German Summer Dispatches Part II: Koblenz and Bonn

Like every year, we did a trip to see family in Germany at the end of August. This year, like so many before, I took a selection of bottles with me. On part I I told you of the dispatches from the Hull ferry and the dispatch of one bottle into the almost empty river Ems. The next stop on our tour brought us to a bigger stream: the river Rhine which has carried quite a lot of my bottles. Before this summer, I have (at different locations) trusted it with 20 bottles of which six were found. This summer I put another 7 into its arms. We’ll see…

August 23rd

Deutsches Eck, the point where the river Mosel feeds into the river Rhine, seen from the cliffs on the other river bank, taken from one of the cabins of the cable tram

On the 23rd (Friday) we made a day trip to Koblenz which is located where the Mosel joins the river Rhine. There’s a aerial cable tramway going across the river to allow easy access to castle Ehrenbreitstein. We had a great day, riding the cable tram and seeing the castle. And to finish the day of I went with the kiddos to dispatch from bottles into the river Rhine, right from that joining point there.

from left to right these are bottles numbered 113, 116, and 117 getting ready for their release

and that’s me getting ready

Right after throwing the bottles in, a cruise ship approached. I stood and watched: would its bow wave catapult the bottles onto the concrete rwalls? Throw it off course? Or transport it further into the middle of the stream?

The boat and my bottle (marked a little thinly, slightly to the centre left of the photo

the bottle and the boat, zoomed in for more drama

In the photos I now could make out just the one bottle, but there were all three visible to us while we were standing there. The one that is in the pictures is the one that was swimming furthest ahead, I believe. The ship passed behind the bottle when it drove past first. It didn’t seem to impact too much on the bottle’s path, just rocked it a little. But then it decided to turn, and I lost track of where the bottles were. I believe the ship must have gone over it. And it wasn’t your measly little boat either:

when I took the photo, I believed I could see the bottles bobbing alongside it – but now I can’t spot them anywhere

But I trust they survived this early ordeal, and I hope they’ll find their way downstream into the hands of happy finders.

August 28, Bonn

After another family visit, we then made our way to Cologne and then to Bonn at the river Rhine. This is where the project all started. The very first seven bottles were released in to the river Rhine from a ferry very close to the Kennedy Bridge from where I decided to put in the last couple of bottles I carried with me.

From left to right these are bottles numbers 119, 121, 112, and 114 waiting for their dispatch

Once again the kids were very eager to help. And so they took turns throwing in my messages in bottles.

119

121

112

114

I am looking forward to the day when they start asking about making their own bottle. But for now, I just shall be waiting for messages from finders of these ones. – Travel well, my bottles!

German Summer Dispatches Part I: The Ferry and Telgte

Like every year, we did a trip to see family in Germany at the end of August. This year, like so many before, I took a selection of bottles with me:

August 19th North Sea

My bottle number 107 and Peter’s “Do not Open!” looking out of our cabin’s window to watch the English coast go by

On Monday August 19th we boarded the “Pride of Rotterdam”, the ferry that goes between Kingston upon Hull in England to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In my luggage I brought 9 of my own little bottles, and one of Peter’s.

Our schedule on the ferry is pretty much the same every time we go: We arrive at between 5 and 6 on the ship and “move in” to our cabin. The kids are given a chance to explore the ship (every time delighted that it hasn’t changed from last time). Then we eat dinner on board. If they feel like it, the twins can watch some of the entertainment program targeted at kids. And then, because we are all sleeping in the one cabin, all go to bed at 8.

What sounds awfully early from an adult perspective usually suits me quite well. We have to get up at 6 o’clock local time (i.e. 5 o’clock English time) for our breakfast the next day, so getting to bed early is a good idea anyway. And after several weeks of summer holidays and a day of packing, I am usually tired enough to fall to sleep immediately. The ship, however, doesn’t leave the harbour before 8.30 pm; something I often notice vaguely on the brink of sleep.

ferry route from Hull to Rotterdam

This time, I decided, I’d stay awake a little longer, and put the bottles into the North Sea. Since Peter’s bottle made its way from Germany to me, it made sense to put it in closer to the English coast.

So when Matthias and the kids all slipped into their beds I packed a book, the bottles, and a camera and headed out to find a place where I could wait. As you might imagine, the “board entertainment” was in full swing by then. Music and shows everywhere I went, and I found it hard to concentrate on my book. – And I got more tired by the minute.

last glimpse at the bottles before letting them go

I managed to hold out until shortly after 9. At least the ship was moving. The coast was still visible, but maybe we’d be lucky, I figured.
It was already dark, and taking photos was difficult. I thought had taken more images, but when I returned inside (without the bottles) it turned out I only had the one on the left. – Sorry!

Asking the ever wise internet, I read:

On Monday, 19th of August of 2019, the sun rose in Hull at 5:47 h and sunset was at 20:21 h. In the high tide and low tide chart, we can see that the first low tide was at 3:23 h and the next low tide at 15:48 h. The first high tide was at 9:04 h and the next high tide at 21:40 h.

We had 14 hours and 34 minutes of sun. The solar transit was at 13:04 h.

So apparently the water was still rushing toward the coast when I threw the two bottles overboard at about 9:10 pm. So far I have not heard anything from them. I hope their happy finders wait for them!

August 21st Telgte, Ems

Cardinal von Galen Platz, the plaza in front of the Clemens Church in Telgte

I have already dispatched a couple of bottles in Telgte, the famous little town near M├╝nster in Westfalia. It has a proud past and a couple of proud buildings in its neat little old town centre. Apparentlz in recent years there has been a noticable rise in tourism there, and I was surprised to find the old market square lively and full of people in restaurants and outside seating areas.

I went to the river in the morning of the 21st (Wednesday). In the photo above you can see the plaza in front of Clemens Church, the big church where the mass related to the pilgrimage is held (although the goal of the processions is the chapel just beside it, and not visible in the photo). Just behind the cars you might be able to guess at a foot bridge across the Ems.

Bridge across the Ems

This is the bridge. At this location the Ems splits into two branches with a large island in the middle from where I put in my bottle – like I did on previous occasions.

See that little plaza there? Just imagine me standing there right in the corner to throw in the bottle. I compiled a little map for you to scroll in and out if you wish to have an idea where this is:

non-flowing river

I don’t remember seeing the river quite as empty. The weir was shut, and the river was not actually flowing (much). Just compare that to the images I took in 2014.

Well, one last look at the bottle, and then it went in. I figured, if it gets found right there, nothing is lost. If it stays there for a couple of weeks until it goes on – it doesn’t matter either.

That mentioned, it has to be said that I was not lucky with any bottles I left there. Over the years I put in 6 bottles, and never heard back from a single one.

there the bottle floats, right on top of a sunken bike

Looking downstream: the river is beautiful here, the shores overgrown and almost inaccessible. The best chance to find the bottle is probably from one of the paddling boats that can be seen quite often here

The view above is from that footbridge mentioned above, and when you look the other way…
This is one of Christel Lechner’s Alltagsmenschen (everyday people), part of an art installation. I must admit that I briefly startled when I saw it from the corner of my eye.

I returned tot he river by night. The photo was taken from the other shore, looking upon the dispatch location. It was too dark to actually spot the bottle, I suppose. In any case I couldn’t see it. The place from where I took this photo, by the way, would usually be on the river bed.

 

West Coast / Irish Sea Dispatches Part 3 – North Wales, Llandudno and Rhos-On-Sea

Llandudno Pier

After having dispatched bottles in Chester on Thursday and Liverpool on Friday, it was time for North Wales on Saturday. At the Breakfast table we had still not quite decided where to go. But it was clear that we’d take the A55, and we’d decide on the spot whether to stop in Colwyn Bay or drive on to Llandudno. And since both kids were still patient when we came close to the first, we made it to the latter.

