A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Atlas Obscura

Post 1

You can call me TC

Does anybody else refer to this when out and about?

On a recent visit home to the UK I was introduced to it by my youngest son and we discovered some fun things near where I grew up that neither my sister nor I were aware of.

Basically, it is a website which points out interesting objects and hidden gems which are not in the run-of-the-mill guide books. So, in the vicinity of where we were in East Anglia, we learned that the English "Roswell" was near where we were hoping to go for a day out.*

He urged us to go to the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket to see the remains of a horse called Potoooooooo. Yes. Honestly!
Apparently in the 18th century a horse owner wanted to call his horse "Potatoes". A new-fangled and fashionable concept at the time. Obviously too new-fangled for the stable boy who had to write the horse's name on its feed trough, and he literally understood "pot 8 o's". The owner found this hilarious and left it. The horse went on to sire many famous Newmarket racehorses.

We picked up another son in Ely and strolled down to the river, where we admired the Sluice which is mentioned in the AO. A measuring device to record the water levels, but a piece of art in itself.

Why was I gadding around East Anglia with two of my son's and my sister in the rain? We were gathered together to scatter the ashes of my mother/their Nanna on Newmarket Heath.

What with the one son perusing the Atlas Obscura and the other Geocaching in Ely. Cromer, and even the obscure villages around Newmarket, we had a very pleasant and amiable time.

So now I am planning a trip to Berlin and looked it up in the Atlas Obscura. Very disappointing. The "obscure" points of interest were either really obvious tourist sites and the whole thing seemed to concentrate on recent history and the Anglo-Saxon preoccupation with the period under Nationalsozialismus. Nothing we can really use, as we are going to the obvious places anyway and far more interesting to us are the remains of the Iron Curtain years and the way Berlin has come out of it since 1898.

While Berlin does have a rich history dating back to prehistoric times, even our German guide book seems to prefer to talk about the DDR-remnants, the Wall, and the Golden 20s. Even the Cathedral (Berliner Dom) only dates back to the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.

Anyway, take a look at the map and see if you knew the various oddities to be found in your favourite places and your home town:


* We went somewhere else in the end because it was about the time of the Latitude Festival and we decided it was best to avoid the area.

Atlas Obscura

Post 2

You can call me TC

1989 not 1898!!!!!!!

Atlas Obscura

Post 3

SashaQ - happysad

Glad you got some goodies out of Atlas Obscura smiley - biggrin although disappointing that it wasn't so obscure about Berlin. Glad you had a good family gathering, too smiley - rose

I don't really use it myself, although I am aware of it since my sister mentioned she contributed a few articles - I concentrate my efforts on h2g2...

"pot 8 o's" smiley - laughsmiley - ok

Atlas Obscura

Post 4

Baron Grim

I'm glad to see that while there aren't many sites in my local area that show up on Atlas Obscura, I'm familiar with most of them. I looked a little farther north to Houston to see if my favorite little obscure place was listed, and it is; The Orange Show.


Atlas Obscura

Post 5

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

I think the Berlin Wall is gone, or at least there were reports of that. Maybe if Trump gets back in power, he can put it along the border with Mexico. smiley - groan

Atlas Obscura

Post 6

You can call me TC

They kept some of the Wall as a Memorial. We shall go and have a look at that. You can also follow the route it took as there are still traces in the ground. I won't say foundations, as it was literally hastily erected, practically overnight in 1961.

Crossing over to East Berlin during the period of the Iron Curtain was a frightening business. I went over at Friedrichstrasse with my husband and a friend, but, due to having a British passport and their having West German ones, we had to go through different gates and had no idea what was on the other side so couldn't arrange to meet up.

We found each other somehow, but it was like entering another world.

The day it ended was overwhelming. To this day, footage of Genscher making that speech in the embassy in Budapest makes me well up. And it was over 30 years ago now.

Atlas Obscura

Post 7

Baron Grim

Here, so many people still think Reagan's "Mr. Gorbechev, tear down that wall" speech is literally what did it.

I few (or several) years ago, I read the story of how during an interview with US newsperson, Tom Brokaw, a mid-level, East Berlin bureaucrat accidentally, prematurely announced the wall's demise, inciting the crowds to actually tear it down.

It's amazing/infuriating how history has so thoroughly whitewashed[pun intended] Reagan's ignorance and malfeasance.

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