Every big city offers diverse hidden corners quite often disregarded and ignored. So here are some pictures from my home-town showing the steadiness and flexibility of nature in a great municipal area full of people, technology and traffic. This is even surprising me regularly and unexpectedly.
I made this photograph long time ago with analog technique in the Sahara of Southern-Tunisia during an oasis trip from Tozeur to Tamerza – still one of my favourite travel remembrances showing a single bush in an area of burst soil most likely due to more heavy rainfalls some time ago. When ever I watch this photograph again, the quite bizarre scenery reminds me of the power and resilience in life and nature against all the odds.
Again we have to observe that megalomaniac leaders bustle about at the horizon and assure the amorphous serpents creeping over the streets that it would still be a grand creation to survive on these rails of civilization. A blotted vision attacks the alien visitor in a fever of amok: a false expectation and endless questions. So why should one still continue the decoding of the round-about in the interspace of opulent stoppers while copulating with the mimicry in legendary madness effects and all this just in order to get a further permission here in the globalized desert?
Stupid collapsing quant, because you only smell excitement behind the balloon where the mutants dehumanize riotings, but the silo remains stable in the molecular wind where the weird insight’s silver awaits the later coming invader. Dilettantes, your stirring must be louder than such a smelly metadiscourse. Filth must vanish under the slogan: One blight on the nation for everybody! Because now, it really becomes embarassing in Europe.
No illusion is capable to fake this universe – neither a symbolical reversal of a digital graphic nor an allegorical exaggeration at the banks of the revolt. The eternal shadow of ourselves sticks to us like death and reminds us to accept intensely the temptations of this myth because the realm of shadow can not be organized. In no hiding place this treasury can be revealed after the magic language of left places signified to give up the cool silence and to trust the spectacular wild paths leading finally through the foggy gorge and osseous labyrinth of urbanized and postmodern misunderstandings.
Being in nature is sometimes a trip back to history, while in 1998 I used to climb on Mangart mountain in the Julian Alps of Slovenia together with my girl-friend. The trail at some parts is leading directly on the border between Italy and Slovenia (on the photo the white stone with numbers indicates the actual frontier).
Today this means a place of peace and challenge for those climbing on the mountains, but only 100 years ago this was a location of battles and war because this area used to be the Isonzo frontline in World War I, and here the armies of Italy and the Austrian Empire were executing fierce, endless fighting in the mountains up to altitudes of more than 2,000 m.
Relicts of this war without real winner (old military paths, ruins, tunnels) can still be found at diverse scattered locations in both countries. Today only the sky is the limit here fortunately.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(1) All figures were published by the European statistics authority as per end of 2014.
© transmutation.me (2015)