– photographs and messages from inside the Sausurrean Bar –

Blog archives for June, 2011

Archive for June, 2011

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

The Shaker Museum at South Union

So, on our chronological trip along the route I took through the states last week, it’s still Sunday, two days to go until the conference starts, and we’re still on the Kentucky Scenic Byway on our way to Lexington – but right now we’re pulling off that Byway for a little bit, and following a sign by the roadside that said it would lead to the “Shaker Village.”

The Shaker are a religious group that formed in 18th century England, and their actual name is the “United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.” They’re commonly referred to as the ‘Shakers’ because of the extatic nature of their worship services, and apparently emigrated from England to New York in 1774.

Shaker lived a monastic, equalitarian and communitarian life together in communities they built for themselves – the one I visited in South Union,  Kentucky they lived in from 1807 until 1922. Today it is a national heritage site where you can go on a self-guided tour and learn about Shaker everyday life in the 19th century and look at what historical furnishings and buildings remain. They also have historical documents, such as diary entries written during the Civil War, which I found particularly interesting.

Here’s a quote from one:

January 22, 1862 – Scots Cavalry regiment called and expect to camp in our lots near the Office for some days. We were ordered to furnish 600 pounds of bread. There being no chance to get off, the Sisters undertook to furnish it which was completed by 3 o’clock next A.M. Poor Sisters, no sleeping done that night.

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

the secret life of jetlags, indeed

Apparently this time around it just means that you don’t sleep much, at all. I had this 5 minute window at around 8pm where I was really really tired, but since washing needed doing and senate things needed reading I ignored it and it went away quickly. Since then … I have just been wide awake, and been up and about for the last 22 hours now. It’s a little disconcerting, but I do get a lot of reading done. And I figure its going to sort itself out sooner or later, so … oh well. Also, the birds start singing at 3.20am these days, I can now report.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

the secret life of jetlags

I am back in Flensburg – have been since around 9pm yesterday, in fact. (I left from a friends’ house for the airport at 12:30 pm on Sunday, so figuring in the six hour time difference it turns out to have been a 27,5 hour trip (though interspersed with seeing other friends in Chicago during my 6 hour layover and a 3 hour nap on yet another friend’s couch in Hamburg before I drove up North). Still, a bit of a treck, one might say … on the one hand. And on the other hand, the sheer distances one can cover in a day these days never fail to amaze me. If I really wanted to, I totally could fly to the other side of the world for a dinner withsomeone on a four day weekend, and then still be back  in the office on time.

The secret remedy for jetlag seems to be to sleep 3 hours on a friends couch, then stay up for another 8 hours, sleep another 4, and then head off to the office and spend 11 hours there.  Well, we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings, but so far I am doing ok. And the ground has stopped feeling like a shaking airplane, which is always a good thing.

And since the last photos I posted were from Nashville, the photos here are from US-68 aka the Kentucky Scenic Byway, which leads you (on a meandering sort of route) from Nashville, Tennessee to Lexington, Kentucky.

Now I’ve got to go and read the documents for the senate meeting tomorrow, and see if my washing is done. No rest for the jetlagged!

Saturday, June 25th, 2011


So, while I wait for the washing machine to finish doing its magic (and resist taking another shower) – see post below – I thought I might as well catch up on myself a little and post about Nashville. I spent two days in Nashville (one more than I planned on), but on the first one of those I did not do much. I got up, went to the (Nashville) Parthenon, and then a) that thunderstorm I posted a picture off showed up and b) I was all done in. When I travel some distance westwards around the globe I am usually fine on the day I arrive and on the day after, but day three is always tough. So I decided to spend another night in Nashville and to hie back to the hotel at around 1pm. I’d originally planned on reading the one book I bought (paper book – I bought about 200 books on my Ipad), but ended up watching about 6 hours of Project Runway instead. Zapped into it, and got kind of sucked in. At least they showed a complete season, so I got to find out who won – otherwise it would have been really frustrating. So I can report that I’ve now watched more than five minutes of a casting show (if it can be considered one of those). Another first! (Like the skunk thing, but far more enjoyable).

the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville

Anyway, watched too much TV, slept, got up early on day after, feeling much better, worked some on my paper, packed car, drove back into Nashville and wandered around. Grand Old Opry – check; Ryman Auditorium – check; a gazillion tourist traps selling cowboy boots and tacky souveniers – check; also: small grey boxes on the street corners that play country music and regularly welcome you to Nashville. Those must be annoying, if you happen to live next to one of them.

All in all, I spent about 5 hours in Nashville, and then decided that I had better get a move on, and headed out of town on US-68 towards Lexington – but that’s going to be the next entry in these travel adventure reports, since my washing is done now.

