Excellent Summary of Greece’s Debt Burden in The New Yorker

I normally steer clear of politics on this blog, but I couldn’t not share this excellent article in The New Yorker about the Greece’s debt burden. It’s rather brief, but makes a few points that I think are very important:

  1. Tür der KämmereiGreece’s debt dynamics are unsustainable.
  2. Dragging out the negotiations hasn’t helped this, but to suggest that Syriza is to blame for Greece’s debt load being unsustainable is silly.
  3. The bailout was more about protecting German banks, but especially the French banks, from debt write-offs than helping the Greek people.
  4. European leaders were concerned that writing off some of Greece’s debts would set a precedent for other heavily indebted countries. This is true, but it’s probably too late now.
  5. Germany has benefited from debt relief after World War II, so it might be time to return the favor.

This is the kind of harsh realities I would like to hear from my government and other European leaders.

Pictures from London Part 2

Continuing from part 1, here are the remaining pictures from my recent trip to London. These were taken while going up the Thames on a boat from Canary Wharf towards the London Eye.

This boat ride is a very interesting one, because it is so full of contrast. On the one hand, there are these hyper-modern skyscrapers in Canary Wharf and the City. On the other hand, there are some industrial buildings (mostly converted to residential use) serving as reminders of what London used to be like.

Additionally, on this day the weather was alternating between sunshine and rain very quickly. I hope some of the pictures capture the weird lighting this resulted in: one half of the sky blue, and the other almost black. Some buildings in the dark, others in bright light.

Canary Wharf von der Themse aus

Industriegebäude vor Canary Wharf (2)



Regenbogen über St. Pauls

Blick aus dem London Eye

London Eye

More pictures in part 3.

Up Top Part 2: Altstadt Düsseldorf

Continuing from the Up Top series, I started last week, here are a few more pictures I took during that trip around Düsseldorf’s Altstadt.

This first building is very interesting, because at street level it’s very plain. On the upper floors, however, it features irregular but extremely rich decorations. Except on one side, that is, which is left without decorations at all. Furthermore, unlike most buildings on this street, this one has a flat roof.

My guess is that this building was partially damaged during World War II (roof and left side) and as building materials were scarce when it was rebuilt, it became what we see today.

Hohe & Bastionstraße DetailRitterstraße

Ritterstraße Detail

OrtskrankenkasseGlockenspiel Marktstraße

A Pair Of Boots

Early Sunday morning. A pair of boots. Just sitting there on the curb. No one around to wear them.

What’s their story?

Were they discarded? Someone bought a new pair and decided they didn’t need these anymore?

Was someone having a bit too much to drink the night before; deciding it would be easier to walk home bare feet?

Who can know these things?

Up Top Part 1: Stahlhof

Have you ever noticed, how when one walks through the streets one barely looks up buildings, but mostly notices what’s on the ground floor and maybe one floor up?

The first thing I did, when I got my 18-250mm lens, was point it upward towards the top of the church tower across the street: The golden weather vane against the deep blue sky. I love that picture.

So for this new series I decided to keep pointing my camera up and look what it might spot in places I might normally overlook.

For the first installment, I’ve chosen the Stahlhof in Düsseldorf (literally steel yard, not to be confused with the London Steelyard).

Stahlhof Gesamtansicht

Even at street level it’s an impressive looking structure, symbolizing the power of the steel industry when it was built.

But only when you stop to look up, do you see the most intricate decorations at its top-floor and atop its roof.

Stahlhof Seite

Stahlhof Schriftzug

Stahlhof Turm

Actually, these pictures were taken from a house across the street, because the colorful roof is almost invisible from the street. This is also the reason I couldn’t line up the center of the building itself and the tower in the shot properly. There just wasn’t a window there.

Here’s the ship at the top of the Stahlhof tower right next to two other sailboats in the center of Düsseldorf.

Drei Schiffe