Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Showing posts with label Berlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Berlin. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Spring-Greed? Spring-Folly!

©Brigitta Huegel

Almost two weeks ago I suddenly thought: enough nostalgia about how lovely the big river "Elbe"  in Hamburg was - and how I jogged there, and had to go 120 steps down to reach the bank (and up, to reach our flat) - and enough about "more nature in Hamburg".
You know me a bit by now: If I can't get one thing, I shrug and think: "Other mothers have beautiful sons, too" (you say: "There are plenty of fish in the sea") - err...no...I mean: I'll find an alternative in this big beautiful world.
And of course I did.
Not far away from our Berlin flat is the Tiergarten (long time ago the Kings hunted there, now we common mortals are allowed to stroll through it - and a lot of rabbits happily dance in front of us, being sure of their life!) It is huge -here you see about a qurter of it:


©Brigitta Huegel

OK - the 'river' you see above in the first photo is the Landwehrkanal - but inside the Tiergarten there are many lovely lakes:

©Brigitta Huegel


And suddenly - I was so surprised and not quick enough to take a photo - a kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) flitted past me!!!
I walked almost an hour. Spring signs everywhere (and today it will be far more advanced).

If you ask: why the "greed" in your header? I have to show you this:

©Brigitta Huegel

These seeds I grabbed greedily carefully and thoughtfully collected and brought home -
TYPICAL! (my father would say: Your eyes were bigger than your belly! (though only when my garden is concerned).
Come to think of it: I don't have a garden anymore.
I have a (big) BALCONY.
Want some of the hundreds of marigolds when they push through the earth of the boxes???


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Yes!!! A Breakthrough!


©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
Thank you for crossing your fingers! It helped me and all those with tickets to cross the street. In the first photo you see only the start of setting up...) The Zoo Palast showed the movie at 12:30 a.m. (in the evening you had to drive -- well: sneak - through half the city to Friedrichstadtpalast).
They even put protection around the groundfloor windows of the Waldorf Astoria. Normally I visit after a film their Romanisches Café (you can eat there too) - but this day was everything except normal. I thought about the guests who had booked their expensive rooms long in advance - strange surroundings for them. President Netanjahu's visit came quite as a surprise. Mrs. Merkel and he will talk about the problems between Israel and Palestine.


©Brigitta Huegel

Being quite early (to be still able to dash to the Friedrichspalast in case of need) I got a wonderful seat: horizontal and vertical middle - and an aisle in front of me, so I could stretch my long legs during the movie comfortably.
The movie "A Quiet Passion", which depicts the life of Emily Dickinson, was really good (in my opinion - some people left the cinema - maybe the last third was a bit weepy). Beautiful décor (I instantly decided to upholster two armchairs with a fabric they used and which I once had); of course little action, because we all know that Emily was a sort of recluse; wonderful recitations of her poems.
But the cinema operators must have misunderstood the movie's title - "A Quiet Passion" - they ghetto blastered the sound to my threshold of pain.
Well: the very young are often aurally handicapped nowadays, "thanks to" headphones and discos.
I hope I remember to take my earplugs for todays movie with me!



Wednesday, 6 August 2014

'Where Angels Fear To Tread` or: Berlin's Building Sites - Uhrgh!

Britta Huegel

Dear You, 
actually I wanted to write a post about a wonderful discovery I made on Monday - I give you a hint: Italy here, around the corner - but I can't do that now: it is too loud. 
Almost everybody - at least in Germany - knows that Berlin is a permanent building site. They dig up the roads and tunnels, they build new houses, renovate the old ones - and the symbol for all this might be the Airport Schönefeld - a billion-dollar grave, that will not come to an end, and those that are responsible get even more money instead of social condemnation or prison - and the news even reached other countries and they have a good laugh about this play from the madhouse. 
But I can live with that. 
More disturbing - because they are very, very near - is the renovation of a house at the end of our street - can you imagine that they stick on to the facade all the stucco ornaments that a mad city council paid to be destructed in the early decades of the 20th century - to make the buildings more "modern" and easier to paint (I believed that the masses and masses of these 'modern' houses were the sad relicts from World War II, but no: these houses had survived the bombs, and then the city paid (!) for 'modernisation'.  
An example: both houses are built in the same year. 

