Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 29 January 2023

A Short Visit to Potsdam

When you are in Berlin, it is easy to visit Potsdam, the Hauptstadt of Brandenburg. Now it is a beautiful little town (184.154 inhabitants) - I write "now" because I have seen it before the turnaround/Wende - the beautiful old buildings were derelict and decayed, grey, and very depressing. 

Now they almost overdid the renovation - so very colourful and sweetly pretty that you might think you are in a charming scenery of a theatre.
For me the most outstanding parts are the Castle Sanssouci of Frederic the Great, and his oh so wonderful park Sanssouci. I would go from Berlin on foot if it were the only chance to see it - but no: you can comfortably use the S-Bahn and be at the main station after a cheap, nice ride of 29 minutes. 

Other views: 

Red brick houses in the Dutch quarter - King Frederic welcomed many Huguenots. Another time I will show photos of the castle, park and town - this time we were there for the beautiful museum Barberini: 

We wanted to visit the exhibition "Surrealism und Magie. Verzauberte Moderne" (Surrealism and Magic. Betwitched Modern Era").  

I have to confess that we were neither bewitched nor enchanted nor spellbound. I quarrelled with myself, scolded me that maybe an impostor  of dear Emmeline Lucas (Queen Lucia by E.F.Benson) had crept into myself...

"... while she herself, oblivious of the passage of time, was spending her last half-hour in contemplation of the Italian masterpieces at the National Gallery, or the Greek bronzes at the British Museum. Certainly she would not be at the Royal Academy, for the culture of Riseholme, led by herself, rejected as valueless all artistic efforts later than the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and a great deal of what went before."

No, I do love modern art and know that art doesn't have to be beautiful -  but these pictures were mostly really bad, second or even third rate, often Kitsch

Only some Yves Tanguys were accepted.   


But we were very happy that there was the other exhibition in the same museum: 

"Impressionism. Masterpieces of the collection Hasso Plattner" 

                              Beautiful pictures of winter.

The following one is from Alfred Sisley, "Snow Effect in Louveciennes" 1874 , from his participation in the First Impressionist Exhibition in Paris, which I loved so much: 


Friday, 20 January 2023

Snippet: Fortune favours fools

That was a saying I sometimes had to listen to from my late father - and now I heard his voice clearly speaking to me again. 

He was right. 

I was very, very lucky under the circumstances - got only one not too deep clean cut. 

Fate had given me only a slap on my fingers ("Idiot!" fate hissed - I protested "But all guidebooks say you should never take pars pro toto - or was it vice versa? - it was a foolish act, but I am not an idiot!" "You were", my Guarding Angel intermeddled with a mild beatified smile). 

                                             Agreed. Yes, I was.  

So: what had happened? 
As always, I went on my balcony in the morning, lit the star-blink-string, which the triplets adore so much, 

and then I wanted to "lit" the electric candle which hides its fake being in a beautiful glass container. 

We had had minus 9 degree at night. 
The pillar candle was frozen into the glass. 
The switch of the candle is in the foot of it. 
I tried to free it. 
Didn't work. 

It was very early in the morning and maybe my mind was not only sleepy but frozen too - the only excuse I can find - so: I pressed the glass with the left hand and pulled at the candle with the right. 


The result you see above: shards - and I felt it: a cut in my left hand, between thumb and forefinger. Luckily not soo deep. But blood. 
I was too shocked to think of "red as blood, white as snow" - I hastened into the bathroom, could not find any plaster - oh, good, a spare one hid in my little cosmetic bag - and after applying it I sat down, hand in the air. 


Stopped these thoughts, thinking of my New Years resolution (one of a few): "No drama queen anymore!

(Besides: I had no audience). 

PS: I had lots of plaster as I later found out. Maybe before it was   plastered around my brain...



Monday, 16 January 2023

Steps into the New Year 2023

Hi, I am back from Berlin, since ten days - but till now I was so heavily engaged to settle  down again (not easy for me - I always have to wait for my soul which follows me on feet) and chasing around for a "new" car (meaning: a used one - I never in my life bought a new car and definitely will not start now). 

Today is a very rainy day, and that's just fine with me: I have a Sunday all for myself. Ahhh! 

Christmas and my birthday and the start of the New Year in Berlin were wonderful. 

We bought a tiny Christmas tree, because we could enjoy it only for 10 days. 

Just before my birthday on 29th December it happened again (as so very often!): when I went to the famous and wonderful make-up artist, René Koch in Berlin, after a while he asked what my zodiac sign is. Astrology is not my cup of tea, but I looked at him and said "Guess." 
He has written 14 books - and one is about beauty and zodiac signs. He pondered - and then he said (as numerous people who are deep in the subject before him): 
"Sorry", I said, "I am a Capricorn" - and knew exactly what would follow. 
"Then maybe your ascendent is Gemini." 
I was prepared. "Sorry, but my ascendent is Capricorn too." He was baffled, as so many before him, and said - "Maybe the position of the moon..." (Well, maybe, I do not know about that). 

We had a wonderful Happy New Year celebration in the Austernbank (Oyster bank - they serve meat too) near the Gendarmenmarkt. A delicious menu, and a DJ and a singer who made us all dance merrily. 
                                          As Geminis do...  

I think it is still time to wish all of you a good start into the new year 2023! 
Yours truly, 

Friday, 16 December 2022

Merry Christmas!


