HOUSING DREAMS OF THE SIXTIES AND TODAY

Monochrome look in newspapers, photos and television seem far away today but watching for example black/white television was really an amazing, new and big thing and experience in the early 60s of the last century for me when I was simply a quite young boy.

My brother, a friend from the neighbourhood and me (left to right), 1961

Those days living was so much different, and as a result of WW II the housing need was incredible big. So untll 1963 I used to live in a very small family house together with my grandmother, three aunts, one uncle, two cousins, my brother and my parents, alltogether twelve persons where today not more than six people would usually stay.

I do not know how my mother managed all this, as we had in fact only a small living-room being also the kitchen plus a room for sleeping. These were very confined space conditions, but without knowing anything else, I was happy with it. In the backyard of the house my uncle was running a small workshop for manufacturing and repairing upholstery, and there you would find also some chickens and a small garden with vegetables and some fruit trees. So it was a quite busy and never boring place overall on a rather little premises for so many people.

Scyscraper vision in the naive-modern style of the time

Due to great and extended social housing projects everywhere we fortunately got a bigger and much more modern appartment with a fair priced rent in 1963.

Actually in Europe each year 4 million people are constantly or temporarily without home, moreover the rents in a lot of cities are simply unaffordable for many people and/or housings are just missing. This is the prize of an unrestricted neo-liberalism in the EU since the 90s, so a different and social policy would be barely required now.

 

Monochrome Monday Challenge V

 

 

 

 

DAHLIAS – PLEASANT MESSENGERS OF AUTUMN

Cool winds by now signalize the approaching autumn, so bloom dahlias, night frosts will hence come round in a short while and chase away you again.


Like many other flowers dahlias originate in Meso-America. Martin Kral writes in his well-researched paper Of Dahlia Myths and Aztec Mythology: The Dahlia in History that Aimè Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt saw dahlias growing all around them as they traveled through all Latin America. But the first recorded picture of dahlias was designed by the native Mixtecs in Mexico in the 14th century which shows a Mixtec woman using dahlias in the form of headbands as a part of matrimony (see graphic hereunder). Other daily or ritual uses  of dahlias by the Mixtec and/or Aztec culture are so far not known because only few documents survived the Spanish Conquista in the 16th century.

Mixtec woman with dahlias, Oaxaca, Mexico, 14th century

Mixtec Palace of the Columns, Oaxaca, Mexico

In 1529 Friar Bernardino de Sahagún arrived in Mexico and would later write the first Western account of the dahlias. But only in 1790 the first seeds were sent from Mexico to botanical specialists in Madrid who did successfully raise the first plants in Europe shortly thereafter in 1791. During that period the species’ name dahlias was subsequently created in order to honour the Swedish botanist Andre Dahl.

Humboldt and Bonpland at Chimborazo volcano /  Friedrich G. Weitsch, 1806

During their famous trip leading to South and Central America (1799 – 1804) Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland did a vast research on plants and nature in general. When returning home to Europe in 1804  Alexander von Humboldt brought seeds of Dahlia coccinea to Berlin while it is assumed that Aimé Bonpland had presented Dahlia seeds to French Empress Josephine for her large collection of plants. In 1805 seeds are successfully germinated and also flowered in Germany and as well in England while in 1818 the first exhibiting of dahlias took place in Scotland.

Early botanical drawing, German newspaper, 1804

Claude Monet, The Garden at Argenteuil (The Dahlias), 1872

In the 19th century dahlias had spread over all Europe, there existed for example the Czech Dahlia Society, and besides it is also known that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe raised dahlias in his private garden, while in England the illustrious Lady Holland increased the popularity of these flowers. A real center of European dahlia culture became the small Thuringian town Bad Köstritz, where the commercial raise of dahlias was established by Christian Deegen in 1824 and with great success is existing till today.

Thousands of different dahlias are today to be found, but these hybrides are often much different compared to the wild plants still to be seen in Meso-America. The best overview on this subject offer dahlia gardens which may be visited in late summer at diverse locations in Europe like Milnthorpe in England, Gera in Germany or La Source in France and elsewhere of course.

All flower photos made at dahlia garden of Hamburg, Sept. 2018

Flower of the Day – September 19, 2018 – Delphinium

THE COLOR PALETTE IN THE STREETS OF HAMBURG

When visiting good friends last weekend at Hamburg this led to the welcomed opportunity to pass some striking colourful hidden corners at the district of Altona. 

During early Sunday morning I strolled in and nearby the street Bahrenfelder Steindamm and found astonishingly a lot of creative images and graffitis in a quite small radius.

Unfortunately we had no time to stay a bit longer, as the weather was really very nice this time.

Jo’s Monday walk : A Tale of three Castles- 3. Dunstanburgh

 

 

IMMEMORIAL CENTRES AT THE NILE – LUXOR AND ASWAN

The last station of my journey, Oasis of Siwa, near the border to Lybia had been a bit stressful overall. When returning from Siwa to Marsa Matruh at the sea, I got ill with bronchitis and was out of order for a few days.  In order to reach Aswan in the very South near the border to Sudan, I had to go by bus and train to Cairo via Alexandria. In Cairo I had to find somehow the right train station where I bought successfully a train ticket to Aswan. So even without internet, all this worked quite fine in 1985. I refrained from buying the cheapest class because this could have meant to travel together with living chickens and ducks, onions or garlic in the compartment what might have been a bit uncomfortable.

