Tipp No. 104: “Below The Surface” – Spectacular Underwater Photography by Tobias Friedrich

arts, Creatures, Film, Insights, Nature, Reisen, Sports, Technology, Tipps, Travel

When I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a crew member of spaceship “Enterprise” in order to discover new worlds, unknown life forms and different cultures. Actually, I`ve lived this dream by chosing jobs that
allowed myself to travel a lot, to visit exotic places and which is even
more important to meet interesting people of in many aspects different cultures.

Scuba diving has been on my bucket list since childhood because I was
aware of the fact that the oceans are still “terra icognita” although about
71% of the earth`s surface (2/3) is covered with water of which 97,4% is salt-water.
From the very beginning, I had the idea that scuba diving could be the
unique opportunity to experience a kind of “space traveling” without the
need to meet NASA qualification requirements.

Of course, I was also inspired by the reports about Jaques-Yves Cousteau
and his adventureous expeditions when I finally took action and passed my scuba diving PADI open water exam in the Red Sea / Egypt many years ago.
It turned out that my phantasy of “space traveling” underwater was not completely absurd. As a scuba diver rookie, who is dependent on his
equipment and the goodwill of the sea dweller, I felt actually very vulne-rable. There was no doubt, it was me who was the intruder… the alien in this outlandish – almost surreal – water world! 

The spectacular underwater photography of Tobias Friedrichs brought
pre cious memories back…
Back on board after a beautiful dive, I was completely overwhelmed by
all the impressions and my emotions…Secretly and unnoticed a few tears
dropped into the Red Sea.
I didn`t recognize myself anymore because I was convinced to be quite
top-heavy and introverted. 
All this fragile beauty underwater was simply breaking my heart.
I learnt that beauty can be painful. In particular, if it is endangered by
pollution, mass tourism (I was a part of too) and climate change.   
Maybe, it was also a dash of desparation why I experienced this sudden
“crisis of joy”. 

Tobias Friedrich`s touching underwater photography allows us to sneek
a peak  cit.: “Below The Surface”. This motto might be ambiguous in
my case.

However, I` d like to share my fascination with you and invite you to
descent into The 50 Shades of Deep Blue….Enjoy the weightlessness, the flow, hushed sound level and not to forget the encounters with still quite unknown creatures who are often as curious as the human visitor!

Friendly encounter with a brown fur seal (South Africa)
Humpback Whale (Oman)
2 purple eye dwarf gobies, sitting on top of a hard coral near Marsa Alam (Egypt, Red Sea).
Face to face with a shark


"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is 
bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he
is free."
Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910 - 1997)

In his childhood Tobias Friedrich loved to watch the adventures of the Calypso with Jacques-Yves Cousteau as its captain and the beauty of the world that is below the ocean’s surface. It’s still an overwhelming feeling for him when he has the chance to dive. He loves the elegancy and calmness of the world under water standing in contrast to the hectic atmosphere above.

Tobias Friedrich lives in Germany and started taking pictures with a DSLR underwater in the year 2007. Since then his images have been published in prestigious scuba diving magazines and newspapers around the world.

Several underwater photographic competitions, have honoured his work, resulting in over 50 awards with nearly 30 1st places.

Lately, he has been named “Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018” in the prestigious UPY London competition.

The UPY 2018 awarded photo: A panoramic view of the cargo deck inside the SS Thistlegorm with the motorcycles in the middle and light to lighten the trucks on the side of the cargo deck, near Sharm el Sheikh, Northern Red Sea, Egypt.

All waters, from zero to 30° Celsius, are attractive for him, at least there is something to photograph.

Tobias`fine arts photography is not staged. His photography is rather a result of stamina, patience and opportunity. He is not working with photomontages. The panorama view – combining a view above and under the ocean surface – is achieved by utilizing a dome camera.
He is SEACAM equipment for his Canon EOS 1DX Mark II and 5D Mark II DSLR.

He is leading expeditions and workshops around the world, where everybody can join.

