Today was our first day at Landschaftspark, one of the most popular industrial parks in the world. Historically, it was a coal and steel plant. Now, it is a large public park that protects the remnants of the site’s industrial use, while also respecting the natural process of decay as it occurs. Overall, Landschaftspark finds ways to repurpose what is left from the coal and steel plant, and give visitors a new understanding and appreciation of the park’s history. For example, the park includes features such as giant slides and rock climbing on structures that were once used for industry to help children understand the purpose of the park. It’s definitely one of the most unique parks I’ve ever visited. On our first day at Landschaftspark, we mainly just explored the park (it’s very big so this did take a whole day). My favorite section of the park is a series of large planting beds that actually contain highly contaminated soil (visitors cannot go near it) but are planted with really unique plants. It just shows you that even sites that are contaminated and considered a lost cause can still be used in a positive way.
The next day, we were back at Landschaftspark. However, instead of focusing on the main park area like we did the previous day, we focused on the meadow in the back of the park that was way less popular among visitors. In the meadow area, we took a variety of measurements in relation to the birch trees in the area that we later compiled and used to analyze the health and age of the trees. It was cool to take a break from sketching and design work, and try some data collection instead. After finishing this project, we headed to an exhibit named Tiger and Turtle. Tiger and Turtle is an interactive structure located on top of a hill. Visitors can walk up and through the structure, and take in several really amazing views of the surrounding area.
After returning to UnperfektHaus, our whole group took some time to relax on the rooftop and discuss our experience in Germany. It was interesting to hear what everyone’s favorite part of the trip was, and even more interesting that some aspects of the trip were both liked and disliked. Overall, it was a good way to unpack what we learned and also give some feedback about the program to our professors. We ended the night playing ping-pong in the hostel and preparing ourselves for the journey home.
Day 34 (last day!)
On the last day of the trip, I packed and cleaned out what I had brought into the hostel. It was bittersweet, as I really enjoyed the trip but was looking forward to going home. Myself and a few others would be taking a train in the afternoon to Berlin, and killing time until our flight at 9 AM the following day. Around 3 PM, we said our goodbyes, and headed to the train station. Our train was about 5 hours long, and interestingly enough, stopped in the middle of the journey for 15 minutes for passengers to take a minute to get up and stretch their legs. I have never been on a train before that has stopped like that, in America or anywhere else. After reaching Berlin, we stayed in a 24 hour McDonald’s for about 8 hours (the airport would not open until 5 AM), and then headed to the airport. It was a very rough journey, but having other people with me made it easier. We finally boarded the plane, and arrived back in America at around 1 PM EST. It was a tiring journey, but I was very very excited to return home.
I’ll be writing one more post in a bit to give my overall thoughts of the trip!