A Wuppertag

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You might have seen my hashtag #nrwbucketlist. When I live somewhere, I tend to not do the things that the region is known for because “I’ll have time for that”. To avoid getting caught in the “I’ll do it someday” trap, I keep bucket lists. I had one for Stockholm, two actually for different seasons, and last year I wrote one for the federal state I live in now, North-Rhine-Westphalia, commonly shortened in Germany to NRW. Things on the list that I have already crossed off are Xanten, the Lindenstra├če set, the Immisitzung, to name a few. Today it was time for a Wuppertag (Wupperday) in Wuppertal.

Wuppertal is one of the cities around here that was artificially made one. It also starts seamlessly when other cities end. I just cannot get over the population density around here. Wuppertal, named after the river Wupper, is regarded average picturesque at best, and today we had the worst possible weather to take a trip. But that did not stop us – I was pretty excited to finally try the Schwebebahn, the suspension railway, that I kept hearing about when growing up, and imagined to be super futuristic. I mean, it’s hovering above the city!

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It turned out it’s more retro-futuristic. (It was built in 1901!) But still so cool: I felt like in a rollercoaster minus the awful loopings I hate. It even swings when you step off! We tootled through all of Wuppertal, above the river, seeing the sights of the city. At the central station we got off to visit one of the places Wuppertal is most known for (next to the Schwebebahn and famous choreographer Pina Bausch): the von-der-Heytd-Museum. It was showing an exhibit about Paula Modersohn-Becker who lived in Bremen, thus elegantly tying together where I come from and where I am now, drawing me in even more. The exhibit was really nice, I learned that many artists studied in D├╝sseldorf at that time. I also realizedI know little about the artists around Paula. My new favorite is now Hans am Ende, I decided.

Of course, we also stopped for Wupperfika!

A note on my blog post frequency: I now have a brilliant excuse -my space key barely works and it is a strenous effort to type. Also, I now realized my parents adopted Instagram stories, so I broadcast more there.

 

On Lime Street

Continuity is important in life. It gives stability to your existence, it creates reliabilty for your identity. Now you might be thinking of growing up in the same house or being around the same attachment figures. For me, for as long as I can remember, a secure element of continuity was Lindenstra├če. Whatever happens, cannot alter one thing: on Sundays 6:50 p.m. on Channel One, Lindenstra├če is on. My aunts watched it, my mom watched it and I grew up with it – and with the characters, manyof which have been in the show since the Eighties.

Lindenstra├če is a German drama series that has been on TV since 1985. Inspired by the British Corontation Street, it is all about the lives of a bunch of neighbors on Lime Street. Germans generally look down on Lindenstra├čen-watchers – but little do they know! Lindenstra├če is always tackling important social questions and was the first show to air a gay kiss on German TV. Right now, they have a (admittedly very badly written) storyline about a transgender person, an influencer youtuber and a refugee family. And of course one family has a child with Down’s Syndrome.

Lindenstra├če is set in Munich but filmed in Cologne. I found that out a few years ago and when I moved to D├╝sseldorf, “visiting the Lindenstra├če film set” immediately went up on my bucket list. Last weekend, the day had finally come.

Officially, this was a tour of the West German Broadcasting (WDR) premises. Before the tour started, the guide asked who was here for the Lindenstra├če and 80 % raised their hands. Take that, Lindenstra├če-doubters!

The WDR is the largest broadcasting organization in Europe after the BBC. It produces 177 hours of radio and 37 hours of television. A day! The German regional broadcasting services (there is also a South West German, a North German, a Middle German, …) deliver content to Channel One (ARD) and the WDR makes up for 25 % of it. Consequently, their premises are not exactly small, but cover the area of a former military area in the middle of nowhere near Cologne. Together with Lindenstra├če, one of their most famous and most beloved productions is “The Show with the Mouse”, a highly acclaimed children’s program, running since 1971. The Mouse teaches children about all kinds of things, for example about how toothpaste gets into a toothpaste tube. The guide told us, as we passed giant statues of the Mouse and everyone got rather excited, that the average Mouse watcher age is not 5 to 8, but 35 to 40. While I, like any good German child, watched the show when I was little, my relation with the Mouse did not continue unlike my faithfulness to Lindenstra├če.

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I am here! Finally!

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With my friend Nadine, sitting in the beer garden of Lindenstra├če’s Greek restaurant

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Which restaurant offers dishes that cost 10,30 euros? #notrealistic

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If you watch LiStra, as fans shorten the show’s name, these doorbells mean so many stories to you.

I learned so much on this tour: a camera costs 250.000 euros and is used for 30 years. To illuminate one talkshow guest on television you need four lamps. Film sets rarely have right angles because they make everything appear smaller. And when it is supposed to be fall in Lindenstra├če but they are filming in summer, they employ people to pluck┬á the leaves off the lime trees.

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The WDR trains people in various professions, among others plastic scene builders. They create objects like the above. It is all styrofoam!

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Yes, even the godess elephant is nothing but stryofoam

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Occasionally being redecorated to serve as a police station in a movie, this building is actually the administration of Licence Fees. As an avid watcher of Lindenstra├če, I think I get my money’s worth!