Beacon of neglect
This post used to have white opaque panels on the top and beamed the message to the people that here was a place to shop. It had a clock on one face, if I recall correctly, which stood still for years. Now even that is gone. Only loose wires and rust remain to remind us of someone's faded commercial plans.
The Schwarzenberg pool is not just for swimming. It offers frisbee throwing, beach volley ball, football and that eternal classic — crazy golf. The painted concrete of the golf course provided so many coloured shapes and angles, I had to take some photos.
Steel and water symmetry
Coming from the more temperate climes of northern England, I notice how popular such open air pools are in Germany. This particular one is, unfortunately, under constant threat. It is surrounded by some of the most expensive houses in Saarbrücken and it cannot be long before the property developer vultures move in.
Pirates in the waves
Public open air swimming pools are extremely popular in the Summer in Germany. The Schwarzenbergbad, the main open air pool in Saarbrücken, has just had a wall painted with a colourful mural. I assume that an an artist was contracted to paint it, but judging by the Graffiti Mile down by the Saar, I think there are plenty of good artists that would do it just for fun.
Pithead in blue
The other shots of pitheads in this blog have been of closed pits and that is pretty typical on both the French and German sides of the border. But the wheel of the pithead frame in the photo was turning as I took this shot. In Petite Rosselle, men are still risking their lungs and their lives to maintain our energy hungry civilisation.
Roundabout à la française
Following the well-signposted cycle route from the Saar to Petite Rosselle, I travelled through kilometres of woods then came to a mining village. Am I in France or Germany? The border is no more, so there are no checkpoints to cross. Within seconds you can tell which country it is. Everything is the same but slightly different. The colours of the houses are different, the use of French balconies, the way they cut their trees — and the use of roundabouts.
Unidentified fairground object
In my photographic odyssey, I have already discovered two alien life forms. In the middle of the Warndt forest straddling the Franco-German border, I found a clearing where one of their space ships seems to have landed.
This particular arachnid is to be found on the banks of the Saar. I keep imagining it will use its legs to wander off, but it always seems to be in the same place. I think it serves some function to do with controlling traffic on the river.
Pitter-patter in the forest
By the time I had got from the sunken forest to the next lake in the chain, it had started to rain. This is an attempt to capture the experience of being under the shelter of a canopy of leaves as the raindrops fall on the open lake.
The silver grey pit heap with stairs is located in the Saarbrücken Urwald, a forest that was originally used to supply the coal mines with timber. Since 1997 this forest has been given over totally to nature. Near the pit heap is a chain of small lakes, including this one, which I assume has flooded these trees in the course of mine subsidence. Or is this another mystery of the forest?
Slag heap stairs
In the middle of the wild, untended forest north of Malstatt, you will find this grey mound — a slag heap from an old mine. On the top is a rustic plaque with the following inscription:
Auf der Spitze der 91-jährigen silbergrauen Schlackenhalde des Steinbachschachts hat sich eine Betula pendula angesiedelt und beobachtet dich. Das wärs schon für den Augenblick, das muß genügen.
(On the top of the 91-year old, silver grey slag heap of the Steinbach Shaft a Betula Pendula has made its home and is watching you. That is all for the moment, it will have to be enough)
Ellen Diesel 1994
Cruising on the Saar
The inscription on the back of the boat reads "Sainte Odile - Strasbourg". I have not managed to find any information about this particular boat, but I have found that another larger one will take you on a 7-day cruise over the Mosel and Rhine to Strasbourg. That should give you plenty of time to contemplate the quaint villages and vineyards along the way. In the 19th century, a canal was built to connect the Saar with Lorraine and Alsace. A smaller boat could take this more direct route to Strasbourg, but not, I think, the Sainte Odile.
Hands and the thread of life
From the main portal of the Basilika St Johann. There are four hands in all -- missing from the photo are the hands of a baby and a middle-aged person. They were added to the portal in 1986 by the Saarbrücken born artist Ernst Alt.
Oskar kann's - Oskar can do it
Oskar Lafontaine is currently the most famous face to come from Saarland. He narrowly missed becoming Chancellor -- losing to Helmut Kohl in 1990 and being Finance Minister and party chariman in the following SPD government. He resigned from his minister's post and later quit the SPD to head a new party, die Linke (the Left). On Sunday there are elections in Lafontaine's home state, where he remains personally popular. Then we shall see if Oskar still can do it.
Four cities, Saarbrücken, Trier, Luxembourg and Metz, in three countries, have decided that they cannot compete with the dynamism of the major conurbations alone and need to pool resources to form one cross-border metropolitan area, Quattropole. A small step in the building of Quattroplole was a festival, where Mélodie Régnier, a native of Metz, could be found singing French chansons in the street café area of Saarbrücken. The MySpace page of the artist will give you an idea of the music being played.