Friday, May 21, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Our town has several flock of sheep to keep the grass in our parks short in a environmentally friendly manner. Last Monday the sheep were in our neigbourhood. A flock is about 150 - 200 sheep and one shepherd and two dogs to keep them together.
It is always fun to watch them.

The sky was as much fun to watch too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday

Last week I showed some pictures of Rolduc. Today's pictures are taken only about 1500 meters from there. In the old days Kerkrade and Herzogenrath were one community, 's Hertogenrade. Most important buildings were Rolduc Abbey and the castle only a few hundred meters apart. During the Vienna Congress 1814-1815 new boundaries were formed in Europe. One of the results was that the town of 's Hertogenrade were split into a Dutch and a German part. Kerkrade in the Netherlands and Herzogenrath in Germany. Just like that and never mind the feelings of the people concerned. The new frontiere line was drawn right in the middle of a street, the Nieuwstraat (New Street) and was marked with barbed wire, poles, chicken wire etc.
What I remember as a kid after WW2 was that an aunt of mine lived in the German part of the street and for every visit we had to pass through customs and show passports.
A few decades ago with a united Europe to come the wire and poles were pulled down and low concrete frontiere was built. People who lived in the street got a special passport to cross the street both ways. In 1991 the concrete border was removed as well and no boundaries are left.

This is the Nieuwstraat now the righthand side is Dutch, the left is German
My aunt and her family lived in the house at the left. At the opposite side of the road schoolfriends of mine lived. When visiting my aunt I could not cross the border to play with them. I was not even allowed to go near the wire fence to talk to them.
Now it is just one open street as you can see.

The streetnames in both languages. The sign is placed in Germany and where I stood to take the picture is Netherlands.

There where the Dutch part of the street ends a new building was constructed about 10 - 15 years ago which accommodates German and Dutch offices. I think it is an ugly monstrous building and divides a street that onze was several kilometers long and straight. Don't know who's idea it was but I have not met anyone who is happy with it.
The house at the left is the last house of the Nieuwstraat on Dutch territory.

This picture is taken at the back of the hideous building. From there the street is German at both sides.

Friday, May 14, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Today I show you a photo I took a few days ago. In it is the only blue I have seen for almost two weeks now. If you have a close look you'll see a vague blue at the right corner. We have had only grey skies and a lot of rain recently and a temperature of 12C.

I took this picture exactly a year ago driving through the country. It was a hot and clear day. What a difference.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My World Tuesday

Today I went down Memory Lane. I went back to my birth place where I spent the first 23 years of my life. I had a happy childhood growing up in a coal mining town close to the German border. The mines are all closed down and there are few signs of mining past. The very first coal mine in Europe was at Rolduc in Kerkrade and goes way back in history. Rolduc was an abbey founded by the Augustians in the 12th century. It has a great history, has been Dutch, German, French, etc.

But this is about my memories. In my time it was a boys boarding school and a Roman Catholic seminary. I was at a girl's highschool and in those days we were not even allowed to look into a boys direction! But twice a year we had a concert at Rolduc by the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. There we were boys and girls together chaperoned and escorted by nuns and teachers. The conductor of the orchestra was Andre Rieu, yes the father of THE Andre Rieu.
Today I went back to see if much had changed. It was about 30 years since my last visit. It had changed a lot. Rolduc is partly a hotel and a conference centre now.

Please click on the picture to read the text

The maine building an oldest part

This used to be the farm belonging to the abbey. Main building and stables are reconstructed and converted into offices.

Driveway to the entrance

The total environment has been changed, modernised, it is still majestic but not as respectable as it was decades ago. It is much bigger than I can show here.
I found this airial view on the internet.

Friday, May 7, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

Sorry sky watchers I can't come up with a better picture. This is how our sky has been looking for the last few days: gray, dull almost solid gray, watery and windy.
Heater is on again and the weather forecast does not promise happier photo's in the next few days.