ALIEN’S CHEESECAKE BATTLE

SpaceBoys4Lucius-A and Lucius-B in meditation modus at their 5th anniversary

Would you share your delicious cheesecake with hungry aliens knocking at your door and begging for entrance to your next party? They are thursty and hungry after a long trip through space and time, and their only weapons are tiny spacy spoons in order to immediately start a fight with the sweet enemies offered as a courtesy to the guests. So always take care when preparing cheesecake because this is truly their favourite terrestrial ambition.

 

THE RED LINES OF BEING

 31-Otis-tarda-Jiri-BohdalCourtship dance of male great bustards in early spring   © Jiri Bohdal

Great bustards have been already mentioned long time ago in older writings of Pliny the Elder as avis tarda, and in 1758 they were classified with their scientific name Otis tarda by Carl Linnaeus while the description tarda is Latin for slow and deliberate which is apt to describe the typical walking style of these possibly heaviest flying birds in the world who breed in southern and central Europe and across temperate Asia. European population are mainly resident, but Asian birds move further south in winter. Portugal and Spain now contain about 60 % of the world’s population (approx. 50,000 birds in total). The birds are often described as magnificent, stately birds because of the males’ great size, cocked tails and large white whiskers.

This species has suffered rapid population reductions across most of its range owing to the loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat, as well as hunting leading to a complete extinction in Great-Britain already in the midst of the 19th century. In Germany around 200 birds are now living again at three different locations in the eastern part what means an increase of 400 % in relation to the bad situation in 1997. This is only possible by heavy intervention of ornithologists and nature conservationists who for example achieved that the new railway trail from Berlin to Hannover had to be redirected several years ago in order not to disturb the birds – meanwhile fenced areas have additionally been constructed at suitable locations as a protection for the birds because unfortunately, the great bustards are also a bit stubborn and conservative in their behavior what may be quite dangerous for a vulnerable species.

So the flexible and intelligent fox could normally always very easily steal their eggs while they simply do not take enough care of it. But these reserved islands here in Germany seem to be also a little bit like an outdoor-zoo hosting ornithological observation towers for bird watchers of all kind (one good observation point is situated for example near the city of Märkisch-Luch, urban district Garlitz, in the federal  state of Brandenburg) but observation is normally only possible in early spring during the courtship displays. However, you need always binoculars as the birds are always moving in a minium distance of 300 m.

Their distant relative – the crane – instead could be a good teacher in this regard who overflies each year the continents of this world in order to find the best places for survival. But when you do not cross the red lines of being, then you will never know what is lying there behind the horizon of singularity. Even if you subsequently discover only a half-filled glass of water this is definitely always much better than a dried-up big river in front of your door.

DSC_0350Old fountain in the countryside of La Palma / Canary Islands

linked to  Dutch goes the Photo / Tuesday Photo Challenge Bird

MEETING LUBLIN IN POLAND – EUROPE AT THE BRINK

Poland or Polska is just standing for the term of a flat land what it is mostly in reality with wide agricultural fields, big forests and national parks, some mountains in the South-East at the border to Slovakia (High Tatra), small villages and some wellknown big cities like Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw or Gdansk. Around 40 million people are living there which are 99,9 % Christians (87 % Roman-Catholics) – only 5,000 Jews and around 30,000 Muslims have still their home in this country with a total amount of foreigners of around 100,000 or 0,27 % of the population (1).

So this is nowadays a ethnically cleaned society due to the brutal and fierce developments during the Nazi-occupation between 1939-1945. In former times the population was really much more diverse with a lot of Jews and other nationalities living there what is in my view always better for creating an open society.

Poland-Lithunia used to be an important monarchy in medieval times with the capital Cracow, but afterwards for long-time it was governed by foreign countries, divided more than once between other empires with the effect that Polish was more an underground language for centuries, therefore it is also regarded as a quite museal language in the Slavic area because it could not develop freely for long time. The grammar is really complicated, so to learn it is really not an easy task, but some few words like “barzo djekuje” (many thanks) can always be helpful to know for every visitor.

