Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Freiburg's St. Martin's Gate

Red Baron blogged about Freiburg's second most photographed landmark, the Medieval Martinstor, before.

For an explanation of the text on the panel on the gate
see my description of the French revolutionary wars.
The empty surface above the panel once showed a painting of St. Martin.
This time I would like to share with you some pictures a team of the Badische Zeitung was allowed to shoot inside the building officially off limits for all visits. The reasons given are the pokiness of the place, fire protection deficiencies and contamination of the place with asbestos.

The entrance door leads to a spiral staircase.
Note that in earlier times staircases were frequently located
 outside the building, and therefore not heated in winter.
The following photos were all taken by ©Rita Eggstein of Badische Zeitung with some unseen views on Freiburg.

The key to the entrance door

The narrow spiral staircase
The bell of the tower clock

Heavy streetcar traffic around Bertoldsbrunnen below the gate

View on the Münster church from one of the corner turrets

A view on Schwabentor

South view of Kaiser-Joseph-Straße in the direction of Dreisam and Johanniskirche

North view of Kaiser-Joseph-Straße in the direction of Zähringen

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Telekom Saga

Red Baron had blogged about the Deutsche Telekom in December 2012 explaining the history behind the magenta giant. I use their services for my fixed and mobile phone; my internet account includes three web site domains and my Telekom line downloads information up to 50 Mbit/sec. For me Alles aus einer Hand (a one stop service) is some sort of guaranty of a good service. Nevertheless my past correspondence with Deutsche Telekom fills a thick folder. The biggest fight with them I had a couple of years ago with respect to stability and speed of my Internet connection. Over the last three years however everything was working like a charm but man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben (Do not count your chickens before they are hatched).

In fact, a new chapter of my saga with Telekom opened four weeks ago when they suddenly blocked my e-mail account. The reason given was that my e-mail address had supposedly been used by somebody sending spam mail. Telekom service requested that I scanned my PC for viruses, i.e., my antivirus program - a Telekom subscription - does this periodically and automatically and never shows any "negative" results. Furthermore they asked me to change all my Telekom passwords. Following my compliance they unlocked my account only to block it again 24 hours later with their old argument. Telekom required the same procedures as before that were followed by a deblocking. This however not for long when they blocked me a third time a day later. Being quite angry I told them: We cannot continue like this. Since I was insisting the technicians at Telekom eventually revealed that an Internet provider named "Synacor" in the States had complained about spam mail sent via my e-mail address. What has my e-mail address to do with Synacor? Nevertheless at the end Telekom unblocked me permanently in instructing their bot to shut up following any request from Synacor. Nevertheless all this leaves a bad aftertaste and remains an obscure affair.

On August 13, during the late morning hours I noticed that I no longer had any Internet. The classical cure to restart a synchronisation of the signal is to switch off the router and, following a short waiting period, to repower the device.  I recalled a couple of green diodes on my Speedport W 921V showing the various functions but now all lights had burned out probably due to the continuous use of the router for more than five years. Eventually the person on the other end of Telekom's hot line authorized me to fetch a replacement router in a downtown Telekom shop.

Installation of the "new" device was a breeze, all diodes were blinking and the signal was there alright but the router still would not synchronize. The result was that the person on other end of Telekom's hotline promised me to send a technician to my apartment on August 15, within a time slot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Extremely unhappy not being able to photoshop, edit web pages, or doing online banking I nonetheless was not without connection to the Internet using my telephone line for reading or sending e-mails and looking up some news on my iPhone. During that period I consumed more than two third of my 3 GB mobile data plan with Telekom. A connection to the Internet has become as important as water, electricity, and telephone at least for those who have made it part of their daily life even without playing computer games or hunting down Pokémons.

When the technician arrived around 11 a.m. on August 15, he tried this and that eventually telling me that in case he had to touch the router Telekom would charge me a minimum of 80 euros for his visit. His final conclusion was that my connection identification number was no longer valid. Pardon? Telekom had sent me this top secret number in 2011 in a registered mail and I even had not touched the paper on which this number was printed. At the end the young man provided me with a new identification number and suddenly Red Baron was online again.

What was still missing was the official Telekom document containing the new secret identification number in print. Times have changed since 2011. Telekom had replaced the registered mail by a pdf-file sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail. To keep the content of the pdf secret the file would only open with a code sent as an SMS to my mobile phone. When no SMS arrived I rubbed my eyes and reading Telekom's e-mail again carefully I discovered that they had sent the code to an unknown mobile telephone number. So I had to contact the hotline for the last? time asking them to correct their mistake.

I made the "unknown" mobile number illisible, privacy oblige.
This hopefully brings to an end the 2016 chapter of my ongoing saga with Deutsche Telekom. I again experienced shit happening but this time the friendliness of Telekom's service mitigated my irritations. The bottomline is, I will not change my provider still preferring Alles aus einer Hand.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Craftival 2

Following last year's success the Freiburg Craftival celebrated its second edition last Saturday. This year's festivity was all different with 16 breweries offering 40 different beers. The festival started already at midday and although Red Baron came an hour late there were only few visitors that got lost on a surface that had doubled with respect to the overcrowded space the year before.

