Half timbered houses / vakwerk huizen

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From early youth, with walks in province of Limburg (NL) I was attracted by half timbered houses.

The architecture consists of a construction with partitions shaped by wooden beams, often made of oak, with in the partitions twigs with loam, later bricks.

Near Slenaken / bij Slenaken, Limburg, NL (Drager Meurtant, 2012)

Van mijn vroege jeugd, met wandeling in Limburg (NL) was ik aangetrokken door vakwerkhuizen.

De bouwstijl bestaat uit een constructie met vakken gevormd door ruwe, veelal wat gekromde balken, vaak van eiken, met in de vakken vroeger takken met leem, later baksteen.

Nu kunst tot m’n dagelijks leven behoort, is er vorm gegeven aan collage – relief van een vakwerkhuis.

“Haus zur Frieden” (Collage – Relief, Drager Meurtant, 2021)

In current time, with art being part of every day’s life, a half timbered hhouse was created with collage-relief.

This year, also wood cut was used to create an image of a hamlock with half timbered homes in the mountains.

Houses and mountains / huizen en bergen (DM, 2022)

En dit jaar is er ook het medium houtsnede aangewend om vorm te geven aan een gehucht in de bergen, bestaande uit vakwerkhuizen.

(for more see http://www.meurtant.exto.org)

A journey in the Pelopónnèsos (Πελοπόννησος) in 1978 (Part II)

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As indicated in previous post (December 11, 2021), my journey in Greece from Dimitsana onward continued as hike mostly on feet, with myself as only company. An imprecise map helped me define Adritsaina as next ‘goal’, and I had the sun, time and a compass as lead. The Arcadian hills grown with small greek oak trees were hot and dry. The day passed without meeting any bipeds, and only a greek turtle crossed my path.

Mountains in Arcadia
Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca) encounter underway

After mid-day, I had to take care not to get over-heated, but some rivers provided refreshment at times.

In hammock of Bardaki (Μπαρδάκι) I was invited – when filling water bottle at local pump – to have retsina and tomato salad in plenty olive oil on the veranda. The hospitable folks advised a cool moment at nearby river Alfeios.

Bardaki (Μπαρδάκι) houses (1)
Bardaki (Μπαρδάκι), the house with veranda

After passing through Andritsaina, and after following a small path through the hills, I came close to a temple with just a few visitors. Some supportive structures had been raised, as an early step towards conservation. It is now an Unesco Monument, and restoration would start in 2001, with a tent (hood) placed over the temple remains. This Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae of Phigaleia has been raised in 5th century BC. In retrospect, the photo is unique with respict to point-of-view.

Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae of Phigaleia, 5th century BC.

At the end of the next day I came to a place, where several big rectangular boulder stones had been neatly arranged providing a plateau to camp. I had arrived at the ancient site of Lycosura (Λυκόσουρα) with the temple of Despoina. At the nearby village an elderly lady had the key to small historic museum, with some big antique statues, and a lot of dust. The entree did cost two drachmes.

Ancient Lykosura (Λυκόσουρα), temple of Despoina (1)
Ancient Lykosura (Λυκόσουρα), temple of Despoina (2)

From there the trip continued on feet or by hitch hiking or bus, via Megalopolis to historic Argos, Mycene and coastal city of Nafplion. On the quay outside this city, several young people camped and took a swim in the sea, not bothering to put on cloths between dives. Several times during the day, a ripple of unrest traveled along this quay, when a police officer came to tell nudity would be punished.

View from port of Nafplion to Palamidi Castle (1978)

From Nafplion, a regular buss service brought tourists to ancient Mycene.

Castle of Mycene, with Agamemnon’s Palace in evening light, empty of tourists
Castle of Agamemnon, Mycene, the Lion Gate

From Nafplion an easy walk along busy motorway brought me to ancient Argos, with its huge amphiteatre.

Ancient Argos amphitheatre

In the city of Argos, a funeral service was hindered by the defect of historic funeral coach.

