I grew up hiking the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, so when I found out that a town near me had a exhibition about mountains I knew I had to go. Our semester tickets at TU Dortmund let us ride public transportation anywhere in the state North Rhine-Westphalia, which is super cool.
One of my friends at TU Dortmund is from Oberhausen so he offered to take anyone to the exhibit who wanted to go.
We rode out there on a Sunday morning. On the way to the train station, it felt like I was the only one awake. That’s how all Sunday mornings in Bochum and most of Germany are.
Once we got to the Oberhausen Hbf (main train station), we had to ride a streetcar. These trains have been running in Oberhausen since 1897! It reminds me of the kind in San Francisco, so it basically made me think of Full House. I hadn’t been on one of these yet in Germany because they don’t have them in Dortmund or Bochum.
Then we went to the mall in Oberhausen, which is known as Europe’s largest shopping and leisure center. You will often find me at the Thier Galerie in Dortmund, but it is nothing compared to CentrO. There are more than 250 stores, which I may be exaggerating, but I swear that’s more than all of Mississippi! 😛
Then we made our way to the Gasometer, which was built in 1929 and is a total of 384ft high, this former coke oven gas storage facility is the most unusual and tallest exhibition hall in Europe.
As you can see from my title, the current exhibition at the Gasometer Oberhausen is “The Call of the Mountains.” It shows the eternal fascination that mountains exert on people. The exhibition allows us to participate in the first ascents of the world’s most famous peaks across each continent, including mountains I have personally experienced.
The most impressive part of the exhibition is a monumental replica of the Matterhorn, the Mountain of Mountains straddling Italy and Switzerland. It includes 3-D projections alternating between day, night, and the seasons. The monumental sculpture hangs upside down in the huge space and is reflected in a large mirror that is surrounded by visitors. It was utterly breathtaking. It’s open until December 30th so y’all should definitely check it out!
The whole trip, my friends and I only spoke German and let me tell you, this can be exhausting! It is especially difficult being used to only using German in an academic context to try to adjust to casual settings. I slept for like 12 hours that night!
To sum up my time in Oberhausen, here is a song by the Missfits (a German cabaret duo) about their hometown, Oberhausen. You might not understand it, but you can at least hear “Oberhausen” + “Gasometer” and it’s catchy! I picked a video with pictures so it might help you understand some of it!