      I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As I go to Berlin till the first week of January tomorrow, I might have no good internet there - and thus I will be - once in a blue moon - silent. (Eventually   :-) 

I go by train tomorrow - we have lots of snow, and I am seriously nervous. I'll show you a German drawing (and translate it): 

Train: "Scheduled departure somewhere between 9:00 and 11:00 o'clock, scheduled arrival somewhere between 17:00 and 20:00 o'clock." 

People at the gate:  "Since these new train schedules the railway is finally punctual again!" 

Well, I try to enjoy THIS DAY: the beautiful landscape and the triplets, whom I will miss over Christmas very much. 

Sunday, 20 November 2022

A Winter Walk on a Sunday Morning


Yesterday morning the world turned white. The first snow! 

Today I put on a warm hat, a warm coat and gloves, tossed my contempt for damp cold overboard and - though it was only nine o'clock in the morning - went out for a long solitary walk. 

The snow painted everything almost monochrom - but that heightened the few colours under the masses of snow: 

 Everyday objects became spellbound:  

And then I felt as if I was falling under magic spell too and had to find the talismanic phrase. 
The way in front of me vanished into fog! 

The path disappeared in Nowhere Land. 

As in Life, I thought: you do not know where you go. 
There might be some surprises in for you - although you had planned so well, took care of everything - but then Leela, the Hinduism goddess of "divine play", might laugh out loud. 

But in spite of that you have to trust - that's what I learned after a bad turn in my life seven years ago. 
Life is strong. And one can be sure - if one wants to live - life goes on. The way might be leading into the foggy unknown - 

and it might be a long way, and sometimes damned uncomfortable, but at last there comes another bend, and in-between sometimes you might find  a (cold?) seat, rest a while, 

or, if you are very daring (and impatient) you might even climb up a high seat to get an overview: 

I looked back at my past: it seemed to disappear in fog too. And I saw some other directions I could have chosen: 

How would my life have been then? 

I didn't break my head about what could have been for a long time. I am someone who is always attracted to little thing of beauty - and those you find almost everywhere on your way, even in winter: 

When I finally turned and walked back I saw that my "walk in time" eventually will go downhill - there's no use in denying that - 

but I accept that because I know: 
it is my way Home. 


Friday, 18 November 2022

"I haven't told my garden yet" - a novel by Pia Pera


I seldom recommend a book, and this one from the late author Pia Pera I haven't finished yet. But I am utterly fascinated - though it is a kind of literature I seldom read - as you might know by now I most often prefer novels with an optimistic ending, something that lifts my mood, and if it makes me laugh: all the better. 

In the introduction to this book Pia Pera quotes a poem by Emily Dickinson - "I haven't told my garden yet" (I will show it in my blog "Happiness of the Day" under  As I do not love the German translation of Emily's poem in that book I dare to give the German readers of my blog a new one. 

Pia writes that the change of perspective towards death in that poem has impressed her. 

"The care about the animated and the unanimated beings, whom we in a certain way have deceived by making them used to our presence. Without warning them of the unavoidable défaillance: that we are here and now raises the expectation that we will always be there - an untenable promise.    I liked the idea that by such a reversal the egoism would be subdued, that when thinking of one's owns death one quasi wants to apologise for the involuntary disappearance. And that instead of worrying about oneself one should ask how it will be for the others, not for us."  

The book of Pia Pera is so full of wisdom - so comforting in face of her nearing death - I really recommend it - at least to all lovers of gardens. 

So - maybe I should have put it on my blog "...sunshine, freedom and a little flower"( - but I think it is much more than a good garden book. 

It starts with the sentence: 

"On one day in June some years ago remarked a man who said he loved me in a reproachful tone that I limped." 

As above it is my translation from the German version - but look at the distance, coldness and the contempt in "a man who said he ...". 

But don't get me wrong: 

it is a book without hate - it is warm and relaxed and relaxing in face of an incurable illness. 

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Our lantern procession on St.Martin's Day


The lantern procedure yesterday was lovely! I didn't take many photos as I was occupied "to live fully in the moment" - meaning: chasing after one or the other (or the other!) of the triplets. There were about 50 children, but many more grown-ups. 

Electric light bulbs in the lanterns - that was less "cozy" as in Olden Times, though very calming because in Olden Times wishing didn't always still help and some lanterns got up in flames. 

Yesterday luckily that didn't happen to any of all those masterpieces, very beautiful or bizzare and mostly self handcrafted lanterns - the triplets had funny hedgehogs, we saw owls, sheep, fishes and whatsoever. 

If you stare VERY hard - and use your faith and trust me completely - in the picture above you might make out in the background a person with a Father Christmas cap (why?) and a - well... horse would be boasting - it was a little pony (all ponies are little, dear Britta!) - yeah, true, but this one was a pigmy pony - covered with a red blanket and shining light bulbs. (Here it looks like the theatre figure of a horse or donkey where two persons are clad in one costume).  
But no: this one was "the real thing". 
Though this real thing was very nervous. 

Same as Saint Martin, who was a five year old boy in a red cape wearing a golden helmet - the parson told the story - St. Martin draw his sword - and after three attempts managed to cut the cape into two parts - one he donated to the beggar. 

We all sang loud the lantern procession songs - "I go with my lantern/ and my lantern goes with me. / Above us shine the stars/ and below we are shining." We were accompanied by a real huge Bavarian brass band - and looked up to the stars, and marched a long way to a farm, where they served warm St. Martin's crescent rolls and drinks.