Dear Helsinki, visiting you made me thoughtful. You surprised me with your Street Art District, you frightened me with your massive buildings in Katajanokka and you touched my heart with your peculiar language. All these long words and names that I was unable to keep in mind and every time Aleksi* asked me where I’d spent the day I had to describe the place because I had already forgotten its name again. The only Finnish words I could remember were “Kiitos” (Thank you) and “Moi” (Hello) – they were short enough. 😉 *Aleksi was my wonderful Airbnb host – I will tell you more about him below. The trip was very different from what I had expected. I wanted to visited the “Helsinki Design Week” but then everything turned out differently: I arrived with stomach ache and a general feeling of illness which forced me to slow down and listen to my body carefully. Instead of entering the fray I tried to avoid crowded places. I walked along Helsinki’s lakes and sea-coast ate a lot …
When I woke up the first morning in Kuala Lumpur there was a heavy thunderstorm passing by and I could hear an alarm bell from the inside of the hostel. I quickly jumped into my pants and opened the door of our female dorm. The hostel’s courtyard, a wonderful open-air common area, was flooded and the staff was trying to keep the water from entering the kitchen. I went back into my room to take a look out of the window – the streets were flooded too and the cars were driving through brown masses of water. Welcome to Asia, I thought, this is what monsoon season looks like. Downstairs in the kitchen area I met Rodrigo – a Brazilian photo- and videographer with fascinating blue-green eyes. It was just after I left KL that I realised what a talented man I had met. Equipped with different cameras and even a drone he creates stunning pictures and videos from around the globe. 🙂 For example this one: “Created with footage shot in 8 countries in …
The air was still full of haze when the bus to Malacca entered the Malaysian state. I had never heard the word “haze” before and when I experienced it for the first time it kind of shocked me. It’s an air pollution affecting several countries in Southeast Asia caused by forest fires resulting from illegal slash-and-burn practices, principally on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, which then spread quickly in the dry season (source). Depending on the wind direction Singapore and Malaysia are affected very badly. And this was what I experienced on my last day in Singapore and on the first days in Malaysia. It showed me how strongly connected everything is – when stupid people in Indonesia burn wood illegally so many other people have to suffer from this (not to mention the nature itself!). Next stop: Malaysia But back to my journey. After staying in Singapore for one week I took the bus to Malacca – the oldest Malaysian city in the Straits of Malacca. All times the seaport has played …
(English text below) Der Geruch von verbranntem Holz liegt in der Luft und erinnert mich an die Eifel, an den Holzofen meiner Großmutter, der im Winter immer noch zum Heizen der Küche benutzt wird und als zweiter Herd dient. Ich kann förmlich das Knacken der glühenden Holzscheite hören. Mit dem Rad fahre ich durch die Hartwichstraße, vorbei an einem kleinen Spielplatz und an mehreren urig aussehenden Kölschen Kneipen. Es fühlt sich an,
This second part of Reykjavik’s impressive architecture is about Hallgrimskirkja – one of the most interesting churches I’ve seen so far. Its expressionistic appearance was designed following forms of Icelands nature: The thin concrete piles symbolise vulcanic columnar basalt and its white colour reminds of glacier ice.
WALL POETRY Urban Art Festival | Collaboration of Iceland Airwaves and Urban Nation Berlin | Every year in november Reykjavik is the stage for a huge music festival called “Iceland Airwaves” showing Icelandic bands as well as international newcomers and famous bands. This year Iceland Airwaves initiated a very special artistic collaboration together with Urban Nation Berlin. They invited 10 street artists to paint the music from bands performing at the festival. Under the theme “We paint the music, you love to hear” the artists created ten extraordinary murals that now enhance Reykjavik’s surface.
There are two buildings in Reykjavik that deeply impressed me. Both with a unique character. In this first part of impressive Icelandic architecture I will show you the wonderful HARPA – a futuristic concert and conference hall at the old harbour of Reykjavik right beside the sea. HARPA concert hall Inspired by Iceland’s exceptional landscape and its diverse lightning atmosphere HARPA was designed by Henning Larsen Architects (Denmark) and Batteríið Architects (Iceland) in cooperation with the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The two building blocks with angular edges are revetted with a filigree honeycombed steel framework. The space in between is filled with reflecting glass elements that change their colour according to the light of the day and the weather. The name “HARPA” is the result of a competition organized in the year 2009 to find an Icelandic name that is easy to pronounce in every language. The word has different meanings.
By closing the door behind me I’m entering another world. A world wrapped in Warpaint music. I’ve never heard a Warpaint song in a café before. The slightly melancholic tones suit my inner conception of Iceland, correspond to its winter-melancholy, to the Northern Lights and to the vast of its ice landscape. But right now it’s summer and the street in front of the Coocoo’s Nest is full of people eating ice cream. There is an ice cream shop next doors where you have to draw a number to get your desired scoops of ice cream. Icelanders are addicted to ice cream! Even in cold winter days. At least this is what Ragi, a 59-years old Icelander told me.
What to do, when your boyfriend suddenly breaks up with you? Well, for a travel soul like me the answer was clear: Jump into the next plane and go somewhere you’ve never been before. ICELAND seemed to be the perfect destination for this plan – a lonely island far away from the European mainland, far away from home and from my everyday life. So I packed my bags and jumped into the next plane to Reykjavik in Juli this year. By approaching Iceland I became aware of one thing immediately: I’m entering a world where natures rules. As far as the eye could see the ground was covered with black lava rocks.
Did you know that the word “Ghetto” arise from Venice? It comes from the old Venetian dialect word “geto” which means “foundry”. In the 16th century Jewish people were forced to live in an isolated area within the Venetian district Cannaregio – an abandoned site of a former foundry that produced canons. The Jewish life was full of restrictions at that time: They were not allowed to leave their area at night-time and all access points were controlled by guards. When they wanted to leave the Ghetto at daytime they had to wear distinguishing clothes. Moreover they were only allowed to work in certain fields such as bankers, money-lender, tailor or tinker and had to pay extraordinary high taxes.