Rheydt, MönchengladbachJune 8, 2015 in Germany
Rheydt was, at one point, a town in its own right. But overtime it grew. Eventually, its borders merged with Gladbach's, and the two became indistinguishable from one another.
I work in Rheydt on a street called the Stockholtweg, which runs parallel along the perimeter of the densely wooded Zoppenbroicher park. From the first floor office, there are great views of the park. Calling it a park though, I think, is somewhat misleading; the tress are so densely packed together as to make the area impenetrable.
I've taken to catching the train to work instead of driving. I find the whole 'driving on the other side of the road' thing quite easy. But Düsseldorf is a whole different kettle of fish.
The train is great, though. 80 Euros for a months pass. And I can go anywhere within the region and take a friend, for free, on any train, tram or bus during the weekend. The views, too, on the commute from Düsseldorf to Mönchengladbach are spectacular. The terrain is uncannily flat, there are old windmills everywhere, there are miles of dense pine forest, and clearings of farmland and allotments. We are, after all, 15 to 20 miles from the Dutch border. The flatness and windmills shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
When I get off the train at Rheydt, I have a ten minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof -- through the Mönchengladbach suburbs -- to the Stockholtweg. I brought my camera along with me today and took some pictures. For there is something I find fascinating about working class Germany.
There is a eerie stillness, like there is less going on than there should be, a slight brooding. I think its because of the buildings. They look so ornate, with facades more suited to a Baroque palace somewhere east, in the old Habsburg lands. Imperial looking buildings built for the working class? A working class -- much like in Britain -- no longer needed, surplus to requirement? As I walk through the suburbs of working class Mönchengladbach, I can't help but feel there is, lurking behind the still walls, a Rosa Luxemburg or a Christopher Isherwood.Read more