Please, feel free to visit his website that shows further amazing underwater photo galleries, panorama views, beautiful aerial views (highly recommended!) and a few offerings like:

  • Underwater photography BOOKS in German and English language,
  • His calendar “BELOW SURFACE 2019″
  • A collection of high-quality POSTCARDS with unique motifs
  • His schedule of awesome PHOTOWORKSHOPS 2019 (Destinations: Egypt, Bali, Philippines, Brother Islands) – simply click on “JOIN”.

web: http://www.below-surface.com

The Calendar 2019 by Tobias Friedrichs

Postcard No. 29: “Ulm – The Tallest Church of the World” (Germany)

arts, Insights, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps

The Ulm Minster is a Lutheran church located in Ulm, State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany). It is the tallest church in the world, and the 5th tallest structure built before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 161,5 m (530 ft)… For further measurements, please scroll down at the end of the post.

The groundbreaking is dated in 1377. The city-owned Ulmer Münster in the city centre replaced the old Church “Ennet Feldes”(built 600 n. Christi) in front of the gates of Ulm city because during the numerous wars (like the 30 yrs War) the citizens often couldn´t attend church. The Münster was built on the location of another smaller, old church called “Our Beloved Woman” (dated 1220). The construction of the Ulmer Münster was completed in 1890, after 513 years of tough work. This period includes a couple of long-term interruptions due to wars, economic stagnation periods and power play waves.

The “Free City of Ulm” transformed into a fine arts cluster that built up an international trade, training, partnership & job network for artists and craftsmen

Ulm became famous for its highly skilled architects, artists and excellent craftsmen who were working on the church. The pool of talents and innovative senior professionals (entire families with several generations) with signature techniques was called “the Ulmer School” (late gothic). These experts often worked as expats in Europe and contributed to the construction of famous cathedrals & churches in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain etc. 55 painters (walls, glass, facades, arts), 25 sculptors and woodcarvers are still known by their names today. In many cases, the artists cooperated with each other. The beautiful high altar in Blaubeuren is an example for the cooperation of 3 artists belonging to the Ulmer Schule.

Blaubeurener High Altar, 1494 (carved by
Michael Erhart, painted by Bernhard Strigel and Hans Holbein the Eldest).

Originally, the church was catholic. But in a referendum in 1530/31, the citizens of Ulm converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. Ulm Minster became a Lutheran church.

When I visited the famous, very beautiful traditional Christmas market in Ulm in front of the Ulmer Münster I was very much impressed. In fact, the top of steeple was partially covered by clouds. The illuminated church in the dark looked like a huge space rocket or spaceship ready for departure! Imagine the impression the church left in medieval times, when people didn´t know skyscrapers etc. The Münster must have been a mind-blowing demonstration of power and closeness to heaven.

Although sometimes referred to as Ulm Cathedral because of its great size, the church is not a cathedral as it has never been the seat of a bishop. Though the towers and all decorative elements are of stone masonry, attracting the attention of visitors, most of the walls, including the façades of the nave and choir, actually consist of visible brick. Therefore, the building is sometimes referred to as a brick church.

Ulm Minster was begun in the Gothic era but not completed until the late 19th century. Nevertheless, all of the church except the towers and some outer decorations was complete, unlike e.g. Cologne Cathedral, where less than half of the work had been done, when it ceased.

The Ulmer Iconoclasm in 1531 and the intentionally self-sabotage of the municipal authorities

In the course of the painful and also violent reformation process, Ulm experienced an iconoclasm. Many religious art pieces, such as 60 altars, sculptures and other artifacts were destroyed by the municipal council reps. But astonishingly, the municipal council acted responsibly and warned the owners and sponsors of the art pieces in advance. Therefore, a lot of artifacts could be rescued and stored in a warehouse that was well-known to the authorities. Thanks to this self-sabotage, you can find antique art works in the Ulmer Münster but also in little churches located in the surroundings of Ulm city.

In WWII, a devastating air raid hit Ulm on 17 December 1944, which destroyed virtually the entire town west of the church to the railway station and north of the church to the outskirts. The church itself was barely damaged. However, almost all the other buildings of the town square (Münsterplatz) were severely hit and some 80% of the medieval centre of Ulm was destroyed.

