August Break: Bad Timing In Wuppertal

We started a fairly large project at work recently which has been eating a lot of my time.  It’s a fairly complicated thing, and I’m the lead kitten wrangler for the whole shebang.  For the last several weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time working from home, and even doing conference calls from midnight to two or three in the morning a few nights a week.  This schedule is likely to keep up until late September or October.

When I read Mandi’s post about taking an August Break this morning, the idea settled into the back of my head and wouldn’t shake loose.  With the work stuff invading my time outside of the office, I’ve been a little concerned about my ability to keep up my usual two-post-a-week pace with worthwhile new material.

Enter Susannah Conway’s August Break 2013.  I don’t usually do this sort of blogging community thing, but this one actually solves a problem for me.  It actually solves several problems.  Here’s Susannah’s explanation of AB13:

Each day, for the whole of August, take a photo and share it on your blog. You can add words if you want — or not. You can use any camera. You could share a series of photos, or miss a day out, or just post on weekends. There are no real rules, basically. This is all about being present and enjoying taking photos just for the hell of it. And perhaps reinvigorating your love for blogging, and/or taking a break from writing.

I can do 31 smaller photo posts much more easily than I can do nine full length posts in the month of August.  As my friends are well aware, I take pictures of just about everything, constantly.  I have tons of pictures that I thought were neat, or that I thought might be good for some future post that are just sort of languishing.  This gives me a chance to show off some of those.

While I’m going through the month of August, I might have time to work on some longer post ideas that I’ve been back-burning for a long time.  This would give me a head start on September’s blogging.  Besides, a little variety might be a good thing for my creativity in the long term.   I’ll start off the August Break photos with three pictures from Wuppertal, and a brief explanation of the photos.

The Wuppertaler Schwebebahn is the world’s oldest suspended train system, with public routes open as far back as 1901.  It covers a route a little more than 13 kilomters (just over 8 miles), mostly along the river Wupper.  (Of course I have to pause for a moment to reflect that Wupper is a fabulous name for a river.  It’s awfully fun to say.  Wupper! Wupper! Wupper!)

The Schwebebahn is an important part of Wuppertal’s public transit system, with regular routes every day.  Since it’s a train suspended on arched rails over part of a city, I had to see it in operation.  I was in nearby Essen with a friend for Star Wars Celebration Europe (more on that in another post), and we made a 46-minute S-Bahn ride to Wuppertal for the express purpose of photographing and riding on the Schwebebahn.  I may have mentioned this before, but I love trains.  Even weird hanging ones.  Or maybe especially weird hanging ones.

If only we’d been there three days earlier.

The Schwebebahn was shut down for maintenance and improvements on the lines.   From three days before we got there until about two weeks into August.  There are handy shuttle buses that run the length of the Schwebebahn tracks to take up the slack during the maintenance.  You can find them by looking for the signs with the adorable elephant in a construction hat.

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The line is really very impressive.  This is a section that runs along the river right near the Zoological Gardens.

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We did finally manage to find one Schwebebahn car, hanging motionless at the Vohwinkel station.  ::sigh::

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Have you ever been on the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn?