Over the weekend I mounted Heinrich, my trusty vsf fahrradmanufaktur (g) bicycle, fired up my legs, and rode to the Altenberger Dom (g), a Gothic cathedral located in the Bergisches Land area just east of Cologne.
My route took me through beautiful downtown Leverkusen, where I had the pleasure not only of riding on Karl Marx Street,
but also of turning from the Heinrich-Lübke Street (almost) directly into the Theodor Adorno Strasse.* The Adorno Strasse, it turns out, is home to an industrial park:
I hope the Aldi has a large section of discount Frankfurt School publications, right next to the bodice-rippers.
Leverkusen, like a lot of places in Germany that are supposed to be rather grim, turns out to be cross-hatched with pleasant and well-designed green spaces that help to soften the impact of the ugly subsidized-housing high-rises:
Nevertheless, there were still some regrettable sights near the soccer stadium (where regrettable sights tend to congregate):
But let's concentrate on the nice, leafy parts of Leverkusen, like the Green Path. It's as green as it claims, although like most nature spots near urban areas, you'll see evidence of urban infrastructure -- sewage manholes, groundwater measurement devices, discreet exhaust vents, etc. -- if you look closely enough. (All that lush greenery requires behind-the-scenes attention from the Deputy Assistant for Maintenance to the Southeast Leverkusen Regional Superintendent for Green Spaces.) It's sort of like being in a convincing life-size diorama of nature.
Usually, it's not hard to figure out what these discreet chunks of metal and concrete are for. Sometimes, they even have discreet plaques (g) explaining exactly what they're for. But this piece of ditch technology puzzled me:
What is it for? It looks like it does something -- perhaps something noisy -- but what? Any help would be appreciated.
Below the fold you'll find pretty pictures of the old church, if you're interested.
The West Window of the Altenberger Dom. Created around 1400, it's the oldest intact stained-glass window north of the Alps:
If you look closely, you will notice the stained-glass window itself has been moved from its original position a few centimeters inside the cathedral to protect it from the elements. The outside window is just clear glass.
Here's a picture of the tomb of Count Gerhard the First of Juelich, along with a movable statue of Christ:
* Heinrich Lübke, President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1959 to 1969 (g) might be considered the Gerald Ford of Germany. He's renowned for his wooden speaking style and his spontaneous meandering asides filled with vaguely offensive stuffy-old-man folk wisdom (captured for eternity and gently satirized here (g)).