Stolperstein; a growing memorial

One of the little things that captured my attention when travelling—stolperstein.

A stolperstein or stumbling stone, is a concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination. The stolperstein art project was initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, and is still ongoing. It aims at commemorating individual persons at exactly the last place of residency—or, sometimes, work—which was freely chosen by the person before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror, euthanasia, eugenics, was deported to a concentration or extermination camp, or escaped persecution by emigration or suicide. As of 11 January 2015, over 50,000 plates have been laid in 18 European countries, making the stolperstein project the world’s largest decentralised memorial.

Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolperstein

st01Siesmayerstraße, Frankfurt.

st02Bahnhofstraße, Wiesbaden.

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Caravaggio’s Heirs – Baroque in Naples

I took the chance to visit Caravaggio’s Heirs – Baroque in Naples that is on exhibit at Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (capital of Hessen) on my 2nd last day in Frankfurt with Daiana and my sister-in-law, Najwa.

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The exhibition is from 14 October 2016 until 12 February 2017. If you are somewhere in the Hessen, do visit the exhibition. From Frankfurt, it is about 40 minutes train ride to Wiesbaden. Fare is €16. Museum ticket fee is €10.

Caravaggio’s Heirs – Baroque in Naples brings flourishing Golden Age of Italian paintings that began in 1606 with the arrival of Caravaggio in Naples. During the next decade, Caravaggio became a much-admired model for generations of Neopolitan Baroque artists such as Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, Artemisia Gentileschi, Jusepe de Ribera, Salvator Rosa, Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena.

Presenting more than 200 works by some 50 artists from as many lenders in eleven countries, the exhibition traces the development of Neapolitan Baroque painting.

Who is Caravaggio?

Michelangelo Merisi (Michael Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting (reminds me of Rembrandt), had a formative influence on Baroque painting.

Caravaggio was contracted for many works, including the work in the Contarelli Chapel, which was in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi. Following this commission, he was later given several contracts to do work throughout several chapels in Rome, as well as in neighbouring cities. For the most part, these new paintings, and each new job he took, helped to increase the fame which he was experiencing during the time.

However, there were a few of his pieces that were rejected because of the dramatic intensity, which people viewed as vulgar. Some of his well-known for during this period include The Madonna of the Grooms, and the Death of the Virgin.

Judith and Holofernes

Two paintings from the Caravagesques that are most intriguing to me were Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi and Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. Caravaggio’s painting, was the main inspiration of Artemisia’s. Both have the same Holofernes, but different interpretation of Judith, and different accomplice. The lighting differs too; I imagine that Artemisia’s lighting effect came from a lamp, while Caravaggio’s from the day light that went through a window. Different feeling.

Anyway, Caravaggio’s Judith reminds me of Boticelli’s Simonetta. That nose. That face.

judith-und-holofernesJudith Slaying Holofernes (1614–20). Oil on canvas. By Artemisia Gentileschi.

judith-beheading-holofernesJudith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. Created: circa 1598-1599.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible – victims, suicides, warriors. Artemisia was raped by a painter that her father hired to tutor her. The trauma of the rape and trial impacted on Artemisia’s painting. Her graphic depictions were cathartic and symbolic attempts to deal with her pain. Her style was heavily influenced by Caravaggio.

Here are some photos from the exhibition:

riberaImmaculate Conception, Jusepe de Ribera. My most favourite piece of Caravagesques.

beinaschiDiogenes by Giovanni Battista Benaschi (1636–1688). I was attracted by the metal frame first, painting then. Two perfect masterpieces.

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A walk to remember at Bethmann Park

fuchsia

They wiggled and giggled, and seemed as if they danced with the autumn wind that blew upon them. In my imagination, I heard them say, “come dance with us!”

I stopped and gazed, and thought, “what a beautiful spray of fuchsias.”