Today, visitors can climb the 768 steps that lead to the top of the minster’s spire. At 143 m (469 ft) it gives a panoramic view of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg and Neu-Ulm in Bavaria and, in clear weather, a vista of the Alps from Säntis to the Zugspitze. The final stairwell to the top (known as the third Gallery) is a tall, spiraling staircase that has barely enough room for one person.

For some details about the arts in the church and its sponsor (like Einstein), please scroll down.

The Ulmer Münster
The Genesis above the main portal
One of many dragon gargoyles.
High Altar (called Hutz Altar) by Martin Schaffner, 1521


  • The height of the steeple is 161.53 metres (530.0 ft). Ulm Münster is the world’s tallest church
  • The church has a length of 123.56 metres (405.4 ft) and a width of 48.8 metres (160 ft).
  • The building area is approximately 8,260 square metres (88,900 sq ft).
  • The height of the central nave is 41.6 metres (136 ft), whilst the lateral naves are 20.55 metres (67.4 ft) high.
  • The volume of the edifice is some 190,000 cubic metres (6,700,000 cu ft).
  • The weight of the main steeple is estimated at 51,500 tonnes (50,700 long tons; 56,800 short tons).
  • The church seats a congregation of 2,000.
  • In the Middle Ages, before pews were introduced, it could accommodate 20,000 people, when the population of the town was about 5,000.

Works of Art

  • Late medieval sculptures include the tympanum of the main Western entrance depicts scenes from the Genesis. The central column bears a sculpture, the Man of Sorrows, by the local master Hans Multscher.
  • The 15th century choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin the Elder, made from oak and adorned with hundreds of carved busts are among the most famous pews of the Gothic period.
  • The pulpit canopy is by Jörg Syrlin the Younger.
  • The original high altar was destroyed by the iconoclasts of the Reformation. The current altarpiece from the early 16th century is a triptych, showing figures of the Holy Family and the Last Supper in the predella.
  • The five stained glass windows of the apse, which is in the form of half a decagon, show Biblical scenes and date to the 14th and 15th century.
  • The main organ of the church was destroyed by iconoclasts and replaced in the late 16th century. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known to have played it in 1763. For some decades it was the largest organ in existence. In the late 1960s it was reconstructed to solve acoustic problems of reverberation.
  • In 1877, the Jewish congregation of the synagogue of Ulm—including Hermann Einstein, the father of Albert Einstein—donated money for a statue of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. The figure was placed below the main organ.
  • Later renovations in the modern era added gargoyles and a sculpture, The Beggar, by the expressionist Ernst Barlach.

Postcard No. 12: “COLOGNE, MAINZ and DUSSELDORF” – The People`s Voice…provocative Carnival Floats in Germany

arts, humor, Kunst, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps, Travel


Blond is the new Brown/Brunette (the brown color is associated  with right-wing extremist parties, nationalists & autocrats)

Hitler (Germany; Hitler could be replaced by Alexander Gauland / current leader of the AfD) – Wilders (Netherlands) – Marie Le Pen (France) – Donald Trump (USA)

By the way, just a small detail, many people abroad don`t know…Adolf Hitler was no German Citizen. He was an Austrian migrant from Braunau.


It is said that Carnival was already celebrated in Mesopotamia 5000 years ago.

Since 12th century, carnival is celebrated in Germany. The German carnival parades in the Rhine-Main area (to be differentiated from the Pagan Fastnacht / Shrovetide in Southern Germany & Switzerland) are absolutely unique due to its historical background & special traditions like the satirical floats, throwing candy, costumes balls, marching bands in historical uniforms of France & Prussia, huge Carnival clubs and so on.

The Cologne Carnival, as well as those in Mainz, Eschweiler and Düsseldorf, are the largest and most famous. The next week of party will start end of Feb. 2019.