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

so, skunks …

… really do smell rather intensely bad, even without a close encounter. Here’s to dormitory washing machines at 1am in the morning! And showers! Eeek. I’ve been told that it’s an acquired taste of smell … all I can say is that I: have no acquired that taste yet. (Maybe I need another shower?)


Friday, June 24th, 2011

Close encounters (of the zoom kind)


a squirrel

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The Natches Trace Parkway

road with trees

So, chronologically and geographically speaking (and blatantly disregarding the Horse Country photograph), the last time I posted I was about to leave Memphis for Nashville, via a detour on the Natches Trace Parkway. (Achieved by heading down via Mississippi into Alabama on US-78 to Birmingham and then up on the Natches Trace Parkway to Nashville).

According to the US National Park Service, the Natchez Trace Parkway is “a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history.  Used by American Indians, ‘Kaintucks,’ settlers, and future presidents, the Old Trace played an important role in American history.” The scenery is definitely beautiful there, and I think you get a good feeling for the layout of the land – far better than on one of the big interstates. I’ve found that I prefer to spend my time driving on the smaller country roads and investigating small villages to spending time in the tourity bits of the big cities – the same thing happened to me last year when touring the West Coast, but this growing preference of mine is only recently becoming a conscious thing, rather than a day-by-day decision on how to spend my holidays.

I only wish there were more places where one could draw off the road and stop to investigate – parking by the roadside is not really the thing to do, so there’s all this lovely landscape you drive through and that just asks for being recorded in a photograph, but you can’t do it, since you can’t stop … .

So, have a so-so photo of the Tennessee River, and the bridge I crossed to get over it:

bridge over the Tennessee

Along the Natches Trace lies the Meriwether Lewis State Park in Tennessee, where you can find the grave of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clarke Expedition fame. I visited Fort Clatsop in Oregon last spring, where the expedition spent the winter of 1805/06, after they had reached the Pacific, and now here I was at the place where Captain Lewis died in 1809, on his way to Washington, DC, on the Natches Trace.

Meriwether Lewis' gravsite

And I’ll leave you with a photo of the typical view that greets one when driving down one of the side roads of the Natches Trace – I am really grateful for the invention of GPS’ on days like this – I think I would be much less sanguine about just randomly taking side roads without having one in the car – even if you randomly follow your inclination for 30 minutes down little roads, the GPS will lead you back to where you plan on going without much ado. It’s definitely made travelling all on one’s own and being spontaneous easy.

Tennessee woodlands

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Horse Country

horses with fence

This photo is actually from yesterday, not from today, but today was all about horses, so it fits in spirit, if not in location. Lexington, Kentucky, and the area surrounding it are a horse breeding region, and so you can drive through gently rolling hills of blue grass and white pasture fences for hours. Unsurprisingly, they’re also big on advertizing their horse business here, and so you can do all sorts of horse-related things.

I decided to go to the Kentucky Horse park, which, besides of an interesting museum, was … not great. Possibly interesting to people who have never seen a horse in the history of ever, and don’t even know that they have, like, four legs.

The Churchill Downs in Louisville made up for it though … less “What is a baby horse called?” and more interesting history. My conference starts tomorrow, so, while I will keep posting travel reports for some posts yet, I am actually mostly done with the adventuring.

Monday, June 20th, 2011

(too much) weather

a woman standing on hill before stormclouds

There are a lot of thunderstorms around here, and even the hail is bigger in the US than it is in Germany! (Yes, I got wet taking this photograph. But, you know, for art! And science! And it’s so humid outside anyway, that you never feel entirely dry.)

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

(Leaving) Memphis

So, Memphis. What did I do in Memphis? Did I go to Graceland? I thought about it, but no, I did not. $31 (+ parking) as the cheapest option to see some stuff some guy who made some music (I don’t especially like) some time ago owned … I don’t think so. I just felt like I could spend my time in a more interesting way, and the tack factor wasn’t enough to convince me.

So I decided to spend $6 instead, and go see the National Ornamental Metal Museum, which has a collection of (as the name says) ornamental metal works not only from the states, but from all over the world. On the picture here are two of its buildings – and below is are details from one of the ornamental candelabras they have on display right now.

It’s a great little place, and they also have a working smithy where you can watch artist create something, and a librarian/expert hanging around who is willing to answer all questions one might have.

After that, I decided to head out of town towards Nashville, but with a detour down to (almost) Sheffield, Alabama, so I could head back up on (part of) the Natchez Trace Parkway, which was definitely an interesting drive, and lead me, amongst other places, to the grave of Meriwether Lewis.

But even getting there was interesting, even if it mostly meant driving down a highway. What I found especially fascinating is how deeply red the soil in Northern Mississippi is.  (I don’t have a good photo, because stopping on a highway … yeah, not a good idea. And all the reststops had non-red soil). So instead, have a roadside photo … .

