“Research” is a great excuse to do things. I’ve never ridden a train, unless you count the one that runs around Disneyland. And I was five years old at the time.
I’ve read about trains and seen them in movies, but since this is something I can actually experience–as opposed to, say, flying on the back of a griffin–I figure I should go ride a train.
So I’m off to ride a train today. “Book research.” Yeeessssss, that’s what we’re going to call this.
Oh, the above picture of Burg Stolpen has nothing to do with trains. Oh well.
With Memorial Day just past, I’ve been thinking of all the marks of war I’ve seen here in Germany.
My life has seemed relatively untouched by war. In living memory, the Seattle area has not been attacked by anyone. But here in Germany, and especially in Dresden, I’ve been able to get a glimpse of the effects of war.
Good things can come from war. For instance, people can become free from an oppressive leader. But there is always a cost. Every person and place involved is at least partially destroyed, and perhaps never rebuilt.
After the American firebombings at the end of WWII, the Frauenkirche in Dresden was flattened. In these photos you can see the rebuilt Frauenkirche. The light-colored stones are the new ones. The dark-colored stones are the old ones that were still useable after being identified in the rubble. Not a lot of those.
The Zwinger was also (entirely?) rebuilt. Here you can see what I think is an old recovered balustrade column next to a few new ones.
After all the years of reconstruction, which is still going on in smaller ways, Dresden is beautiful again. The Frauenkirche and the Zwinger are amazing to see if you ever get the chance.
On a lighter note, Happy Yarning!
I’m knitting away at a soft, green baby blanket whenever I get the chance. I’ll have to put up some pictures of it soon.
I think traveling is the best thing I can do to improve at inventing and writing fictional cultures.
As much as I learned about Germany from my family and language courses in school, being here has been a brand new experience.
In some ways, Deutschland is not so different from home. I’ve seen many tree-covered, rolling hills in the United States. The gas station we stopped at operated much like the ones along US freeways. Many city streets here would not be out of place in a US city.
But no one–no book, no web article–can tell you about all the little things that are totally foreign.
Like that everywhere there’s road construction they make the driving lanes super scary skinny.
Like that orange flavored Fanta is yellow.
Like that toilets flush by pressing a button, not a handle.
A fictional character encountering a new culture will not only notice large differences, but little ones. Things about the everyday objects they interact with. In fact, they may not notice large things like government system differences, unless it has a large impact on tourist life.
Anyway, just a few thoughts from Deutschland.