On Carnival Thursday (called “Old Women Day” or “The Women’s Day” in commemoration of an 1824 revolt by washer-women), women storm city halls, cut men’s ties, and are allowed to kiss any passing man. This tradition is still alive. Even in other public buildings and corporate offices men should better wear cheap ties on this day of the year…


The carnival parades and floats make fun of individual politicians and other public figures. Many speeches do the same. This worldwide unique tradition has got his origin in 18th century, when the Rhine-Main area was occupied by French troops led by Napoleon and later on by Prussian troops. The Carnival clubs / guilds that create the satirical floats were founded by urban guilds. The handcraft guilds were namely forbidden by the occupiers because the guilds represented free urban citizenship with political Rights, influence & a network of power thanks to their partnerships with guilds in other “free” cities that want to be ruled neitherby monarchs nor by churches. In medieval times, there was a famous proverb: “City Air makes free”. On the Country side the farmers were dependent on the liege lords and the churches, who owned the land and possessed a lot of privileges.  De facto, the rural people were nothing else but slaves.


During carnival people wear costumes often including a coverage of their faces. There was an attempt to forbid this coverage of faces. And a special police force – called “The Sparks” was founded to enforce this rule of king Wilhelm (?). But this attempt failed. Instead of following the new rule, the German city citizens made fun of it and established a carnival group called the “Sparks” and added the “Spark Mariechen” (Young Beautiful girls) to their carnival dancing groups. These girls in uniform perform risky acrobatic stunts and are often thrown into the air (like Cheerleaders) and are then caught by the group again… It is said that this dancing choreography was understood as a hidden warning in former times….”We – the People – can let you fall”…or: “Kingdoms rise and fall”.

The tradition, carnival freedoms and anonymity allows the people to break taboos, critisize the king & noble houses, majors, elites, bureaucrats and armed forces bluntly. The costume balls and parties provided an opportunity for women & men to meet each other and to flirt without being judged by others.

The tradition to make drastically fun of individuals, organisations and systems in power like politicians, churches / religions, industry sectors / reps (local, domestic and international ones) is still very much alive!

At this occasion , I`d like to outline that it is not my Intention to insult anybody or to promote an opinion by publishing the images of the very popular carnival motif-floats. There are motifs that don´t comply with my taste / style…but the topics are always up-to-date.

Actually, everything & anybody can become subject of the motif-floats. Nobody is safe, and everybody has to be prepared to face derision. The bigger the pain & annoyment, the bigger is the suspicion that the derision possess a core of truth.

I am glad that we`ve got the freedom to design these motif floats, to express ourself not only during carnival season. The parades and funny but sharp Carnival speeches prove that many people are educated, informed, able to question the status-quo, are not afraid  of criticism & expressing opinions and that they are interested in politics & Society topics…and that they are still determined to participate. It namely needs some significant Background knowledge & education to understand the satirical motif floats.

By the way, every year Carnival groups and marching bands of our neighbor countries are invited and join the parades. In my view, it would be exciting if our neighbors would contribute (more) own carnival motif floats additionally.

Let`s have a look at a few examples of the satirical motif floats…


Carnival Club “Rheinische Garde Blau” anti-war motif – “No war in Syria, Iran and in the Ukraine!”


Two big babies trying to impress each other with the size of their…Missiles.


European Hitler greeting arm lifted / supported by Vladimir Putin




Emmanuel Macron (French President) as Napoleon in a vintage car (provided with fuel by Germany) with reference to his idea of an EU Reform – beyond a mere trade union – headed by France.


Berlusconi (former president of Italy), who is well-known for his sex parties, homophoby and close relations to the Italian mafia.


Putin (leader of Russia, who is often present in the media with Images, on which he shows his naked upper body to appear manly), on the left arm: Economy and on the right arm: Military.



Angela Merkel / CDU (chancelor of Germany for already 14 years) as Mammoth and Martin Schulz (former leader of the opposition party SPD), who is unable to challenge her.


Ex-Chancelor Gerhard Schröder with a case full of Money from ROSNEFT (huge oil / energy industry corporation) in the butt of the Russian bear…corruption? After his lost re-election Schröder was employed as a “Consultant”.