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I’ve made it to Memphis

And that’s about all I can say about the city right now, since by the time I got here it was dark, and all I did was pick up my car and head to the hotel to sleep.

The flights here were … one good and one nervewracking, and filled with unexpected events and one not so slight diversion. The thing I did not expect, but that probably no-one else was suprised by, was that one gets to see the New York skyline when flying into Newark. I’d never pondered whether one would be able to do so or not, really, but suddenly being able to glimpse Manhattan and a tiny Statue of Liberty out the window was definitely an unexpected bonus.

A planned 5 hour (with the actual delay 6 hour) layover in Newark meant that I had time to ride the airtrain around for a while, and to figure out the best location for a snapshot of said skyline. (Both photos in this post were taken with my iphone, as my camera was stowed in my luggage and thus out of reach.)

The diversion … well, here’s a photo…

…of what the approach to Nashville looks like from the air. Wait … Nashville? Yep, Nashville. Not only was my flight to Memphis delayed slightly, we also had to divert to Nashville for refuelling on account of a thunderstorm that was sitting right over Memphis and that made landing there impossible. And it really was impossible. I know this first hand. We tried. I think the plane was about 5 minutes (tops) from touchdown when we aborted the attempt. But the view from the plane was spectacular, let me tell you … you could see a strip of bright sky in the distant South, but above and all around us were these black clouds, and lightning was flashing everywhere – I wish I could show you a photo, but my phone was in my jacket in the overhead locker, and by then the plane was shaking, rolling and bucking so much that doing anything but hanging on tight to your armrest (and fighting the urge to laugh maniacally) was impossible. So, no photo.

45 turbulent minutes later we were in Nashville, spent an hour on the ground refuelling, and then another 45 turbulent minutes saw us back in Memphis, where it was just before 10pm at that time and still raining heavily, and I was really rather done with the day.

But now it’s 6am and I think the rain has stopped for now, so I’ll be off to do some exploring! TTYL!

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Farewell Timeball

“Lyttelton’s historic Timeball Station’s tower has collapsed following the magnitude 6 earthquake that struck Christchurch at 2.20pm today… .”

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

A little more knowledge

a photo of a stack of paper

I have written 36 pages in the last 2 days. And I totally could keep going, but I’ve got to get up earlyish tomorrow morning to drop the guinea pigs off, in preparation for my transatlantic adventure. I’m really on a roll though, and tomorrow I might not be, and … still, let’s be sensible. No one is as young as they used to be. Ever. It’s such a breath of fresh wind though, to be writing something other than the PhD. Darn. Let’s hope the PhD feels like the same fresh wind once I get back to it … or if not, at least like the home stretch… .

Other excitement for tomorrow will include finding out whether the old pin number works with the new credit card (replacement for expired date, not *new* new…). Fingers crossed – if it turns out not to, things will be … interesting.

The bag depicted on here is from the British Newspaper Library, and it holds my stack of copies of newspaper articles about Apollo 13 and/or Earth Day. The text on the bag says, in total, “Researching the World’s Knowledge.”

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Bavarian sunset

Productive writing Sib was indeed productive today, and has produced 6’434 pages (I wish!?) words of notes today, and 4’432 words of actual journal article. Another day like this tomorrow, and I might actually have Monday mostly off (or, you know, time to pack and do stuff like that… .) Wouldn’t that be nice … .

I also spent too much money on tec equipment today – but now my camera has a second battery pack and I’ve got a lense cleaning device and two 8GB memory cards for it, so roll on USA!

(Five nights to go! Eeeek!)

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Waiting in Line

I have some photos from the weekend to share, but since most of them were taken at sunset and the last photo was already of a redish cast, I thought I’d throw a blue one into the mix for now … this one was taken on the Albert Embankment in London when I was there, oh, a month or so ago (time flies) visiting M and D and doing a stint as a travelling scholar. I still have some photos to go through and weed out, but there never seems to be quite enough time for it, and other things need doing more urgently. Will I get done before I fly to the US next week? I doubt it. Thus, there’ll probably be an intercontinental mix of photos starting in July.

That said, yes, tomorrow a week I’ll be off to ASLE 2011! My paper is, hmm, getting there … I’m done scanning images in. Some of them came out really well, some of them … not so much. From document to microfilm to printer to scanner … quite a lot of transitions that crispness can get lost in. But they’re all perfectly legible, so that’s the main thing. Now all I need to do is finish my paper … but that’s what the weekend will have to be for. That, and for putting my final touches on my Remake | Remodel paper for the conference volume (only sliiiightly behind schedule…).

But first, class trip to Hamburg tomorrow! Then 4 days for writing and editing like a mad thing, then two days of oral exams, and then off I go to the states. Note to self: learn how to recognize tornado weather.