Motor trouble of funeral coach (Argos, 1978)

Small garages are scattered all over Greece, like here near Nafplion.

By ferry a short visit was brought to Spetse, the island where the book “The Magus” by author John Fowles is situated. By taking some distance to the tourist crowds, – talking about 1978 – at almost all places something of rural Greece could be found. I walked a few miles from the port, and near the lighthouse I got permission from the guard to camp with my little tent, after having accepted the offer of a glass of ouzo and some fresh tomatoes.

Evening view from lighthouse to port of Spetse.

From Spetse another ferry brought me to Pireas and a bus to Athens, and that is where this story ends.

Athens, temple of Zeus

A journey in the Pelopónnèsos (Πελοπόννησος) in 1978 (Part I)

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In July 1978 Jaap, a study pal and mountain hike companion, and I made a journey in Greece. We had trekked in several mountain regions since a few years. After arrival in Igoumenitsa by ferry from Brindisi (Italy), we hitchhiked south to Amfilochia in the back of an open truck.

On the road: blue house and honeysuckle

Restaurant (Estiatorion) in Amfilochia
An evening stroll along the promenade of Amfilochia

The next day brought us to Patras, a city with a history of thousands of years. Already inhabited in prehistoric times, it was an important centre in the Mycenean era. After one night camp there, we continued east to small coastal village of Diakofto.

Patras: fruit seller and Jaap posing for photo.

From Diakofto runs the “Odontotos Rack-railway” to Kalavrita. It was built between 1885-1895 and climbs steeply along a distance of 22 km. We followed a path besides and sometimes on the track, that rises in narrow cleft between steep rocks. At times a viper fled from being trapped on.

Ravin being part of Vourakos Gorge with rail track

In a small cafe in Kalavryta, we were met by suspicion and animosity, expressed by elderly woman rejecting to serve us greek coffee. A younger man could explain to her, we were not German but Dutch, and then the suspicion lessened. All this was related to the big massacre by the nazis in 1943, with over 300 men killed and many houses burned.

Walking further, we heard an one-pit motor and the same young man as mentioned above pointed to a nest with six eggs in the load of three wheeled pick-up motorcycle. This gift was followed by his offer to bring us to Anolousi.
Butcher and his wife and slaughtered sheep in Anolousi

Ano Lousi lies on plateau at 1100 m altitude. From here we followed the road to Kata lousi with about as many cars or trucks passing as flocks of sheep.

Plateau with Ano Lousi
The road from Ano Lousi to Kato Lousi
The author walking from Ano Lousi to Kato Lousi (photo by Jaap)

Near the evening we arrived by foot in the small village of Kastria. We explained our whereabouts, to what appeared to be the village elder, and soon were invited to have a glass of ouzo with several most older men at a table. Later, we were invited to join a party planned to visit the cave that had been discovered nearby, a few years earlier, by a shepherd who had lost a sheep. The party would take ‘William’, a former villager who had emigrated to the USA twenty years earlier, and who had just returned for a visit, to the site, and us alongside.

The entrance of the Kastria Cave

No ticket counter of parking for busses, yet to be seen. We were able to enter the cave for about 300 m, with the guide using an old mining-lamp (Davy lamp) and then were stopped by lakes. Nowadays, walking bridges have been created to gain acces much deeper.

Along the road from Kastria to Langadia: shepherd with milk goats

We hiked further to Klitoria and then to Dafni. On the outskirts of the small village of Dafni, there were more than ten threshing circles. These may have been created two thousand years ago… and are located in areas where the wind blows.

Village of Dafni with many threshing circles.
Mule and stake at threshing circle, still in operation.

From Dafni the path led to Langadia, on the busy and touristic road from Olympia to Tripoli. A steep climb to a street 100 m higher brought us back in more rural village atmosphere and we were offered small flat grass plateau for the tent.

