Wuppertal: The View Improves

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 30, 2014 in Personal |

Day Two: the weather has improved. Not, I think, that it could have been any worse than it was, but the sunshine on my second day in Wuppertal brought many improvements to my mood and to my chances of seeing something interesting without having to avoid getting soaked! Today was to be the day, I had decided, when I would manage to really see the city, gain a good impression of it and, just as important, have something to bring back home with me. It is fair to say my first impressions, which I briefly went through in my post yesterday (although I am cheating, of course, since I didn’t have Internet access there and am recalling rather than writing live!) were not the best.

Viktoria Michaelis: Wuppertal

Photo Credit: wwwuppertalCreative Commons

And, clearly, I am not the only one who was disappointed with the city or who, judging by the above image, struggled to get past the downside of the city to see something interesting. The streets weren’t quite as bad as this may suggest, but if you didn’t keep an eye on where your feet were treading it was dangerous to say the least. My technical problems, however, were not at an end.

I slept comfortably in a small hotel on the outskirts of the city – sparse and clean, just for sleeping and eating breakfast, nothing more needed – right across from a former factory which is being converted into living quarters. The early morning sunlight boded nothing but good for the day and I hoped to be able to bring a few memories back with me. Sadly, not to be. Apparently my battery charger at home disagrees with my camera: the one says Fully Charged, the other says Empty. I considered using my cell to take photographs – if I hold it really steady, I learned, I can even take HD photographs! – but threw this idea out quickly. More than three hours traveling back home again: the battery is not going to be able to hold out if I use half its resources (or more) to take photographs. So, the images here are culled from the Internet and, sad to say, are of things I didn’t get to see.

Viktoria Michaelis: Historical Town Hall, Wuppertal

Photo Credit: EnergieAgentur.NRWCreative Commons

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Town Hall, a building of some architectural importance, was closed to outsiders and tourists because of a seminar or annual meeting or something, so I didn’t get to go in. I wish I had been able to, it looks beautiful. The image above shows the main entrance hall, which I could see – just about – from the outside whenever someone opened the inner doors. The one below is one of the main meeting rooms. I am sure that if you do a search through Google or Flickr you’ll find many more which show the opulent side of life in the city. I, however, stood on the outside and only got to see the downside!

Viktoria Michaelis: Historical Town Hall, Wuppertal

Photo Credit: EnergieAgentur.NRWCreative Commons

The impression I had of a dirty, uncared for city wasn’t replaced in my mind as I wandered the streets. There are very beautiful areas, mainly on the outskirts and the valley sides, and the city center looks as if it has some life left in it – although this is mainly nightlife and commerce – but it is more of a blind life. You wander through the center and try to ignore the bad aspects, enjoy the ambiance as much as possible and are confronted with building sites, broken sidewalks, gray buildings, desolation and decay.

Perhaps Wuppertal represents society. There is the glory of past times carefully preserved to show what was, and the reality of life today living side by side. The one is pushed forward, the other carefully hidden or ignored. You see life on the streets amid the debris of building sites, broken roads, barriers carrying their life and possessions in a plastic bag and, believe me, there were enough people wandering the streets to make me want to change sides more than once. You see the idealized life in posters, advertisements, renovated official and administrative buildings, the shopping centers. Between the two is a massive abyss, and no one knows how to build a bridge, how to correct, to remedy the problems.

I’ve brought little from Wuppertal back with me, in a physical sense, but many thoughts and impressions which will remain in my mind for years to come.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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