Insight No. 100: “Your Opinion – Your Vote.” +++ European Elections 23rd – 26th May 2019 +++ Europe Matters!

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Left vs Right ….is there any centre left?

I am sure, all of you have got an opinion.

Thus, please participate in the European elections 2019.

These EU elections (23rd – 26th May 2019; in Germany: 26th May 2019) will set the course for the future of European nations and the European Union.

Basic decisions will be made in the following 5 years…
Considering the dispute about the future scope of cooperation within the EU covering topics like: trade & customs union, freedom of movement, inclusion in terms of common social standards & workers rights, joint foreign policy, harmonized asylum / migration policy, EU armed forces, tax law, joint R&D and digital transformation, climate change issues, further EU East expansion etc., everybody should participate. Europe matters.

Of course, the EU needs to be reformed asap. Do you really want stakeholders to do it, you cannot support?

Even in the event that you want an EU exit, you have to vote. Fastest way to destroy the EU is to foster a Dexit, by the way. Maybe, a complete liquidation of the EU will provide the opportunity to create a better EU version, who knows? Okay, I do not want to become polemic and speculative. Whatever you prefer, vote!

Facing growing extremism, nationalism and emotional tensions between EU-hostile right-wing and left-wing parties like a “tug of war” across Europe, everybody has to show his/her colors in my view.
Otherwise, non-voters should be silent and should not complain anymore.

Sorry, I couldn`t resist….
A good sense of humor is the superior stress management tool….let`s love & hate each other passionately.

Tipp No. 87: “Europe According To” – Funny Maps of Europe by Yanko Tsvetkov (Bulgaria)

arts, humor, Insights, Kunst, Oddities, Psychologie, psychology, Reisen, Travel

Now that the question of European “unity” is debatable, the red line between reality and satire becomes even thinner. Exactly this “core of truth” is the reason why Yanko`s maps are so funny.

In my view, it would make sense to add China`s perspective. I already thought about the idea to do this job on my own. A dialogue with my Chinese colleagues to exchamge prejudices in a friendly atmosphere might be fun… And what`s about India` s view on Europe?

Europe according to England / UK
Europe according to France
Europe according to Germany
Europe according to Switzerland
Italy
Greece
Spain
Poland
Turkey (Note: If Turkey belongs to Europe at all is controversial)
Russia
USA

YANKOV TSVETKOV

The official stereotype lab of Yanko Tsvetkov, a bestselling author, prolific cartographer, and leading international bigotry professional with a taste for salacious political incorrectness and unconventional historical studies. Opinions are not his own, he’s merely a curator …..According to himself.

Please, have a look at international bestseller “The “Atlas of Prejudice” by Yankov too if you are interested in more stereotypes: https://atlasofprejudice.com/

Postcard No. 6: “The Spreewald” – Time-out at the Gates of Berlin (Germany)

Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
Boote im Spreewald

Hello to all of you,

Did you know that you can escape from the hustle & bustle of Berlin easily and quickly? The SPREEWALD (German for ‘Spree Forest’; in Lower Sorbian: Błota, i.e. ‘the Swamps’) might be your final resort located about 100 km South-East of Berlin.

The picturesque Spreewald in Brandenburg was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1991. Actually, about 18,000 species of flora and fauna have been counted.

It is well-known for its unique, traditional irrigation system, consisting of more than 200 small canals (called Fließe; total length: 1,300 km) within the 484-square-kilometre (187 sq mi) area. The landscape was shaped during the ice-age. Alder forests on wetlands and pine forests on sandy dry areas are characteristic for the region. Grasslands and fields can be found as well.

About 50,000 people live in the biosphere reserve (1998). Many of the People Living in the Spreewald are descendants of the first settlers in the Spreewald region, the Slavic tribes of the Sorbs/Wends. They have preserved their traditional language, customs and clothing to this day. In Lübbenau, there is a Special Museum that introduces the old culture of this minority. An open air Museum in Lehde showcases an entire reconstructed traditional Spreewald Village.

The Spreewald is a popular tourist destination that offers two aqua parcs including Wellness & spa and Fitness facilities in the area. The Spreewald is also known throughout Germany for the production of natural organic products like pickles, cucumbers, mustard, herbs etc..

You can explore this fascinating nature by doing idyllic boat trips in traditional punts or by yourself with a canoe. By land you can discover this beautiful countryside on a walking tour or by bike.