As you can see in the photo above, the beach close to the pier is of sand. Much of the beaches in North Wales are pebbles, and I suppose that there is some sand there, is what makes Llandudno attrative as a seaside resort. This is what a town looks like, when the Victorians think it makes a good Holiday destination:

Llandudno beach as seen from pier

As you can see now, only part of it is sand, the other half is the more characteristic pebbles. I found the non-existing transition between the two startling, and wonder how natural this beach is. However, the co-existence of both is natural in the area between Colwyn Bay and Llandudno.

As you can also guess from the photo, the weather wasn’t brilliant. We spent a bit of time at the beach and in the sand, went for lunch in one of the thousands of pizza-places and then went back to the pier to drop in the bottles. At that time, the skies looked rather threatening:

rain moving in

Well, and so we made this quick. I had been thinking of booking us on a boat ride around the bay, and drop the bottles from there. But the kids were cold, and none of them wanted to go onto the noisy (if you ask me rather exciting) motor boat ride.
High tide was on that day at 13:13, and it was now 13:50 – perfect timing. I simply went to the head of the pier that to drop them off. Below you see a picture of that pier pulled off Wikipedia:

By Gary Beale – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62435137

On the very front was a small plattform reserved for fishing. After brief deliberation I decided against it, and threw in the bottles from the visitor’s part. These are the bottles I brought:

Llandudno bottles just before their dispatch

The two big ones made by peter, the two little ones made by me. They are a little hard to make out here. The smaller one of Peter’s bottles displayes a clearly readable “Do Not Read. Do Not Open” ­čÖé The big one with its characteristic red paint should be clearly visible. Mine are the No. 115 “Underground Pool”, and No. 109 “Lone House”.

M. snapped me while throwing in the first bottle

Without much ado, I simply threw them in as far as I managed to and simply one after the other. Then I watched them float out of the bay.

Bottles starting to float away (just below the middle)

I hope you can make them out, floating there. The big red-striped bottle was the first I threw in. As you can see I got a bit more practise as I went. But then, the big one went into the lead:

The big red one catching up and overtaking my two small ones

On our way back to Ellesmere then, we decided to pull out in Collwyn Bay – which looked like nothing, just a long sand beach with no pier, and I didn’t want to drop in a bottle there, it seemed pointless. But we followed the promenade to Rhos-on-Sea, and while there was not really good opportunity there either, I figured I take my chances and left one other bottle:

Bottle dispatched in Rhos-on-Sea

As you can maybe see in the photo the was in a small little harbour. In the next photo maybe you can see it swimming near the stones:

Rhos-bottle floating

As always, I wish all those bottles save travels and pleased and excited finders. – As I am so slow with updating this blog, already two of those 13 west-coast bottles have already been found. More in the next post.

West Coast/Irish Sea Dispatches Part I – Chester

Old Dee Bridge, Chester

Last weekend I made a trip to the West Coast of Great Britain to dispatch the first batch of bottles into the Irish Sea. As you may know, I made a good bunch of bottles over the last weeks and months, and it was time to get them wet. I also met with people in Nottingham to make bottles, and two German writers of messages in bottles sent me messages of their own. – So a very good reason to take the family on a short trip.

On August 1st we stopped in Chester on the way. Chester is one of the really old cities in England, going back to the Roman fort “castrum deva victrix” 79 AD. It is built on the banks of the river Dee. Around Chester it takes some tight turns, and then runs pretty much straight into its estuary. The river is subject to the tides there, and I made sure to drop my bottles in at fairly high tide, but after the highest rise.

Chester Bottles

The next decision to take was, which bottles to throw in. The photo above shows my choice:

The first bottle to hit the waters was one of mine: A Gaivani bottle with a letter written during the workshop, and one of my very short stories inside.

First bottle about to be thrown in.

The twins were more than happy to help with the dispatch.

