Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Hello, It's Me... (Britta, not Adele)

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You,

what you see above is - in my eyes - a little wonder.
This geranium - which a professional would call pelargonium, I know that, but using the "common word" is my way of trying to convince you that I really try to give up being perfect :-)  - well, this little "twig" of the geranium on my balcony broke off when I decided to give it more space, meaning: I took the plant out of its little pot and into a window box.
More earth to spread its little roots, more space to unfold its little leaves, more freedom.
In Germany we have a saying: "Where wood is chopped, splinters must fall"
So here I had that "splinter" with two little tight white buds in my hand.
And thought: "We'll see". (As you all know I am quite good in finding meaning and detecting symbols everywhere).
And put it into the turquoise-blue bird bath.
And then it happened - and, oh yes, in my eyes it took quite a long time, felt like two years - but suddenly it opened its little petals, unrolled them, seemed to say: "Well, circumstances are not as I  expected them to be - but hark! (I love to strew in a hark in my blog from time to time!) - they are not bad. So: I decide to flower in my circumstances as they are now." 
(At this moment I might have lost The Last Reader, hearing him mumble: What is that woman talking about?) 
Well, here I sit, "in the world of the ten-thousand things", and adjust to the truism that "life is not all neat and tidy".
I have thought very hard about my blogs - about the way I will write them. For me it is easy to talk about the newest exhibition in the marvelous Barberini Museum in Potsdam, but that is not enough for me. Yet also I do not want to write my Dear Diary into the air (or Cloud, or whatsoever, Howling at the Moon, just to sprinkle in a touch of modernity by a new pop-song) - no, I want a mixture of all Dear Life that surrounds me, filling me up to the brim sometimes, and show you what everyone sees, but filtered through my eyes.

Today promises to become the second really summerly day in Berlin - we had 27 degree yesterday, in May!
And yesterday evening I was sitting on my balcony, had lit a pale blue candle, a tiny glass of red wine in my hand, looking into the sky which was just preparing for the night: still pale blue at the horizon, and darker above - when a voice came from the flat above me: "Britta?"
As I am a very, very northern girl, coming from Bremen, I love my privacy - meaning: for me the balcony, which has a roof (!), is like a chamber to me - absolutely private.
And you could only see a hand of mine, from above, not more.
So I stayed silent.
"Britta? Are you alright?" 
No way to hide. Yes, my dear neighbour, I appreciate that you are caring - I really do, and thank you for that! - I can assure you - and  everyone:

"Yes - I am alright."  

Toodle pip! 




Sunday, 2 April 2017

Just Jump!

I always liked the motto of Mr. Disraeli: "Never complain, never explain" -
I will take the secod half of it (never was a complainer).
So: think of Agatha Christie's disappearance for a few days (and honestly: what is a month? These days it flashes past like a few days...)

I found a wonderful little sketch in the great book
           "Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered"
by (beloved) Quentin Blake and John Cassidy (Klutz.com)

It is so useful - not only for drawing,
no: for our whole life!



You are allowed to fill this space (and the page this drawing is printed on is four times larger!) with comments on my absence.
I will read them diligently. (Though I cannot decipher them :-)

And then Í will start to write another post. As if nothing has happened. (Though it has. All is well).

Yes, I decided to jump right in. (Otherwise I might never start again).








Thursday, 16 February 2017

Last Confetti from Venice

©Brigitta Huegel


Here - to end my report on Venice - a few confetti-like impressions which I especially remember.
(Honestly: you don't really want to see my 720 photos and listen to the description of every church or painting or Guggenheim we visited - at least 13 km walk every day, not included the vaporettos - even after three pictures of the wonderful marble floors that were everywhere you would politely yawn and remember your appointment at eleven, Pooh-bear-way).

©Brigitta Huegel


©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

because, somehow, they might look all the same to you_ 

©Brigitta Huegel

I will remember:

- the smell --- water against old buildings, a musky mouldering smell - smell activates the memory of the very first time as a child in Venice
- the glitter on the often surprisingly bright turquoise water, and the very blue sky

©Brigitta Huegel

- tons and tons of gold - on stucco, on buildings, on paintings
- the beautiful old ladies in their huge furs (it WAS cold), yet wearing thin silk stockings. Venice has a very vivid timeless elegance - both: the (often old) people and this old city do LIVE, thank you very much!

©Brigitta Huegel

- the almost "fop" elegance of the men - beautiful patterned pencil-case thin cloaks they wore, utterly beautiful shoes (go in rags in Berlin and nobody will care - come as what the Berliner thinks of as "overdressed" - and they will stare).
- the long, long "Lido" where we took a very long walk in bright sunshine along the turquoise sea, crunching shells under our feet - I picking up shells -- just can't resist - which is for the grown-up persons accompaniyng me sometimes a bit trying... shall I keep the bizzare one, the interesting black one or - the pink one? And of course this child woman was utterly convinced to have found a rough piece of jade, which grown-up eyes tried to disenchant into "a piece of old glass formed by the sea" (let them talk... the lump of jade lies on my windowsill now, together with the - of course pink - shell...)
- the Venetian dialect: WONDERFUL! That is the Italian I had wanted to learn! (In Berlin I left after the second Italian course and after having visited Rome -- but now: two days ago I unpacked my Italian school books and will start again - uno, due tre!)
- My unability to laugh with all the other visitors in the Doge's Palace, when we were in the "interrogation" room.

