Friday, June 19, 2009

Never trust airline food....

Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

the benefits of green energy (3)..... moorish fridge

The mountains in the Sierra Transmuntana on the Spanish Island of Mallorca are full of these former snow-houses built by the moors. They were used to collect snow, compress it and afterwards bring it down to be used for cooling. Of course they were abandoned long before these mountains ran out of sufficient amounts of snow....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Annals of the dead (4).... Johannisfriedhof Dresden

Unlike the majority of other German cemeteries, the Johannisfriedhof in Dresden boasts of a lot of impressive grave monuments which are testimonies of the fact that this once was one of Germany's richest cities
A sculpturer's grave...
The images of respectable dead men are so serious that they seem to contradict the statements of love and affection left by the descendants
But the most remarkable is this grave, which actually features the relief of a half-naked woman
And I discovered that there actually is a kind of cemetery tourism of people travelling to cities to look and collect photos of graves of famous people.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reminders of the great days of railroading (5) ..... the last Saxonian narrow gauge railroads

In 1884, the German kingdom of Saxonia started to built a network of narrow gauge railroads, that with a length of 561 km eventually connected the remote little towns to the main railroad lines
At the time of German reunification, six lines were still operating... in a state not very much different from when they were opened
Two of the remaining lines are just outside Dresden. They operate daily and can be used by regular passengers for their daily needs
Although reconstructed several times, this type of engine first was a big progress when first introduced into service in 1899....
On my trip, the engine had to stop and use its water pump to extinguish a bush fire caused by an earlier train. If it is a nice day and you prefer to travel on the open platform of the coaches, you will find back the cinders all over you - and in your eyes if you did not watch out.
Working a steam engine is hard, dirty work in a hot, narrow cabin. Nevertheless, on the old pictures you will never find an engineer not wearing a white shirt and tie!
First the coal has to be shovelled onto the bunker of the engine, and later another time onto the fire.... Bigger engines are loaded by crane
After work the ordeal is not finished: the ashes have to be removed, the many moving parts have to be oiled, the fire has to be rearranged. Imagine the air in those times when in some places 100 of these engines were in one depot....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Stairs (4)

the right ladder for a drunken seaman.... Port of Paimpol, France

Port Graffiti

"Arbeit verbraucht und macht fertig"Paimpol, France

Annals of transportation (6) .... tidal harbour

Due to the big tidal difference, ships lie in the mud at low tide
Ships with a keel would be damaged at low tide
A lock at the harbour entrance keeps the water back at low tide. It is only opened 2 1/2 half hours before high tide to let ships and water in and is closed again 2 1/2 hours after high tide

The port of Paimpol, Bretagne, France

The benefits of green energy (2)....

Like in many other places in Bretagne, the big tidal difference was used for water mills. A dam kept the water back at high tide, which then turned the wheel of the mill when the tide was low. This old principle is used for the gigantic tidal power plant in the mouth of the Rance near Saint Malo... gigantic but well hidden in a dam under a road