The second bottle to go in, was also one of mine, the oldest of all of them, one of the first with paper mache houses:

one last look on the second chester bottle

Then it was my daughter’s turn. Next she dropped in one of the bottles made on the workshop by one of the participants. She was so excited, it was hard to get a last photo before it dropped in:

And last but not least, she put in another bottle for me, one that also has one of my stories (a different one) inside:

We saw all of them float downstream, and of course we wish all four of them a safe travel and happy finders!

In total I put 13 bottles into or close to the Irish Sea, these were just the first four. I’ll show you more in the next blogpost.

 

Abwurf und Fund in der Ostsee / Dispatch and Landing in the Baltic Sea

Wolf Schindler an Bord der Rollo (1)

I am going to tell you today about the dispatch of three bottles and the immediate finding of one of them. Because all the protagonists are German, I am going to write in German with English translations in between.

Wie der Titel schon sagt, will ich heute von einem Abwurf (und auch gleich einem Fund) in der Ostsee erz├Ąhlen. – Mal wieder auf deutsch, weil alle Protagonisten Deutsche sind. Aber nun der Reihe nach:

Am 16.6. habe ich hier 10 meiner neuen Fl├Ąschchen vorgestellt (in der Zwischenzeit sind noch welche dazu gekommen, aber davon ein andermal). Nur einen Tag sp├Ąter, schrieb mir mein Online-Freund und Flaschenpostkumpane Peter Stein aka James Ismael Kuck, ob ich ihm nicht eine oder mehrere der Fl├Ąschchen f├╝r einen Abwurf in der Ostsee schicken wolle.

On June 16th I wrote a blogpost here, showing off my newest bottles. Just a day later, a fellow German writer of messages in bottles, Peter Stein, contacted me and asked, whether I might be interested in three of the bottles being dispatched in the Baltic sea.

It just so happened that he was about to meet another creator of messages in bottles, the German artist Wolf Schindler, who was going to go on a sailing boat trip, and he was going to carry and dispatch several bottles – and maybe he could also drop in mine. — Of course I was only too happy to send over three of them:

my bottles Numbered 106, 110, 111 on board the Rollo (1)

Und zwar hatte er vor, sich mit Wolf Schindler zu treffen, einem K├╝nstler (Malerei, ├╝berwiegend Acryl auf Leinwand, wenn ich das richtig sehe) aus Weilheim in Oberbayern, weit weg vom Meer. Aber trotzdem ist er ist auch Segler und Flaschenpostler: im Jahr 2000 startete er ein Flaschenpostprojekt, f├╝r das ├╝ber 5 Jahre insgesamt 50 Flaschen abgeworfen wurden. Aber wie so viele, die einmal damit beginnen, scheinen ihn die Flaschenposten nicht mehr loszulassen. Auf seinen T├Ârn Anfang Juli in der Ostsee (Start Kiel), hatte er nat├╝rlich auch Flaschenposten dabei. Na, und wenn man sich schon trifft, unter Flaschenpostlern, dann tauscht man auch gerne mal ein oder zwei Flaschen aus, und so hatte Peter f├╝r sein Treffen mit Wolf seinerseits was vorbereitet. So nun also die Frage an mich, ob ich nicht Peter was schicken wolle, das er dann mit zu Wolf bringen w├╝rde, und er w├╝rde sie dann, mit der Crew der Rollo (der Name des Schiffes, interessante Geschichte, die ihr hier nachlesen k├Ânnt) dann abwerfen.

all bottles together: the there small ones are mine, the two medium bottles were filled by Peter, and the three tall ones with red marking are Wolf’s (1)

Da konnte ich nat├╝rlich nicht “Nein” sagen, und habe gleich drei meiner Fl├Ąschchen auf den Weg gebracht. Am 26. Juni erhielt ich Nachricht von Peter, dass sie ihren Postweg heile ├╝berstanden haben.

On June 26th Peter contacted me to let me know that he received the bottles well. On the first of July they were handed over to the crew of the Rollo in Kiel:

Crew der Rollo (2)

Am 1. Juli dann wurden sie in Kiel der Crew der Rollo ├╝bergeben.