The trip with the train from Cairo to Aswan took nearly a complete day, it was really pleasant to travel through the green valley of the Nile with its long history. The train was partially very slow (ca. 25 km) due to bad rails, so it is very much advisable to be patient when travelling like this through all Egypt. The next photo shows Lake Nasr near Aswan, a water reservoir stretching to the South over a far distance in the former Nubia. From Aswan you can also visit Abu Simbel, the famous Pharaonic site, which had to be rescued and removed in the 60s of the last century when the water reservoir of Lake Nasr was constructed here.

When I was loafing through Aswan one evening, this drew the attention of a friendly and well educated Egyptian. He was interested to learn what a foreigner is doing all alone in his nice home-town. The Arabic culture implies certain ritualized forms of greeting and getting aquainted to be adhered to as a very relevant question of politeness. So diverse questioning by the guy from Aswan led to a slight cultural shock, because I admitted the truth of not being married, not having childrens and worst of all not following any kind of religion. May be he thought that I am some kind of alien now invading his life? So he was cautious but stayed relaxed when replying: “So you are a child of the wildness.” and in the same moment pointing to the South and the black heart of Africa. For me an interesting and fascinating idea and the Egyptian also remained friendly. I have often thought of this situation again lateron and still think that it is just very remarkable weird in a positive sense. The Nile means the old lifeline of all Egypt, but its green valley is just a tiny part of the big country covered mostly with endless desert land. So most people live really in this small stretch and the delta of the river, here people find fertile soil for successful agriculture since eons and hopefully forever. From Aswan I took again the train to reach the famous city of Luxor in the middle of Egypt being known also as fabulous ancient Theben.

The ancient metropole of Luxor is homeland of huge former temples, impressive monuments and archeological sites. How the old Egyptians managed to move all these heavy stones and columns is hardly imaginable today. But they did it, and their great and amazing works can still be admired today. And the analog photos shown here are now also somehow antique after a period of only 33 years.

These proofs of a high developped and sophisticated human culture thousands of years ago have always attracted other people for long time. When moving and loafing through these gigantic buildings of Luxor I felt quite small like a tiny ant, so even the antique world was able to create an own also technical cosmos beyound our individual frames. So plenty of phantastic opportunities do exist  here in Egypt for travelling, seeing and thinking about past and present times.

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Next and final Egyptian tour:  Cairo (in a few days)

Report on Abu Simbel: https://transmutation.me/2018/06/13/oriental-spotlights/
Report on Mt. Sinai: https://transmutation.me/2018/08/05/sinais-ancient-traditions/
Report on Alexandria: https://transmutation.me/2018/08/30/alexandria-greek/
Report on Oasis of Siwa: https://transmutation.me/2018/09/06/marsa-matruh-siwa/

 

STRUCTURES ON THE RUN

When gazing through the eternal holes of reality all seems just to be immediately escaping to nowhere. Now face the real urgent need to put again together the pieces which desiring belong to each other since eons in order to stumble over a weird glimpse on the distant horizon vanishing in darkblue fragile stretches of water – our original homeland. 

 

COME THE REVOLUTION

Good to learn that other kind of visions regarding future still exist in the trumped Americas.

Jack Shalom

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It’s the year 2044, and praise to the goddesses, a socialist revolution in the United States is well in progress. How did it happen? Fortunately we have an account of the 2044 revolution in this set of oral histories that journalist Miguel Guevera has conducted with many of the heroes of the revolution. Guevera (aka 2018 activist Mike Albert) talks about the workings of a Revolutionary Participatory Society and economy in this interview I produced, broadcast yesterday for the Arts Express radio program on WBAI 99.5 FM NY.

(And for local listeners to the show, be advised that Arts Express has been moved to the new edgier time slot of Tuesdays at 11pm.)

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PRAVCICKA BRANA – GATE TO CZECH SWITZERLAND

Pravčická Brána is the largest natural stone bridge in Europe and a natural Czech monument, truly one of the most striking natural sites in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and symbol of the whole region. It is located approximately 3 km North-West of Hrensko in the national park Czech Switzerland not far away from the border to Germany. Wandering paths are leading there both from Czech and German side where Saxonian Switzerland stretches.

Barberine Rock in Saxonian Switzerland, Germany
Postcard from 1906 showing the very first ascent

So this gate and bridge is connecting both countries in a beautiful and stunning landscape and may be visited during opening times for an entry fee. In 1826 an inn was constructed by the gate, and in 1881 Prince Edmund of Clary-Aldringen built there the romantical hotel Sokolí hnízdo (English: Falcon’s Nest) with 50 beds which you can see in the photo hereunder. 

Jo’s Monday walk : A tale of three castles- 2. Alnwick

 

RUPIN PASS – NINE DAYS OF PARADISE BY NEELSTORIA

Am I dreaming or is this for real! I questioned my wakefulness trying to comprehend the unbelievably gorgeous milk-white sprawling vista that lay before my eyes – a widespread fluffy blanket of untouched snow, sharp and pointed peaks of the Dhauladhar range, clear blue skies with no cloud in sight, early morning warm sunshine, and not a hint of the expected gusty winds.

The ecstatic bunch of us hooted and cheered at 15,380 ft. Our child-like innocent glee reverberated in the pristine surroundings. We couldn’t have asked for more but the mountains were extraordinarily gracious that morning and had another delightful surprise in store for us. A herd of sheep came strolling by with their shepherds and sheep dogs only to exhilarate the already intoxicated us.

This was the moment we were waiting for and all the days of long walks, difficult climbs, and cold weather was more than worth it ……

 

>>> Read and find the full original post with more photos here:

https://neelstoria.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/trekking-rupin-pass-himalayas/