Monday, September 28, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Hannoversch Muenden

On tour with my parents, we left the Harz and on our way home visited Hannoversch Muenden, a town in Lower Saxony that lies at the point where the rivers Werra and Fulda join to form the Weser. In the picture, the Werra is on the left and the Fulda on the right.
Photobucket

there are lots of old timberframe houses in the town
Photobucket
I like how crooked that one is:
Photobucket

we took a tour on the Fulda
Photobucket
a natural weir
Photobucket

there's a hanging bridge built in the 19th century
Photobucket

and a stone bridge built in 1329
Photobucket

sundown
Photobucket

sunrise
Photobucket

and we came home to a beautifully blooming cactus
Photobucket

and another colourful sundown
Photobucket

Show your world on MyWorld Tuesday!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Camera Critter: Asian Tree Frog

Photobucket

I just came across some old pictures of a pair of frogs I once kept. They were Asian Tree Frogs aka Four-Lined tree frogs, Polypedates leucomystax. The female (above) was called Sally and with a length of three inches about two times the size of her male, Linus.
Photobucket

They are not the most colourful frogs, but incredibly photogenic and I enjoyed having them. They were both wildcaught because at the time I didn't know a thing about the pet trade and wasn't aware that there even was such a thing was a wildcaught pet. These days, the majority of my pets are adopted or at lest come from a good breeder.

Both Sally and Linus called, which is unusual for tree frogs - but none of them called loudly, which is another reason why I liked them so much. Most tree frog species have really loud voices and you do not want to keep them in your apartment.
They were with me for six years after I already got them as adults and then died of old age.
Photobucket

This is a Camera Critters post, maybe you want to play too?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Quedlinburg part 2

Here's the second part of the Quedlinburg visit (part one.
We visited the abbey, it gives you a very nice view of the town
Photobucket
Photobucket

It has been turned into a museum, showing exhibits from the daily life of the women who lifed there. They were not nuns, since they didn't take vows. They were allowed to leave, for example to get married and often they were widowed women who chose to retire to such an abbey in order to live a protected life.

Photobucket
I would have loved to try on that slipper.

portable toilet, medieval style
Photobucket

Photobucket
the living quarters of the abbess

Photobucket
I used to think that canon balls exploded on impact until I saw "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson, where you can see very drastically what happens when a simple stone ball fired from a canon hits a group of soldier...

Photobucket
that thing is called a Raubgrafenkasten (robber knight box) - it's said to have been the prison for a robber knight in 1337. It's not really known if that's true or not, but such prison cells were used. The door was about the right size for a 10 year old child and the window is the only one and this is a prison for a person of high standing. A good reason for not coming into conflict with the law on your next time travel.

Photobucket
on route to our next destination, we passed the Kyffhaeuser. Excuse the bad quality, I took that picture from the car. The monument you see on top is in honour of Wilhelm I, the first German Emperor. I've always wanted to see that mountain because of the myths that are told about it: the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany Barbarossa (the name means Red Beard) is said to sit in a hall under that mountain, asleep until he is needed again to restore Germany to it's former greatness. His beard is already so long that it has grown through the table. From time to time he wakes and sends one of his knights to check whether ravens are still flying around the Kyffhaeuser. As long as there are, he will continue to sleep.
Of course there are many other versions of that myth, for example the one told about Arthur, King of England - but I've always liked that detail with the beard.

Travel around the world with MyWorld Tuesday

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Burgers Zoo: Rimba

part five of the Burgers Zoo series: the Rimba and the rest of the zoo.
The Rimba groups animals from Southeast Asia, like the Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus), the smallest of all bear species. Baloo from the Jungle Book is a Sun Bear, which is most obvious when you look at his claws (the artists at Disney always make a point of watching the animals they will draw) Edit: I was wrong about this. Baloo is a Sloth bear (but they have those huge claws, too).
Photobucket
Photobucket

the bears share their enclosure with two Binturongs, am animal the size of a small dog that resembles a cross between a cat/weasle and a bear. They share a family with civets and genets.
Photobucket

a Banteng (Bos javanicus), a wild cattle species that are also kept as working animals, but they are endangered. The one in the photo is a female, the males are black.
Photobucket

a Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), a Gibbon species
Photobucket

a female Yellow-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) - the males are black
Photobucket

here's a video of them singing in the morning to mark their territory. Note how the female's song is different form the male's. The calls you hear in the background are the Siamangs.


a Sumatran Tiger
Photobucket

Burgers Zoo is well-known for it's chimpanzee group. The primatologist Frans de Waal has written a book about them and the zoo was the first worldwide to keep a big group of chimps together, the family now consists of around 15 individuals.
Photobucket

Now we leave the Rimba, but there's still more to see.
Meerkats
Photobucket
Photobucket

a Pygmy hippo
Photobucket

a Blue Duiker (Philantomba monticola), a very small antelope species, only a foot or so high
Photobucket

a warthog
Photobucket

a South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
Photobucket

a Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
Photobucket

a Black-crowned Night Heron, (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Photobucket

a Spoonbill
Photobucket

and a large family group of Coatis
Photobucket
Photobucket

they were enjoying some kind of food frozen into blocks of ice
Photobucket

I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you have the chance, visit yourself, it will be a great experience.
Check the Camera Critters meme for more great animal photos!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Quedlinburg

Photobucket
I visited my parents and we took a short holiday, touring the Harz. Much of the Harz was on East German territory and although it has been 20 years, it still obvious in the style of many buildings. You can actually tell when you have crossed the former border, which is no longer visible, just by looking at the houses (the normal ones, not the onea I'll show in this post).

Our first stop was Werningerrode, the photo shows the town hall.
I also saw a steam engine for the first time, at least one that was still operable. It goes from Werningerrode to the top of the Brocken, the highest mountain in the Harz.
Photobucket

The Harz is well known for beautiful handmade Christmas ornaments like this pyramid and nutcracker. Other than that, people used to earn their money with mining and it seems that life was very hard - there are towns that are named Elend (misery) and Sorge (sorrow).

We drove on to Quedlingburg, a beautiful town that had kept many of its timerframe buildings, some of them are 700 years old and most are carefully restored (and still lived in).
Photobucket
Photobucket
I really like that one, it looks a bit like someone drew it as a back drop, like a matte painting.

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
All those houses almost were torn down in early 1989 when the goverment of the GDR planned to replace them with a central plaza and some Plattenbauten, concrete slab buildings like those. I really don't get how anyone could even think about that. Luckily, the plan failed due to lack of money and protests from the people of Quedlinburg. A few months later, the GDR collapsed and finally money was spent to restore the buildings.

the streets are paved with cobblestones - in German you say Kopfsteinpflaster (head stone paving, which sounds a bit morbid in English ;) )
Photobucket

Photobucket
many of the houses jut forward like that - it leaves the streets reasonably broad, but you can still have that extra room in the first storey. Due to that building style, there was often very little light in the streets because the houses almost touched each other.

Photobucket
the abbey/castle and the cathedral
sundown
Photobucket

Travel around the world with the MyWorld Tuesday meme