Am 5. Juli erhielt ich dann eine Nachricht per Email:

Hallo Hilke!

I found your bottle today at the ÔÇ×OstseeÔÇť in Gro├čenbrode nearby Island
Fehmarn!
The bottle was lying on the Beach!
In the Night was strong North West Wind!

VG, der Finder

Seit dem habe ich nach und nach die Reise der Flasche zusammengebastelt. Weiterer Email-austausch mit dem Finder ergab, dass es sich um Flasche Nr. 111 handelte, die mit dem einzelnen Haus.

Am 12. 7., nachdem Wolf wieder zu Hause war, habe ich von ihm einen “Logbuch-Ausschnitt” zugeschickt bekommen, aus dem hervorgeht, dass die Flasche am 1.7. abgeworfen wurde. Seine Notizen sind ziemlich genau:

auf der Fahrt von KIEL-HOLTENAU nach ECKERNF├ľRDE, Einf. Eckernf.- 
Bucht; 18.30 Uhr, Pos. 54┬░29┬┤N 10┬░01┬┤E, Wind 5 aus West, B├Âen 6-7, 
Wolken, Schauer

Das heisst, die Flasche war etwa 4 Tage unterwegs, und hat in der Zeit gesch├Ątzt knapp 70km zur├╝ckgelegt. Ich hab’ mir (von Peter) sagen lassen, dass das f├╝r die Ostsee ein ordentliches Tempo ist – aber anscheinend war ja auch ein ganz sch├Ânes Wetterchen!

contents of bottle No. 111 – obviously before sealing the bottle

On 5th of July, before I heard from Wolf when and where my bottles were dispatched, I received message of a finder, who had picked up my bottle No. 111 (the contents shown above) at a beach near Gro├čenbrode in Germany, on the continental land near the island Fehmarn.

On the 12th of July Wolf Schindler sent me the log entries that contain the dispatches of my bottles, and from that it follows that it travelled a little short of 70km in 4 days, which isn’t bad for the Baltic sea.

I wish all the other bottles kind finders and safe travels!

Nun hoffe ich auf weitere Fundmeldungen sowohl von meinen, als auch von ihren Schwesterflaschen!

Flasche Nr. 106 (3 H├Ąuser) am 2.7. auf der Fahrt von Eckernf├Ârde nach Marstal, N├Ąhe Damp abgeworfen.

Flasche Nr. 110 (Picknick) wurde am 5.7. auf der Fahrt von Faborg nach Sonderborg abgeworfen.Gute Fahrt, alles Flaschenposten!

the message, tied to the base onto which the little house is then mounted

Ein herzliches Dankesch├Ân an Peter S. und Wolf Schindler, f├╝r die Erlaubnis, eure Bilder zu benutzen. (1 Bildrechte Peter S., 2 Bildrechte Wolf Schindler)

Many thanks to Peter S. and Wolf Schindler for allowing me to use their photos. (1 copyright Peter S., 2 copyright Wolf Schindler)

Dispatch of Bottle No. 104 in a Happy Splash

Looking downstream onto the Trent Bridge from the footbridge that we used to drop our bottles into the river Trent

Jet Propelled, a friend and fellow artist from Beeston, near Nottingham recently brought me into (online) contact with another woman, a German who lives in West Bridgeford and misses the German language. We ended up discussing about meeting up, and she invited me and Jet for cake and tea. Since it turned out she lives in walking distance to the Trent a plan to dispatch some bottles formed…

We were lucky with the weather: After days of snowy April weather, the skies were clear on Friday 5th here in Nottingham. The wind blew in breezy bursts and made it feel rather chilly, but the sun came out and played beautifully with the gentle waves, turning the river into a street of silver and gold. At least from where we sat and assembled some bottles.

Bottles gathering on our bench

I always enjoy to have company when dropping off bottles!I brought two filled and sealed bottles with me: My bottle No. 104 with a little folded paper boat in it, and Peter’s bottle No. – ack! I don’t remember its number; the number is bound to be close to mine. He sent it to me when I was setting off to drop some bottles into the river Don in Sheffield, where both our bottles numbered 100 hit the waters (read more about that dop off here).

