Denkmal

Many weeks ago I had my first single lesson, which takes place close to Potsdamer Platz.  I hadn’t been there before and hadn’t realised that there had been a great curve of the Wall at that point and thus it had become one of the dead zones.  This means that there’s a lot of modern architecture there now, along with sections of and information about the Wall.  I must confess that I found the juxtaposition of the different styles of building around the square somewhat jarring, but fascinating nonetheless.

The lesson is from 3.30-5.00 on Friday afternoons, so afterwards I was a free agent and decided to follow the signs towards das Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, otherwise known as the Holocaust Memorial.

It was a grey evening, which made the experience intensely monochromatic, as the memorial is composed of many blocks of grey stone.  They are laid out in ordered lines but the sizes vary greatly so that you have no concept from the outside of how deep you will go as you walk down the corridors of stone into the heart of the memorial.

Modern Berlin recedes as the stones grow around you and the path sinks and rises in front, behind and to either side.  I was aware of other people on the paths, spotted at intersections, crossing in the distance or nearby, but I felt surprisingly isolated despite that.  The meaning of the memorial is implicit in the weight of the stones, not explicit, and all the more resonant for that.

I found it hard to photograph effectively, as hard as it is now to put into words exactly what was in my mind.  So, I have subsequently played with the photos a bit, resulting in this:

and this even more highly processed version

and since the whole photography thing is contrived in the extreme, I’ve taken these photographers and messed around a bit more, getting an almost negative effect in the end

and finally, a focus on the blocks themselves, again pushed out of normal tones

This probably all appears more pretentious than my normal posts but I hope you aren’t too dismayed.  Of course the memorial is justly famous, and will feature in all the lists of things to see when you hit town, and it’s worth it.  It’s humbling and it makes you think.  After all, that’s what it’s there for.

p.s. written a few days ago and saved to post while LTN is here and I’m not writing.  However, I may have some guest posts coming up from the man himself, who has time to fill while I’m teaching.  Ah, bless. Night kids x

Pics and bricks

These don’t really fit with anything much so I’m popping them up alone.  I love this skull, I think all the more because it’s not all there, it adds a certain mystery to it….And are the erratic face and the girl connected?  More mystery.  If these walls could talk…

Musik in the sun

When I finally made it out into the sunshine today I took my customary Sunday wander around Boxy.  There’s almost always music going on but the quality thereof dost vary most hugely.  Today there was quite a crowd gathered around some intriguing sounds so I mosied on over and beheld the very entertaining Tanga Elektra.

At first I was particularly taken with the drummers cap (see right) but as I paid closer attention I also liked the fact that the guitar case was acting as a drum, and the other dude (see end of post) was making seriously funky noises with a violin and a bunch of pedals.  And he could sing too.  I have taken my own videos of them but I don’t have the power to load them here so you shall have youtube goodness.

The first vid is the song wot I heard them do today

The second is a different song but they’re in the exact same place in Boxy, clearly they are regulars and I can hope to see them again.

This wasn’t the the only sunshine music either.  Alex kindly gave me a shout yesterday for an open air.  Apparently it’s another Berlin classic that I didn’t know about to put on the list but managed to tick off as a first without any particular difficulty.  I followed chalk arrows on the pavement to get there and the whole thing was extraordinarily chilled out.  The journey did take me a while though, and when Alex and Felix kindly escorted me back to the U they had to walk their bikes.  Must. Get. Bike.

So what’s an open air?  An unofficially party in some unused space a bit out of the city.  Basically there was a bonfire (Osterfeuer, it’s an Easter tradition), a soundsystem playing house and a bunch of people drinking beer in the sunshine.

As it got dark one light came on and everyone kept dancing.  Good summer stuff, although I did have to take a wild pee which turned out funnier than imagined because I hid myself so well in the bushes in the dark that another girl with the same mission nearly sat on me.  When I realised she couldn’t see me I said a quiet but friendly ‘hallo’ and she nearly jumped out of her skin.  Makes a change for it not to be me squeaking, hey?

And finally, LTN arrives tonight so I’m looking forward to more sunshine fun with him.  Fabelhaft.

