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Why I Spent a Day Trying to Avoid all the Beauty my Town Has to Offer

The other day, as I took the card out of my 3rd Space Tool Kit and began to read the description on it, I realised I had a problem:

I am living in a town labelled by The Telegraph as “Europe’s huge secret gem”. A town characterised by its winding cobbled streets, easy access to the black forest, and pretty much anything else you would expect to find in your run-of-the-mill fairy tale. How was I supposed to create a magical portrait of a town that already seemed so distant from reality?

The solution I eventually came up with was simple…Find my kaleidoscope.

Two years ago when I first started at Edinburgh, my best friend gave me a kaleidoscope as a going away gift. She said to me that if I ever felt down or at odds with the world then I should take some time to look through it and try to take in the beauty and the movement of the colours and shapes. She said that looking through a kaleidoscope would, if only for a brief moment, transport me to a place where suddenly my problems didn’t seem so overwhelming anymore. This advice seems strange but it is something that really helped me get through my first few weeks here in Germany.

In light of this, I decided that it would be more of an adventure if I were to completely turn this activity on its head. I thought that if a kaleidoscope could transform ugly thoughts into something incredible, then maybe it could transform other ugly things. Instead of simply taking photos of the spectacular places in town, I took it upon myself today to try and find areas that could be deemed ugly or unpleasant. I wanted to see if, with the help of my kaleidoscope, they too could be transformed into something spectacular.

Here’s what I found:

A radiator from one of the university classrooms

A radiator from one of the university classrooms

The "Pillar of Tolerance" - This is situated in one of the main squares. It glows red after 11pm every night to remind people in the street to be quiet.

The “Pillar of Tolerance” – This is situated in one of the main squares. It glows red after 11pm every night to remind people in the street to be quiet.

Some dumped rubbish I came across in the old town

Some abandoned rubbish in the old town


A pipe I found down an alley

In every place I visited, just watching the colours and shapes so effortlessly fuse into one another was enough for me to see that even in the least aesthetic objects it was possible to find something magnificent. I think a new aim I have for this year is to discover as many unsightly places as I can. I’m excited to search for the hidden beauty, and the momentary suspension of disbelief that occurs when I find it.

Vida Green – Freiburg, Germany



  1. Thanks so much guys, I’m glad you liked the post. I had a lot of fun completing this activity – even if i did attract a few odd looks! I found it surprisingly refreshing to walk around town whilst trying to turn a blind eye to all the beauty around me. I think that the charm of this town can be quite distracting at times…I’m still undecided as to whether this is a good or a bad thing…

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