29 August 2011

The end of the line: Kirchheim

In order to soothe our museum fatigue, we figured we'd spend the second half of our day using our train passes to go as far as we could on the S1 in one particular direction, so off we went to Kirchheim unter Teck.

Turns out the town centre includes lots of old-style buildings, which I'm obviously already in love with. So touristy pictures abound! In fun news, we also saw a really weird slug. The end.

28 August 2011

Mercedes-Benz Museum

The shops may be closed on Sundays, but it seemed that one half of Germany was out and about on their bicycles, and the other half joined us at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

I'll start with the first confession: we couldn't make it all the way through this museum. It's really long. But this is not to say that it's boring; it's probably the best museum I've ever been to. We'll definitely go back and do the second half some other time.

Here are some random interesting facts...

Karl Benz was supported greatly by his wife Bertha Benz, both financially and with the nitty-gritty of developing and improving his invention.

Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler both worked on automobile inventions at the same time, but never met each other. Benz focused on engines and cars, whereas Daimler wanted to power every kind of vehicle, including boats and aeroplanes. Daimler worked closely with Wilhelm Maybach.

The placing of the steering wheel moved from centre, to the outer side of the road to see the side better, to the inner side of the road to see oncoming traffic better. The placing of the pedals was random for quite some time and standardised much later.

The adoption of the automobile gave rise to tourism as we know it today, and the economies of some places became based on this industry.

The Mercedes brand was named after the daughter of businessman Emil Jellinek, a rather interesting character—...when he was 17, his parents found him a job as a clerk in a Moravian railway company, [where he] lasted two years ... before being sacked when the management discovered that he had been organising train races late at night.

The shape of the car had to evolve from something that was a copy of a horse carriage to the longer and lower shape we know today in order to improve steering and safety.

...and much much more. To be continued I guess!

The second and final confession is that there are way too many pictures in this slideshow.

Picture street

Well folks, here we are. This is Germany. Guten Morgen.

There's much to say, and also not really. Frankfurt airport was the worst, but at least people stop at zebra crossings here, and 90% of shoes in shoe stores aren't frightening.

Yes, inevitably this will be a Japan comparison, at least for some time. Or maybe just until I receive my luggage. Needless to say it wasn't sent overnight, as it would have been in Japan. Whine whine whine, I know.

The good and the bad of everyone speaking German instead of Japanese is that we can catch some of it. Good. Can we reply or ask a question? No, bad. So we have more of a clue but no way to prove it. Because even when you try to remember a German word, the Japanese one comes to mind. Thanks, brain.

Below are two clips from yesterday when we went hunting for a laundromat. Which we found. The old lady there was very nice. Similarity: old people generally speak no English, but are super nice. Anyway, these two streets make you want to move into a cute little German house and breed.

19 August 2011

More book procrastination

Now that the box of books I'd like to send to Germany—once we have an address!—is just about ready, I have to start packing everything back into boxes that will have to be stored for another undecided amount of time. The books below are some I bought at a sale of the J.S. Gericke some years ago. I opted to just make a few scans of the pictures I like, so the books can stay right here.

For some encyclopaedic knowledge of man, the animal kingdom, etc.: Die Afrikaanse Kinderensiklopedie: Deel I, onder redaksie van Dr. C.F. Albertyn. Nasionale Boekhandel, Bpk., Kaapstad, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, 1959.

For a million-and-one diagrams of bodies of different shapes and the clothes they supposedly should wear: Clothes Make Magic, by Emmi Cotten. E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, 1956.

For everything possibly related to dressing yourself: Dress: The Clothing Textbook, Third Ed., Eleanor J. Gawne & Bess V. Oerke. Chas. A. Bennett Inc., Peoria, Illinois, 1969.

And as a final homage to people like my one grandmother who had a degree in home economics: Good Housekeeping Book of Needlework, by Wyn Munro. Ebury Press, London, 1966.

11 August 2011

Let's forget about catching up

Or chronology, or any of that nonsense, and go get our stuff out of storage, recall that we inherited or bought or collected lots of awesome books, and take pictures of them!

The slideshow below includes some shots of, amongst others:

A day in the life of South Africa, published in 1982 as an independent project.

[This book] takes one ordinary day, Wednesday 26th May, 1982, and through the lenses of thousands of photographers, it brings you South Africa, as seen by South Africans.

Tales from the Malay Quarter, recorded and retold by I.D. du Plessis, translated into English by Bernard and Elize D. Lewis, with book design and decorations by Nerine Desmond. Maskew Miller, Ltd., Cape Town, 1945.

The Malay Quarter and its People, by I.D. du Plessis and C.A. Lückhoff, with photography by E. van Z. Hofmeyr and J. Lückhoff. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town and Amsterdam, 1953.

100,000 Years of Daily Life: A Visual History, by Jacques Brosse, Paul Chaland, and Jacques Ostier, edited by Robert Laffont, and translated by Anne Carter. Golden Press, New York, 1961.

In summary, I'm a total sucker for history, historical narratives, visual history, and encyclopaedias! Yay!