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    Posted January 15, 2013 by
    Rjukan, Norway
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo challenge: Recreate your dream

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    Looking back at Mael station - Retro Style


    I was born in East-Berlin in 1953 and in 1956 my parents and I moved over to the west side. The city still had major damages after WW II, many houses and properties were only ruins after the heavy bombings, and for little boy 3 years of age, there was not much to do. The following year, my parents got an offer from the Berlin City Council to send me on an 8-week summer vacation to foster parents in Norway – which they accepted. In June the following year, I went along with hundreds of other "Berlin Kinder" and travelled the long way to Norway. This summer-event was repeated year after year - I got 8 week holiday with the same nurturing parents at Rjukan / Telemark. I enjoyed myself so well in this country that I - at the age of 14 - stayed here forever.


    What I remember best, however, and what I actually keep on dreaming of to this day, is my first encounter with the old Mael station and the railway ferries on Lake Tinnsjo​​. I was barely 5 years old and my foster parents and I traveled by train from Rjukan to Mael and then by ferry across Lake Tinnsjo ​​to Notodden, a city 120 km away. I could not speak Norwegian and my foster parents could not German, so all I saw was wordless impression. I had never seen anything like this before. The station building itself seemed murky, trains and cars were ranked on the ferry, an old Volvo bus had parked close by and black smoke came from the old ferry’s chimneys. I remember my foster-mother and I sat on a bench and waited while my foster father was in the station building and bought ferry tickets. All the noise and traffic was quite frightening.


    But even if it was noisy and a little scary, it was also very exciting. The experience from the first time I've run with the Rjukanbanen Railway and the ferries on Lake Tinnsjo is burned into my memory forever. The first picture, which I have adapted and transformed into something I call Retro-style - says quite a lot about this strange experience. The piece consists actually of two pictures. The first is from the inside of one of the old Volvo muzzle-buses trafficking around Rjukan, and the second is the Mael station and its ferry port. All was then filtered to give this special “Retro-look” - reflecting the creepy feeling a 5-year-old boy had – back there in 1958. The other photos are details around the station and the ferry port – also in my “Retro-look”

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