THE SPREEWALD – A TIME-OUT AT THE GATES OF BERLIN.

spreeeee

Postcard No. 2: Sylt – The Queen of the North Sea

Reisen, Sports, Tipps, Travel
d-sylt-stage-mobil

Hello,

Most people abroad think Germany is all about Bavaria, Alpes, Castles and Oktoberfest…That`s a pity because Germany is much more versatile.

Look at the North Frisian Island “SYLT” in the very North of Germany close to the Danish border for instance.

The island is well-known for its unique shape and its 40-km-long (25-mile) sandy beach that has a number of surf schools and also a nude section.

Sylt is also popular for second home owners, and many German celebrities who own vacation homes on “the island”. Thus, many of the wonderful, traditional Frisian-style houses with thatched roofs are owned by wealthy people now.

Sylt is frequently covered by the media in connection with its exposed situation in the North Sea and its ongoing loss of land during storm tides. Since 1927, Sylt has been connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdamm causeway (today with a railway line on top).

Thanks to this Hindenburgdamm, the entire Island was turned into a Fortress during WWII. below the beautiful dunes at the shore, you can still find a few hidden bunkers.

In the past, the wealth of Sylt was dependent on fishing, whaling and oyster breeding. Today, Sylt and its healthy climate is a popular, sophisticated tourist destination for visitors with a more generuous holiday budget.

Sylt is an atrractive windsurfing & kite-surfing destination. The international Windsurf World Cup Sylt, established in 1984, is annually held at Westerland’s beach front.
Sailing, beach volleyball, horseback riding and golfing are also very popular.
Furthermore, the Island offers a wide range of Wellness & Spa packages.
Frequently, there is the opportunity to attend concerts, readings, arts seminars and exhibitions.
The visitors are also invited to make a trip to the seal sandbanks or to join a guided tour through the intertidal mudflat.

Of course, Sylt is famous for ist seafood (Lobster & oysters) but offers also all kind of alternative cuisines. The Island gives home to a number of high-class restaurants.

The Must-See on Sylt is the “Sansibar” Restaurant & Party Location (with an excellent cuisine) in the dunes that includes a fashion, souvenir & gift, wine shop – and runs also an online shop today.

sansibar
Sylt

Sylt is definetely worth a trip. Even in the high Season, you will find “your beach”. Except of Westerland (Capitol City) you won`t find many “construction sins” (ugly new Buildings). Sylt never supported mass tourism. This attitude might be snobbish but admittedly has got ist positive side effects…

Sylt offers relaxed life quality in all facettes.

Insight No. 58: From Vandalism via Arts to Political Statement – Graffiti in Italy

arts, Cartoons, Insights, Kunst, Reisen, Travel, Uncategorized

Graffiti has been known in Italy since the ancient Romans, who decorated the walls of Pompeii and the catacomb with declarations of love, curses and magic spells. In fact the word ‘Graffiti’ derives from the Italian word ‘graffiare’ meaning to scratch something into a surface, and people in Italy still write their passions on the walls.

Though lately – it seems to me – subject matters have changed from ‘Ti amo’ and ‘Forza La Juve’ to political statements. Could be, that  graffiti in Italy has gone from personal to political in order to reflect the current economic crisis and migrants crisis.

Tipp No. 143: Bavarian Beer Garden Sausage Salad (Recipe)

Food, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

Bavarian Wurstsalat is a traditional summer dish or to be more precisely for beer garden season but also barbecues at home. Like of potato salad, there are more than 1001 variants of Wurstsalat available. Common denominators are sliced sausages, cheese and pickles. 

INGREDIENTS

(4 servings, time for prep: 10 min.)

  • 4 cups ring bologna, finely sliced, 300g
  • 2 cups Emmental cheese, finely sliced, 200g
  • 1 cup pickles, finely sliced, 100g
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp brine from the pickles
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • parsely
  • 2-3 Onions in rings for decoration
  • Optional: 4 diced hard boiled eggs
  • Optional: 8 planed garden radish …or radish for decoration (instead of radish you can add chive too)
  • Optional: diced red and yellow pepper
  • Rye-Bread and / or soft pretzels with butter (optional: spread chive over the buttered side of the bread / soft pretzel)

Note: There are sausage salad variants without any cheese too.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine sliced ring bologna, Emmental cheese, and pickles in a big bowl.
  2. In a small bowl combine vinegar, sunflower oil, water, and brine from the pickles. Add to the big bowl.
  3. Combine everything and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for about 3 hours.
  5. Garnish with parsley and onions rings (optional) and serve with rustic bread.
  6. Enjoy some beer garden feeling, Prost!