Due to the very bad experiences made in history nationalism is quite attractive for Polish people as a political concept, as long this does not mean national egoism and stupidity this is normally not a problem for neighbouring countries. So Polish people or governments quite often look nervously to the West (Germany) or anxiously towards the East (Russia) especially due to the traumatic experiences in the 20th century when in 1939 Germany and the Soviet-Union invaded and occupied the country and divided it in 2 parts where incredible crimes and mass-murders of the local populations took place. Subsequently a lot of matters happening today are a little bit more understandable when looking back in history of this country in the heart of Europe.

DSC_0065Urban art at an unused house in the old town of Lublin

The town of Lublin is situated in the very South-East of Poland not far away from the border to the Ukraine. The old town is very charming because not all houses are perfectly restored (some even without inhabitants) but instead you will find a lot of old pathes for loafing around, a high diversity of pubs and restaurants which are very crowded in the evening, just real life. Besides there is also an old castle in the centre hosting nowadays a big museum with a lot of important paintings from Polish history.

DSC_0018Former SS concentration camp Majdanek near Lublin

Only a few kilometers from the city centre you will find the former SS concentration camp Majdanek which was finally erected in December 1941 with the original purpose to serve as a camp for war prisoners from the Soviet-Union. However, it was then utilized for other purposes such as accomodating Polish civilians forced to work for the German SS regime. In 1943 and 1944 it served also as a place for eliminating the local Jewish population till the Red Army freed it in August 1944. At least 80,000 people (59,000 Jews) were killed here in the gas chamber, by shooting, due to hard work and inhuman treatment or by disease. On the photo you see the watch towers, in the background the crematorium with chimney and the white modern memorial monument made out of concrete at the place of a mass-grave. A visit is quite terrifying because the horror is still present in one of the still existing gas-chambers or the crematorium. This kind of industrialized mass-murdering is hardly realiziable for us today at this damned location.  So the memorial place outside of the camp therefore shall be a place of honour and remembrance to those who lost their life here at the brink of Europe.

DSC_0024Performance of the German-Polish chorus “Spotkanie” in May 2015 at Kazimierz Dolny

Fortunately we today live in different times with open borders between a lot of European countries (the Schengen zone). This is also the case for the border between Germany and Poland which can today be easily crossed normally without any control or delay. However, it must be still quite astonishing for a lot of people in Poland, when the mixed German-Polish chorus Spotkanie from Berlin is making concerts in Poland (mainly in churches) and then performing also a lot of traditional Polish songs like Gaude mater. The word Spotkanie is Polish and means meeting each other,  so in May 2015 the chorus did a short of performance on the market place of Kazimierz Dolny supported by the dynamic mayor of the town (to be seen on the photo infront of the chorus to the left) who professionally whistled melodies on a simple leaf what was a quite funny situation. Kazimierz Dolny (ca. 40 kms from Lublin to the North-West) is meanwhile regarded as one of the nicest villages in Poland with 2 famous Rennaissance buildings at the market place for instance. It is also possible to make short boat trips here on the nearby river Vistula.

zamosc_armenian housesMarket place with town hall and the Armenian houses at Zamosc

The city of Zamosc is a must for every visitor of this region while it is also called the “Padua of the North” – a UNESCO world culture heritage town being situated around 35 kms from Lublin to the South. The city was constructed (starting 1578) in accordance with the ideas of the Italian master builder Bernardo Morando in the style of the Italian Renaissance. It was founded by Jan Zamoyski in 1576 who was also the name giver of the town – his descendant Marcin Zamoyski was president of the town during the periods of 1990–1992 and 2002–2014. At the big market place it is truly nice to stay in one of the diverse taverns for a coffee or whatever will be individually preferred.

