Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 6 April 2018

Houses in Berlin



People buy and buy property in Berlin (as they do in other big cities) - with the result that the prices (and rents) go up like skyrockets...
People think of it as an "investment", they often do not intend to live there, but use it as a holiday flat once or twice a year.
I know rich Italians who did not even come over to look at what they buy - they told their estate-agent what they were looking for and he bought.

They might be in for a big surprise :-)

Oh YES: the beautifully renovated house is right beside the KaDeWe, our imposant top luxury department store. (OK - maybe the estate agent forgot to tell them that from 6 o'clock in the morning the less stylish vans and trucks come and bring fresh goods for the gourmet-floor...)
And it was better that they did not see the house before the renovation, which was done in a surprisingly quick and superficial way by poor people from Poland (or beyond). Who wants to know that it had looked like The Castle of Otranto, or something taken from a Gothic movie...
No - now it has the certain je ne sais-quoi (though ...I do ... know... :-)
And yes: it HAS an elevator.
What they do NOT know is a speciality of many old Berlin houses:
you have to climb many many stairs too reach the first floor - where the elevator starts! -  (if it consoles you: the many many steps are very steep, but made from marble!)
Above I show you the photo I took at my dentist:
I am convinced that some people will need no anesthesia, when they reach the elevator at the first floor... they might be very sedated, utterly numb...

This is the antique elevator:


Nice - really! - but it comes along with a large manual how to use it. ("I never in my life have used it", said the doctor's receptionist and shuddered slightly, and then added in a dark low voice: "You are really courageous!" ) 

I am not courageous, but I am curious. It was a very funny rideI And ended with a heavy bump.
(Yes: I was a bit scared when I had to try and try and try to close the strange doors 'the right way' until  finally I got the old chest moving...


The huge old mirror inside reminded me of those in the funfair, House of Mirrors, where some mirrors draw you thin and tall, or as here: compress you to plump and stout...
But this woman takes up her cross and banishes her vanity ... all in the pursuit of an interesting photo.

And then you are down again (hopefully):


And you stagger down, and step outside, into the lovely sunny spring air, and you see the first blossoms on trees, and you are
                                                                  HAPPY!
                                                            YOU ARE FREE AGAIN!
                                                              YOU ARE OUT!
                                                             BACK TO EARTH!




17 comments:

  1. I have to ask... why so many steps to the first floor? It seems like a waste of lower space. But I adore the elevator. It is gorgeous.

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    1. I couldn't find an answer to your question, Emma. I see that nowadays there are often little shops at ground level - maybe in former days the butler/servants/cooks lived there? Upstairs - downstairs? But I am not sure.

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  2. It looks like the stairs to the second floor studio of Laura's art teacher. I only climb on incredibly special occasions. There are beautiful trees and a coffee house at street level; much more interesting. Great pictures!

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    1. Thank you, Joanne! But the are really stairs to the first - and only floor - no flats, no doors before.

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  3. I would like to visit Berlin. I have never been there.

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    1. When I met you and H.I. in Bath, I really meant that you should come over, Tom! And our elevator starts (almost) at ground level :-)

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  4. I utterly dislike elevators of any kind. As long as I can go on my legs, and if I'm in no hurry, I'll climb and descend the stairs.

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    1. The elevator where I live, DUTA, has failed sometimes (not when I was in) - so I never enter it with our a cellphone.

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  5. Many high rise buildings in London are dark at night because the flats have been bought for investment, many are Russian and Chinese buyers.
    I love the elevator Britta... I would have ridden in it. XXXX

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    1. Yes, it is a shame to waste good flats by only using them as investments, Jacki. Of course we have lots of other nationalities buying. And the elevator: an adventure! :-) XXXX

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  6. I read somewhere that if you're in a lift and the cable breaks you can't tell! The first (and last, probably) thing you know about it is that the lift has hit the bottom of the shaft with a bump! I know from experience that if you're in a hot air balloon that is plunging fast you have no sensation of falling and don't know what is happening unless you can see the altimeter spinning!

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    1. Wow - I am glad that I did not read that before! :-) We have a hotline, of course, to get help - they sit somewhere in Berlin, and hopefully one will reach them. The hight from the fifth to 1st floor seems quite disturbing to me...

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  7. Replies
    1. Dear Sandi: that would be a long story, I think -the house was built around 1900 - and in Berlin most houses have a history like the moving of an elevator: ups and downs.

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  8. When it comes to antique elevators, I am divided between Je ne sais pas quoi & je ne veux pas savoir. You are indeed courageous, but I knew that.

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    1. Dear Geo., your "Je ne sais pas & Je ne veux pas savoir" made me laugh, thank you! For this time I can quote dear old Will S. : "All's well That ends well" - but I have to visit that dentist again...

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