Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Bertradaburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

We made a trip to Eifel, in the middle of April, 2021, in western region of Germany. It was a day trip and a pleasant drive to the Bertradaburg and back. Germany was still having Covid19 restrictions. So, we could not go inside and experience the castle.

Seeing it from outside was equally enthralling. Bertradaburg is set on a hill about 348m above sea level. Could not believe that the weather turned cold and rather cloudy. It added a sombre atmosphere to the locales of ruined castle.

The existence of the Castle is dated to be in the 13th century. There are archaeological findings of earlier construction too at the site. 

The twin towers of the main entrance rise up to a height of 30 m., can be seen from far and they draw one to go near...

The nine owners of this castle received a grant from the State to renovate the the twin towers and the interiors.

Beautiful views of the countryside and the picturesque villages from the hill top can be seen. 

It was a cold yet beautiful day and the visit was equally interesting. I love all things historical, what better than a castle on a hill top!

It is worth taking out the time and making the effort to see the Bertradaburg.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Fonte Nova at São Bras de Arpotel, Faro, Algarve, Portugal

 Fonte Nova meaning a new source (of water in this case) or new fountain:

We have been staying in the heart of the old town of São Bras de Arpotel for a week now and saw the directions to Fonte Nova a few times but hadn't visited it. Yesterday, after a late lunch decided it was time to give my lazy legs some exercise and also find out what it is. 

We have seen sign boards called Fonte while on our travels through  Algarve and came to understand that though the literal translation could be a fountain, it can also apply to a ground water source such as a spring, or a well or a stream.

2014 was the centenary  year of São Bras de Arpotel Municipality, established in 1914. As part of centenary celebration, the new fountain, landscaping around the fountain, the clothes washing space, the covered tanks etc. were built. 

Fonte Nova is situated at the edge of the old part of São Bras de Arpotel. From there the road goes winding down. 

Earlier, people would take their washing to a water source and wash their clothes. Traditional way of washing was to soak the clothes in soap water or wet the garment and  apply soap and hit the garment on a flat stone slab. Stone slabs  are built for a standing person and a small tank for water for every Washerman. In the centre is a long high tank of water and on either side are these stone slabs for washermen.

People visit as part of tourist attraction or a place to spend with kids or for a picnic. It also lends itself for small events with the sound of water in the background. 

The views are spectacular from the spring and from the washing area, that of mountains in the distance, dotted with houses. Located on the slope looks down into the valley, the place is serene and pretty.  

I am going to spend some more time there, perhaps sketching o reading a book or on a cloudy day, sit on a wooden bench under a tree and enjoy the views. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Himmelbeet, an inspiring community garden for everyone in Berlin

I pass this place on my daily walk. So, one day, i just went in to check what it was. Himmelbeet is a community garden on the intersection of Leopaldplats and Ruheplatzstasse, in the heart of Berlin's Wedding area. That was a few months back. Although I had seen it from inside I still didnot know what and who it was for. The other day, i made it my business to go and find out. This is what I came to know. I am so glad I took out time; it is such a beautiful concept and the place is so well maintained.
Hummelbeet is a social enterprise. This community garden is seasonal, open from April to October; from morning till late evening.
It is open to everyone. You can volunteer, you can hang out, you can meet people, you can learn about plants and vegetables etc. there is no entry fee, no charges. 
There are about 30 people who are m aintaining this community garden centre. Part of the funding is by the state and rest is raised by the sale of greens and vegetables, seedlings, rent of the planter boxes etc. There are different groups incharge of Build, garden, events, finance etc.

Once you enter, on the left is a huge bulletin board giving information on all the activities and events that take place there. Past this the very attractive information and sales point.
There is nothing as refreshing as a bowl of fresh salad. Fresh greens and salad is picked and stored in the refrigerator, everyday.
It is sold to from the Information and sales counter. You can also pick any combination of the greens that you like. They will weigh it and give you. Is not it simply super!!!
Along with greens, they also cultivate fresh mushrooms.

Himmelbeet grows seedlings and they are also for sale. They use half the area for their plants.
All the dry and wet garbage from the garden goes into composting. They started warm composting recently. 
Thursdays are open pizza days. They built a Pizza oven recently. One can take one's dough, toppings and bake their own pizza and eat in the garden. How nice is it!!!

They have an interesting building made of wood and packing crates and it is a restaurant and canteen; is open from 2 pm on weekdays and from 11 am on weekends. You can get beer, soft drinks, coffee, and salads..

A sand pit for the kids to play and assorted eco friendly seating for the adults. The furniture is either donated or made on site with packing boxes or wooden pellets.
There is space for music events and such. On weekends you will see sizeable crowd enjoying the music in the lush green surroundings.
There is a workshop for building the furniture, planter boxes, trellises or anything else they may need for the garden. Everything is made or up-cycled right there.
An interesting restroom complex in the corner, blending naturally in the surroundings. Who can resist mushrooms and fresh greens for a salad? not me. 
 Wednesdays are exclusively for volunteers. Anyone wants to volunteer, can go at 2 pm and work on the current project.
You can spend one whole day soaking in the smells and ambience of the herbs, vegetables, plants, flowers and like-minded people. Himmelbeet is environment friendly and ecologically sustainable, a getaway in the middle of the bustling city.

Bertradaburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

We made a trip to Eifel, in the middle of April, 2021, in western region of Germany. It was a day trip and a pleasant drive to the Bertradab...