Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Some surprises in Berlin

©Brigitta Huegel


©Brigitta Huegel




Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
yes, I was surprised to see this flag in a vicarage garden in - Berlin!
In St. George's Church in Berlin's West-End they held for one day a "Charles Dicken's Christmas Fair". And of course Yours Truly took instantly the underground - in which a lot of men wore white-blue scarfs, fans of Hertha BSC, who yesterday played against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (and won 2 - 1: I heard their singings from the nearby Olympia stadion).
But the little band of the second photo drowned everything. And, as Dame Edna would put it: "I mean that in the nicest possible way."    
Anglican Services in Berlin already existed from the 1830s, but the first St. George's Anglican Church in Berlin was built 1884 by Julius Carl Raschdorff, who went to England to study Anglican churches. It was built on the grounds of Schloss Monbijou,
1888 Queen Victoria and 1913 King George came to visit - and that church was the only Anglican church that stayed open during World War I, because Kaiser Wilhelm II. was its Patron.
In 1944 and 1945 it was bombed by the Allies, and 1945, after the German partitition, the GDR finished it off while clearing away the ruins of Schloss Monbijou.
The little church of today was rebuilt in the British sector of West Berlin and was a garrison church. On the pews you find military emblems of British regiments:
©Brigitta Huegel

1987 they found the silverware that Queen Victoria had endowed - in a cellar in Berlin! Today it is in use again - as the church is, for civilians (and for TV the sermons "Hope for Tomorrow")
                                                I had a lot of fun - the tearoom was overflowing with people, but I found a seat. The Indian lady who sold the wonderful cakes cast one look at my slim figure and decided: "These slices of chocolate cake with cherries are to small for you: I give you two!"
I talked a lot with three "expats" - the 'man from the North' wondered why I visited Newcastle, and the jolly lady laughed "Soon my German will be better than my Englsh" (she was searching for the word "flag").
On the fair I bought German honey - after short consideration I took the one from Brandenburg, not that from the Preußenallee (the street where you'll find the church): Berlin's air is heavily polluted - so I was cautious...
Yes: I'll come back to that church - I want to hear an English Sunday Service, and hope for Choral Evensong.
Promised: I will not only come when my three raffle tickets prove to be winners! (They took our telephone numbers).

PS: A lot of information I got on site - parts I found in all-knowing Wikipedia.

22 comments:

  1. The story of the resurrection of a little church. I do love bagpipes.

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  2. Me too, Joanne - I love, love, love them!

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  3. I bought a book titled 'Keep Running until you're 100' at the English Church (which is called Christ Church) Christmas Fair in Vienna. Christmas is a time for optimism, I always feel. They also have a piper.

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    1. With your comment, Gwil, you reminded me of a book title that impressed me much when I was about 15 : "5 x 20 Years to Live" - one had to drink barrels of cider vinegar, I think - thus, though being a true optimist in all 4 seasons, might keep me away from that ambitious goal!

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    2. My ants and apfelessig. I don't think they like it.

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    4. In my first reply, I wondered about the 'ants' and played with different explanations - than I found my words downright silly and deleted them. But still I wonder.

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    5. They are hiding in the kitchen waiting for summer. When they appear I wipe the surfaces with the cider vinegar. Maybe they'll all get hangovers and move on . . .

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    6. I just read these comments and it reminded me I used to work with a man who took a small glass of cider vinegar every day as it was some sort of elixir of life. I did the same for a while but gave it up when I couldn't stand the grimacing I went through in order to swallow it.

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    7. Comments are always so interesting - coming from Christmas to cider vinegar and then to ants.. Of course I tried to work out to that golden goal, centenarian (shudder), - but though I even added honey to the brew I didn't like it - and stopped.
      What I find shocking: when I drank that thing, 5 x 20 years seemed unbelievably far away - now it doesen't sound quite as comforting as than. :-)

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  4. The piper in Norwich regularly brings tears to my eyes. And choral Evensong is fantastic, anywhere I see a Sung Mass advertised I just have to attend.

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    1. Evensong is such a touching experience - as you, Rachel, whenever I can I go for it, which is of course far more seldom. But now I found out that in the Marienkirche Berlin they sometimes sing it! In Scotland I was impressed by pipers who smetimes stood quite alone in a valley and played. Beautiful, it enhances the experience of nature even more.

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  5. It used to be nothing but the Stars and Stripes flying in Berlin.

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    1. Then, Tom, you know more - or less - than my history books.

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  6. I love the fact that the Indian lady decided that you should have two slices of chocolate cake with cherries - did you buy one and get one free Britta?

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    1. Yes, Rosemary - lucky me, because I love cake (though not every day :-)

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  7. This was a history lesson disguised as entertainment. So interesting. When you go back I hope you will let us know about it.

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    1. Emma, it started completely with my intention to be entertained - and only than I learned. And yes, I will tell.

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  8. What an interesting little place you found so full of history and so surprising to find a piper there. I am a big fan of Charles Dickens and like you would have made my way there too - Victorians certainly knew how to celebrate Christmas.

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    1. That's why I also love to see BBC-TV-productions, Elaine - very often they are opulently fitted out.

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  9. How lovely Britta ..... Dickens just say's Christmas, doesn't it/he ?!!!! .... a lovely start to your Christmas celebrations. XXXX

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    1. Yes, Jackie, it was - romantic, and quite different from what I experienced (and will tell in the next post) the next day.

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