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about the land and the people

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Entries from April 30th, 2013

one day in cologne

April 30th, 2013 by nina · cologne, germany

you will remember that i was to amsterdam a month ago. we, meaning my friend bella and me, started our trip from cologne where bella lived for a while. on the way back i stayed one lovely monday in cologne to visit the city.
we started our day with a good breakfast at the lovely petit noir. the small café is located in the neighbourhood sülz. i am really sad that i have no such a place in my small hometown. a place where you can sit a long time without feeling uncomfortable and like you are in the way. the service is great and the croissant was nearly perfect (this is the best you can get with croissants outside of france). next stop was the cologne cathedral. i always wanted to see it and was really excited.

…and i was not disapointed. this building is amazing. if you imagine that it has been built by manpower only, no crane, no digger, just hands. it is really impressive. there was a mass inside when we arrived and the organ music sounded great. when the mass had finished we wandered around a bit and sighted the floors and the huge walls and windows.

after picking up another friend of us we strolled around the city. to be honest we just walked and walked because we don’t see each other very often and we always have a lot to catch up. in the evening bella and her flatmate decided to give me a real cologne experience. so we went into a cologne pub to drink koelsch and eat himmel un ääd (mashed potatoes, blood sausage and apple puree). and yes i ate nearly everything up.
if you haven’t been to cologne yet….go! be aware that it is not a very pretty city but a city with heart and soul. and if you go there with an open mind you will find the beauty in the streets and the people which make the city worth visiting.

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17/2013 image of the week: lonesome cow in coromandel

April 26th, 2013 by sophie · image of the week, new zealand, photography

i made this picture of the lonesome cow in coromandel, new zealand in 2007.

© sophie daum

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traveling pages: anne frank – het achterhuis

April 21st, 2013 by nina · books, review

  anne frank
  het achterhuis (diary of a young girl) 
  first publication 1952 (in english) 
  translated in many languages 



anne frank’s diary is one of the most important testimonies of the jewish life during the holocaust. and she herself is probably the most known jew in the world.
anne was born in frankfurt, germany in 1929. after her early childhood in frankfurt the family moved to amsterdam in 1933. germany was controlled by the nazis and it was no longer save for jews. when the nazis started to occupy the netherlands in 1940 the franks were not save there anymore. after loosing their citizenship in 1941 the frank family started hiding in the back-house rooms of the office in 1942 where annes father otto had worked. a network of helpers looked after them and provided them with food and everything they needed.
the first entry in anne’s diary is from june, 14th 1942. if you expect a sad description of the hard life during the war you are wrong. anne’s diary is the story of a shockingly normal girl. a girl who is so full of life, hope and energy. she describes the normal life in the back-house, the people around her, she even fell in love a bit. while reading the diary i needed to remind myself that this is a jewish girl, hiding in a back-house for years on very little space with many people. the girl who was pursued and deported by the nazis and died of typhus. i have no idea where her strength and her energy came from but it is really impressive.
the last entry in anne’s diary is from august, 1st 1944. on august, 6th the back-house has been stormed by the german police. no one ever found out who betrayed the residents. the helpers have been arrested and just by a lucky coincident miep gries (one of the helpers) found anne’s diary and kept it for her. but the residents have been deported to auschwitz and the only survivor was otto frank. anne died in bergen-belsen in 1945, a few days after her sister margot and just a few weeks before the british troops liberated auschwitz.
while staying in amsterdam i visited the anne frank huis and walked through the back-house. it is a very odd feeling to walk on the same floor and touch the same walls like anne did. at the end of the exhibition you can watch a little film where friends talk about anne. i was in tears when one friend anne had in auschwitz said that if anne would have known her father was still alive she would probably made it till the liberation but she lost every will in live after her sister died.
after the liberation of auschwitz otto frank came back to amsterdam to find out that his whole family was dead. miep gave him anne’s diary and he decided to publish it so the world can read her story. that is the reason why we can read it today and learn from this astonishing young girl who always kept her head high and stayed hopefull and high spirited against all odds.

“as long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as i can enjoy it, how can i be sad?”
anne frank, diary of a young girl

one thing at the end.
otto frank married again and had a good life until he died in 1980 of lung cancer.
three years ago the last remaining helper miep gries died at the age of 101. i am deeply impressed by how fearless she and her fellows started to help and to take care of anne, her family and friends. it is a huge act of humanity.