This was one of the scenes I remember so well as if I visited the park yesterday despite the fact that it had been more than a month. The pale-pink fuchsias must’ve been withered by now against the mossy bricks of Bethmann Park, just like the fate of their cousins, the fandango-pink fuchsias.

fuchsia2

It was truly a revivifying visit. Surrounded by flowers, plants and trees, I feel like I was a part of the nature; if I had not been a human, I’d be a magical walking tree with two legs wearing black boots. While imagining that, serendipity knocked, as I walked by pass a clump of grass. I had put a spell on the grass and painted it black!

boots

OK, I got carried away in my imagination. It was my first time seeing Black Mondo grass. Jakun sikit. Black Mondo grass is not the typical kind of grass. It is a member of the lily family and are closely related to the notorious lily of the valley. It has bell-shaped pink flowers with white overtones rising above the foliage from mid to late summer. It’s attractive grassy leaves remain black in colour throughout the season. It produces black berries from early to mid fall.

As I walked further in the park, immersing my thoughts with nature, I came across other beauties, as if I entered Claude Monet’s garden, with reference to The Artist’s Garden At Giverny, c.1900.

purpleflowers

My imagination ran wild and later I was in Alice’s Wonderland where a gigantic chessboard lay not far from the Monet’s garden.

chess

No Red Queen here, unfortunately.

Back to reality. Here are some more photos from the park. I’m not going to post typical shots of flowers though, there’s too many on the Internet.

orange-leaves

woman

dahlia

seed

trees

Napoleon once strolled under the green leaves here at Bethmann Park, not to mention many royals and leaders visiting Frankfurt. The park was once owned by the Bethmann family. It was bought by the city in 1941 and some twelve years later, a public garden was created.

Hidden behind walls in the middle of Bornheim, an area filled with small cafes, neighbourhood shops and restaurants, this small idyllic refuge is calling visitors to take a quiet break from the noise and clamour of the city.

The Bethmann park is certainly worth a visit as it is one of the off-the-beaten paths in Frankfurt. The easiest way to reach the park is by underground, it is just a short walk along Berger Straße from the Merianplatz Station on the U4 line.

Bethmann Park,
Friedberger Landstraße/Berger Straße,
Frankfurt am Main (Bornheim/Ostend).

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Tales from the Graveyard

When I told Daiana I wanted to visit art places, one of the places she suggested was the Frankfurt Main Cemetery at Eckenheimer Landstrasse 194.

“I been there few times and fell in love with the arts, furthermore, I want to find the grave of Arthur Schopenhauer. I had not been able to find it on my previous visits because the cemetery is very large,” she added.  Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher, often called the “philosopher of pessimism,” whose writings influenced later existential philosophy and Freudian psychology.

I agreed right away because it would be great to see the philosopher’s grave not to mention the artistic side of the cemetery.

I find the cemetery very fascinating because of the beauty of memorial art, the various styles and designs, the skills and craftsmanship sculpting a material as hard as granite. Many memorials are truly works of art and what added to the beauty is mother nature itself.

angel

rose

inliebefurmama

hand

hand

littleangel

angel

1800

daiana

The Frankfurt Main Cemetery (German: Hauptfriedhof) is the largest cemetery in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It was opened in 1828. The cemetery is located directly adjacent to two Jewish cemeteries, the Old Jewish Cemetery (opened together with the Main Cemetery in 1828) and the New Jewish Cemetery (opened in 1928), and together they constitute one of the largest cemetery areas in Germany.

The New Jewish Cemetery is the burial ground for many historical Jewish figures as well as other citizens of Frankfurt in the 19th and 20th centuries. The well maintained grounds give this cemetery a pleasant park-like appearance. A sobering Holocaust memorial stands near the entrance to the cemetery. Some individual gravestones and cenotaphs note that individuals were murdered at Nazi death camps. Many Frankfurt Jews who committed suicide rather than be deported to death camps are buried in a separate section.

After walking long in the cemetery, we found Schopenhauer’s grave.

schopenhauerEach day is a little life; every waking and rising a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little death. – Arthur Schopenhauer (Born: February 22, 1788, Poland
Died: September 21, 1860, Frankfurt).

I end this post with a little haiku (accompany by my photo) that I wrote inspired by this visit:

Tales from the Graveyard (Hauptfriedhof)
Beyond buried souls
etched marbles and bronze sculptures
Ivy thrives on tombs.

tomb01

 

Reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_Main_Cemetery
http://www.hauptfriedhof-frankfurt.de/

 

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Finding Simonetta at The Städel

The last time I tried to ‘meet’ Simonetta was at Uffizi Museum in Florence last year, but I scrapped the idea because the queue was too long. When I learned that queuing for the ticket is one thing, queuing to get inside is another, I knew I wasn’t meant to meet her. I should’ve bought the ticket online but I was not sure of the date to visit.

