Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Window shopping

I had time before my train to Graz to go for a walk in Munich. Window displays in Germany are always professional and interesting to look at. If this display of socks didn't make you want to buy some, what would?
Octoberfest is soon and the shops are full of Dirndls and other traditional south German clothing. In Munich it is not unusual to see women wearing Dirndls but even in Hamburg you can buy them in the shops in the lead up to October.

Travelling south

The journey between Hamburg and Graz takes over 13 hours so it helps to have pleasant company. I had a delightful child drawing pictures opposite me. 
We were somewhere between Wurzburg and Nurnberg when the train slowed then stopped at a village siding. Over the intercom came the voice of the conductor.
"As you can see we have stopped", she said. ”I will let you know what is happening as soon as I know.”
A few minutes later she told us there had been fire and a power failure and all trains had stopped.
“I have asked the driver to unlock the doors so you could get out and have a smoke. I'll whistle when you have to get back on and in the meantime I will keep you informed.”
A lot of people still smoke in Germany and they all climbed out to light up or have a bit of a stretch.
About an hour later we were whistled back onto the train and set off back to Wurzburg where we took an alternate route to Nurnberg then caught another train to Munich. I was too late to catch the last train to Graz but a friendly woman at the Rail Service Point booked me into a hotel nearby.
“Have a good sleep” she said, “and don't forget you get a free breakfast in the morning. Your train to Graz will leave at 10.07 from Platform 13.”
As I was leaving her boss appeared. He gave her a big hug and said "Thank you so much for working far beyond the call of duty” then slipped into the seat she vacated.
“I've worked over ten hours” she told him looking pleased at his praise.
What a worker, I thought, pleasant and unflappable in the face of queues of tired passengers even after 10 hours work. No wonder her boss treasures her.

The Hotel she had chosen was the Grafik Elephant a few steps from the station. It's bright painted facade stood out among brick and concrete neighbours. The room was small but welcoming and the bed comfortable.  I slept as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Matjes Herring

Matjes Herring is one of my favourite foods and the closer to the sea you get in Germany, the fresher the herrings.
This was my meal at a Hamburg inner city fish shop. The (very tender) herrings were accompanied by a baked potato smothered in apple/onion Mayonnaise which tasted much better than it looks. And a beer of course.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Boots 'n' Shoes

Hamburg shops are full of new winter wares, like these boots...
even though the country is in the grip of a heat wave (30C today in Hamburg.)

I had packed for autumn not high summer, so I was shopping for light summer shoes, not boots. Next week is forecast to be 16C so the boots might start selling.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hamburg Town Hall

The Hamburg Rathaus (town hall) sits on one side of the town square, on the other side is a coffee shop where you can sit, watch people go by and paint (the town hall).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Green as green

You forget how green green can be when you live in Australia. You remember again when you visit Germany.

Hamburg sun

Seven and a half flying hours from Sydney to Singapore, 12 hours from Singapore to Frankfurt, five hours by train from Frankfurt airport to Hamburg-Rissen. It is a glorious day in Hamburg after lots of rain and the sun is shining through open doors and windows.
I don't know if it is the sun or the 6 hours I spent relaxing in a transit hotel room in Singapore, but I am still feeling okay at 4pm. Probably the latter. If I come straight through without the Singapore stop it is a struggle to stay awake after about 2pm.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Garden in August.

The Camellias in the garden are so tall that I don't see the flowers until they drop from above.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Victa and I

Old Victa Twostroke and I just mowed the lawn; a hot job even on a cool day like today. He has repaired exhausted to the garage and I am having a cup of tea.
(The earplugs are sitting on a tray I made in a Dunedin painting class several years ago.)

Monday, August 08, 2011


Act 1 of Richard Strauss's opera Capriccio which I saw at the Sydney Opera House on 27 July. It was a discussion about the relative merits of poetry, music and opera. Very clever and funny and definitely worth venturing out on a cold winters night.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

White Music

White Music is a piece made from ceramic and wood.
Detail of White Music
The pieces in a collaged work like this often have diverse origins. I fired the ceramic notes at Otago Art School in 2008 and found the wood in a workshop bin at Sydney's National Art School in 2011.