Thursday, December 25, 2008

Skywatch Friday

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View from my parents' house this afternoon.

More skies at the Skywatch Friday meme

Christmas

In Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December. Usually, we decorate the tree in the afternoon, then eat dinner and after dinner the presents are opened. Many people eat just a very simple dinner, like sausages with potato salad or cold roastbeef. The 25th and 26th are the days for visiting relatives (and the anual family rows). Since my grandparents are dead, we spend those days at home, taking walks, enjoying our presents and each other's company - Christmas is the only time in the year when I can visit my parents (although they come and visit me in Hamburg, too).

Here's our tree
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It's a family tradition to decorate the tree with sparklers and burn them before we open our presents - less dangerous than real candles and just as pretty.

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Our nativity scene, it's older than me and another family tradition. The sheeps don't match and the angel on top doesn't belong to it originally, but has managed to become a part of it when I decided as a child that the scene needed an angel. It's my job to set it up, my dad decorates the tree (this year, he cut the cable of the light string by accident...could be easily repared though). My mom is the official Buyer of Christmas Ornaments.

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Our pyramid: the Holy Faily is in the middle and the shepherds on top and the Three Kings below are circling them. The whole thing is moved by the hot air from the candles. It's something you see in many German households.
The bearded guy behind it is a nutcracker, the little red-robed fellow a Raeuchermaennchen.

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I saw that little angel in a shop and I knew i had to get it for my mom.We both love figurines, stuffed toys ect. with that kind of face: little dots for eyes and a big goofy grin.

This will be my next My World Tuesday post, I'm a bit early ;)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

home for Christmas

I'm at my parent's house for Christmas, in Luedenscheid. It's a small town in the Sauerland, near the Ruhrgebiet (Rhine-Ruhr-Area). Here's the view from my window, taken a few minutes ago
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This house looks like a children's drawing, it's cute. The guy lights it like that every year :) Click on the photo for a better view.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Camera Critters

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A newly hatched Brown-Banded Bambooshark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). This is the egg:

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More critters over at the Camera Critters meme!

Monday, December 15, 2008

MyWorld Tuesday

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This photo was taken in Bergedorf, a district in the East of Hamburg. It's a pumpjack for petroleum and when I first saw it, I was totally surprised because I had no idea that there were petroleum deposits here (and it's news to many people born in Hamburg, too). There are quite a few of those pumpjacks in that area, so it must be profitable. But it's still a weird sight for Hamburg, just about the last thing I would have expected.

Explore other people's world over at MyWorldTuesday

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Today's Flowers

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Cactus flowers, photo taken at the conservatory of the Botanical Garden in Hamburg

I played around with this photo and GIMP and got this:
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More flowers over at the Today's Flower meme

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Camera Critters

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This is Leopold. Hagenbeck's oldest giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea). He's about 100 years old and he loves to get his head and neck scratched, like most giant tortoises. He stands up real straight and makes his neck as long as possible. It's probably an instinctive reaction because giant tortoises let themselves be cleaned from parasites ect. by birds in the wild, but he definitely enjoys it.

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sunbathing
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How do you find mating tortoises in the wild? You follow the loud noise. Tortoises are really, um, vocal when they mate because it's such hard work for the male (especially when the female keeping running away, as this one did, so no little Leopolds).

More animals over at the Camera Critters meme

Monday, December 8, 2008

MyWorld Tuesday: Trude

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This is Trude. She's the cutting shield of the tunnel boring machine that was used to cut the new tunnel under the Elbe opened in 2002. At that time, Trude was the biggest of her kind. The name means Tief Runter Unter Die Elbe = Deep Down Under the Elbe.

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Trude weighs 380 metric tons and is over 14 metres high. When I stand next to her, I always imagine that she'll start to roll from her platform at any moment.

There's more info on Trude here, in German though.

Keep traveling round the world over at MyWorld Tuesday

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Camera Critters

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Why do I post a photo of a piece of fish poop? Because it's my favourite invertebrate at Hagenbecks Tierpark and because almost no-one else seems to realize that it's alive. It's a sea cucumber.

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Here it's stretching out its tentacles to sift through the gravel for food.

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That pebble seems to be particularly tasty.

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And it goes on to the next one.

I got to pet a much bigger sea cucumber at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (they have a touch pool full of weird critters, very cool - ever had an abalone suck on your fingers?) and they are not slimy at all but feel like velvet, very soft. It tentacled my fingers and didn't want to let go. Then it pooped in front of a group of fascinated first-graders. *g*
Some sea cucumbers can regurgitate their internal organs when they are attacked as a defensive mechanism. They just grow new ones and can go without feeding for months. They are related to sea urchins and sea stars.

Here's a video of the feeding sea cucumber. The white thing moving behind the sea cucumber's head is a bristle worm.

The Camera Critters Meme has a lot of more critters to look at, go and check it out!

Photos and video published with kind permission of Hagenbecks Tierpark.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

some more snow

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A bit more serious that the first time, it started in the morning and it's still snowing, I guess it'll stay around a bit longer this time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

MyWorld Tuesday

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A view over part of the Stadtpark, the biggest public park in Hamburg, from the top of the planetarium at a height of about 55 meters (the planetarium is 65 meters high, but you can't go all the way up).

It's a good place to get a nice view over Hamburg and access to the plattform is free.
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The white tower on the left is the Heinrich Hertz-Turm. The group of buildings in the middel are the Grindelhochhäuser, the Grindel highrise-buildings. The Grindelviertel was heavily destroyed during WWII and those newly build highrise building were living spaces for many people. They are pretty much run down now and badly in need of refurbishment.

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Here you can see part of the Alster and the city hall (the second tower from the right) as well as a few of Hamburg's big churches.

Take a tour around the world over at MyWorld Tuesday