Duisburg Landschaftspark Nord – the other sort of monument

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October 3rd was German Reunification day. As it was a public holiday I had the day off. Supringly enough Michael had the day off too. But even more surpring was the fact that it was bright, sunny and warm. So we decided to go on a little trip. After some thoughts we decided to go to Duisburg’s Landschaftspark Nord. I had been there before as I studied in Duisburg. But the last time I went there was about 9 years ago. And it was a good choice to go.

The Landscape Park Duisburg Nord extends over a wast area and celebrates the industrial heritage of the Ruhr region. The industrial facilities at the centre of the 1905 opened complexhave been put to a wide variety of uses after the closing of the facilites in 1985. Since the opening of the park in 1994 the huge buildings of the former ironworks have been equipped to cater for cultural and corporate functions. For example the ore storage bunkers have been turned into a alpine climbing garden. After tearing down many side building a huge part of the area has been turned into a more or less landscaped park. This was super beautiful in the sun and all the autumn colours.

The buildings are a bizarre mixture of tubes with lots of rusting metall. But to tell the truth in a weird kind of way the green anti-rust paint together with the red rust blend together perfectly with all the green that is now growing in between. Nature is taking over again. It is a cool and yet apocalyptic area. One of the three blast furnaces which have been preserved today, blast Furnace 5, is accessible for everyone. You can climb it on outside stairs. It helped to know that shortly before the closure of the works it was given a complete overhaul and is therefore in a good state of preservation. I actually made it all the way up this viewing tower. And I tell you, the views are spectacular: green and industry going hand in hand as far as the eye can see. A bizzare sight. But this thing is high. And I’m not the one for heights even though I always enjoy the view. But I was surpringly brave as you might see on the picture.

If you are in the region and want to see something different, this is your place to go. By the way, one of the best things is: this place is free. So you can just go and explore!

Welcome to fairy land: Sintra in Portugal

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One place we definitively wanted to visit was Sintra. Ulrike and I even skipped one surf lesson to have a whole day to go there. I’ve been to Sintra before in 2011 but as we knew we had only seen one tiny bit we decided to go to a different palace this time. Because there are just so many of them in this “fairy tale , we just build everything that we have in mind, Romantic styles, the king lives here in summer so everyone else wants to be here too Disneyland”.

But let me first tell you about getting there. We got there by car and even though it is a massive tourist attraction they just have the car park spots they have: mainly along the street. We were super lucky to get a spot not too far away from the National Palace. For the fact that parking lots are sparse parking doesn’t cost much: 50 cents per hour. Having to pay for a ticket was far better than last time. I still remember when we went to the Palacio National da Pena and parked in a parking spot for pregnant women, always worrying that our car would be gone when we came back and joking that actually nobody could know that not one of us would be pregnant…

First we want to see the Palacio Nacional with its famous huge white chimneys. When we arrived there the weather was still quite bad. It had just rained before we arrived and fog was hanging low in the mountains. We had to queue to get our tickets and then to get into the palace as well. It basically seemed to be the favourite with all the bus tours. Inside it was a really nice palace but just too many people. By the way: remember my complaint in Alcobaça about the empty rooms? Here many rooms came with furniture, paintings and exact description of what the room was used for and how it was furnished. It was super interesting. Amazing were also the many wall paintings.

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After we left the palace the fog had cleared away and it was pretty sunny. We went down the stairs, left and through a doorway. This paths leads you up to a parking lot of the police inside the palace but also on a small round way around the palace were you see the not so well perserved parts and have a wonderful view over the valley beneath Sintra. Next we checked the tourist office which is just around the corner of the palace and had a quick lunch. Here we really realized how many tourists there are in Sintra. It was impossible to get more than decent food. We finally stopped at a bakery and had a sandwich and a pie.

But then came the best part of the day: we walked to new place. the Quinta da Regaleira. This is a once private house with an amazing garden. We barely managed to buy our tickets before it started to rain heavily. Luckily we made it to one of the garden structures relatively quick and didn’t get too wet. So that after the rain had stopped we could visit the house which was already quite impressive. The architect here built what ever came to his mind in all the details and in every style possible, it seemed. He used to be an opera designer and seemed to have really clicked with his  employer, a coffee tycoon from Brazil. The house with its interior was super impressive. So we were already quite awed when we left the house. But then we realised that our parking time was up. And because noone had scanned or further checked our tickets at the entrance, we left the properties, renewed the parking ticket and went back in without any problems.

Good that we renewed our ticket because then we spend time in the park. It is like a little fairy tale world. Towers, medieval looking structures, a 30m deep well that you can climb, tunnels, grottos, a tiny waterfall. It was just so cool. I would love to have the park to myself or for a few friends and play a game here, something like role playing. That would be so cool!

Over all, Sintra was once again absolutely worth the visit and actually, if you are into fairy tales and gardening then go and visit the Quinta da Regaleira. It was far more worth the visit than the National Palace to be honest, even though the palace was nice too.

Yarn along 39 – 1 Christmas Dress down, 2 more to come

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I decided to downsize my project list a little and concentrate on one topic per week. I seem to have been too distracted to actually move forward with any of my projects. This why last week I finally finished christmas present no.1, the smallest dress for Michael’s nieces. I browsed ravelry many times to find a good pattern but everything I tried wasn’t just right. I even started knitting a Continue reading

Me made Mittwoch & Yarn Along 38

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It’s been a while since I last yarned along or even participated in Me Made Mittwoch. Work got in the way and then I was on holidays last week (pictures & stories to come soon). But today I’m back and want to do a Me made Yarn Along Wednesday.

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About two weeks before I went on holidays I went shopping in my lunch break. This meant as usual that I ended up in the yarn department of the nearest department store (ok, it is the only department store in all of Düsseldorf that has a yarn department…). And there I saw that many summer yarns were 50% off. Ok. I was and still am in the middle of knitting several other projects but when I saw Ashana from Schachenmayr I couldn’t help but buy some. I wanted a semi-warm summer sweater and the yarn seemed perfect for it. And after a little bit of testing I came up with a pattern I liked: overall seed stitch and overly wide shoulders which fall down to the upper arms and a bit of an relaxed positive ease.

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The sweater is worked with only two seams (on the shoulders). Everything else is knit in the round and the sleeves are picked up along the arm slits. The sweater grew quickly. I only absolutely underestimated the amount of yarn I needed. I bought 10 skeins (500g) at the beginning and it was soon clear that I needed more. I bought another 5 skeins but when I was nearly finished with the second sleeve, I realised I missed one skein. I’m still not sure if this one skein is now living somewhere under or behind our couch or if I just miscalculated. But of again I went to buy a final skein. And then to my horror they had already rearranged the whole yarn department and were now sporting winter yarns. I was already about to leave (because I hadn’t memorized the name, number and dye lot to ask, if more yarn was somewhere to be found) when I saw a sales box with lots of different yarns. And there it was, my last skein!

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So I managed to finish my by now super heavy sweater (750-800g!) sweater in just 1.5 weeks. I really like it but it is currently still far too warm to wear. After taking a picture this morning I took it off immediately. But when the summer passes I guess I will get a lot of wear out of it.