The German emblem “The Eagle” (also called “fat chicken”) with a Burning right wing: “Attacks on refugee centres”.


Typical German lawn gnomes…(a well-known symbol for old-fashioned, penny-pinching babbits who are close to Right-wing extremist parties). On the signs: “No mixed cultures”, “Betrayer (of the Bio-German People) go home!”, “Reichs-Gnome” (Reich = Kingdom = Nazi slang), “The Beet is Full/Crowded!”


German chancelor Merkel as a turtle

Rosenmontag am Rhein - Düsseldorf

Schulz / SPD, who was popular and caused an upturn of the SPD for a short time, failed to challenge Merkel because of his own fault. Today, the SPD (coalition partner of the CDU)lost her credibility completely and is continuously losing her supporters.

Traditional Rose Monday carnival parade in Duesseldorf

“The next one, please!” – A reminder never to underestimate chanceleor Merkel. In fact, she was able to block all of her Critics and competitors silently. On the skulls & bones the names of German politicians.


On the bear: Russia Affaire


On the sausage “Democracy”, the animal (I cannot identify): Polish goverment and the dirt: “Dictatorship”


Former communist countries Poland & Hungary shift to dictatorships led by conservative nationalists, autocrats and their supporters (right-wing extremists).

Both countries that are EU members, are critisized for not accepting a fair share of refugees.


Angela Merkel / German chancelor and the former German – American Relations. Since the election of D. Trump there is a wind of change. today, the German Government is talking About becoming more Independent and is admitting that there are competeing interests, of Course. In the past, German politicians and public media were always talking about “our friends” (the States) like using a prayer wheel.


“Rotten/ bad credits” – Banks are purging on the German tax payer, who was betrayed by the financial institutions (that caused the financial crisis, triggered by the breakdown of the Lehman bank) and then had to rescue the Banks by providing tax money.


Greece went bancrupt. The EU took over the debts of Greece and provided billions of  financial aids two times, as far as I know. A debt cancellation was no option because it would have resulted in a downgrade of the creditworthiness rating of other struggling Southern European EU members like Italy and Spain. Greece is still blaming Germany for its economic crisis because Germany insists on “Saving Money” (reduction of governmental expenses) like the German government is doing it for many years (see the Slogan on the arm of Merkel “you have to save money!”) Greece called the German politicians Nazis because of this precondition for further financial injections. Again, Germany (who is providing > 1/3 of the EU Budget) is simply the scapegoat in my view.

Actually, Greece falsified documents and balance sheets to gain the EU Membership – without Meeting the Basic requirements. Greece was living from credits and unfortunately didn´t reinvest the credit money in his infrastructure and new Industry as urgently needed. Besides, Greece is suffering from a high level of corruption and nd other money drains, such as a widely accepted tradition not to pay any taxes.

It is also critisized that the Greek People don`t take benefit of the financial aids because the Money is transferred directly to the Banks to cover at least the interest rates of the Greek (bad) credits. I think, it is true. Actually, we are rescueing again the banks only, who provided rotten credits to not creditworthy countries – speculating on the tax money of EU countries, which will step in to avoid another economic crisis. The system is completely insane!

TOP priority should be to get the financial institutions under control. Maybe these parasits should be simply nationalized. I am not willing to minimize their business risks and to secure their profits by paying taxes.


On the side of the float: Support of Banks.

Greece receives financial aids for survival but the money is forwarded directly to the wealthy elites, who don`t pay ny taxes and sabotage Greece recovery. The EU money  is rather transferred to banks abroad (see above), while the People of Greece are facing a breakdown of their HealthCare, economy, pension schemes and public infrastructure etc.

Italy could become the next candidate…As you can see, there are many provocative motifs for future floats.


The major of Dusseldorf City is hunting the head of a financial Institution based in Dusseldorf, who wants avoid taxes on profits.


German economy (Merkel) and France (ex president Sarkozy)


On the feather tail of the tiny, naked, vain cock: “Your Berlusconi (ex president of Italy) is back.”


