Lappeenranta in the Southeast of Finland is beautifully situated on lake Saimaa and is connected to the Bay of Finland and Russia via the Saimaa Canal. The canal was built between 1845 – 1856. It was formally opened on September 7 1856. It was later overhauled and widened 1963-1968. The canal is 42.9 km long (26.7 miles). the difference in elevation between lake Saimaa and the lower laying Gulf of Finland is 75.7 m (248 ft). The Finnish part has three locks, the first one in Mälkiä.
Mälkiä lock is the first lock when traveling towards Russia on the Saimaa Canal, it is also the lock with the biggest difference in elevation, 12,4 m (41 ft).
The lock port is rising from below to seal off the lake side of the lock so that the transition downwards can begin.
The gates have closed and lock is being drained of water, lowering the boat to the level of the lower part of the canal.
Take a two hour cruise on Lake Saimaa and the lock at Mälkiä with El Faro, it is a great experience!
Weimar in the state of Thüringia in Germany was the place, where after the First World War, the first German Democratic constitution was signed. This was also where the Weimar Republic period in German history (1918-1933) was formed. It was the home of the period in art called the German Enlightenment and also the home of two of the main characters in the Weimar Classicism literary genre – Goethe and Schiller. Weimar was at one point home to such artists as Franz List composer and pianist. Artists and architects such as Paul Klee, Wassili Kandinsky, Henry Van de Velde, Lyonel Feininger and of course Walter Gropius the founder of the Bauhaus movement.
The Weimar City Castle, (City to distinguish it from other castles in the area) was a center for the arts in Weimar. The church attached to the castle was a place where J.S. Bach premiered many of his compositions.
The Archduke Carl August von Sachsen Weimar was a supporter of the arts and used some of his wealth to purchase art and also brought in artists to the city and sometimes employed them to help them support themselves when their art could not.
Goethe and Schiller were two of the intellectuals that were present in Weimar. Goethe, who was brought in to the city by the Arch Duke Carl August von Sachsen Weimar to ply his craft wound up working for the city in many capacities as he was well educated and had administrative capabilities in addition to his artistic ones. The two became fast friends and collaborators.
Goethe had a summer house in the park which was a gift from the Archduke. The above pictured house is a replica of the original to preserve the original it from the wear and tear brought on by the many visitors that come every year to see it.
The garden at Goethe’s summer house is said to look exactly as it would have during the time Goethe lived in the house.
Weimar is home to the largest Shakespeare society outside of England in the world and there is a statue of the Bard in the Park and der Ilm. William Shakespeare lived April 1564 – April 23 1616 and was born in Stratford upon Avon in the U.K.
The name of the post is from JFK’s (President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy) speech in West Berlin June 26 1963 some 22 months after the Berlin wall was erected on August 13 1961 as a means of keeping people in East Germany from fleeing to West Germany.
Today Berlin is once again a united city and construction is still ongoing to bring the former East up to the standards of the West. It is a vibrant city with a lot of things to do and see. The photos are from a recent visit to Berlin in May 2015.
The area around the Brandenburger Tur is an interesting area with a lot of different buildings to see, the Reichstag, the Gehry designed Deutsche Bank building, and many other interesting sites around.
When you look at the Deutsche Bank building next to the US Embassy by the Brandenburger Gate, it is hard to believe that the building was designed by Frank Gehry and constructed 1998-2000. If you peek inside it becomes more clear that this is indeed a Frank Gehry design.
When Berlin was divided between East and West some U-Bahn lines were cut off and two were allowed to pass through East Space with no stops creating ‘Ghost stations” where trains would pass by without stopping. one stop on the West Berlin route at Friedrichstrasse was used as a transfer point between the transportation systems and as a border crossing into East Germany.
To the right in the above picture is former East Berlin where the old German Reichstags building was. It was damaged in a fire 1933 and not used until German unification and an ensuing renovation that started in 1990 and lasted until 1999 when it once again started housing the German parliament.
The Berlin wall ran right behind the Reichstag building dividing the city of Berlin into to parts, East and West Berlin. The river Spree was part of East Germany and acted as a border between the two parts.
Tempelhof Airport, or as it was called in German, Zentral Flughafen. It was designated as an airport in 1923 and the terminal building was constructed in 1927. This is where the famed Berlin airlift took place in 1948-49. “Operation Vittles” as it was called started June 26 1948 when a US Air-force Douglas C47 brought in 80 tons of supplies to the people of the city of West Berlin who’s supplies were cut off by a Soviet shut down of all access roads and waterways into West Berlin, only three air corridors remained open.. The airlift was later joined by US Navy and the British Royal Air-force as well as various private airlines from England. A unified command was created to coordinate the effort, it was called the Combined Airlift Task Force.
The above building was part of a complex built in 1951 for the US Air-force personnel stationed at Tempelhof Airport across the street, this was a movie theater with a 400 seat capacity and next to it was the Columbia Hall which was a bigger sports building also for the USAF personnel.
It was announced today that Sepp Blatter who was just re-elected amid criminal investigations and despite strong and widespread suggestions from within FIFA that he should have withdrawn from the election last Friday 5/29/2015. Blatter supposedly will not step down immediately, but rather stay on until a new election can be organized, potentially not until next year – I find that hard to believe, let’s see how this plays out.