A Sunday afternoon at the Hessenpark

Don’t worry, the next part of the Africa story is already in work. Nothing really to show yet, so I wanted to take the time to talk about last weekend.

Summer has finally arrived, or should we say we went from the cold to a hot Spring? After a nice breakfast in the sun, I decided to follow up on an invitation from one of my Meetup.com photography groups and go to the Hessenpark open air museum (click on the English flag on the top right for – guess what – an English version).

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Hessen is the name of the state I live in, which translates to Hesse in English. The park was opened in 1974 and more than 100 endangered buildings have been re-erected in accordance with scientific standards. The buildings in the Museum have been divided into five groups, each group representing a Hessian type of settlement typical of its region of origin. Houses and farmsteads from different villages have been placed as to give a realistic impression of the social and economic situation in the respective region.
The houses are utilized in a variety of ways. In part they are home to permanent and special exhibitions, whilst others have been furnished with original furniture and household items. In addition, you can also visit several historical workshops in the buildings. (Source)

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And to be honest, even though I’m not really good in taking photos at home or even find the motivation to go out and have Germany itself, local things, history or just daily life as a subject, I always love to go back to that place. It is just a good mix out of buildings, nice little details and history.

One thing you’ll notice when you go there on a weekend, taking photos is quite difficult. The place was packed and you had to wait for a good moment if you didn’t want to have anybody in your picture. Yes, the good old discussion. Do you want to tell a story, or just have a landscape / architecture shot of the building. I personally don’t mind the people, but got a bit lucky on Sunday as most shots were possible without having anybody in.

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Or at least you won’t see them anymore 😉

I’m a big fan of the workshops there. Most of them are not always open, but you’ll always find somebody working or selling their items. This weekend, the basket- and rope maker showed off their skills and the little carving shop was also open. I should have brought more cash, as I saw a few things I’d have loved to take home, but you can’t pay by card. Old school. Don’t forget to haggle at least a bit when buying more than one item!

The shops have all kinds of details, but were really busy. I found the closed wheel makers workshop though and had nice light coming through the windows.

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The open air museum is quite large and it is also a nice walk if you take the full tour. It is also worth checking the inside of every building, as some of them really show life in the past. There’s a nice little old shop just after the market square on the left hand side, which unfortunately has everything hidden behind glass, but it’s a very old mom-and-pop store with lot’s of old goods and features displayed.

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The big thing of course are the timber frame buildings itself. I’m a huge fan and I’m always happy when I still see some in local towns, even if they are completely renovated. They just give me a nice feeling of home and German culture. Yes, if you have read my Namibia blog, you can find them in Swakopmund as well! Of all places…

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One thing you should look out for while visiting are the special exhibitions. Very interesting stuff if you’re a museums buff and like to see or read about e.g. the development of technology over time. Right now they have an exhibition about miniature cameras and it’s worth checking out. Click here for more info!

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After talking a lot about the park and what it offers, I’d like to go back and talk about the pictures you can find here and in the gallery on my website. When shooting these things at home, I’m usually quite excited and feel like a little kid exploring a big new world. Later, when working on them on the computer, I often don’t have that feeling anymore and get thoughts like “who really cares”, booooring, or this is really not that special… But in the end, even though it is not as exciting as riding the train in Myanmar, walking up and down the hills of Lisbon or not hearing your own words when standing next to a massive waterfall in Africa, you should document these things, show people your home country and daily life of where you live. So sorry if this was really boring, but looking back, I’m quite excited again!

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One more thing

If you made it that far, thank you again for reading. Just before publishing this story, I thought I should also have a small paragraph about a second hobby I seem to have developed. It is instant photos. Some of you may know already, but I own a few old Polaroid- and also Fuji Instax cameras. It is fun to make what they call ‘real photos’. Just thought about linking to Instagram, but the hashtag is often misused (of course). After my #thatonemessage project last year, which I should really continue now, I’m using especially the Polaroid to take photos of other things, even architecture. I understand this is not everybody’s taste and some of it has to be seen as quite artistic, but judge for yourself. Here are a few shots of the Hessenpark, taken with the old Polaroid SX-70.

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