Slow down your neighbours!

by advocateofentropy

The Daily Post’s weekly challenge says: Blog Your Block! Quite the fun challenge, I think, because in my block there’s really lots to see and explore. But I will give you a tour around the adjacent streets and parks to my more than 140 year old house! It’s slightly cold outside, but with a blue sky (with little cloudfarts), just for your information. 😉

I live in Rothe Erde (Red Earth), a north-east block of Aix la Chapelle in the most western corner of Germany, close to the Netherlands, Belgium and France, the so called “Euregio”. After celtics, ancient germans, romans, napoleon and what not, about 100 years ago, all of the rhineland (and with it this city) was conquered and occupied by Prussians, eventhough the people living here were Catholic. (Prussians were Lutheran, and in the german past it was quite the gaffe, when the king/emperor had another religion, than his folks.)
So it came, that the Prussian military built two barracks: the red one and the yellow one. Whilst the red one was more far out the city limits, the yellow one stood just were my street ends today.
During world war II everything was torn down and smashed to pieces, because also the Nazis used the Prussian barrack as a base. In my street most of the buildings are in better shape than the rest of this rubbled city and many buildings are 150+ years old. Just recently a lot of them got restored and were painted in very bright and strong colours. One of the very old houses got a red-and-black paint with golden accents … it’s so very pretty! Next to that we have up to two dozen restored houses and only a few had to be replaced by “modern chic”.

One of the more interesting houses in this street is the “bee house” (or “bee hive”; a clearer translation would be “patootie house”), in which the officers to the yellow barrack lived. It is called that, because none of the officers was married and couldn’t do so, for the bigger part of the citizens had another religion (remember, this is all the 1850’s, very diffivcult time in germany). So every night the “bee” as we say in Germany came to the officers and only in the early morning would leave again.
Only a jump across the street is the nowadays “Kennedy Park” at the former area of the yellow barrack. It is quite lovely, with huge trees, big open spaces, a lake, childrens’ playground and even a grilling zone. In summer concerts and block-events always take place at the park, for it has a little stage and just recently got extended by a youth center and sports arena.
Everywhere are construction sites right now (and since about 2 years), but I can tell you, that my block or Viertel, as we germans say, is one of the most colourful in my city. Here live people from all over the world: Turkey, Persia, several African nations, French, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Swedish, Brazilian and even Canadians (!) …. well, from all over the world. Partly that’s because nearly every 10th person is a student, and also because over the last 70 years very strong foreigner-societies have formed in West-Germany.
I feel quite well in my block: when I open the living room window in the morning I have either the smell of freshly baked turkish bread or finely roasted falaffel; african stewpot or ukrainian Gulasch. My street always smells like something tasty to eat, a week of smelling here is like a culinary journey around the world. (Also you will have the heavy smell of weed up in the air like … 8 in the morning. Not that I care or condemn anyone; to be honest: it gives the finishing touch to the conglomerate of smells) Sometimes, when the wind stands unfortunate, we get covered in “burnt rubber smell” (something that reminds me of war), because just a few kilometres away stands a tire factory of  “Continental”. Or as the indigenous Öcher pronounces it kon-teenan-taal (loosely paraphrased: “kitchen-valley”).
My neighbours are hilarious! Beneath, there are two very old people, who together care for the house’s vegetable garden. The flat above always has changing inhabitants, no one lives there longer than two or three months. The rest is boring students (they never come and play ;)) and one elderly woman from Poland who goes shopping two to three times a day, just to keep in motion. Down the street lives “Anka”, a heavy crack-and-heroin-junkie-whore, but one of the nicest persons I know, eventhough she doesn’t always recognize me. Last, and also least, there’s my jellyfish-neighbours, who stand on their balcony about 80% of the day and just look around. They don’t even speak to anybody – they just look around, sometimes with 6 persons standing on a 2m² balcony … it always looks like a group of meerkats is caught on a tiny tiny island.

That’s it for now! Maybe I’ll walk around today and take some pics, and also I’ll see that I haven’t forgot anything important …

So have a nice day, folks! Look around and appreciate the world you live in: there’s no day worthless in live!

[And for everybody who gets it: 2URN801]