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November 30, 2018

Germany: Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex


Shaft 12 at the Zollverein Coal Mine

The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a large decommissioned coal mining complex in the Ruhr Valley, Germany’s industrial heartland. It is located near the city of Essen in western Germany about 60 kilometers from the Netherlands. Guided tours allow visitors to see the inner workings of the old coal mine; the associated Ruhr Museum is open for independent visits. (more…)

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Germany: Wuppertal, Bayer


The tracks for Wuppertal’s suspension railway head past the Bayer plant.

As it heads along the Wupper River the Wuppertal Suspension Railway passes by a large chemical plant owned by the pharmaceutical giant Bayer. It is in this area of Germany that several notable pharmaceuticals were discovered or first manufactured at scale for the market. Many of these drugs, including Aspirin, acetaminophen, phenobarbital, and Heroin are still used today. (more…)

Germany: Wuppertal Suspension Railway


A car approaches a station.

The Wuppertal Suspension Railway or in German “Wuppertaler Schwebebahn” is a suspension railway in Wuppertal, Germany. It is the oldest electric elevated railway with hanging cars in the world. The railway is still in use today. After we happened on a video of this elevated train in action we had to experience it for ourselves. Thus we made a point of taking a day trip from Cologne to Wuppertal. (more…)

November 29, 2018

Germany: Augustusburg Palace


Augustusburg Palace

An easy day trip by train from Cologne’s central station is Augustusburg Palace in Brühl. The modestly sized palace was built at the beginning of the 18th century for the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, Clemens August of Bavaria. Visitors can join one of the frequent tours to see the inside of this UNESCO cultural World Heritage designated palace. (more…)

Germany: Cologne, Museum Ludwig


Inside Museum Ludwig

Museum Ludwig is located in Cologne’s city center near the famous cathedral. It houses a substantial collection of modern art featuring works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Pablo Picasso. As modern art museums go, this is a good one. (more…)

Germany: Cologne, Kölsch Beer

Filed under: beer, Europe, Germany, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 12:34 am

Kölsch beer

Though wine grapes are grown on the slopes of the Rhine River valley nearby, Cologne is mostly a beer-drinking town. At the start of World War II Cologne had more than forty breweries; the devastation of the war left only two. After the war many breweries reestablished themselves. Many produce Kölsch beer, the specialty of the city. (more…)

Germany: Cologne


The Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne crosses the River Rhine. It is the most heavily used railway bridge in Germany with more than 1,200 trains daily.

Like all large cities in Germany Cologne was transformed during World War II. Allied bombing effectively flattened the city. Pretty much all of the historic city was lost. The result today is a city that is a mix of mid-twentieth century structures, historic buildings rebuilt in their original style after the war, and one a very large and spectacular Gothic cathedral. Cologne’s cathedral is the most notable building to survive the bombing. (more…)

November 28, 2018

France: Riquewihr

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Wine, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 5:28 am

A steeple through the Alsatian vineyards

If I was transported blindfolded and dropped in the French Alsace region I would instinctively think I was in Germany. This area of Northeastern France looks more German than French to me. Indeed it looks so Germanic that I have tendency to reach for my few German words in everyday interactions. That is inconvenient and embarrassing as I know far less German than I do French. The Germanic appearance of the Alsace influences an unconscious part of my mind that chooses the language to use, even when there is no real choice. (more…)

November 25, 2018

France: Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg


Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

The Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a medieval castle located in the Vosges Mountains overlooking the vineyards of France’s Alsace Region. The château is situated on a rocky spur. The strategically located castle was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until 1633 when it was besieged and eventually burned and looted by Protestant Swedish forces during Thirty Years’ War. Left in ruins the castle was abandoned for centuries. (more…)

November 24, 2018

France: Notre Dame du Haut


Notre Dame du Haut

Built in 1955 the Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp France is considered one of the finest examples of the work of the Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Indeed it is the featured work of UNESCO’s “The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement” World Heritage listing. (more…)

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