Day at the Fair

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
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Trip End Aug 01, 2007


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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, June 9, 2007

A few days in to my stay in Amsterdam Anders planned for us to visit a museum with his colleagues. I really didn't pay much attention to the details of our day; all I was looking forward to were meeting his friends. Early in the morning we biked to the home of his colleague in the outer skirts of Amsterdam. Another of his friends was already there and together we drove to pick up his professor. All being ceramic artists of some sort the conversation was on-going; I couldn't have chosen better people to spend the day with.

Once at his professors house I got a better sense for where we were headed, Germany! Essen, Germany, actually, was the location of a man and his obsession with the fair. Essen is located about 2 and a half ours from Amsterdam by car, the northwestern side of the country. Our appointment was at 2pm, but arriving early allowed us to walk through a flea market and have lunch. German food, not being any better than Hungarian, was not to my liking, so as I nibbled on cherries and whole grain bread, the others dined on bratwursts and french-fries in curry sauce, yum! Just about two o-clock and right around the corner to the museum, we knocked on the door of what would be an amazing experience.

To explain a litter further, Anders and his colleagues are very much interested in puppetry, theatre, and textiles. Some how they found out about this German man's Fair Ground Collection in Essen and decided to check it out. Not speaking any German one of Anders colleagues filled me in on the details about the collection, but for the most part I was in total awe of the spectacular site I was seeing. Located in the industrial part of Essen, this German man houses one of the most extensive collections of Fair Ground objects in the world. He began collecting at a young age, and now in his 70's, his goal now is to show and preserve what he has been collecting all his life.

As my eyes moved around the rooms all the wonderful objects I was seeing transfixed me. Pieces and parts from other old carousals surrounded a large wooden carousal in the middle of the open warehouse. Puppet theatres, marionettes, embroideries, pictures, posters, musical toys, figurines, clown cars, fair organs, and so much more filled every crevice and corner of this warehouse and upstairs rooms. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw all these precious mementos in time. I tried to take myself back in time, before I was even born, and imagine what a fair would have been like then. By the time I was born many of these object were replaced by more modern, daring rides and had lost all charm.

We all walked around for a couple hours as the man played the musical organs and we looked at every piece he had collected. Thanking him very much for opening up his collection to us, we parted ways figuring out what next we would do. As we made our way toward the city center for coffee a sad discussion broke out about how this collection should really be in a formal museum. Many more people could appreciate and enjoy what we all just experienced if it was in a better location and dusted off. What happens when this man passes on and no one is there to take care of this amazing remembrance of the past?

After a cup of coffee everyone decided that you cant make a trip to Germany without seeing a bit of the country-side and having a pastry, and so off to the train station we went heading again for some new place. Anders professor had gone to school near by in Werden, and so that is where we headed. Werden just happened to be a very small town in the rural parts of Germany with beautiful rolling green hills and traditional German homes and walkways. It would be a perfect end to my day in Germany, plus we got cake!

Finding a pastry shop we stopped in for yet another cup of coffee and a delicate treat for our taste buds. Running out of time we made a short walk around the small town and headed back for the train start our journey home. By 10pm we were back in Amsterdam and Anders and I were back on our bikes headed back to his place. A full day, another country on my list, and the best collection I have see in my life!! It's a must see!
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