Alles wird gut, cherie

Following my varius chats about cupcakes and fleamarkets und so weiter und so weiter, I think I ought to finally show you a picture of my accomplice.  For some reason there aren’t many people in this blog normally, so I’ll work on changing that.  Anyway, c’est Claire:

She’s going back to London soon (boo) so I shall aim to download all Berlin knowledge from her before she leaves.  Nextly, and in no way connectedly, here is a shaggy dog who made me smile.

He was at the market, I saw him mid wander.  Later on after a stroll round other streets I found this below.  This is the best fountain to be seen in Berlin, I defy anyone to say otherwise.  It’s a hippo with water comin’ out of it’s nose.  Genius.
Plus, there are little people on its back. Look closely:

I think he might be holding a gun which is a tad suspicious, but nonetheless, I say once again, genius.  I also found a neat little stencil-me-bob which has given it’s name to this post, because I like it so much.  Everything’s going to be ok, honey.  The words in the shape of the TV tower say so.

Do you notice the mixed langwidges there?  Yeah, it’s cool…..

Tea and books and other good things

Last night I was feeling a little less sparkly than usual, without knowing why, which is always frustrating.  There was honestly no reason for it, so I decided to make a list of things that should have been making me happy.  And what do you know?  Taken altogether they definitely made me feel happier.  This counting your blessing doodah actually works!*

I decided to make a “photo editorial” of the list, because I’m such a pro journo, so here goes.

  1. On Saturday, I received the best care package ever sent by post, courtesy of the ever lovely Bella.  Look what I got:
    Yes you are seeing right, not only did I get a hand drawn card with pigs on, I also got a seed kit for forget-me-nots (very clever) and a big ziplock bag of tea!  I LOVES this girl.  I had been down to only 4 remaining  tea bags .  The situation was quite desperate,  the relief commensurate and the celebrations quite joyous.  In fact, to commemorate the miraculous tea delivery, I hunted diligently in Boxy Flohmarkt for a Teekanne and found this beauty.  Lookit. Beee-u-diful.
  2. On Sunday I cleaned and organised my room so that it was all shiny in the sunshine. I even polished the door handles although to be fair you can’t see that here.  However, it  now looks less like I’m squatting which is an achievement as far as I’m concerned.
  3. I also bargained spiritedly with a disgruntled lady even shorter than me for a somewhat ugly beer advertising mirror, and then I decorated it with a red-haired lady and gold leaves.  It now looks rather yummy in my humble opinion.
    Note: accept my apologies for my rather serious concentrating face, and admire please the detail of my découpage (not décollotage, découpage)
  4. I was further inspired  at the market to purchase this  jumper thing for the princely sum of 3 euro.  That’s definitely something to smile about.  Can’t wait to wear it, wish I could wear it to work but I guess my bright pink shoes will have to do for now…
  5. Nor does the bounty of the markt stop there.  I also found myself 2 new books to be going on with, one of which admittedly looks classier than the other, but the latter is fatter so it gets points too.
    As a result, I’m currently reading 3 books at once, the one about trees, one called Moon Tiger which is on loan and (gulp) one of the new ones which I really shouldn’t have started (but in my defence there’s a rose on the front and it was hard to resist).  Of course the sum total of books should be 4 because I ought to be reading the German loaner from Sonja, but I’m a wicked lazy child. Tomorrow, maybe, I’ll start on that.
And that’s all for now folks. Hope my small cheerfulnesses made you smile too.  I’ll leave you with a quote from C.S.Lewis, who not only wrote good books but clearly was very sensible too.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”

*editorial note: honesty compels me to admit that talking to LTN and the lovely Cee may have contributed rather more significantly to the cheering upping but nonetheless… the list and the photographing of the list definitely helped.

Cupcakes

We talked about cupcakes.  We planned going for cupcakes.  We rescheduled.  We went and ate cupcakes!  Lush.

Lucky me to have a very nice cupcake shop around the corner and a Claire to take me there.   Now I just need to work on having more people for go for Sunday afternoon beers with.  Miss my days in the park with London peeps, beer and cider, the papers and a frisbee.   Hugs to you all xxx