Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

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
                                                            YOU ARE FREE AGAIN!
                                                              YOU ARE OUT!
                                                             BACK TO EARTH!

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Wishful Thinking

©Brigitta Huegel

I took better photographs of the big starfish I found in Noordwijk, Netherlands.
But I cannot find this photo at the moment - the only choice now is between NOT to write this post or use this not so perfect photo.
Reality versus perfectionism.
Sign of beginning wisdom that I let realism win?

Why "Wishful Thinking"?
Well: about two weeks ago, walking at the shore of the North Sea in Holland, I thought:
"I want to find a seahorse."
(It is always good to aim for something high: genus hippocampus is nowadays so rare in the North Sea, that a few years ago the fisherman Manfred Sophra in St. Peter Ording (Germany) who found a litte seahorse among the caught fishes and crabbs, brought it instantly to a breeding farm).
Yet I wished.
And No - I did not find one.
But I found something else (though took it not with me): a starfish.
When I showed the photos to Wietske, who is in Berlin my Dutch "tandem" and friend, she said: "I NEVER found a starfish, NEVER."
I did. Expecting something extraordinary sometimes help. (Advice: Never be too specific if you are looking for something - all women know that: if you err through a department store in search of the cobalt blue blouse, you will find lots of pink, white and green ones --- but cobalt blue? Sorry..).

I love this little story about starfish:

A young man and his friend walked along the sea, and on the shore they saw many many starfish after a storm, still living. 
The young man bent down, threw a starfish back into the sea, bent down again, threw another one back into the sea - until his friend asked:" What are you doing?" 
"I throw them back to the sea, so they can live." 
"But", said his friend, "look at the shore: there are hundreds and hundreds on it! Honestly: it will not make any difference if you throw a few ones back to the sea!" 
"To this one it does!"  answered the young man and threw another one back.