Wurzelschlucht2Roots gorge near Kazimierz Dolny

To complete an impression of the region it is also very much advisable to pay longer attention to a natural moment near Kazimierz Doly – the roots gorge created by erosion where you can view a lot of exposed roots created by very big trees in all different shapes. An amazing place for enjoying the subtile powers of plants which are existing much longer than our species on this unique planet Earth.

 DSC_0047

(1) All figures were published by the European statistics authority as per end of 2014.

More information is also available under the links above:
http://www.staypoland.com/about_lublin.htm
http://www.deutsch-polnischer-chor-berlin.eu/

© transmutation.me (2015)

THE GEOMETRY OF LIFE

Frankreich2007 104Renaissance garden at Chateau Villandry, Valley of Loire / France

If you once have the chance to visit France do not forget to visit the famous valley of the Loire with its diverse castles from past times for instance Villandry castle where you will find a big renaissance garden. In a modern sense renaissance means to be born again every day like a butterfly escaping the cocoon for lifting off to the first flight in the sky. Here at Villandry the constructor is imitating nature because the geometrical structures look more like gigantic snow crystals in their diverse shapes. You can dive into these structures like in an ocean of mathematical symbols which are altogether a great labyrinth. So take care that you do not get lost in these mazes when you pay too much attention to all the nice plants and simply just miss the way to the next exit.

Frankreich2007 051Forgotten house at old town of Beaune / France

 

DEATH ON ARRIVAL

Danger_in_Montafon_valleyGorge at Montafon valley in Austria underneath a barrier lake

As a small boy I used to stay on the ice of a deep and dark water basin – serving as a water reservoir for the fire brigades – together with my brother and a cousin one day in early January. This was strictly forbidden so this small adventure inspired us really to hilarious winter games on the frozen surface not thinking of any kind of harm or risk as we were simply children discovering an exciting world. It was a real tough cold winter with a lot of snow covering the paths and streets of my place of birth, an ideal time for having icy fun.

Open minded only to our games I simply did not realize that in the middle of the basin there was a big hole in the ice. Then all of a sudden I tumbled and plunged into this hole and the very cold water. Fortunately, I did not sink into the depth and could hold on to the edge of the ice hole in panic.  My brother and cousin came by quickly and then used a walking stick for pulling me out of the water soon enough. This was a shocking experience because there was one single traumatic moment, where I was standing exactly between life and death.

My mind preferred for a long time to forget this awesome frightening experience but  a couple of years ago I remembered to it again, and we always need this kind of awareness of course to realize the high value of our time-limited lives as death may be hidden at the next crossing point of our movements.

PräkolumbianischeMaske1Replique of a Peruvian death mask (20th century)

© transmutation.me (2015)

A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE

In autumn, days are sometimes quite foggy without a clear view on our cosmos and surroundings like a bridge leading to nowhere.

Hängebrücke1A360 m long hanging rope bridge “Geierlay” at Mörsdorf / Germany

Then it is sometimes better to just simply move and cross the unknown profound abyss such as a hanging rope bridge in 100 m altitude where you can feel like a bird swinging with the wind. Soon an unknown trail with all the colours of autumn will open leading to a new challenging landscape to be discovered.

SteinwandTrail in autumn near Pyrmont Castle / Germany

Time to say hello and welcome to an alien trail leading to anywhere.

linked to  Dutch goes the Photo / Tuesday Photo Challenge Bridge

 

SPIRAL EFFECT VOLCANIC AMBITIONS OF LA PALMA

Is this still Europe but with papaya trees and silkmaking? Maybe, in any case La Palma or “La isla bonita” is one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean being situated on a still active volcanic hotspot not far away from Morocco. It is geologically quite young (1.5 million years) and still growing mainly in the south due to the volcanic activities with the last eruption in 1971. People call it also the green island as the volcanic ash is a highly efficient fertilizer for the soil, and agriculture today is mainly comprising banana farming at the coast and vineyard cultivation on the slopes a little bit higher. Fortunately, tourism is limited, so that the island is still quite original and normal, a real very nice place to go especially in spring when all plants are in astonishing  blossom with all brilliant colours of the rainbow.