©Brigitta Huegel


The guide made a little joke, and I, being normally a person who laughs easily, looked at those awfully low cells, the walls breathing out suffering, and icy cold. I looked longingly through the window,

©Brigitta Huegel

and silently congratulated my brother Casanova, who managed to escape. So close together: utterly horrible conditions - and golden splendour - and how easy it is to fall from the hight of luxurious abundance into this prisonal black, bleak despair.

©Brigitta Huegel


©Brigitta Huegel

- If I would live in Venice, I soon would have a problem: not much nature.Two parks, very few trees, a few seagulls. You can give me all the Tintorettos, and the gold, and the theatro Venice: after a few weeks I would heavily cry for a forest, or at least a garden.

©Brigitta Huegel

- a surprise were the quite low prices in restaurants, and even more in those funny little cafés, were "the typical Italian" hastens in, grabs a tramezzino, washes it down with an espresso - and out he is again - quick, quick!
- And with this beautiful little "discolo" - wind-bag - for only 1 Euro - and so delicious! - I leave you, my Dear You - this should have been more than enough as an appetizer for Venice...

©Brigitta Huegel


Yours Truly (a humble tourist among others)

©Brigitta Huegel




Friday, 10 February 2017

You asked for it! (Venice again)

In a comment Rachel wrote: "I was thinking we would have to ask Inspector Brunetti to solve the mystery of the disappearing post for us."
You bet! Il commissario was joy-riding on the Canale Grande, and if you look closely you might detect that in January Venice does not sport so many tourists, and those who come are mostly from China and Japan and master the Art of Canouflage perfectly. . 

©Brigitta Huegel

Yes: they totally merge in "the real stuff": 

©Brigitta Huegel

Buy little factories in Italy to be able to use the label... Well - "home-made" seems to be  the new trend :-)  
I could show you now typical photos from typical Venice. In fact: I could use the photos my late fathers had taken when I was just a pre-school child - 

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel

Not changed that much - though: a little colour added nowadays :-) 
No, I will serve you only some snippets from my impressions of Venice.  
First a question that really baffles me: how come, I ask you, that my female friends all rejoyce in visting cemeteries - and ask me to join them - ME, almost a thanatophobic? (I cross myself if I have to walk along a freshly dug empty grave - no, I'm not Catholic, but in this case I am not choosy and grab what might protect me :-) 
So: "Cimitero" it had to be, on my first day in Venice! (Came back hell-bent to "carpe diem" even more). 


©Brigitta Huegel

Cling to dear life as good as I can - as these spartan and easy to keep Venetian balcony succulents.

©Brigitta Huegel

Visited the church Madonna dell' Orto - which Jane Hattat (!) personally recommended to me.

©Brigitta Huegel

So beautiful! Built in the XIVth century - with Tintorettos, (by father and son) and other famous painters. AND a heavily built white Madonna with child - in the 15th century they found her in a garden (= "Orto") near by and think her to own legendary healing powers (I, though I am very glad to say I'm healthy, thought; Assuming that it is right --- it will not hurt -- See: cemetry and cross above. At this point Elvis has left the building - better: my son would have left this post, because he absolutely hates superstition, while I ... well, well, well).
For you, My Dear Enlighted Reader: skip the madonna if you feel like that - but look at this marvelous church - not many of the lazy tourists find it, because it is up in the north, out of the conventional paths. (Though - that is what all tourists think - the oxymoon of secret insider tips...)
When you go there, you are also near to the Ghetto Novo (Sestiere Cannarigio)

©Brigitta Huegel

which was founded in 1516 - (the time before the Jews got only a temporary resident permission). The word "Ghetto" comes from here, and they had to wear a yellow sign on their clothes when in Venice. Each night the gates of the Ghetto were locked and guarded - and the inhabitants of the Ghetto had to pay for this (sic). Though to be fair: that was a common practice at that time: the German merchants who lived at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi had to endure the same. 

I see: your eyes are shut, your face looks like a bored mask, only politeness keeps you smiling mysteriously. So I'll shut my mouth (for today, that is). 

©Brigitta Huegel



 

Monday, 6 February 2017

You Might Have Noticed...

... Dear You,

that I have turned my yesterday's post about Venice back to draft-modus.
I just didn't like it - had that nagging feeling when I went to bed that there was just too much "room for a pony", if you know what I mean - Hyacinth Bucket for sure would have been baffled by those morbid feelings.
I mean: the hotel was wonderful - but then: who cares? (Beside me, when I want to sleep there).
I always have the difficulty after a journey that I do not want to write the 3.000.567th travel-guide about Venice (though my 720 photos would come in handy for that).
So many people have been there, at all times.
Only a few years ago, I have been there. In the foreground my little sister, 3 years younger than I:

©Brigitta Huegel

If you own a magnifying glass, you might even detect me - as always modest in the background (haha), and as always in action. You see an arm, and you see my mother trying to protect me with her bare hands against all the Paparazzi... 
And that is all I can give you tonight - I am tired and will go to sleep soon -- soon more from the Venice I saw again. 




Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Monday, 9 January 2017

Nature's Solo

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 

this morning - it was still pitch-dark - I opened the door to my balcony - or so I THOUGHT - must have erred -- it was the door of my FRIDGE, wasn't it?
Cold - colder - coldest! WAHHH!
Shivering I did what I do every morning: took my mug with tea, entered the balcony-fridge, greeted Berlin (this time in a slightly hurried and muffled way) - and retreated instantly.
Recovered around noon, and went courageously into the Charlottenberger Schlosspark (only a few hardliners out there).
Free seats everywhere...

©Brigitta Huegel

And from a very special balustrade ... 

©Brigitta Huegel

... a very special ballet ... 


©Brigitta Huegel