Britta Huegel

But more awful (for us) is the drainage that 2 (!) building labourers are giving to our neighbour's house (all the houses in the street, though very posh, are joint by a wall). 
The 2 (!) building labours (though I hesitate to use the word "labour") are the typical and perfect impersonators of building labourers. 
They arrive between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. 
They turn on their radio. Having often worked with a pneumatic hammer, they are deaf as - a nut. So they need LOUD music - and they SHOUT. Why should other people sleep when they have to work? They discuss this important question before they start to - "work". And because Law allows to start this "work" not before 7 a.m., they use the time before to playfully test their jackhammers - at the wall between the two houses. When the baby of the neighbours starts to cry, they stop and bang on their big big basins - to clean them a bit - better to be done in the morning... more attention... 
But the worst thing are their cellphones. I put "Work" into quotation marks to hint at a certain mistrust on my side: half of the time (at least!) they do not work - after the big overture in the morning they rest for an hour, smoke and shout into their cell phones - (nobody told them that a cellphone is a sort of telephone that enables you to talk with a person at normal pitch - but no, not them -- Shout, Shout, Shout! You might hear them easily at the Alexander Platz). 
By working very slowly they manage to prolong their "work" till doomsday - this wonderful hot summer is definitely spoilt for those who intended to enjoy their balcony (I flee to other beautiful parts of the city, but the old people can't). 
To make it even worse: in our house the landlady has engaged craftsmen to renovate the flat on the groundfloor: wall breakthroughs (we are in Berlin :), floorboard abrasion and varnishing (smell!) and polishing and, and, and - the full monty. 
And when I looked out into the Hinterhof (backyard) I saw another couple of workmen (though they finished after three days). 

Britta Huegel

The rents in Berlin soar, because Arabs and Russians and Italians etc buy houses or flats like mad. Sometimes it is merciful that they see only the "new" flats they buy. Since last year a clever salesman let this house beside the KaDeWe be renovated (I only heard Polish sounds at the building site - I think they are good workers, but often are treated and paid not much better than modern slaves). These flats (of about 110 square meters) cost over 1 million Euros each - but with that goes the privilege to look at really sordid houses on the other side of the street, hear the suppliers for the KaDeWe in the very early morning bring tons of flour or lobsters etc - and look into the "patio" which leads to the car park of the KaDeWe. 
Sometimes it is very good to have not seen your "bargain" before in its original state... 
I'll show you the photos of "before" and "after" in another post. 
Till then we'll book a holiday on an island... I think we'll give up... 

Britta Huegel



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I promised you...

Britta Huegel


...to show you how the alteration of my hat (the pink one with pink fur) worked out.
Now that I read that Susan of "Southern Fascinations" still has tornadoes, and see on the header of Joanne's 'Cup on the Bus' that icicles still hang in Canada, I take my last chance to present it (though my friend Anne took me very much from the front - the fine pink cloche is not to be seen, only a small brim).
You might remember that I thought the old version was "Too much pink". Following my own subtle fine logics, after the alteration I bought a pink coat to counter the silver-grey, hahaha.
             It is my stratagem to counteract the doom-prognosis : "From a certain age on you are invisible." I am not. At least my coat is definitely not.
What looks here a bit like winter-fat is the result of a silver feather down-jacket under the coat over a dashy grey felt-jacket over a pullover - you get the message: it was a very, very Siberian-cold day in Berlin.
I could hardly move - and if I had been the sprayer of that cozy entrance of a house in Kreuzberg, I would hardly have been able to do a runner. Life is so interesting between all fronts: the wild Kreuzberg inhabitants might take me for a Member of The Gentrification Gang. The Anti-Fur-Fighters might use their little cans to spray on me - pink again :-)

Britta Huegel

Let's talk about the weather instead, to be on the safe side: Now we have had some beautiful spring days, warm, though today suddenly we had it cold again.