“Refugee Graveyard – Mediterranian Sea” – On the boat: “This is the true downfall of the Occident”


The States and the Mexican migration issue.


The wave of refugees might let sink the CDU Government led by Merkel


Islamic Terror doesn`t intimidate us.


Satire cannot be killed.


The Pope Franziskus: Beating…but with dignity.


IS Terrorist calls an AfD politician (AfD = newcomer right-wing party in Germany that fuels hatred on muslims) “useful idiots”.


ex US-President Bush (Christian extremism vs Muslim extremism)


Turkish president Erdogan – not ErdoWahn ( = Erdo-delusion, writing on the turban) -who is accused to be a right-wing Islamist & autocrat, who cannot stand criticism and other opinions (he accused all kind of people – like politicians, journalists, Judges, police etc. – to be terrorists in order to silence and imprison them if required), Erdogan is causing great tensions in Germany – not only he used to Insult Germany and its reps by calling them Nazis etc. but also by alienating and taking influence on the huge Turkish community that lives in Germany (often in 3rd Generation) and becomes more & more conservative and religous. The majority of Turks in Germany (with or without German passport) seems to be more loyal to Turkey than to Germany and is critisized for supporting and cit.”loving”  Erdogan who is establishing a corrupt dictatorship in the view of many bio-Germans, who don`t understand why their Turkish neighbours love an authoritarian, islamistic autocrat, while enjoying the Benefits & prosperity of  a liberal, tolerance-based democracy with all kind of freedoms and a clear separation between religion and state/government. It is said that the Turks in Germany love Erdogan and its rude nationalism due to an inferiority complex. Besides, they think that Erdogan is responsible for the economic upswing in Turkey that was very much less developed and poor compared with Europe.  Today, Turkey is in the middle of an economic Crisis due to his high Inflation and his high Levels of governmental but also private debts.  Turkey has to ask Germany and the EU for financial support now. Among the Turks in Germany it is not tolerated to critisize Erdogan. The social pressure is high. The Turkish Government has estblsihed a Hotline – for German Turks to denunciate Turks who critisize the Turkish Government.


“Carnival for All!” … all Kind of religions including atheists.


IS and Erdogan (president of Turkey) clinking glasses with the blood of the Kurds.

The Kurds are a minority group in Turkey, who are aiming for an independent state within the borders of the former “Kurdistan” – a country that was divided after WWI and covers territory in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq.
The Kurds don`t support the Government of Erdogan and are accused to be terrorists due to their separatism.
Same time, the Kurds are successfully fighting back the IS troops – and prevent the expansion of the IS (also in direction to the Turkish territory). The Kurds are known for their bravery but suffer from high losses, very limited resources and poor Western support. Western countries namely try to maintain good relations to Turkey. Turkey is a NATO member of geostrategical importance and the EU is dependent on Turkey that blocks increasing refugee flows (coming from the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan but also from Pakisthan, Bangladesh & India).  In fact, Turkey is paid well for closing its borders. Furthermore, it is the aim of the West to avoid that Russia and China gain more influence in the European backyard utilizing Turkey as an entrance. The Kurds have to pay the bill. They are caught in between the lines of fire. Enemies like Turkey and the IS are easily agreeing on a common foe – the Kurds.

By the way, the still biggest migrant group in Germany are the Turkish people (since the 60`s/70`s) and of course, Germany gave home to a huge amount of Kurdish migrants as well…


“Cultivation of Traditions / Heritage” (writing at the side of the float) – Cardinal Meissner (a very conservative German catholic) is burning a Woman, who confessed an abortion. Abortions till the 12th week (I think) are legal in Germany. Abortions at a later stage of pregnancy require an exemption and special justification.


First suicide bomber: REALITY; second one: Chliché / stereotype.


Thousands of people attend the carnival parades, that you can watch on TV as well, every year. The party continues in bars & clubs, ballrooms or at home. Many People take holidays for a week.

Map with Carnival and Fastnacht Locations in Germany.



Helau (Dusseldorf)!  Allaaf (Cologne)! …These are the two most common Carnival Greetings.

