Alsatian Folklore Museum in Strasbourg

On our most recent trip to Strasbourg, we stopped at the Alsatian Folklore Museum, a.k.a. the Musée Alsacien, and we loved it. We viewed most of it in an hour, but it was so interesting, we could have easily stayed longer, had it not been for having to return to our hotel in time for check-out.

There are many sections to view, such as traditional rooms, costumes, paintings and historical Alsatian tools, glass paintings, and masks.

What caught my attention were these Kleiekotzer or Mehlkotzer (the one puking flour) or in proper English: flour mill spouts. The term Kleiekotzer dates back to the 18th and 19th century, when these masks were used by millers to let the flour pass through the masks’ mouth into the troughs.


In 1903, the antique dealer, Robert Forrer, donated this large collection of carved wooden flour mill spouts to the Society of the Alsatian Museum in order to obtain its membership. His donation back then included 20 mill spouts, 20 chairs, and 30 cask bungs, but today this museum room only houses his flour mill spout collection.

The Source of the Seine River

The source of the Seine River is located in Source-Seine, Burgundy on the Plateau of Langres in the department of Côtes d’Or. The park area is nicely kept and ideal for picnics and strolls.

This man-made grotto, built in 1865 above the Seine source, houses a statue of the nymph Sequana.

Source Seine

I did a bit of water-tasting.

We also passed through this little town, Billy-lès-Chanceaux, where we saw a somewhat bigger version of the Seine.

Billy-lès-Chanceaux and the Seine

Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the full width of the Seine River. This one will have to do.

In Paris, the river’s width varies from 30m to 200m.

This photo is from 2014, and the padlocks are gone by now, removed by the city in June 2015.

Working at Camp King Oberursel in the mid-1980s

On one of the ‘Camp King Open House’ events, I ran into Lale, whom I had met in 1998, when both our sons were at the same kindergarten. At the time of the event, she told me of her employment at Camp King in the 90s. So this is her little story about how she got the job and what working there meant for civilians.

Q: You have German and American citizenship, I assume. Was it easier getting a job in Camp King with an American passport?
A: Actually, I only have American citizenship, because dual citizenship for Germany and the USA was not possible then (*Lale was born on U.S. soil, so the U.S. Government does not recognize dual citizenship with Germany). When we moved to Germany, my stepfather took a job with the army in Offenbach, and that’s how we got an ID card with privileges. When he returned to the USA in 1981, we had to turn in our ID cards. We were still able to enter the the military camp as long as another soldier would sign us in. We had to present our passports, nevertheless.
Q: When and in what position did you work at Camp King?


A: I was part of the cleaning staff for the military base. My favorite place to work was the gym. I was even once nominated “Employee of the Month” (Lale added, “a thorough cleaning goes a long way”, while laughing). This award made me proud in the sense of my work being appreciated. Once I was even asked to clean the top-secret underground offices. I only cleared the bins in the company of an MP. We had to leave the building immediately after that.
I can’t quite remember how long I worked there. It was only a temporary solution until I could find permanent employment. I worked there sometime in 1984.


Q: During your time at Camp King in 1984, what are your most memorable moments?


A: Oh, the fun times we had (snickering). At the former Disco ‘La Soiree’ in the Vorstadt (today: Bärenarkaden shopping center), we used to party and sometimes went back to the base to party a little bit more. Ela’s Stübchen was also a popular spot. A lot of friendships developed during that time, some in a romantic way.
Years later, in the early 90s… there was one scary moment when I saw G.I.s walking the Camp King fence with their machine pistols. This could have been the time of the Kosovo war. The soldiers, usually always friendly, were under some stress during that time. I tried to stay away from that fence as far as possible on my way to the then nearest U-Bahn station ‘Kupferhammerweg’.
It must have been during that time that leaving camp became more restricted – no entry between 2 – 5am.
Some went out nevertheless and then we just partied till 5am, when the gates opened again.


Q: In those years you mentioned, 1984 to early 90s, did you live close to Camp King? Did you hear the daily reveille calls? Some German neighbors found this annoying.
A: Unfortunately, I can’t remember this. Our apartment was facing the Feldberg Mountain, and so it was relatively quiet. But I do remember loudspeakers all over the camp. There were also announcements made throughout the day, but I can’t remember about what.
Q: You had mentioned a plain building near the tennis courts? Was this a special place?
A: Right between the tennis courts and the motor park, there was this square building, made of cement, and I believe it housed the computer server and all the equipment. Once I had to cover my colleague’s shift and my task was to clean the bins and this had to be carried out in the presence of a civil servant.
Thanks, Lale, for sharing this with us.
Ela’s Stübchen in the Henchenstraße has been closed for a few years. I was there once, it might have been 2010, and then it was called the Schnitzel Haus by some friends.

A Good Reason to Travel

What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.

— William Least Heat Noon —

Sketched by Momoko Fujita

Sketched by Momoko Fujita

On the Road in Canada – Hopewell Rocks, NB

After our short break in St. Martins, we stopped at Hopewell Rocks in the afternoon.

These rocks, often referred to as flowerpot rocks, stand between 40 – 70 feet tall. These rock formations have been caused by tidal erosion.

We got a family pass for two adults and two children for C$ 20 to get into the park. This photo was taken from above, obviously, and later we climbed down the stairs. The park ward told us there are 96 steps (round trip), which did not impress us much. We have more steps to climb up and down in our apartment building in Germany.

Hopewell Rock, Canada

Hopewell Rock, Canada

The view below is just as interesting. There are even more mushroom look-alikes along the side of the cliffs.

Hopewell Rock

Hopewell Rock

The ebb and tide leave the sea in a constant murky brown. This coloration I had only seen in floods before.

brown sea

brown sea

Here is a bit of information what makes the Fundy tides so special.

Fundy Tides

Fundy Tides

And yes, we heard of some dangerous encounters with moose on the road. Fortunately, we only heard about them and got to see the warning signs along the road. We did not spot a single one.

Moose crossing

Moose crossing

Now we are heading back to Halifax, where we originally started our road trip. We will be spending one night there before heading to Lunenburg for our final place to visit.