PS: (I think they call this phenomenon April)



Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Collection Bayer


Britta Huegel

When you are in Berlin at the Potsdamer Platz, not everybody knows that you have to walk only a few steps to find the impressing museum, the Martin-Gropius-Bau. The building was erected in 1877 as an Arts and Crafts Museum. Since 1981, when the ruin had been restaurated, you can not only see exhibitions of photography and art, but also admire the building with its high atrium.  

Britta Huegel



Britta Huegel

Yesterday (they are open on Monday) I went to see the Collection Bayer (from the chemical and pharmaceutical international concern).  The paintings, normally hanging in the offices of their (important, I guess) employees are now "out of office", because the concern is celebrating its 150 years company anniversary. In 1909 Carl Duisberg asked Max Liebermann to paint a portrait of him, which was the foundation. At first the concern bought paintings to educate their employees - now they own over 2000 works of art.  
It is the first time that 240 of their works of art are presented to the public. And the names of the artists are exquisite: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde,Max Beckmann, Lyonel Feininger, Georges Braques, Pablo Picasso, Joan Mirós, Gerhard Richter, Sam Francis, Andy Warhol - to name a few
The exhibition is divided into four parts: German Expressionism, École Paris, After-War-and Informal Art, and American modern art.  I liked a drawing of David Hockney, "Rapunzel" very much, and of course Emil Nolde's paintings. As  nobody is allowed to photograph, you have to put up with the poster, sorry.  



Saturday, 19 January 2013

"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful"


As you all know through my (more or less late) blogs - 'You are Witty and Pretty', 'Britta's Happiness of the Day' and 'Gardening in High Heels' - I am not always dishing out light fare.
So - this blog will be substantial, nourishing and yet: sublime.
I'm talking of - yeah, you've guessed it by now: CHOCOLATE.
Last week I emerged from the bottom of my MSP (Monumental Secret Project). (For that moment) I just had enough. So out I went. Took the underground to Gendarmenmarkt. Looked into the shopwindows of http://www.fassbender-rausch.com/manufaktur.html  . Another woman did the same - we grinned at each other, and went inside, talked a bit about fashion. She was from London. And then we looked into the shopwindows again. From inside out.



I am not sure whether you can see on the pictures that here the Gedächtniskirche and the Brandenburger Tor are made entirely from chocolate (and cookies).  Absurd. Monumental. Kitschig.
Like two schoolchildren we looked at each other again, and giggled in helpless mirth. " Eat Art!" I breathed. "Wohahah!", she roared. "Epoch-Making!" .
Before studying at the university in Mainz, after my A-levels in Bremen, I worked for two months in the Hachez chocolate factory in Bremen.
Though normally I chirp in with  Mae West's saying  "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful", I didn't after being allowed to eat as much chocolate as we wanted. After three days we didn't want any more...
Being quick with my hands I was soon allowed to work by the piece (literally: we had to fill boxes of chocolates - every woman at the production line had a special section of the box). Piece work brought more money. And interesting insights into real life. I learned:
1. Age is relative. Being almost 18 was here extremely old - the co-workers were my age, but had left school long ago and  looked at me pityingly as if I were a 'box of chocolate on a shelf' (not married yet!).
2. I learned that "Non vitae, sed scholae discimus" (Seneca - and no: I didn't quote it wrong!) is utterly true - you might also say: a pinch of experience is worth a peck of theory. Fifty Shades of Whatsoever is an innocent Sunday School book - compared to the graphical visual way those girls depicted their Secret Lives on every Monday morning at work.
3. A pearl of wisdom for life: Things in a different box with different print (and price) are not always different - believe me, dear brand-buyer. From that time on I do - with only a few exceptions :-) - the double-blind-test.
4. If you love something dearly - like chocolate - after a short alienation you will like it again. I do!
Though: in modertion. Because: "Too much of a good thing can be ..."