You see, I wanted to see her in some of Botticelli’s original paintings, that includes The Birth of Venus and La Primavera (also known as Allegory of Spring). She was thought to be his muse.

VenusThe Birth of Venus.

primaveraLa Primavera.

In The Birth of Venus, Venus is the central figure standing on a shell blown ashore by the wind gods Zephyrus and Aura. The scene makes reference to the birth of the goddess as told in Hesiod and Homer.

In La Primavera, Venus is seen again, well-dressed, in a scene that draws inspiration from Ovid’s tale of the arrival of spring. Venus seems to capture our attention with her gaze.

Whose lovely face inspired this image of Venus? Could they have been inspired by real women? Or by the same woman?

Many said that the Venus character was based on a model named Simonetta, who was 16 and married. She modelled not only for Botticelli’s paintings but for other well-known painters as well (Piero di Cosimo was one).

Then, rumour has it that Botticelli fell in love with Simonetta, but he kept it to himself. He celebrated his love for her by painting her many times over on most of his paintings.

simonettasSome of Botticelli’s renditions of Simonetta.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simonetta_Vespucci

He continued to paint her even after she died at the age of 22. The Birth of Venus was actually completed nine years after her death. That seems to confirm that Botticelli was in love with her and that he was still able to still capture her beauty even by painting her from memory.

Anyway, when I learned that Botticelli’s paintings, including Idealised Portrait of A Lady (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci As Nymph, ca. 1475), were on display at Städel Museum as Highlight Collection, I was excited.

I visited Städel Museum with my friend, Daiana, on the very first day I reached Frankfurt.

simonetta_frankfurtSource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_a_Young_Woman_(Botticelli,_Frankfurt)

Seeing Simonetta up-close on canvas was too personal. I was able to admire her beauty, Botticelli’s stroke and the legends that evolved around her. My mind wandered through all the stories that I read about her and Botticelli. I like to believe that the love story between them was real just like how the painting itself looks real.

Finding Simonetta at the Städel was one of the best things that happened to me. I wont be concluding the ‘meeting’ with her as I have yet to find her (in future travels) in other galleries around the world.

Till we meet again, Simonetta.

About Städel Museum
Städel Museum houses the world’s most important art collection. It encompass 3,000 paintings, 600 sculptures, more than 10,000 drawings and prints and 1,600 photographs. The collections are divided into few categories; Old Master Painting 1300 – 1800, Modern Art 1800 – 1945, Contemporary 1945 – The Present and Department of Prints And Drawings.

The Old Master Painting collection presents original paintings by Jan van Eyck, Lochner, Mantegna, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Poussin, Dürer and many more. This collection is my favourite as I really admire the old master painters.

As for the Modern Art collection, it presents paintings by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Marc, Kirchner, Beckmann and many more from the era of Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Expressionism.

STÄDEL MUSEUM
Schaumainkai 63
60596 Frankfurt am Main
+49(0)69-605098-0
http://www.staedelmuseum.de/en/
info@staedelmuseum.de

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Museumsufer for art lovers

Prior to visiting Frankfurt, I made plans with Daiana Olteanu, a Romanian friend whom I met last year at Frankfurt BookFair, who is living in Frankfurt, to go for art discovery around Frankfurt.

I have two days free before the book fair and a day after the bookfair. So we planned well and try to cover as many art categories as we can.

From the hotel, we walked to Hauptwache, past Romer and then across the Main River to get to the other side of the river to an area called The Frankfurt museum embankment (Museumsufer). Alternatively we could take the tram or train but we preferred to walk to enjoy the nice chilly weather.

The embankment is one of the most important locations for museums in Germany and Europe. Through this unique cultural experience on both sides of the Main, the city enjoys an excellent reputation among art lovers.

There’s a total of 12 museums on the Schaumankai side, whereas about 22 museums on the other side of the Main River (some near the river, others located sporadically around Frankfurt city).