Postcard No. 31: “Greetings from lovely Iran / Persia – The Oldest Country of the World (3200 BC)”

arts, Insights, Kunst, Nature, Reisen, Travel

Iran with its inception in 3200 BC, is the oldest country in the world.
Iran will hold the very last oil & gas reserves in the Middle East. It shares the biggest gas field with Qatar
Irans gas & oil production is rising, while other Middle Eastern countries resources are decreasing.
Irans biggest customers are China (= major key account), India, Turkey followed by Italy & Spain.
CHINAs One Belt, One Road Initiative
Saudi Arabia (= enemy of Iran and still highly dependent on its shrinking oil income due to a lack of diversification in contrast to UAE) owns more than USD 200 billion of the US debt (August 2018)
Trump in urgent need of a new self-marketing story and an external enemy
Iranian People

Insight No. 72: Subversive Iranian Graffiti – Transforming Walls for Change

arts, Insights, Kunst, Reisen, Travel


Political art and propaganda has been central to the Islamic Republic’s management of public spaces since the earliest days of the Revolution. Take a 30-minute drive through any area of Tehran and you will doubtless bear witness to half a dozen murals commemorating fallen martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) or depicting the leaders of the Islamic Revolution. Two famous examples include the ‘Soldiers of the Islamic Revolution’ modernist fresco in Felestin (Palestine) Square, and the massive ‘Down with USA’ mural near Haft-e Tir, which portrays the American flag as a harbinger of war.

A strikingly prominent feature of Iranian public spaces is the prevalence of street art – both officially sanctioned murals and subversive graffiti of artists like Bambam, Oham, Black Hand and others. Whilst the latter can be ingeniously subtle, its social commentary usually ensures its speedy removal. Revolutionary murals often commemorate martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war, or celebrate the political values of the Islamic Republic. Here we feature some of the most fascinating street art in Tehran, Masal and Banda Abbas.

The youth unemployment rate in Iran is about 29%. Young people make up 40-50% of the total number of job seekers of 3,3 mio
Alcohol is prohibited in Iran
but it is sold under the counter and even produced privately. For alcohol drinking you will be punished with 40 – 80 lashings. In case of repeated consumption, you will end up in jail.
Protest graffiti in response to the fact that women were not allowed to attend the sinternational occer championship in Iran. The Iranian woman holds a bottle of cleaner like a soccer trophy.
Down With USA
US Embassy in Tehran
Weed consumption is quite common because the penalty for weed consumption is less severe than the one for alcohol drinking.
Iran is actually the 7th biggest market for make-up/cosmetics worldwide. Beauty & fashion (hidden below the Abaya) is a big issue in Iran.
Propaganda Graffiti

Tipp No. 43: “Wattlaufen” – Walking on the ground of the North Sea to the next Island Neuwerk

Insights, Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
212

“Intertidal Mud-flat hiking” (Wattwandern) at the German North Sea coast –  a little adventure for the entire family.

Starting from Duhnen or Sahlenburg beach / Cuxhaven you can walk to the next Island called Neuwerk, have a piece of strawberry cake and a cup of coffee over there, and then return to the  main quickly in order not to be surprised by the rising flood / high tide. The clock will be your best buddy in addition to other hikers, who care for each other, of course. The later you start, the bigger and more powerful the tide-ways will be. If you`re a laggard, it might be therefore helpful to have your swimming toggs with you.

It is an amazing experience to literally walk over the bottom of the North Sea through a surrealistic landscape, where it is sometimes difficulty to retrieve the horizon line due to reflections, flickering air and the steaming ground in the summer heat. Heading for the Island Neuwerk, you might experience fata morgana-like phenomena.

Wadlopen

Of course, it is a special thrill to think of the (minor) risk of returning too late…In fact, there will be People who will remind or help you (e.g. to cross tideways “Priel” if the drift becomes stronger). For cases of emergency, there are “rescue baskets” on poles, which are numbered and equipped with radios to call a shuttle service. I am sure that you can hitchhike and ask horsemen for a lift too.