At the entrance to the party ground Schmitz Katze I was stamped after having paid 7 Euros entrance fee that included a tasting glass but no free beer. Beer samples of 0.1 liters were served at the various booths and were 1 euro each.

According to plan: To the left last year's party ground, to the right the 2016 addition. 

Schmitz Katze stamped on Red Baron's left arm.
I first visited my friends of the Braukollektiv.

They offered me a good fill of one of their latest creations Ziggy alternative pale ale.

© BZ
While I talked to them their booth was the only crowded spot in a somewhat deserted place showing the popularity of this craft beer team in Freiburg. Eventually I had a chance to take my photos without too many people showing their backs.

James in professional discussions
Later I passed by a booth offering craft beer from Alsace. It turned out that the guys behind the counter were selling the brew but being from Freiburg they did not even understand French.

A glass cleaning station between the fills.
Following two more one euro samples I felt somewhat dizzy and started to look for some food. One food truck was offering pulled pork in a burger bun. It was delicious.

Pulling hard on the pork in the background

Admire the special Craftival glass with just a puddle of beer.
Next stop was at Emma's selling a beer brewed by a girl of the same name. She calls her beers: Biere ohne Bart (Beers without a beard). The taste of her Kuckucks Rot amber ale was stunning and later devastating so I needed more food.

Glasses were filled generously with more than 0.1 liter for one euro.
Here my sample of Cuckoo's Red.
To this end I docked on the Schwarzwälder Flammkuchen Manufaktur and indeed a tarte flambée with white cheese, Black Forest bacon and red onion rings was manu factu prepared for me.

Order your size.

Flammküchle mit Speck, roten Zwiebeln, Käse und ein dunkles Porter.
Although being the only customer present I had to take a queue number. There was no need to call me as I profited from the sparsely populated scene talking to the people at their booths and later at the tables.

Although lacking customers the friendly team of Schwarzwälder Flammkuchen Manufaktur
was in high spirits.
So I met a chemistry student from Freiburg and even two doctoral candidates working at CERN, where else? Suddenly I started feeling old.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Time Travels

Red Baron just finished reading a third book by Bruno Preisendörfer published in 2016: Als unser Deutsch erfunden wurde. Reise in die Lutherzeit (When our German was invented. Time travel into the time of Luther). The book was released timely for next year's Reformation jamboree.

Bruno is a prolific writer. In 2015 he published: Als Deutschland noch nicht Deutschland war. Reise in die Goethezeit (When Germany was not yet Germany. Time travel into the time of Goethe).

His best book however Preisendörfer published in 2012: Der waghalsige Reisende. Johann Gottfried Seume und das ungeschützte Leben (The audacious traveler. Johann Gottfried Seume and the unprotected life). Red Baron had read and blogged about Seume's original texts: Spaziergang nach Syrakus (Walking to Syracuse) and Mein Sommer im Jahr 1805 (My Summer in the year of 1805) and still learned a lot about Johann Gottfried Seume from Preisendörfer's book.

So it was quite natural that last year I jumped on Bruno's book describing the daily life at the time of Goethe ... but I was slightly disappointed. The author has an enormous knowledge about written sources and places contemporary citations in chapters dealing with travel, urban and country life, food and drink, people and customs, sexuality, marriage, and family, health, illness and death lacking however an overall context. So I used Preisendörfer's book mainly as a welcome source of citations. In fact, citations too form the basis of my web site on Freiburg's history where I place them in the context of historical events, e.g., how did people live through the years of Napoleon's occupation of German territories, felt about and eventually wrote about it.

Preisendörfer's recent book is repeating the success of 2015 and already occupying rank four of the SPIEGEL bestseller list. However, his time travel into Luther's epoch is only slightly better than the one into Goethe's century. In fact, when reading the title Als unser Deutsch erfunden wurde you would expect some deeper insight in the development of modern German language in Luther's time. Well, there is some information about the situation of Church and Reich and the success of print media but otherwise its contents is again about travel, urban and country life, food and drink, people and customs, sexuality, marriage, and family, health, illness and death.

Into which century will Bruno travel next?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Little Paris

A hotel in Leipzig served as our headquarter during my trip to Lutherland. Goethe had studied law at the local university before he continued his studies in Strasbourg. He also explored the city's booming night life so in his later years in his drama Faust he wrote the following scene in Auerbachs Keller: Mein Leipzig lob’ ich mir! Es ist ein klein Paris und bildet seine Leute (I praise my Leipzig as Little Paris that educates its people) alluding to both aspects of Goethe's studies.

The first evening in Leipzig Red Baron listened to Bach's Matthäus-Passion also called the Great Passion at the Thomaskirche where Johann Sebastian had been choirmaster from 1723 until his death in 1750.