Frankfurt has more than 60 museums but there’s only 34 museums participating under Museumsufer:

  1. Altana Kulturstiftung im Sinclair-Haus, Bad Homburg
  2. Archäologisches Museum Frankfurt
  3. Bibelhaus Erlebnis Museum
  4. Caricatura Museum Frankfurt
  5. Deutsches Architekturmuseum
  6. Deutsches Filmmuseum
  7. Deutsches Ledermuseum, Offenbach
  8. Dommuseum Frankfurt am Main
  9. Eintracht Frankfurt Museum
  10. Fotografie Forum Frankfurt
  11. Frankfurter Kunstverein
  12. Geldmuseum der Deutschen Bundesbank*
  13. Frankfurter Goethe-Haus/Goethe-Museum
  14. Haus der Stadtgeschichte, Offenbach
  15. Hindemith Kabinett im Kuhhirtenturm
  16. Historisches Museum Frankfurt/ Höchster Porzellan-Museum
  17. Ikonen-Museum der Stadt Frankfurt
  18. Institut für Stadtgeschichte/Karmeliterkloster
  19. Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt
  20. Kindermuseum Frankfurt
  21. Klingspor-Museum, Offenbach
  22. Liebieghaus – Skulpturensammlung
  23. Weltkulturen Museum
  24. Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt
  25. Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main
  26. Museum für Kommunikation Frankfurt
  27. Museum Giersch
  28. Museum Judengasse
  29. Portikus*
  30. Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
  31. Senckenberg Naturmuseum Frankfurt
  32. Städel Museum
  33. Stoltze-Museum der Frankfurter Sparkasse*
  34. Struwwelpeter-Museum/Heinrich-Hoffmann-Museum

Do keep in mind that these museums are closed due to renovation works:
– Geldmuseum (Money Museum) until end of 2016
– Jüdisches Museum until 2018
– Museum Judengasse until spring 2016
– Stoltze-Museum has been relocated for 18 month to another building

museumlocationParticipating museums location.

Museum Embankment-Ticket
You can use the Museumsufer ticket to visit 34 museums on two consecutive days. If on the day after purchase museums are officially closed the ticket’s validity is extended by one day.

The Museumsufer ticket is available in three versions:
. as single ticket for €18
. as family card for 2 adults (in a partnership) and children/grandchildren under 18 years for €28
. as a concessionary ticket €10

The Ticket is not transferable; you need to show your passport and write your name on the ticket, and is only valid in combination with genuine identification.

tixSingle ticket €18 with my name on it.

I will tell about the museums I went to in my next posts (with lots of photos).

* Book your cheap Kuala Lumpur Frankfurt flights (KUL – FRA) with Lufthansa and enjoy beautiful Frankfurt. Benefit from the low fares and great service! And don’t forget to try Premium Economy Class for more personal space, more free baggage, more service. Long-haul travel in Premium Economy Class comes with plenty of comforts. 

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7 Tips on Planning a Frankfurt Trip with Family (updated)

Frankfurt is a nice place to bring your family on a holiday. Since the long school holiday is just around the corner, I am writing to share the tips on how to plan for your travel. A well-planned trip can allow you save time and cost of travelling in the city as well as place to stay.

These planning steps are based solely on my own experience.

1When to visit – The best times for Frankfurt are late spring to early autumn. The summers tend to be sunny and warm around 25 °C (77° F). Be prepared, however, for very hot summer days around 35° C (95° F) as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold and rainy (usually not lower than -10 °C/14 °F). It rarely snows in Frankfurt itself.

fallwomanAutumn in Frankfurt.

2Flight to Frankfurt – Previously it’ll be easier to take Malaysia Airlines direct flight to Frankfurt. But since MAS ceased flight to Frankfurt on May 29, 2015, you can take Lufthansa direct flight to Frankfurt. Alternatively you can also take KLM with layovers choices in Singapore, Paris or Amsterdam. Or try Cathay Pacific, with layover in Hong Kong. Do a comparison first and see which one is cheapest.

flightSons on MAS flight.

