There are some little lakes right going through a short part of wood, all natural and a perfect place for animals. On the other side of the lakes are some huge meadows where I saw a lot of geese.

I walked around one bigger lake, found a little bench where to sit. I stayed for at least one hour just sitting and observing the swans and other water birds. Here are some of the photos I took that early morning. I will return there, so peaceful and beautiful!

Enjoy some impressions!

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A Canyon in the Middle of the City – Tecolote Canyon

San Diego is a city in the south of California and located in a desert-like area but on the Pacific ocean shore. Coastal sage scrub is one of the most common plants here. The city with it’s more than a million people is streaked with canyons which are very often parks and natural areas. I hiked once in the Torrey Pines State Reserve north of the city. This time I explored the visitor center of the Tecolote Canyon Nature Park.

Originally in this area there lived the Kumeyaay Indians before the Europeans came and they found food and shelter here in the Tecolote Canyon. Since 1872 there was living one of the first settlers right in this canyon. Since 1978 the land is owned by the city and now a Natural Park of which City Park Rangers take care.

The name Tecolote comes from the middle and south American Spanish word for a small owl. The canyon has nearly 10.5 km/6.5 miles of hiking trails. Classes, workshops or special events are possible here.

The visitor center gives a wonderful overview on this big, wild area. It offers educational AND recreational opportunities for children and adults. The visitor center shows a map of the canyon, there are good explanations about the flora and fauna and there are also some snakes in terrariums which are interesting to see. It shows as well some objects of the original human inhabitants and their life before the European settlers arrived.

When reading of the work they do I was astonished that they actually go around in the canyon to see if there are plants growing that are not natural in this environment. They pull them out then. Very interesting, indeed. They offer to go around and explain the nature to children which I think is very important. They are also active in promoting to preserve the integrity of the canyon and the Tecolote Creek (to keep it free from pollution).

I visited the center around noon. It was sunny and warm, ideal for hiking but I had no time for an extended canyon inspection. The center itself is nice and has a lot of information. Right behind the building there is a kind of bigger closed area where many different shrubs, trees and flowers are explained. We had a kind of little guided tour talking to a Park Ranger and some people working in the visitor center. I hope one day I can go and hike also some trails, it looks very good to me.

Tecolote Canyon, California/USA:

For further information:
About the Tecolote Canyon Nature Parkvisitor center
Who wants to hike there, here is the Tecolote Canyon Nature Parks Trail map

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