Here follows a Google translation from German into English of an appreciation of BWV 244 that eventually turned out not to be to bad but that I still had to fine tune: In a special way Bach's St. Matthew Passion documents the gradually incipient change in Passion understanding since 1670. This is disclosed above all by the fact that in a much greater degree than before traditional styles made room to new forms of expression of individual piety and religious feelings of the listener. We do not know how many of the Leipzig music connoisseurs were aware of the uniqueness of the gigantic work. Bach's calligraphy score he produced in 1736 certainly testifies that his "Great Passion" should serve posterity, the generation of his sons and students as musical legacy. Mendelssohn, who had rehearsed the Passion under his teacher Carl Friedrich Zelter since 1820, had it performed for the first time publicly in 1829.

Red Baron had listened to life performances of BWV 244 before. Here, at the Thomaskirche the English Baroque Soloists directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner apparently being in awe of the place did not dare shorten the master piece. They were performing the long (full) version that with an interlude of 15 minutes lasted more than three hours. It was hard to sit on a wooden church bench so long.

Again I enjoyed my special favorite aria: Erbarme Dich mein Gott, um meiner Zähren willen! Schaue hier, Herz und Auge weint vor dir bitterlich. (Have mercy, Lord, on me, regard my bitter weeping, look at me; heart and eyes both weep to Thee bitterly). The weeping violin in concert with an alto is one of Bach's strokes of genius.

The following day our group followed a guided tour of Klein Paris. The well-known Bach monument in front of the Thomaskirche is not the oldest one.

There is an older one sponsored in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy who had rediscovered Bach as the master of baroque music.

We were given free time for the afternoon and I absolutely wanted to check out the traditional Gasthaus Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum (At the Arabian coffee tree).

And boy I had my fill. Here they served the Leipzig Gose I had been looking for all over Leipzig, the beer that already had been so popular with Goethe as a student. I had my glass of Gose with woodruff syrup (they serve the famous Weiße in Berlin alike) giving a beautiful green color shade to the drink. Do not confuse Gose with the Belgian beer speciality geuze although both beers have the special sour taste.

I started with a speciality of the house, a Ur-Krostitzer Bierfleisch tempura and Bratkartoffeln.

Deep fried Ur-Krostitzer beer meat with cumin-garlic and fried potatoes with onions
Mind you, this Saxon Krostitz has no relation with the Thuringian Köstritz where you find the famous Schwarzbier (dark beer). Here are the coats of arms of the two cities:

Krostitz (©Wikipedia/Flasher)
Köstritz (©Wikipedia/Shorshi2211)
I ended my meal with Sächsische Quarkkeulchen that had been refined by adding cinnamon cream, apple sauce, and vanilla ice cream.

Saxon chops made from curd cheese and sides
In the afternoon I passed a GDR monument in front of an exhibition on Teilung und Einheit, Diktatur und Widerstand (Division and Unity, Dictatorship and Resistance) and written on the side Warning! History may lead to insight causing awareness. The statue symbolizes the transformation of Germany's society from the Third Reich (military boot and Nazi salute) to the First State of Workers and Farmers, the GDR, (barefoot and raised fist).

And then there was music all over town.

Rehearsal of Bach motets at Nikolaikirche

Bach im Bahnhof or Jazz at Leipzig's train station

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Freiburg's New Partner Cities

Last Friday in the presence of attractive Nicaraguan ambassador Karla Luzette Beteta Mayor Salomon inaugurated the new mosaic for Freiburg's partner city Wiwili together with those of Israel's Tel Aviv and South Korea's Suwon. On this occasion her Excellency Beteta said: This partnership is a light of hope; it is important to lift the banner for the development of the people.

©BZ/Rita Eggstein
In the meantime Freiburg has 12 partner or sister cities. By now all their mosaics are laid out in the pavement in front of the town hall on Rathausplatz.

©Stadt Freiburg
Here is a historical photo of Mayors Dave and Dieter looking at Madison's mosaic on the occasion of the 3rd meeting of Freiburg's partner cities celebrating the 20th anniversary of Freiburg's partnership with Madison in 2008.

Dieter Salomon and David Cieslewicz in 2008 stopping short for a photo
In the old days the mosaics were composed using Rheinkiesel (Rhine pebbles). Nowadays other techniques are welcome.

Traditional Rheinkiesel: French Besançon was the first of Freiburg's partner cities

Israel's Tel Aviv, its name is also spelled in Hebrew

Korea's Suwon and its historical fortification

Symbols of Wiwili: Rio Coco, local mountain Mogoton,
 a coffee bean, and Wiwili's heraldic animal, the leafcutter ant.

While I was shooting photos of the new mosaics a guy from Freiburg's Garten- and Tiefbauamt (Garden and Engineering Office) approached and proudly started explaining to some tourists how he and his team of trainees had made the new mosaics. It had taken them about 1000 hours of work: The white color is marble, blue is some stone from Brazil, and green is an artificial stone.