Islands for beginners in Germany

A guest write up by my friend Felix Ernesto Hück. He engages in international art projects that make their way to Frankfurt and contributes to film festivals dedicated to Latin America or Asia. Also, he translates for subtitles and has a strong passion for photography and videography.

In Germany, houseboats have become a trend during the pandemic. If you like water, you can buy your luxury piece for little money. But you must have skills to make it affordable.

Between Frankfurt am Main and Hanau, close to the highway A66, between cornfields and a campsite inhabited by homeless people and whose tattered tennis courts recall better times, there is a boat harbor hidden in bushes. Riding my bicycle on the banks of the Main, I suddenly see yachts and houseboats appear. I’m curious, I want to meet these people who live on a stretch of the Main River.

A small freedom in extra large

A small port as big as the life plans found here on the docks: For retirees a quiet place to spend the years of life that remain, for people who work from Monday to Friday the ideal place for the adventure of the weekend. Teenagers also have their first experiences here, for example in stand-up rowing courses like the ones Robin teaches. “I prefer that not many people find out about this place. I’ve been mugged here before, and I’ve been forced to install cameras and alarms. I see every hare jumping out of the bushes here.” Robin reports and pauses as if to warn me. Susanne and Michael’s houseboat is just a few feet away. As cliche as it may sound, they are the perfect couple: Michael is the skilled handyman who develops houseboats and party boats for a luxury segment, while Susanne is the laid-back host who enjoys comfort and fine wine. “During the pandemic, many were drawn to the water,” Susanne recalls. “Some They get lost here. Then they call us and ask if they can spend a weekend here. Then they start dreaming of a houseboat. ” and Michael adds: “A houseboat also involves a lot of work. You must have technical experience and know how to do many things yourself, otherwise it will be expensive “and he smiles.

Houseboats are not for deserters.

Who thinks that he can escape the competitive housing market with a houseboat, is wrong: only one of the coveted moorings here costs at least 500 euros. In exchange you get water and electricity. However, Michael and Susanne are self-sufficient, they have a drinking water treatment system, solar panels and even a sewage tank. From the outside, their boat looks more like an attic with a large slate facade and a glass roof. “Nothing here is made of organic material, so it can’t rot either,” says Michael. Susanne and Michael have been living permanently in the houseboat for over a year and really just wish less stringent requirements from Corona to be able to rent to weekend vacationers and wedding parties.

Mathilda is the name of a boat that reminds of a fisherman’s boat from a children’s book. Janet, a Colombian, lives here. She is retired and today she seems exhausted. Men sweep the water in front of her boat: “You cannot get on board today, we are cleaning the mud from yesterday’s floods. But I’ll be happy to see you when it’s most convenient.” She replies as I wave my hand greeting her. Everyone helps each other here, especially during floods.

By Champak Sharma

...and photographs are an amazing way to express the vivid shades of the poem called life. There are people and emotions, places and traditions, history and nature, moments and memories – and amidst them I discover the myriad colours of life. Their stories touch my being and I feel an urge to spread the reflections further. And photography is my medium for storytelling. The images are attempts to capture the essence of existences and in the process explore beyond the stereotypes. And with every photograph it’s an amazing feeling within…when a smile in an image spreads onto the lips of its viewer, serenity of a landscape captures someone’s imagination, ruins of an empire fills a mind with wonder, a high flying bird makes someone feel liberated, a look on an unknown face touches a heart…the list goes on. Like many others of my age, as a child growing up during 1990s – the still camera fitted with a photographic reel was a fascination for me. As time passed the compact digital camera became a household name and we no longer needed to ‘develop the negatives’. Now we have the DSLRs. Technologies have moved ahead simplifying the device – but photographs continue to be special moments preserved in the flow of time with interesting tales behind those shots. And this platform is an endeavor to share the photographs I capture, their stories and my experiences. As I attempt to explore the world through the lens, please join me in this journey and do share your views/comments.

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