sorry about that, i didn’t mean to leave you on a cliffhanger for so long after the last post! so here you go, my favorite part of april’s roadtrip was…
…the steiff museum! :D museums are usually not my thing but this one… boy, was it good! it had a great story, interaction, big cuddly stuffed toys, and even a slide! i don’t even know how to write about it without gushing!
first, some context. margarete steiff was born in 1847, in giengen, a small town in the south of germany. when she was just a baby, she got high fever, and ended up being paralyzed. her parents were distraught, but margarete persevered. her siblings took her to school on a hay cart, and she learnt how to sew and worked with her older sisters as a seamstress. and then, in 1879 she made a small stuffed elephant as a pin cushion…
and the tiny elephant was so popular, she started doing more, selling them at fairs… and pretty soon the steiff brand of soft toys was born. but it wasn’t until 1902 that a really popular bear came along, and they named it “teddy bear“, after theodore roosevelt, president at the time. the bear, designed by richard steiff (margaret’s nephew) had movable arms and legs and cuddly mohair plush, and was such a hit at the leipzig fair that an american buyer ended up ordering 3000 of them… the rest, as they say, is history!
ok, enough of that, let me show you the museum! :D
it’s as immersive and interactive as they get. you step into steiff’s workshop to be greeted by 55PB, the bear that started it all. he’s the one who narrates the story for you, as you are transported into a series of different worlds where all the characters are cuddly plush toys…
i don’t want to share too many photos of this part to avoid spoiling the surprise, but you dive into the deep sea, trek the arctic, float in space… and when you reach the apotheotic end of your journey, you’re presented with… more plush! plushes big enough for you to cuddle and climb on, which all the kids and grownups do… and a slide! oh, it’s magic!
one floor lower, you can see the masters fixing really old and beloved teddy bears, and learn more about the history of the company. did you know that all their toys have a little button on their ear? that’s their trademark! :)
and of course, the exit is through the gift shop, where you can buy all the plushes you want!
oh, and as if big cuddly bears weren’t enough, take a look at their original factory, with its translucent glass curtainwall facade:
this remarkable building is from 1903! let that sink in… 15 years before bauhaus came along (and those guys were already way ahead of their time), richard steiff just wanted a building with lots of light to increase productivity and so, he made one, by removing the walls and replacing them with glass. it’s still there, over 100 years later — and it’s exceptional.
ok, that’s it! i hope i’ve convinced you to go there — you won’t regret it! :)
first thing we noticed when we checked in at the hotel the first night? this:
and then later that day, on a museum shop:
they were everywhere in bavaria, our little postcrossing-themed bags! :)
they resulted from a collaboration with schöning verlag, a card publisher who used to sell the back space of their paper bags for advertising. but sales of ads were down, and one day they found out about postcrossing, and decided to offer us the space for advertising the project. maria did her magic with the design and baam! they printed millions of them, and spread them all over germany.
it’s impossible to measure just how effective they are as a means of spreading the word, but it’s still very cool to stumble on them :) plus, their bags look 200% nicer now!
i’ve just realized i’ve been making these little one second videos for over a year now! hooray! :)
despite the bugs in the app and the last-minute-panics (“oh my god it’s almost midnight and we still haven’t filmed one second today!”), it’s been going well. i still miss around 1 or 2 seconds every month, and it still feels like most of them are really mundane… but i love the result and the thrill that watching these 1 second memories brings. they make everything so vivid!
plus, i’m always surprised at how many people seem to enjoy them as well! every now and then, friends, family or even people i’ve just met tell me they look forward to these little glimpses of our life every month. it’s funny, and it kind of makes me feel bad for being so lazy making them sometimes…
so anyway, i just wanted to say thanks for watching! here’s april for you all:
in april we ran, we roadtrip’d in bavaria (and ate an inordinate amount of sausages), saw the coolest museums, went to london for the second time, did a cooking course at leiths, met with lots of friends… it was ridiculously amazing! :D
once, on a US mini-roadtrip, we passed by a sign on the highway saying “great continental divide”. i googled it and found out that there’s a sort of line, west of which the water flows to the pacific ocean, and east to the atlantic ocean. it was obvious, but somehow i had never thought of it, and it blew my mind! to think that 2 drops of water, hitting the ground a couple of meters apart could end up in two different sides of the country, thousands of miles apart? just… wow.
it’s no secret i love roadtrips, but i think what i like the most in them is actually this kind of random little things – the unexpected curiosities that you only notice because you’re in a new place and everything is foreign. so when we were researching for our bavaria roadtrip last april, i noticed by chance that we would drive across the european watershed drainage divide: the one separating the rhine from the danube… i knew I wanted to see that!
i knew more or less where it would be, but in the end we ended up noticing it by accident, while driving by. i made us turn around to get a proper photo:
and there it is, so unassuming, yet so significant! on one side of this line, water flows into the rhine drainage basin, ending up in the atlantic, off the coast of the netherlands. on the other, the water will eventually join the danube, crossing 10 countries until it finally arrives on the black sea.
so cool! :)