these are the posts tagged ‘walking on history’:


walking on history, IX: garum

my first encounter with fish sauce (back in groningen via a vietnamese neighbour) might have been a bit rocky. i still remember him pouring the stuff on a hot wok and the unbelievable stench it would leave on the corridor as it evaporated… which sounds funny to me now, because i have to say, ten years later, it has kind of grown on me.

visiting the ruins of an ancient garum factory in the ria formosa, i wonder why the garum, the european equivalent of this fermented sauce, got lost in time.

in these stone tanks that are still around in quite a few places in portugal, fish bowels would be mixed with salt water and left to ferment and dry for several months. the resulting paste would be rich in protein and minerals — and probably just as stinky as it was umami. it was prized in roman cuisine where there are numerous records of its usage — poets even make jokes about its smell!

today, all that is left are these decaying tanks by the water… and some geek curiosity! :)

walking on history, VIII: maulbronn’s monastery

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hesse and kepler stepped on these same stones on their way to class on maulbronn’s monastery (which used to be home to a seminary). it’s a striking place — from the vaulted ceilings to the tombstones that lay on the cloister’s floors.

previously on this series.

walking on history, VII: escape tunnels


thirty nine tunnels were dug under the berlin wall, through which over 250 people escaped to the west – and almost as many were arrested by the stasi. many tunnels ended up never being used.

this one on bernauer straße was dug by hasso herschel, who helped smuggle over 1000 people to the west through tunnels, modified cars or airport exchanges.

more on this series.

walking on history, VI: the wall

on july 1963, herr günter climbed over the wall near a construction site, when a truck was blocking the view from the guards. bernauer straße is filled with these small memorials to the people who fled from east to west – or died trying.

more on this series.

walking on history, V: buchenwald


buchenwald was the largest nazi concentration camp in germany: over 50,000 people died here, from all over europe. it’s a place of unspeakable horrors perched on an idyllic hilltop, in the middle of the forest. today, the area is filled with commemorative sites and this in particular is part of the jewish memorial. the sentence, translated in english, german and hebrew rises in carved stone above the gravel and reads:

“so that the generation to come might know, the children, yet to be born, that they too may rise and declare to their children.”

stark and sobering.

more from this series.