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16/2013 image of the week: reflection

April 20th, 2013 by sophie · image of the week, new zealand, photography

this picture was shot in auckland, new zealand.
© sophie daum 

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15/2013 image of the week: take care of me

April 13th, 2013 by Julia · germany, image of the week, photography, reportage

“Happiness is only real when you can share it.” Into the Wild

this pic was taken on a german cemetery in freiburg

nikon d60, 50mm, f/2, 1/125, iso 110 © julia dreier

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52 hours in amsterdam

April 7th, 2013 by nina · amsterdam, article, netherlands, reportage

earlier this year my friend bella and i decided to go to amsterdam to celebrate her birthday. so in late march i went to her current home in cologne so we can go there together.


friday – where is spring?
after a 3 hours ride by train from cologne we arrived in amsterdam at lunchtime. we bought a 48 hour ticket for the local public transport  and went looking for our hotel. amsterdam’s accommodations are really expensive but we made a bargain with the hotel. unfortunately it was not really close to the city and the tramride from the city to our hotel took at least 20 minutes. at the hotel we just dropped our luggage and went back to the city. at this point i have been really hungry and it is never a good idea to let me get really hungry because i get grumpy. so we kind of rushed to the city to find some food. after a felt eternity we found a nice place to eat. stock is a funny place. it belongs to a hostel and you can see through a giant window how the guests of the hostel check in and look inside of the hostel. i ate a very good sandwich and had a hot chocolate. once i had eaten, i was much more calm and ready for the city. the rest of the day we strolled around the jordaan quarter with its little streets around the three famous canals – prinsen-, keizers- and herrencanal. we also saw parts of the famous red light district which was fascinating and disturbing at the same time. since it was horribly cold, we went back to the hotel early and watched the football match holland against estonia at the lobby and drank some wine.


saturday – i love this city
since we got to bed early we also stood up early. we decided saturday is shopping day. of course not only shopping and going through the main shopping promenade. more like looking at the small shops which make the jordaan quarter so special. to get the day started we had breakfast at screaming beans. they serve fantastic croissants. from the café we started strolling through the small streets and smaller shops. although the sun was shining it has been really really cold. we have been freezing the whole day long but we invented a plan. we just went into the next shop when it started to get to cold. we have been to some really nice places. i wish my hometown had so many wonderful little shops. at de weldaad i bought a perfect present for my sister and a knob for my dresser. later on we found that amazing boutique called unicorn. the place is chock-full of beautiful things. we took a long time inside and finally both bought a scarf. the owner is a very friendly woman who helped us a long. she said we should have a look at the local market and step inside winkel to eat the best apple pie in amsterdam. we haven’t to be told twice. at the market we bought some cheese for our families and i bought smoked mackerel since my family loves them. and of course we went into winkel and this place seriously sell the best apple pie i have ever eaten, and i have eaten a lot of pies in my life. it was served with cream and it was excellent. after our stay at winkel we felt reinvigorated to queue for the anne frank huis. this was something i really want to see. i read the diary of anne frank some years ago and for me it was important to see were she and her family hit from the nazis until they got betrayed in 1944. it was really weird and touching to walk on the same floors like she did. the saddest thing for me will always be the fact that anne died at kz bergen-belsen from typhus one month before the liberation. in a little movie a friend of her who survived the kz said that if anne had knew that her father was still alive she probably would have made it through. it was hard to see all this but it also is very important. since we needed to arrange our thoughts we decided to run some errands at albert hein and have dinner at the hotel room. we had cheese and fish and some vla for dessert.


sunday – tulips in amsterdam
our last day was as cold as the others. after some pain au chocolate we checked out from the hotel we locked our luggage in at the central station and went to the i amsterdam landmark to take some pictures. afterwards we went to the flower-market to buy some tulip bulbs for this is what i think of when i think of amsterdam. fries, coffee-shops, red-light district, canals and tulips. yes i know it is a bit prejudiced. of course amsterdam has much more to offer then that. but tulip bulbs it had to be. i bought a mixed bag and i am so curious to see which colours i got. since we had a lot of time we walked through the city and had some fries for lunch at the lovely frietsteeg. the fries there are really good. our last point on the list was the canal-cruise. we went on an one-hour-cruise. it was interesting and nice to see amsterdam from the water but nothing i need to do twice. during the remaining time till our departure we drank some coffee at a dodgy café and went inside some shops.


amsterdam is a lovely place and worth visiting. the small streets and the canals made me fall in love with this city. it is definitely a city were i can imagine to live. and the people are so unbelievably friendly. i am still not over how friendly and warm they are. the whole time i felt i am welcome and safe. next time i come for a visit i’ll make sure it is warmer then it was now.

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14/2013 image of the week: silhouette

April 6th, 2013 by Jasime · image of the week, photography


© Jasime El Ouali

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