Laach Lake

Apr. 23rd, 2017 09:45 pm
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In German Laacher See - or Lake Lake, as Laach is from Old High German lacha - which is related to English lake of course.



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Maar III.

Apr. 21st, 2017 07:46 pm
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I am starting this with a map of the three maars in Daun:



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Maar II.

Apr. 19th, 2017 01:30 pm
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After walking half-way around Schalkenmehrener Maar, it was time to tackle the next maar which is called Weinfelder Maar after a small chapel plus cemetery left over from a village abandoned in the 16th century because of the plague. Alternatively, it is also known as Totenmaar or Maar of the Dead.

And right away, the atmosphere is different - it also didn't help that the blue skies had given way to grey clouds:

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Maar.

Apr. 18th, 2017 11:47 am
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You may know the common German word for lake, which is der See. Yes, it looks a lot like sea, but that's more commonly known as das Meer unless you're being poetic and then you can call it die See. German is NOT straightforward - a claim I've heard recently and which I find a little naive.

To make it all the more complicated there is also das Maar, which is a special kind of lake (and even that is not always true).

The word derives from the dialect of the Eifel region for the lakes of the region and in its most scientific definition it pertains to a broad, low-relief volcanic crater caused by a phreatomagmatic eruption (an explosion which occurs when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava or magma). Thanks, wikipedia! Often, these craters fill with water and then you get a Maar lake, but they also dry out (on their own or through human intervention) and then they become known as dry maars or Trockenmaare.

Among the most famous Maare are three lakes situated in close proximity in the Eifel near Daun. Here is one of them, the Schalkenmehrener Maar named for the village of Schalkenmehren which you can see in the background.



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It seems like ages ago that we went on a mini-break in the L√ľneburger Heide and then on the last day made the trip up to Hamburg, where much to my shame I had never been. We didn't see that much of the city, but managed to visit a couple of landmarks as well as the Miniatur-Wunderland.

You've already seen the Elbphilharmonie.

Now it's time for the Speicherstadt, the warehouse district of the port of Hamburg built in the late 19th century on timber-pile foundations.

Pictures )
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One of those prestigious building projects that horrendously ran over cost and time but a fascinating building nonetheless. Still not finished.

Lots of pictures )
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We did a holiday park break over the long Carnival weekend again, but I've got to say I can't spend the entire time within the confines of the park, I need to see more than playgrounds, petting zoo and swimming pool (and shops and restaurants).

With the L√ľneburg Heath around us, there was plenty of landscape around us.

I'd been there once before, as a child, with my father and my grandparents. The names on the road signs were familiar and when we drove towards the town I knew I had stayed in, I spotted the words Pietzmoor on a sign and that rang a bell. We parked close to the holiday home village where we had rented a cottage and went for a walk around the Piet's bog.

Efforts are under way to restore this rain-fed bog - it was drained and there was a lot of peat extraction even as late as the 1980s there and you can still see where the peat was cut - the rectangular holes have filled with water.

Pictures )
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When you cross the border, much is different.

The first thing you notice is that the signage is in another language: sometimes the words are off just by a few letters, sometimes they are nearly incomprehensible.

Even the motorway signs, although they have the globally accepted white colour on blue background, are just a tiny bit wrong. The familiar names of cities seem changed when written in a font that is ever so slightly rounder with the individual letters ever so slightly further apart. Or are they closer? You cannot tell, but the name of the city you were born in suddenly looks foreign.

There are much larger cues though than the writings on the walls.

Houses )

Writing this down, I've come to realize that my expertise in architectural styles is a little vague at best, so all mistakes are clearly my own.

And: While these houses in the Netherlands seem very different to what I'm used to, there are also striking differences between different German regions: slate shingles in the Bergische Land, red brick in the North, wooden balconies in the South.
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Technically, there is no such season as pre-spring - there is winter and there is spring, but certainly while it was gloves-hats-and-scarves cold, there was this feeling that nature was gathering strength from the sunshine for the coming spring.
Flat earth )
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So we went and had a stereotypical family holiday in a holiday park over the Carnival mini-break. We had a cute little house with a freestanding fireplace and two tiny bedrooms. Read more... )

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