Apartment hunting proved to be a difficult challenge for us. When we found our flat, we loved it immediately, but it was unfinished. Even by German standards. The owners had run out of capital to finish the reno and we stepped in and agreed to finish it for them, in exchange we paid less commission than was originally asked. Fast forward a couple of months, the owners now bankrupt and our flat is now owned by the bank. Enter the appraiser. 

We had previous experience with appraisers while selling our own home, and they're a scary lot. Sunday was all about cleaning the house to make sure that we appeared to be ideal tenants. Monday morning was all about making sure that the kids stood stationary in a corner until the appraiser showed up, lest they dare dump their bin of Playmobil toys all over the floor. 

I told Eloise, in my least dramatic voice, that a lawyer was coming and the house HAD to stay clean or else Mommy would go to jail. I would have gotten away with this threat had we not visited an old jail the day before. "Oh, that's okay Mommy. Jail isn't that scary, it just has lots of ghosts." Why won't my kids take me seriously?!?
The old "Zwinger" is one of the original buildings in Münster. It's ancient. It's peppered history includes being a secret Gestapo prison. Forced labourers, Polish and Russian, were hanged in the courtyard for trivial crimes, stealing bread, loving a German woman, etc.. It now houses a modern art exhibit including a hundred hammers that tap on the interior walls, meant to mimic the communication between prisoners. It's eerie.

The prison has been left relatively untouched since its destruction by the Allies. As you walk around, unguided, you get a real sense of history. Interior bricks remain on the ground where they landed, rickety stairs stay rickety, the cells are still covered in dirt, the pathways dark as night. But it has an almost ethereal quality too. Nature has taken over and there is a juxtaposition of beauty and brutality that creates a stillness in the air, an invitation to reflect. 
Donna
12/6/2012 11:30:52

Oh, I wish we were able to see it last week, it sounds so interesting.

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Tara
12/6/2012 11:45:19

I agree! Though we've walked by it hundreds of times, it was the first time we were able to take a look inside. It's only open on Sunday afternoons - if only you could have stayed an extra day!

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