More Rural Fastnacht

The Fastnacht with ist local rituals, fairytales and very old handmade costumes (that are forwarded from one generation to the next one) is a completely different story.

Postcard No. 4: “XANTEN” – a trip with a “TIME MACHINE” (repaired post)

Insights, Reisen, Travel

Various independent tribes, the Roman legions & settlers, the Vikings, different Noble Houses and Churches, Napoleon Bonaparte & friends, the Nazis & enemies…whoever was on the move in the course of the centuries, all of them seem to have passed through XANTEN…and left marks.

“Salve Amici”,

Greetings from XANTEN in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany… XANTEN, a city that can be traced back to first settlements of independent tribes built in 2,000 BC!

Around 15 BC the Roman castrum or camp Vetera was created on the Fürstenberg near modern-day Birten. It was intended as a base for campaigns into Germanica and until its destruction during the Revolt of the Batavi in 70 AD, it was occupied by 8,000 to 10,000 legionaries, and was the main base of the Classis Germanica.

After the destruction of Vetera a 2nd camp became established at the Bislicher Insel, named Castra Vetera II, which became the base camp of Legio VI Victrix. A nearby created settlement, which was inhabited by 10,000 to 15,000 former legionaries and others, was given the rights of a colonia in 110 AD by the Roman emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus, who renamed the town Colonia Ulpia Traiana. Xanten was the 2nd biggest Roman base in Germanica Inferior following Colonia Agrippinensis (today’s Cologne).

+++ As you can see, the entire city of Xanten is breathing history! +++

And of course,  you shouldn´t leave Xanten without visiting one of the biggest
Archaeological Park and open air museums in the world. The hilarious open air museum was built at the site of the Roman settlements Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The parc showcases various 1:1 reconstructed Roman Buildings (temples, a hostel, houses for living & bathing etc.), towers, weir systems, walls and the popular Amphitheatre.

Furthermore, you`re invited to visit various themed Pavillons, like “Bread & Circuses: Galdiators & Bears”, “Caesar, Senate and The People – Governors & governed”, “protective building on Insula 39” (an excavation site), “Travel & Traffics”, “Construction & Techniques” and so on.

The amazing parc also offers a “fun & game”s for kids & adults.  A range of familiar and unfamiliar ancient pastimes are waiting to be rediscovered in the Roman Games. Furthermore, kids can enjoy a huge adventure playground and a new water playground with a mix of fun & education.

The Roman world comes alive in the LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten. The large programme of demonstrations, festivals, themed weekends, Sunday tours, lectures and other activities to watch and join in provides many good reasons for visiting the ancient city.


The history of Xanten is very colourful and an exciting thriller. For instance the town and its catholic convent was raided by the “Norsemen” (Vikings) in year 836 like other cities along the river Rhine. Maybe it was Ragna, Lagertha and Rollo, who dropped by and said Hello…?

In the 5th century the Franks built the medieval town Xanten, where mythical Siegfried of Xanten was born according to the Nibelungen Saga. No, unfortunately you cannot bath in dragon blood in Xanten but maybe you like to attend the Siegfried Spectacle to watch scenes of the Niblungen Saga? Or do you prefer to visit the Siegfried Museum?

It is impossible to share Xantens history – that left many marks – in a few lines…Xanten is a living memory and true treasure.

Other attractions to keep you busy in Xanten include the impressive medieval town centre with Xanten Gothic St. Victor Cathedral (constructed: 1263 – 1544! 281 yrs of construction proving the determination & stamina of the people, pls. see the high altar below), many museums (including a Jewish Museum) and large man-made lakes for various watersport activities.


XANTEN is also well-known for its events like the Xantener Sommerfestspiele (a prestigious classical music festival lasting two weeks every summer), the annual Xantener Montmartre, where artists from all over the world show their latest works, modern arts exhibitions, the Siegfried Spectacle (Nibelungen Saga open air theatre) as well as the annual German sandcastle-building Championship for instance.

As you can see, there is still a huge demand for a nice Amphitheatre!


