During summer, this steam train rolls along an old track.
Once, this track was used to connect coal mines and steel plants with the industrial inland harbor from where the steel plants got the ore and the coal mined sent the coal. For several decades the track was closed, when a railroad museum got the idea to send one on their steam trains on the track again.
During summer you can meet the train on track at the first Sunday of the month. Additional driving days are in winter around St. Nick (Dec. 6th)
More of my images can be seen at my own blog.
This image is quite old, but I still like it.
It’s taken in one of our former capitals of industrialism. Decades ago, huge steel plants, coal mines and similar factories in the montan industry gave thousands of workers an employment. But, they also destroyed the environment by polluting the air and the water.
In that time, there wasn’t much green in the cities. No parks for the kids to play. Freshly washed laundry hung up outside for getting dry, was already gray when fetched from the washing line.
These two guy playing football inside a former steel plant. The thick framing walls once were the outside of two huge coal or ore storages.
There were many changes during the last 30-40 years in our region: less factories, less pollution, less options for employment, many unemployed people and many serious problems for the governments to solve.
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Although, summer hasn’t started (according to the calendar, summer starts on June 21st), I was on summer vacation and came back Saturday evening. The last 2 weeks I was at the Baltic Sea on the Island Usedom. It’s the most north-eastern part of Germany, next to the border to Poland. Usedom is known for being a very sunny area, so that they advertise with the slogan “the sun-island”. Despite, many parts of Germany suffered from bad weather with heavy rain and even some over-floodings, Usedom was dried out: 3 weeks without any rain, when we arrived. When we arrived we had nearly 30°C, crisp and cloudless blue sky and a smell of salt, resin and blooming flowers.
Not far from our vacation home, there was a white beach with very fine sand. Some beach chairs were waiting to be rented. You know, I love being at the sea. I love walking along the shore, listening to the birds, the soft wind and the sound of the waves.
On Usedom you can find several towns and villages. Not all of them are located at the coast. Usedom is the second largest island of Germany (Rügen is the biggest one, located next to Usedom). The island is 66,4 km broad and a bit shaped like a banana with much bigger ends (up to 23 km) then the middle part. The Baltic sea does not have a huge tide. You often even notice the difference between high tide and low tide.
Usedom is located not of the Germany capitol Berlin only in a about two hours drive distance. So, you can find many people from Berlin, here. At the end of the 18th century, rich people from Berlin started to go for vacation and spotted i.e. Usedom as a beautiful place for recovering from the stress and the dirt in the big city. At first, local farmers and fishers gave rooms to the city-people.
Next, entrepreneurs built villas and mansions for the rich visitors. These houses followed a very certain building style with ideas coming from the ancient greeks and romans. Today, that style is known as “Bäderarchitektur” (Resort architecture). I’ll show you some more examples in future posts. Fortunately, most of them are already well reconstructed and in very good shape.
To make the trip more comfortable, the coastal towns built piers in addition to the railway stations. So, the people were able to come by ship and have not only a comfortable stay but also a comfortable trip. We were for your stay in Ahlbeck, the town with the oldest pier. You can see it in the image above.
In the urban hinterland, you can discover many interesting villages by bike. The island has a dense network of bicycle tracks. Most of the island is quite flat, so you don’t have many problems with hills or so (despite, there are a few). You can even find a few lakes on the Island.
Two years ago, I was with some friends in Antwerp.Time to freshen up the memories 🙂
While writing this, I’m having a layover of about 3 hours in Amsterdam and hacking this in my mobile phone. All the other group members are on their ways to get home again and I’m the last one sitting in the airport terminal alone for the last hour and waiting for my connection flight. I was on a trip with some friends for seeing the beauty of the Isle if Skye. The island is part of The Inner Hebrides islands and is located at the west coast of Scotland in the Irish Sea.
As I was told before, many parts of that island look very similar to Iceland: fjords, steep hills and small mountains, few trees, green mountainsides, lots of sheep. Spring starts a bit later here, so far in the North.
We visited many famous and also less famous locations. As expected, the weather was quite mixed: warm, sunny moments were interrupted quite often by rain, which was sometimes heavy and equipped with very strong winds.
Over time, some images will pop up here. For today I attached an image of Eilean Donan Castle, located between the Scottish main-land and the Isle of Skye. It’s considered as a doorkeeper and one of the famous locations here.
Our base for exploring the island was somewhere in the middle of the island, not far away from Portree, the biggest town of the island. We had two cars for our group of seven: a Skoda Octavia and a Mercedes C220. The later wasn’t appropriate for the streets, because of the lowered down body and the low section tires. (We ordered a different car, but the rental car station did not have the ordered car).. The roads are quite small and often in bad shape. Some roads even have only one track and passing points every now and then. Usually, the sides of the roads are the worst parts: many potholes and unpaved sides. To avoid hitting a pothole you have the leave the regular track sometimes. But, when you’re encountering an other car or even s lorry, you can’t leave your track without risking an accident. So, over time we got a flat front tire 😕. Unfortunately, that happened at night and there was neither a spare tire nor a bootle of repair foam in the Mercedes. 😭
While two of us tried to get the tire repaired in the next morning, the others were trying to see another famous spot. But, after a few miles an encountering lorry occupying more room of the road (he crossed the middle line of the road and drove also in our half) and thus forcing us to yield to the unpaved side, where we hit a huge pothole and thus got a flat tire on the second car, too 😕. Thanks to a spare tire in the Skoda we were back on track after a short break. Pugh. Day saved. At the early afternoon we met with the second car and used the rest of the day as good as possible.
A few times, we noticed the midges, a kind of large mosquitos which bite very aggressively. Fortunately, we had too heavy wind for them to fly most of the time. So, no-one was harmed. Usually, they come not before end of April or early May, but probably they were earlier this year because of a few very warm days. In this context, warm is a quite relative term. As our landlord said, they have about 15-19 degrees centigrade during summer! So, the 14-16 degrees we had during several days, were quite ‘hot’ for spring time. During the rainy days the temperatures went down to below 10°C, not counting the nights.
So, I recommend dressing with several layers of clothing, starting with a t-shirt. I wore a t-shirt, a hiking pullover, a thin hiking jacket without hood, a thicker hiking jacket with hood and on top of this a windbreaker with hood. The windbreaker was not always necessary. Sometime even the t-shirt was enough. Because of the cold and heavy wind I also used sometimes a pair of Norwegian gloves and my wooden hat. Hiking trousers don’t fight the wind very good, but in my opinion that was warm enough. The advantage of such material is, it dries up extremely quick after a rain. It only lasts 10-15 minutes to dry completely even after a hard rain. During on trip we got very wet. Some of us looked like they were drowned in a barrel of water. My trousers dried up as expected, but because of the heavy wind, the rain was forced through the fabric and ran down the legs. In the end, the water ran inside the shoes. In such situations, the material makes a huge difference. When having leather shoes, drying lasts days, especially when fur-lined. I have shoes made of Goretex. Although, my shoes were completely wet from inside, they were dried up in only 3,5 hours. OK, I got some help by toilet paper and a hair drier.
Regarding shoes, I recommend hiking boots with a solid tread, so that your shoes have grip and save you from slipping. Don’t expect paved paths when heading to a sightseeing spot. Thus, use boots with a high shaft and no trainers. Despite having hiking boots, one of our group members had an accident. He went over on his ankle. Fortunately this happened in the early afternoon of your last day on Skye. So, he didn’t miss much. But, he will probably suffer from the for some weeks.
My advice: always care for good boots and proper clothing when going on a trip.