This morning I looked at an online folder full of images and asked myself which would intrigue me, supposing I were coming upon them for the first time. Since it's not at all easy for me to do that, I gave myself a leg up by viewing them in thumbnail. Squashed to the size of a 35mm slide, each appears different enough from its true self that it just about takes on an individual identity.
This one immediately caught my eye. Taken in one of the few German cities that were left intact by the Allied bombing campaign of World War II, it isn't a treasured memento of a pleasant trip to view ancestral homelands (which is true of other photos in the folder), but more of an abstract study in light and shadow. The place is Celle, in Saxony, and it's full of medieval timber-frame houses, nestled side by side, above cobbled streets, mostly free of cars, trucks, and buses. Though well-preserved, it's not a museum-like restoration, like Colonial Williamsburg in the United States, but a commercial center, the capital of the district in which it's located. Quite a feat.
Typifying Celle's modernity mingled with historic preservation, our brief stay in Celle was in a building from the early seventeenth century and our landlady was Lithuanian, youthful, outgoing, with a decidedly contemporary outlook.