Riverboats, Railways and Falling Elephants

Hello there Beastie friends! I’m working on some new monster projects which need to remain a closely-guarded secret for the moment… So I thought we’d switch up the posting schedule from the last couple of weeks. Let’s catch up with Explorer Beastie’s progress through Germany… And as you can perhaps tell from the unusual title, today’s post finds us in transit!View from the Train - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ

We decided to do all our internal travel in Germany by rail, and it was brilliant! The beautiful sun-drenched Rhineland countryside zipped past the window of our carriage, and we passed through a few of the region’s towns along the way. From our seats, we even glimpsed this alternative mode of transport in the city of Wuppertal…Wuppertaler Schwebebahn - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ

That green line cutting through the middle of the photo is the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn. This monorail holds the very specific honour of being the oldest “electric elevated railway with hanging cars” in the world. The first track opened in 1901, and it’s still in use today… But that’s not what it’s locally famous for.

Back in July 1950, the Althoff Circus decided it might be fun to put a baby elephant onto the Schwebebahn as a publicity stunt. As the car moved off, the elephant got bumped around a bit and actually fell out of the train…

Tuffi the Elephant on the Wuppertal Schwebebahn
Not my picture, obviously… Borrowed from Ullstein Bild, via spiegel.de

Fortunately her fall was broken by the river Wupper, and she only sustained minor injuries… but from that day on, she was known as “Tuffi” – the Italian word for “waterdive”.

Oh, and I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that the dopes who put her on the Schwebebahn in the first place were rewarded with hefty fines.

Now, onwards to Dortmund! Where a Beastie welcoming committee had rolled out the red carpet for us…Welcoming Committee, Dortmund Germany - CrawCrafts Beasties

Chelsea Wool-fe on the left there was my very first Goth Beastie – isn’t she looking well?

And there were more Beastie friends to catch up with later in the day, too. But first, let’s sample some of the local brew!A Dortmund Beer for Explorer Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Hey, look who’s here! It’s Alex Beastie!Meeting Alex Beastie at Herr Walter - CrawCrafts Beasties

Alex Beastie moved to Germany just before Christmas last year, so it was nice to be able to meet up with her again in less frantic circumstances! We took a table on the Herr Walter “Eventschiff” – a bar on a boat that’s permanently moored in Dortmund’s port. It was so refreshing being by the water on such a warm evening!Explorer Beastie and Alex Beastie Catch Up - CrawCrafts Beasties

And what better place to spot ducks and watch the sunset?Beasties at Sunset - CrawCrafts Beasties

The port area in Dortmund is changing, as the city leaves its industrial past behind and focuses on the technology and services sectors instead. And this change is happening all over town! The next day, we visited another district which has also had a major facelift in recent years.Explorer Beastie at Phoenix-See, Dortmund - CrawCrafts Beasties

This is Phoenix-See, a man-made lake whose shores are sprinkled with cafés, restaurants and upmarket houses.

In fact, we were only able to find one clue to its former identity as a steel works – this sculpture by the waterfront!Steelworks Sculpture at Phoenix-See - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut in its new incarnation, as a place to spend a lazy Sunday clambering over the rocks on the shore, it’s hard to beat!Lazy Sunday at Phoenix-See - CrawCrafts BeastiesLovely!View Over Phoenix-See - CrawCrafts BeastiesHere’s wishing you all a nice, relaxing start to your week! And we’ll be back on Friday with a peek at what the rest of our Beastie family has been up to! See you then!

12 thoughts on “Riverboats, Railways and Falling Elephants

  1. OMG this post does not include a much needed trigger warning (unless, of course, you count the title of the post in which you warned that elephants would be falling) for the traumatic episode of animal abuse! Hefty fines?!?! They should have received the death penalty for that outrageousness!!!!!! Incredible photo, though, I will concede…. even if it was not taken by you in 1950. Hahahah so cute to see EB meet up with his buddies! A Lady Beastie in every port, eh?! Another great post 🙂

    1. I know… Who thought that was a good idea on any level?! The idea that a young elephant would not exactly enjoy a trip in a suspended monorail train shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. You’d think. At least the good people of Wuppertal remember, and haven’t attempted any other publicity stunts with large mammals since. As for Explorer Beastie’s ladies in every port… Ha! It does look a bit that way, doesn’t it? 😂 Cheers for joining us, Weekes!

        1. Yes, it’s all about that little woolly beanie! I don’t know how he wore it for the whole holiday though – it was really scorching some days!

  2. I’m glad the Beasties are traveling and meeting up with old Beastie friends in what looks to be lovely weather. Oh my goodness that poor baby elephant though. What is it about people abusing elephants for publicity in times past?

    1. Yes, I suppose that’s the major downside to being exotic-looking and (mostly) docile. Poor Tuffi! Beasties are much more suited to publicity stunts on trains – no such incidents with Explorer Beastie on our trip! And it was lovely to catch up with Beastie friends along the way… Thanks for joining us, Laura!

  3. Eeeekkkk!!! That poor elephant. I hope the “hefty fines” included being dangled from the carriage by their nether regions (after letting the elephant stamp them, of course). As for the other scenes…NICE. So, let’s see, you have EB with a beer, then EB and Alex B with a beer, then a picture where it looks suspiciously like EB and AB are holding each other up. Hope this wasn’t a pre-cursor to another beast toppling into the water.

    1. Hahaha! Ooops, and there I was thinking that they were both consuming responsibly! They must have been sneaking sips of our beers all evening – which would explain why they kept pointing out ducks and fish on the canal below, which turned out not to be there! As for the eleph-antics in Wuppertal, I figure the very LEAST they could have done was to make the perpetrators experience the same fall into the river. Let’s hope they never organised any other “publicity stunts”… Cheers for joining us on our trip, Tammie! 😀

  4. The poor thing! Contrary to the Dumbo saga, elephants can’t fly – what where they thinking? I was so relieved to read that Tuffi was mostly unscathed, though. But what a fright for her! It’s lovely to see EB reunite with old pals. 🙂 That’s one of the best parts of travel, indeed! Your lovely waterside snapshots make me truly nostalgic for every lakeside pier beer I got to enjoy in Europe (public drinking is mostly out of the question here. Boo). Tschüss, Helen!

    1. Cheers, Shirley! Yes, in addition to not being able to fly, it turns out elephants aren’t really suited to taking public transport either! And we have similar “open container” public drinking laws in Ireland too, so Germany’s more relaxed attitude was quite a refreshing change 😀 Thanks for joining us!

  5. Poor Tuffi! I was so worried when I read that so thanks for letting us know that there were no serious injuries. If I’d been around then I would have taken those people and booted THEM off the monorail, see how they liked it.

    1. Yes, I thought that would be a fitting punishment too! Thanks for stopping in, Hannah! 😀

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