Installation: “Car Rodeo” in the Amphitheatre of Xanten by H.A. Schulz (German Artist)

Xanten is a very popular destination for School Trips (usually lower class levels) in Germany for good reasons. The first time, I visited Xanten was an exciting one-week school trip to Xanten as well. As you can see, I never forgot this trip…and still possess a passion for history despite working for technology ventures my entire professional life.


If you like to travel with a “TIME MACHINE”, simply stop over in XANTEN!

“Ave, Amici!”

Further Impressions of the LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten as an appetizer:

Modern Arts Festival – Car Wars
Historical Festivals
Roman Hostel with Herb Garden
Roman Interiors
Bathing House

Poem No. 99: “Five Directions to My House” by Juan Felipe Herrera, born 1948

Gedichte, poems

1. Go back to the grain yellow hills where the broken speak of elegance
2. Walk up to the canvas door, the short bed stretched against the clouds
3. Beneath the earth, an ant writes with the grace of a governor
4. Blow, blow Red Tail Hawk, your hidden sleeve—your desert secrets
5. You are there, almost, without a name, without a body, go now
6. I said five, said five like a guitar says six. 

Poem No. 93: “Hearthside” by Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Gedichte, poems, Reisen, Travel
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Half across the world from me
Lie the lands I’ll never see-
I, whose longing lives and dies
Where a ship has sailed away;
I, that never close my eyes
But to look upon Cathay.
Things I may not know nor tell
Wait, where older waters swell;
Ways that flowered at Sappho’s tread,
Winds that sighed in Homer’s strings,
Vibrant with the singing dead,
Golden with the dust of wings.
Under deeper skies than mine,
Quiet valleys dip and shine.
Where their tender grasses heal
Ancient scars of trench and tomb
I shall never walk: nor kneel
Where the bones of poets bloom.
If I seek a lovelier part,
Where I travel goes my heart;
Where I stray my thought must go;
With me wanders my desire.
Best to sit and watch the snow,
Turn the lock, and poke the fire.

Postcard No. 27: LISBON – The Stunning Cult Bar “Pavillon Chinoise”

arts, Insights, Kunst, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

When I entered the Pavillon Chinoise in Lisbon together with a few colleagues, I laughed out loud… I was simply not prepared – nobody gave me the slightest hint what to expect.

Crossing the door sill you enter another world – No… another universe with a milkstreet of planets filling 5 rooms of the former grocery store.

The Pavillon Chinoise is namely a true treasure bazaar. It gives home to numerous planet-like collections of thousands (or millions?) of art pieces of all kinds, aircraft, miniatures, military artifacts, trains, cars, ships, dolls, masks, mugs – and much more treasures dated in the period: 18th – 20th century.

You are overwhelmed and do not know where to look first. Not surprisingly, I am not able to share any information about food & beverage quality that is offered in this charming cult-bar with its cosy living room atmosphere. Who cares if you are busy with marveling at all the inspiring eye-candy that invites you to have a chat not only with your friends but also with strangers? This overabundance needs to be jointly digested.

Yes, I can definetely confirm the statement of the bar manager that guests usually return to the crazy Pavillon Chinoise that secretly seems to wink at you… Actually, I immediately had the same idea that I have to spend more time over there in order to rummage a little bit and to explore this hidden universe in more details.

The amazing PAVILLON CHINOISE is definetely a MUST-SEE in Lisbon!

The Bar Counter
The Aviation Room
The Front Room

Pavilhão Chinês

Rua Dom Pedro V
1250-093 Lissabon

Highlights info row image

+351 21 342 4729

Poem No. 92: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Gedichte, poems, Reisen, Travel
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Poem No. 88: “Traveling Again” by Du Fu (杜甫, 712-770)

Gedichte, poems, Reisen, Travel

I remember the temple, this route I’ve travelled before,
I recall the bridge as I cross it again.
It seems the hills and rivers have been waiting,
The flowers and willows all are selfless now.
The field is sleek, and vivid, thin mist shines,
On soft sand, the sunlight’s colour shows it’s late.
All the traveler’s sorrow fades away,
What better place to rest than this?