Sun Aug 2nd, 2009 at 05:39:21 AM EST
Cross posted from Daily Kos
I am often amused by comments on DKos about Europe, and that most people in the US have little or no real understanding of how we live, and what we think. This comes up in the health care diaries, second amendment, eco etc.
A combination of circumstances - my partner adopting a coonhound, my daughter (starting her career as a pro photographer) giving me her old camera - led me to walking the dog with a Nikon in my hand, and I thought I would share the results.
The diary is about one small town in Germany - Hattingen - which sits in the heart of the Ruhr - the German rustbelt, between Dortmund, Essen and Wuppertal, but is not anything like Flint, Mi.
Fine photo diary - welcome to senilebiker - afew
Hattingen dates from the 13th century, and the original town sat within a town wall constructed in 1390 and rebuilt in parts in the early 19th century.
The town was extensively bombed during WWII,but the old town was where possible repaired or reconstructed in the traditional building methods. Over the centuries, three castles were constructed around the town. Isenberg, on a hill to the West, was built in the 12th century, and destroyed in the 13th, and only a few ruins remain. Blankenstein, on a hill to the East replaced it in the 13th century.
and in the 17th century, Haus Kemnader was built, and is now a restaurant
Hattingen sits on the banks of the Ruhr, whose hills contain both coal and iron ore, and for this reason the town entered into a period of rapid development during the industrial revolution. In the mid 1700's there were over 50 coal mines within the town boundaries, and in the mid 1800's the Henrichshuette steel works were founded, which would later make the town one of the largest steel producers in Germany. Unfortunately, the iron ore deposits were soon used up, and raw materials had to be shipped to the town by barge along the Ruhr
Disused lock on the Ruhr
However, the unreliability of this transport, too much river in Winter, not enough in Summer would have doomed the town, except for the advent of railways. The steelworks prospered, and at its height in the 1950's it employed 11,000 people in a town with a population of around 50,000. But like most of the European steel industry, the Henrichshuette was doomed to competition from lower cost countries in the far East and India, and the plant declined until its eventual closure in 1987.
Today, all that remains of a an industrial complex that filled the flood plain on the South bank is an industrial museum, based around one surviving decaying Bessemer blast furnace.
But to think of the town as an industrial wasteland would be wrong.Hattingen nestles in a set of wooded hills, and the towns elevation varies between 200 feet and 1000 feet. Surrounding the town, within walking distance are woodlands and farms, and over 20 horse stables.
a working farm and stable 2miles from the town centre
However, there are always some downsides. Hattingen is not immune to the scourges of the 21st century.
duelling fast foods
and to support my thesis that high gas prices are not the end of the world
Gas prices June 09
and that is Euros/litre, around $7 per gallon.
Hoping you enjoyed sharing this and more photos can be found here
Hat tip to Ed at tech for help in sorting out the html.
Update - on the rec list on my first trip here. Thanks everybody