Bottle No. 104 “Paper Boat”

Ursula hadn’t prepared anything, but was eager to also have a go. Jet brought her own bottle but had not sealed hers yet. And while they were making their bottles ready, I also made another one on the spot.
And so we sat and wrote and assembled…

Jet assembling her bottle

My trusty Zippo had just run out of fuel, and thus sealing the bottles with sealing wax turned out frustratingly difficult.  We sat at the bridge head, crouching and shielding the flame in a joint effort. I managed to melt and scrape some sealing wax onto my bottle, but then we decided to give up. I am fairly sure that they are all closed well, the wax had been more decorative than anything, I suppose.

trying to melt sealing wax klein

Then we decided to drop the bottles off a suspension bridge a little upstream from Trent Bridge after all. This one is only open to pedestrians while Trent Bridge has heavy traffic.

Bottles getting ready

And so, after about an hour of walking and assembling, one bottle after the other went over the fairly high railing on the bridge. I made a start with my little paper boat bottle:

Yours truely throwing in the first bottle

Next it was Jet’s turn. she had filled her bottle with a piece of driftwood, decorated with pink ribbons, brass wire, some other little tokens including found text, and of course with a letter inside:

Jet throwing in her bottle, titled “53” after the number appeared on the found text she collaged onto the wood

Next, I put in Peter’s bottle. Isn’t the bottle itself so very beautiful as the sun came out to bid it farewell. I hope whoever finds it will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed having it in my studio for a couple of months:

Peter’s bottle getting ready

Unfortuntately my new German friend was so quick to drop in hers that I didn’t manage to capture her with the camera.

And then I was up again: My riverside bottle contained a good handful of lucky stars, a little touchstone, and one of the most personal letters I have written so far. I didn’t give this one a number, as it wasn’t meant to be part of the series, or at least not necessarily.

getting ready, and….

gone

As always, I keep  my fingers crossed for a good voyage and gentle finders.

Two Dispatches in Frankfurt/Main

two hospital rooms in the making for my current book art work “346”

It has been a bit quiet here in the past weeks, and admittedly, it has been a little quiet in my studio regarding messages in bottles. As always there are several reasons for this: My children were not in school for 5 weeks during the summer. In that time I had very little time that I could spent in my studio and thus I didn’t have much time making new bottles. At the same time, because we just bought a house among other reasons we didn’t go on a holiday where I could have dispatched bottles, and thus I still have a couple here – which I would like to dispatch but maybe not in the river Trent as that hasn’t proofed a good idea so far.
And then: My bottles quite often were related to my other art work. Currently I am working on finishing a really big project. The title is “346”, and I have been working on it for about two and a half years and am finally in the finishing stage. Much of my efforts currently go in there, therefore.
In the picture above you see the start of the box that will go with two very special copies of the book. I am making miniatures for this box pretty much as we speak. – And you now can finally see how I came to make miniatures for bottles before: I was practicing and seeing what I could do. Or maybe it was the other way around, and I decided to really make such a book after I started making miniatures for bottles? Both of it is true, I guess.

flaschenpost no 077

Bottle No. 77

While I have not made more bottles, or dispatched any, others worked for me, and the bottle above and the bottle below were put into the river Main at Frankfurt last Monday. More about this in a short while. This is just some kind of heads-up, I guess. And I wanted to put something here in case someone already found one of them! As always I am wishing for finders who like and appreciate the content. And I would be happy about some kind of contact and notification when they got found.

Message in a Bottle No. 84

bottle no. 84

Some of your might remember that I met with fellow message in a bottle writer Ina (bottled fortune) in Hamburg in May. Today I saw that there is a video online of someone who found one of her bottles. The video is in German. But I guess you can get the gist of it, even if you don’t understand what he is saying. Isn’t it great how speechless he gets when he sees her letter “uoa!”