A little water never hurt anybody

Trip Start Jun 04, 2008
Trip End Jun 24, 2008

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Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, June 12, 2008

You know that famous European drizzle? Yeah, it finally came. Just a light drizzle the whole day. At least we didn't have the kind of rain they had in Switzerland last night during the Euro 2008 games. The ball could barely move.

Today was designated "Industrial culture day". You might be asking what in the world that means. Well, I'm not quite sure, but it was fun! We started out at the Zollverein, an old coal mine. It used to be the largest coal mine in operation in the entire world. Now the entire complex is various museums. The first one we went to was about the coal industry. We walked down this dark hall and dark stairway made out of the old shaft that was only lit by red-orange light. It reminded me of the last part of Star Wars 3 with the fire planet but when I told that to Kevin he looked at me like I was crazy. Anyways, we went down the stairs in the shaft to a room the next floor down. It was still fairly dark except for projections of pictures on the walls. Most of the projectors were stationed to the wall, but some were rotating between the floor, ceiling, and various walls. It was like, BAM!, picture on the floor in front of you. They were projecting pictures of Germany in various periods after the war. The pictures were interesting but the room kind of creeped me out. It was cold and everything was echoing oddly. I think they had some sort of music playing too.

After the shaft part we went over to the red dot design museum. Red dot gives awards to objects with outstanding design. When I say objects I mean everything. They had cell phones, toys, plastic cups, cars, mp3 players, key rings, pens, lamps, sinks, vacuum cleaners, chairs, sofas, silverware, toys, power tools, deck awning, etc. This was still in the old mine so it had this really cool contrast between old, rusty equipment and new, innovative design. I took about a gazillion pictures because it was so weird to be looking at sinks in a museum. I fell in love with a refriderator-cupboard set and took some video of Mom as a model opening and closing the doors. If anybody sees Grandpa Myron get him to a computer and show him the video(after I get around to putting it up, of course). He would like seeing it.

Our next industrial spot was a big hill. It happened to be one of the big hills all over Essen made of rock they had to take out to make the mines. To mark the spot some person stuck their climbable metal art project on top. We climbed all 200 steps up and 200 back down in the rain. If you're on top of things right now you're wondering why we were standing on a large chunk of metal on a hill in the rain. It wasn't lightning at all and it had a great view. Kevin and I started spitting off of the top to see if we could hit the ground and not one of the bars crossing below us. I won.

We went to a mall in Oberhausen for lunch. They have food courts just like we do except a whole lot nicer. It had a Turkish place, a French place, a taco place, a place just for curry flavored bratwurst, and even an American hotdog place. We ended up all getting currywurst except for Kevin, who got something from the Turkish place. I honestly don't even know what it was made of. Mom and I had a small disaster in line after everyone else had gone to sit down. Apparently the old lady next to us asked us to pass her 3 forks. Once we figured out the fork part of what she said we passed her 2 becuase thats what we thought she said.  She said something back and got very cross when we said sorry, we don't speak German. Luckily the lady on the other side passed her one and told us "Three. She said three." They had all these advertisements for the "public viewing" of the soccer game tonight on the big screen in the food court. That's what everybody else is watching while I'm down here writing. I left when Germany started playing crappy.

Our last bit of industrial culture was a gasometer in Oberhausen. I swear I'm not making that name up. A long time ago teh gasometer did some complicated process with steam and gas but now its a huge empty cylinder. Its actually not quite empty. The first floor currently houses 58 satellite pictures of earth in an exibit called "The Eye of Heaven." We even found a picture of the circles made by irrigation hoses near Garden City. The lady at the desk was impressed that we were from Kansas when we bought the postcard with the picture on it.
The second floor had pictures of past exhibits from the gasometer and industrial places in Europe. Most of the industiral places seemed to be in the UK. They also had these old TVs that some guy has made into dioramas.
The top part housed another exhibition titled "Light Heaven." The ceiling more the 100 meters over our heads and the walls had lights all over them, kind of like a disco ball except not moving. They had some ambient sounds like a gong and a tuning fork playing and echoing around along with the echoes of the people stamping and doing bird calls and such. They had an elavator that went to the top and of course we took it. I even got some video in the elevator but it doesn't really catch the feeling.

I'm not sure what we're doing tomorrow except for girl's night at the ballet in the evening. Sadly our time in Germany is running out but we're looking forward to England!

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