By the way, you can choose guided tours or you can walk on your own. In Cuxhaven / Duhnen, they are also offering tours with carts… or you enjoy the tour on the back of a horse. The latter is the ultimate fun for the horsemen but also for the horses who seem to enjoy the cushioned / elastic ground, the vastness, the fresh air and water too from my experience. Pure lust for life!

It is also fascinating to pass the waterways with big container ships and sailing boats by.  Most of the ground is stable / solid but there are also areas close to the beach at the main, which are very muddy, slimy and slippery… These areas are the perfect playground for kids and adults, who rediscover their inner child again. There are mudflat areas, where you can sink into the soft mud knee-deep or even up to the hips.

In the national mudflat park, you might meet seals, mitten crabs, various shells, rock worms (if you dig deep), jellyfishes, small fishes and different sea birds.

sprechmuscheln

“Mussel bed” and old-fashioned “mouthpieces” = in German language literally: “Talking Shells”
=> … Listen to the shells!

The mud shall be healthy. It is said that the mud ease skin deseases. In any case, the mud is an excellent peeling.

Mudflat walking is also known for its positive effects on your leg muscles and in particular your feet if you walk barfoot like the vast majority of people in the summertime. You will notice it in the evening. It feels like you got several hours non-stop TCM foot massage. You will walk on clouds. Promised.

Besides, expect to fall into a coma-like deep sleep in the night.  Kids & dogs will already pass out in the car on the way back home. Your chance to have some quality time & privacy with your partner after a wonderful day at the seaside…!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Slippery mud – perfect for gliding, mud battles and more…
hunde im watt.jpg

Yes, you can take your dog with you. But please, test him if he can tolerate you and other people walking through deep water or swimming…or if he is too protective and becomes stressed because he thinks his human is in danger and needs to be rescued.

For instance, the Bernese Mountain Dog of my parents could enjoy neither the beach nor the Watt. Surprisingly, he was totally stressed trying to rescue his family and was close to a nervous breakdown, when my dad crossed a tideway.

Possibly, our dog would have felt more comfortable on the top of a glacier but unfortunately, we are not used to high mountains…

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“Mud Spaghetti” created by rock worms
reiter-im-watt

…sun, wind, water, friends, and horsepower – pure joy!
rettungsbake-neuwerk-watt-02

No bird cage…but a safe place if the flood is faster than you.
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Carts Crossing a tideway.
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…the direction to the Island Neuwerk.
Neuwerk-imago-blickwinkel

Neuwerk – the only destination in walking distance.
385_0008_5540527_310Neuwerk

…Maybe a bit late? No problem. The carts are capable to swim.
Watt-vor-der-Insel-Neuwerk

The Watt in summertime.
watt im winter

The Watt in wintertime
Cuxhaven-12-b0deaffb

Cuxhaven – Duhnen beach, the mudflat entrance and exit (showers are available).
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Grounded under full sails.

Postcard No. 20: “Solduz Valley in Iran” – Hasanlu Lovers…A 2,800 years old kiss

Insights, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
a 2.800 years old kiss

The Hasanlu Lovers are human remains found by a team from the University of Pennsylvania led by Robert Dyson at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Solduz Valley in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran, in 1972.

Naghade-hasanloo3.jpg
Teppe Hasanlu – The site was inhabited fairly continuously from the 6th millennium BC to the 3rd century AD. It is famous for the “Gold Bowl” that is older than 3.200 years.

The image depicts two human skeletons, seemingly in an embrace, which earned the photograph its title Hasanlu Loversor The 2800 Years Old Kiss.

The skeleton on the right is lying on its back. Dental evidence suggest this was a young adult, possibly 19-22 years of age. The pelvis indicates a male. Health appears to have been good with no apparent evidence of healed lifetime injuries.

The skeleton on the left is lying on its left side. It has been aged to about 30-35 years. Evidence of gender is unclear. Health appears to have been good with no apparent evidence of healed lifetime injuries. 

The pair of skeletons were found in a bin-like structure with no other objects except a stone slab under the head of one skeleton. They died together around 800 B.C., during the destruction of the Teppe Hasanlu citadel.

ETERNAL LOVE ***  In the Solduz Valley, you can find it.