The Neander Valley and Ultra-Rectilinear Mettman

Over the weekend I set out for the Neander Valley, where the first Neanderthal skeleton was found. It's also an ultra-pleasant hiking destination, complete with babbling brooks, succulent green meadows, winding forest pathways, mildly dramatic shale rock formations, and quaint villages where people set out bookcases full of old horse magazines by the side of the road. The leaves were, to use Oscar Wilde's phrase, 'ruined gold'.

During the hike I made a wrong turn or two and ended up in Mettman, famed as one of the epicenters of German Spießbürgerlichkeit (g) (petit-bourgeois stodginess). Everything there was quiet, respectable, recently-cleaned, and terrifyingly rectilinear.

Perhaps you readers can help me clear up a few mysteries in the pictures below. First, those metal studs pounded into the (mold-yellowed) wooden electricity pole? Who puts them there and  what do they mean? Second, the old stone markers by the side of the road in Bracken, Germany. What was their original purpose. Any clues would be appreciated.

Moss on rotting tree stumpPath and Meadow near Düsssel in Neander valleyPath in sunlight in Neander valleyRuined gold chestnut leaves in Neander valleySignal Studs in Wooden Electricity PoleStone marker in BrackenStone markers in BrackenUprooted tree roots amid broken slate Neander valleyView of Mettman Creek ValleyHouse in MettmanRectilinear neat garages in MettmanIch hase Zigreten machine in Mettman

Beech roots Neander valley Bookshelf and door near BrackenDetail of mountain creek wildlife info posterDüssel river in fall Neander valleyEsel Nicht Füttern Don't Feed the DonkeyGaststätte im kühlen Grund Christmas festInformation poster about molesIvy and beech leaves Neander valleyIvy Covered Rocky OutcropMaple leaf caugh in twigs Neander ValleyMeadows in Neander valleyMein Pferd magazines in outdoor bookshelf BrackenMigrating geese and doves in Neander valleyMoss covered rotting tree branch Neander valley

3 thoughts on “The Neander Valley and Ultra-Rectilinear Mettman

  1. Just discovered your blog and am looking forward to browse through it.

    I agree with both comments.

    The nails definitely are marks giving information about the length of the pole, who owns it, when it was last checked etc.

    The stones could be landmarks as Germany was splitted into several little provinces back then or they mark the borders of real estate of land owners or they could be marks for stage coaches, if they are positioned next to a road.

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  2. The stones (and their inscriptions) are mentioned on this website about the “historical town Gruiten” (http://www.historisches-dorf-gruiten.de/09_Hauser/hauser_Bracken_Steine.htm). The Inscriptions are (according to this website): “Thielenhaus Schratt 1870”, “A1755” and “A1645”. The website does not provide further background.

    It seems obvious that the “A”s stand for “Anno Domini”. “Thielenhaus” could refer to a local family in Gruiten. According to this website (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VZMZ-XQ4) there was a wedding between “Friedrich Thielenhaus” and “Anna Catharina Langenbruch” in Gruiten in 1845.

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