Langadia sales man

From Langadia we walked to Dimitsana, about 10 km south. This mountain village at 1000 m height, played important role in Greep revolt against the Turkish occupants. To our great surprise, a Dutch couple arrived soon after we installed our camp outside this village. The surprise became even bigger when they turned out to be neighbours of Jaap. No previous talk about respective travels had been made. The encounter was a pure coincidence…

Historic mountain village of Dimitsana, in 1978

The next day, our path did split, with – Jaap heading for Athens to meet family, and I continued my path alone. This will be part of 2nd blog.

The Answer

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This morning / or was it the other day?

a dead duck knocked on the door,

and did so several times. //

However,

the door did not give in,

but kicked back instead,

it did so with fierce strength. //

Unused to such movement,

this produced great tension,

a sudden ache, and as a result

the door vomited twice

(pain can do this) and decided

to resign from function.

The owner working in the backyard

was informed the same instant. //

All the while, still,

the dead duck had waited in vain

for a clear answer

at a question left

unspoken, but that was

part of the delivery. //

The owner, a clever person,

saw chances

by hiring the dead duck

for an entrance.

(c) Drager Meurtant, text and image, 25-09-2021

Dark and more // Donker en meer

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Upon the entry of the enormous hall

the dark color on the floor

appeared to be caused by fire.

Arson, the extinction brigade thought

and kept the doors open.

The doors, that with some skylights

gave access to a bleak light

and the photographer.

Windows were not barred

as usual.

Some had had a party

Some had smashed the windows.

Those that aim for an answer

should formulate a question first

(NL tekst onderaan)

dark floor – 1

Dark floor – 2

emergency exit – break cylinder to open // nooduitgang – buisje breken om te openen

One open window

Open window and distant door

leftovers from a party

Broken window

Broken glass

Someone

Question one

Meer dan donker

Na het binnengaan in de enorme hal

bleek de donkere kleur op de vloer

te zijn ontstaan door brand.

Gesticht, dacht de blusbrigade,

en hierna bleven de deuren open,

Die met enkele dakramen

een bleek licht toegang gaven,

evenals de fotograaf.

Sommigen hadden een feestje

Sommigen hadden de ramen ingeslagen

Diegenen die uit is op een antwoord

dient eerst een vraag te stellen.

(c) Drager Meurtant ext & photos, July 24, 2021

Amazement as a source for art

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A Paris road

“A road in France / forgot where and when. // That can happen when using analog film / in old Voigtländer camera.”

(one day later, using memory and internet: this is Rue Diderot, just entered from Avenue de Général Leclerc, Pantin, Paris. May 12, 2017)

“Now look, in that window!”

Now, length plays a role. If you are 20 cm longer than me, you will have a different look.

“Yeah, what is it you wanted to show?”

No doubt, analog photography is different from digital. With digital photos I change little, perhaps enhace contrast somewhat, adapt ligth-dark a bit. Rarely major manipulation with saturation and such. But this Kodacolor film, in Voigtländer Vitoret (dating from early 1960s): different cake…

Poste de Surveillance

Along the same road, Avenue Général Leclercq, Pantin, Paris, there is the the entry of Parking has a guard house, with peculiar roof, or should I say: a sort of canopy?

Grand Garage

Experience learns, a car might leave the exit at some speed…

Cocktails and more

After a while and a strech with the Metro (subway) we have come back to the Paris Center.

Coiffure Sandy

In 2017, people sat at a table for coffee, beer or glass of wine, and terror had decreased. No virus in sight, yet.

If you have a choice…

Indoors, no people smoked, so we had coffee inside. Looking through the window, I noticed a message taped to the glass. Everything else is background. All this happened May 12th, 2017

(c) all photos by Drager Meurtant

Today was different

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(A note with images from March 7, 2021)

Today was different: it started grey and fairly cold. One year of 21st century pandemic, has certain effects. Dominant is the feeling of uncertainty. There are roadblocks at the border. Still, after six months with meetings by ‘skype’ only, the three of us met at small parking-place, to walk in the forest.

three photographers meet one tree

No kissing or hugging, we focus on nature, and some human acts.

inscriptions from earlier date

One should not carve in skin of trees, but testimonies often are built on scars.

yet another scar

Going north, a logger had felled a tree and new life settled on the cut surface.

The face of a logger

Tiny leaves left from autumn, have shadows imprinted on bark.

fragile shadows

About fifty years ago, someone planted stakes on (and with a) purpose. One straight, the other leaning for support, joined with an iron nail.

so much at stake

Here, there is quietude, and the option to choose which way to go.

the other way

At another time, one may meet a fellow traveler on this earth, his/her shelter being a hole in the ground.

Fox hole

Someone took a token of belief, and by placing it in old tree trunk, fixed time and memory.

token

The clefts and riggles of bark of this birch tree surpass abstraction.

birch

“Three of us is enough: not afraid of tension or to separate fields,
and create boundaries”

the three of us

text and images (c) Drager Meurtant, March 7-8, 2021

The reason hid in a distant place / De rede was ver te zoeken

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the beginning / het begin
on the way / onderweg

Only after crossing trenches / and brooks, and raising / fallen trees upright, // followed by rubbing out / the dirty ground from narrow eyes, // and by calling loud: “I’m alone!” // motion started behind / the bushes.

Slechts na oversteek van greppels / en kreken, en het rechtzetten / van omgevallen bomen, // waarna de vuile grond uit geknepen ogen / werd gewreven , // en door luid te roepen: “ik ben alleen!” // kwam er beweging vanachter / het struikgewas.

wide canal // brede sloot
deep laying brook / diep gelegen beek

One thought, it is a goat, / fastened with ties and anxious, // the other believed to perceive / a superior power.

De één dacht, het is een geit, / vastgebonden en angstig, // de ander meende, een hogere macht / te ontwaren.

But something unmentionable / crept forward: “reason evades an explanation.”

Maar iets onnoembaars kroop / te voorschijn: “de rede laat zich niet verklaren”

Wheeling

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There came a day that the car needed a new wheel and we walked in the neigbourhood. The camera was in the backpack not for long.

in need of repair

This was a typical area of trade and operations, and in between there was a small area of bushes and trees.

invite for a moment of rest

Small spots of green (nature?) amids urban environment, easily brings surreal experiences.

co-existence

Buildings and trees share a relation with height.

aside

These are trees, the Dutch call ‘Acacia’, but wikipedia says Robinia pseudoacacia, or ‘false acacia’

nature looks at apartments in high buildings (8 stocks)

And looking one direction, an endless green nature expands for about 60 meter.

survival

While the other way, preparations to build new quarter are under way…

Wirixstraat

And, the destructive nature of humankind is visible in this trolley

victim number 22

It is not good enough, to steal and leave such lorrey, no, it must be smashed…

urban trees

Can trees survive without buildings?

wheeling

The walk brought the aim of our trip, in a different format.

red, light, windows, reflections and bicycle

The last minutes of the time we had to wait, withing the dealer’s compound.

A different tale

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The day of December two thousand and twenty, started with haze and drizzle, that kept some sort of lock over the day.

Still, face covered with mask in the train, we went to the city of Amsterdam, to visit the museum of photography ‘Foam’. Rarely do I make photos of photos. But there are other elements. My photos taken in the museum are given below, together with a few from the journey back home.

stubborn element (detail)
stubborn element (whole)

Now more than in earlier times, there is the need for refreshment of air within buildings.

grate for air vent (one)
Grate for air vent (two)

The artist Jan Schoonhoven might have found inspiration.

Grate for air vent (detail of one, B&W)

Somewhat hidden, there is a call for connectivity, dating from more than half a century ago.

electric wire and plugs

A crack in the window captures the focus.

crack in the window, museum Foam

Outside is different, but the view is still influenced. And strong light placed near historic facades of homes deviates the focus.

two lights near historic facade

While looking outside through the train windows, images are mirrors of movement.

speeds blurs the view outside (one)

There was no storm, just a train passing.

speed blurs the view outside (two)