Archive for November, 2007

Green Woodpecker

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Last Sunday, André and I observed an interesting visitor in our garden: a green woodpecker (Grünspecht). Unlike “normal” woodpeckers, they mostly search for food on the ground, where they forage for ants, earthworms etc.. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get really close with my camera, so the quality of the images is not the best, but this is what we saw through the living-room window. (As usual, click for a bigger version.)

I think they look even more vibrant than the more common great spotted woodpeckers (Buntspechte) we have here, but I just found out that there are a lot of different kinds of woodpeckers, some of which have even more colourful plumage.

Physics is fun!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

I’m incredibly busy and buried in work right now, but what physics teacher could pass up such a wonderful link? Crayon Physics Kloonigames (“Monthly Experimental Games”). There is a ball and a star, and the goal is to get the ball to the star – by drawing physical objects that fall down, rotate or do other things. I watched the videoclip, and I really have to try it out once I’ve got time.

Link via Lehrerzimmer. Danke, Herr Rau!

A day in Trier

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

On October 6th I went to Trier for the day with a friend. I had never been there before, but she grew up near Trier and has been there very often, but never as a “tourist”.

We took the train from Koblenz, which goes along the Moselle most of the time. This makes for a picturesque journey, especially in the early morning when there’s some fog above the water.

We arrived in Trier, which was founded as Augusta Treverorum (“City of Augustus in the land of the Treveri”) in or before 16 BC, at 10 o’clock and started our sightseeing at the Porta Nigra, which is Latin for black gate. I think the gate originally had a different name, but has been renamed centuries ago because the stones have become black by pollution over time. (As usual, click on any photo for a bigger version.)

We then strolled through the city centre, much of which is a pedestrian area nowadays. Here’s the beautiful market place with the St. Gangolf church in the morning.

And the view to the right.

We went on to see the cathedral Dom St. Peter. Here’s the front side; note the different towers. Building of the cathedral beganin 326 AD, so it is considered the oldest church in Germany. Of course, it has been renovated, changed and in parts rebuilt since then. Note that at some point it was decided to add another floor to the right tower, but not the left. The Liebfrauenkirche is adjacent to the right of the cathedral.

Next, we spent a few hours visiting one of the exhibitions about Constantine the Great.

Afterwards we went to see the Konstantinbasilika (Constantine Basilica), a really beautiful building inside and out that was built in 310 AD. It is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times.

The inside used to be heavily decorated with marble plates, but is very plain now.

Nowadays the basilica sits right next to a rococo palace, the Kurfürstliches Palais. Incidentally, the palace now houses part of the Rhineland-Palatinate administration, namely the public authority that is responsible for schools (Aufsichts- und Dienstleistungsdirektion, ADD). Wouldn’t you like to have your office in this building?

There are some other Roman artifacts in Trier, namely the Roman Baths and the Amphitheatre, which we just saw from the outside. Here’s a photo of the latter.

By this time it was somewhat late in the afternoon, and we decided that we had done enough sightseeing for the day. We went back to the pedestrian area to go shopping and have dinner, then took the train back to Koblenz.

Bike tour along Moselle and Rhine

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Hm, no posts for almost a month… Looks like I’ve been too busy during the autumn holidays and since. Let’s play catch up with a few photos here…

On September 23rd, Andre and I decided that we simply had to make the most of the beautiful weather and went on a bike tour of almost exactly 80 km (50 miles). We went downhill to the Moselle from our home, then rode along the river up to Koblenz, where the Moselle flows into the Rhine at the Deutsches Eck. We continued along the Rhine to Boppard, from where we took a train back up the hill to Emmelshausen, the nearest train station from home.

Click on the photos for a bigger version.

View into the Moselle valley. The town on the river is Brodenbach.

The Marksburg above Braubach, seen from the opposite bank. It is one of the few castles in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley that has never been destroyed. The chimneys to the right belong to an old mine, by the way.

Coming soon: photos from my excursion to Trier and André’s and my almost-but-not-quite 100 km (62 miles) hike on the Rheinsteig along the Rhine.