3Place to stayRent a place to stay via Airbnb. Renting a flat is much more cheaper as it is not based on pax as what the hotels in Frankfurt (perhaps in Europe). So many choices to choose from; fully-furnished apartment or house because this type of accommodation offers washing machine and kitchen. These two are the core things we need (in a mother’s perspective) when we travel with family.

AirbnbA comfortable apartment in Offenbach, 30 minutes away from Frankfurt city.

4City mode of transportation. Get Frankfurt Card. The super-saver card includes unlimited use of public transport system within Frankfurt city including Frankfurt Airport. It also offers 50% discount on admission to numerous Frankfurt museums, the Zoological Gardens, Botanical Gardens, Oper Frankfurt, city tours, river cruises, not to mention participating restaurants, cafes and retail stores. You can buy the group ticket (maximum of 5 persons) for €19 (one day) or €28 for 2 days. You can buy the ticket at  Frankfurt Airport, Hotels & Tours (Terminal 1: Arrival Hall B), Welcome Center, Tourist Information Office Frankfurt Am Main Hauptbahnhof and Tourist Information Office Römerberg.

supersaver

5Get online connection. Get Ortel data plan prepaid card. It is much cheaper to buy local simcard rather than have your phone on roaming. You can get the simcard for €15 and dataplan for €14.90. You canbuy  from phone shops around the city; in our case we got it from a phone shop (operated by Pakistanis) on Kaiserstraße, just across the main station.  They will help you install and register everything on your phone.

Ortel

6Where to go, what to visit. Being an an internationally diverse city, Frankfurt has many great things to offer; from arts, outdoors, and shopping, to historic buildings and high-rises, here are some of my suggestions:

JUmp-to-joy
Römerberg -the old centre of Frankfurt with a number of historic buildings dating to the 14th and 15th century (many of which, unfortunately, were destroyed during World War II and rebuilt afterwards).

River-Main
Main River – the river that flows through Frankfurt, Germany from Kulmbach to Wiesbaden with a length of 527 km.

Eiserner-Steg
Eiserner Steg (Iron bridge) – Frankfurt’s most well-known pedestrian bridge, built in 1869. It is just a minute away from the Römer, and provides great views of the skyline and the Main River.

museum01
Historisches Museum – offers a wide collection of the history of the city.

zoo
Frankfurt Zoological Garden – a green oasis in the middle of the thriving Main metropolis and it features over 4,500 animals on approximately 13 hectares land.

azmiyassin
The Main Tower – the only tower that is open to the public. From the viewing platform at a height of 200 metres, you will have a good view of Frankfurt and the surrounding area. Make sure to go on a clear day to get a nice family photo for your album.

Entrance
Goethe House and Museum, the birthplace of Germany’s most famous author and poet.

palmengarten1
Palmengarten Botanical Gardens – display a range of interesting and beautiful plants. Almost every kind of exotic flora growing around the world.

Meatzeil
Zeil shopping mile at hauptwache- where most well-known department store chains are to be found, but also where a host of specialised shops offer an extensive range of goods. There’s Zeilgalerie and Frankfurt Hoch 4. There are also cafes, snack bars and restaurants here.

Hauptwache
Hauptwache – one of Frankfurt’s oldest buildings. Hauptwache means “Main Watch”; the building stood as the home of Frankfurt’s military from 1730 until the 19th century. Today the baroque-style building houses a café and stands as one of the few remaining symbols of Frankfurt’s history as a city-state.

7Halal Places to eat – Frankfurt is considered a multicultural city because it is home to people of 180 nationalities. Nearly 25 percent of Frankfurt’s residents are foreign nationals. So looking for Halal food is not a problem at all. We did brought some food from Malaysia but the boys need to eat something also while touring the city because the cold weather made them hungry all the time. Here are some of the restaurants that we went:

thaifun
Thai Fun, Elbestraße 15, Frankfurt.

alrafedain
Al Rafedain Restaurant, Baseler Straße 15, Frankfurt.

Alims
Alim’s Fish Imbiss, Münchener Straße 35, Frankfurt.

viravira2
Vira Vira Restaurant, Hanauer Landstraße 41, Frankfurt.

burger
Palmen Grill, Klingerstraße 6, Innenstadt, Konstablerwache, Frankfurt.

So there you go. Happy planning and happy holiday!

 

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