Blick auf Bananenplantage mit Lilien von Tazacorte gesehenView on the banana “ocean” from Tazacorte town

Allthough unemployment is very high (> 20%) only few people leave the island today as for instance in the 19th century when a lot of  people immigrated to Cuba and Venezuela especially. So the Latinamerican influence is quite strong here, but people see themselfes as Canarians while being an autonomous region of Spain which is truly quite far away (at least 1 hours flight time over the ocean).

Vulkan im Nebel_oberhalb El TeimeFoggy trail to the volcan Tajuya

There are diverse impressive vegetation zones (subtropical, semi-desert, foggy forests etc. pp.) on the island with mountains raging up to 2.450 m altitude over sealevel. The complete island is a protected biosphere reservat. But sometimes you have to take care of not getting lost on a nebulous path in the mountains leading apparently to nowhere.

Caldera de Taburiente_unterhalb Pico Bejenado gesehen    Heart zone of the national park / Caldera de Taburiente

All persons wishing to go by car to the central situated volcanic created caldera are in need of special authorization to enter as there is only limited space available for parking the cars. So nature has a chance to survive with no gift-shops or restaurants nearby. Before, the violent conquest and colonization by the Spanish in the 15th century, the caldera was a main spiritual place of the original population, the Benahoaritas, with the holy rock Idafe there as part of a ceremonial worship location with remainings till today.

Kaktus m. orangefarbenen BlütenSpiny path from Puntagorda to Las Tricias

The old paths of the aboriginees are still passing the often wildly countryside, going up and down and passing crucial canyons on the way to the next dead volcano getting alive sometimes unexpectedly.

Kraftort_Steinspirale

Spiral place of power at the trail to Pico della Nieve

Everywhere in the country scattered meeting places of the Benahoaritas – the tagorors – can still be visited which are dominated mostly by geometric symbols such as the neverending spiral standing not only here for the eternal cycle of life and re-beginning.

FarbigeKlippen_nähePuntagorda_unten

Colourful volcanic cliffs near Pirates’ Bay / Playa del Jurado

Steep cliffs are surrounding the island with some quite often difficult reachable beaches here and there such as the Playa del Jurado, a bay frequently used by pirates in former times. Nearby the geological activities have created really beautiful cliffs by multiple layers of diverse metallic volcanic ash types.

Fajana_Friedhof_Petroglyphen

Aboriginal petroglyphs at la Fajana graveyard

Near the city of El Paso the archeological site La Fajana is showing the typical petroglyphs of the Benahoaritas, eternal relicts of old cosmological believings as first settlements on the island are going back to 500 BC – most probably the first settlers came from North-Africa to La Palma. The Benahoaritas have also left two quite big stone pyramids on La Palma each with staircases leading to the upper platform of the building, but the real purpose of these pyramids is nowadays a secret.

Fiesta_LaMancha

Local annual fiesta in April 2015 at La Mancha

The Canarians today like very much their longlasting fiestas. At La Mancha there is a short fiesta in April and when you go there you will get free of charge eating, drinking and Canarian music in the street. But the real fiesta season starts in May until September when days are longer. Then, each village and city will hold some time its fiesta (normally lasting 1 week), subsequently during this time you always have the chance to attend somewhere such a party, so really the hottest period of the year in each sense.

Blumen und Wasserleitung

     Plants and water irrigationMo system near El Paso

I must return sometime to this small island in the Atlantic Ocean, with all its different shapes of nature, the original creative force of earth in its diverse volcanos, tropical flowers arising from a stony ground by surprise and desertic landscapes covered with black volcanic sable and cryptical lava bombs, so that sometimes it feels more like being on another planet.