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

Sunday 26 March 2023

The Parkhotel in Bremen, Germany - and "The Power of Intention" :-)

I promised Helen to post a few more photos from the Parkhotel in Bremen where I stayed for 4 days. 
(I had only my cellphone, thus the photos are not utterly perfect, sorry). 

This photo I copied from Wikipedia: 

The Parkhotel has Five Stars and is a Hommage Luxury hotel (sadly I had to pay the full price because at the same time there was a congress). 

It is situated in the Bürgerpark, (that was founded around 1860). In 1872/73 there was "only" a Festhalle: 

then the Parkhotel was built in 1912/13 after plans of the architect Rudolf Jacobs - as Wiki says: a royal manor house in neo-baroque style. 

It was destroyed in World War II, and rebuilt in 1954 - 1956, when they added East- and Westwings.  
The dome had survived the airstrike, and they lifted it 1,40 m higher, and the whole building was enlarged from 65m to 100m. 

Here you see a glimpse from the little balcony of the hotel room: 

The Hollersee - a lake - is surrounded by massive Rhododendron bushes, which are so high that as a child I often played in them: 

The Free Hanseatic city of Bremen is my Home city, and when I went to grammar school (an academic high school - I am never quite sure how the German "Gymnasium" is called in Great Britain or America - there you make the "Abitur" - an exam that is necessary to study at an university), I passed the Parkhotel every school day and thought: "I want to stay there once!" 
The Power of Intention  :-) - I even stayed there twice (first time we were upgraded to the suite in the dome, which was shere bliss). 
Today I read in Wiki who stayed there too: 

 Michael JacksonBud SpencerSven Regener, (...) Robbie WilliamsSiegfried & RoyHerbert Grönemeyer and others, as the Swedish national footballteam in 2006. .

The first time I was there they still had imposant doormen - two respectable ponderous gentlemen with red long coats with silver buttons, a black tophat and - in Bremen, which has London weather - very useful: huge English umbrellas to lead you dry over the outside flight of stairs. 
Now they are no longer there. 

But the rooms still are luxurious - and the taps are still British: one for cold, one for hot water. 

Beautiful furniture 

and impressing lamps with the mythical creature (which I collect with my camera): Pegasus, the Winged Horse. 

Luxury at its best, space, kindness and - a special bonus for Bremen: 4 days of sunshine!  

I will remember all this very gratefully - and send a long longing glance (here you see its back) to the Parkhotel: 

 this one by GJ



Friday 24 March 2023

Snippet: "Serve Yourself Well"


In the book "365 Health And Happiness Boosters" by M.J.Ryan she asks: 

"Have you ever had truly gracious service from a waiter? (...) What if you treated yourself just as well right now? What if you gently required if there was anything you needed and then quickly went off to get whatever was required?"

Well, I had this service for three splendid days in the Park Hotel in Bremen

Such a lovely stay - they even served 3 days full of sunshine, which is VERY unusual for my dear northern home city Bremen. 

I felt pampered and really happy. 

And when coming back into pastorale Bavaria having a lot of digital trouble with the Bundesbahn (German railway) and I went so nuts that for a moment I couldn't remember my password for my email-account (I use it every day!), I suddenly thought of Mrs Ryans' question and asked myself what would help me in this (mini) crisis at once? 

Instantly I got the answer: "A nice cuppa tea - and please: not the usual elegant Darjeeling but a strong brick-red English tea with lumps of sugar and milk in it - as served in the novels of Barbara Pym for women under shock!" 

My normal tea is Darjeeling without milk and sugar, because I read in a health report that it is far more healthier to drink it that way - milk seems to disturb valuable health qualities. But now I thought: "Who cares! I need something very strong and very uplifting now!
And it did work. 

What do you think of this self-serving rule? Do you treat yourself well - as well as you would treat a friend? Do you? 

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Britta Tried and Tested: How to Avoid Dehydration


Well, maybe you think: "Ah, that old chestnut!" 

Because we all know that we shall drink more water, that this is very beneficial for our health - and yet, the older one gets, the easier one forgets it. 

Well - me at least. I never drank much, and I am a non-believer in those huge amounts some doctors or health-gurus propose. 

I believe in the Japanese sight of things: drink water in moderation, listen to your body, when thirsty: then drink water. First. Or: with something else. 

But sometimes I just am lazy. Or forget it and do something else instead. 

Now my (simple) trick: I put a reminder,  "a fountain of water" on the kitchen table -  a glass pitcher and a tiny (!) glass always remind me to drink something (and the glass shows me if I did). 

It helps. Me, at least. 

Query: Do you drink enough? What do you do to reach standard recommendation? Do you feel an effect when you drink enough water? 

Sunday 12 March 2023

Orchids on Your Budget


Three years ago Michou, a friend of mine, gave me a tip for the right caring for orchids. It is simple: put them once a week for 10 minutes into a bucket full of water (and give them fertiliser as recommended) - and they will thrive. 

At least mine do - two in the Bavarian kitchen (window facing North) are flowering a second time this year, and that very vigorous on the photo above, a present from the Flying Dutchman, is doing that too abundantly in my East facing study. 

Do you remember the sleuth Nero Wolfe, a private detective created by Rex Stout (first appearance in 1933), all his adventures are told by his cheeky Assistant Archie Goodwin? When Wolfe had to think he went up (with an elevator because he was incredibly fat) into the large attic and spritzed a mist of water over his huge collection of orchids. They were very valuable. 

Since years orchids (at least the phalaenopsis) now have become very cheap. 

In Hildesheim where I lived for 20 years in my Art Deco house (still mine) on a half island I always visited with joy one of the oldest orchid nurseries of the world, Hennis Orchideen (since 1891, which always was a treat (now they also sell online too).  

In 1937 a little book was published: 

Orchids On Your Budget  
Or live Smartly on What You Have 
( by Marjorie Hills, a Virago Classic now). 
This book is full of wisdom how to economise and still have fun. Valuable tips as: Don't economise on butter, that will make feel you miserable - cut costs where it really saves money, such as moving from the place you live in now to a smaller one or a less posh neighbourhood or a smaller town). 
I love "Live Alone And Like It", the first book written by Hills, a Vogue journalist, and published in 1936, even more: 

"Whether you view your one-woman ménage as Doom or Adventure, you need a plan, if you are going to make the best of it."  

Both books elevate your spirits, make you laugh, but are deep down full of wisdom and can be given as a present to married woman also  :-) 

As orchids. 

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Britta Tried and Tested: How to Feel Bright after a Nap


Yes, I want to try something new. A Wednesday special. With tips I discovered (through reading or by friends) that really work. For me, that is. So I want to share them with you. And I am highly interested what you think of them - if you agree or not, if it helped you too - or if you have another tip for the same situation. 

Here the first one (which I tried since half a year): 

If you take a nap and wake after half an hour (the experts recommend not more than 30 minutes, so I set the alarm button on my cellphone) I sometimes came back to earth feeling a bit grumpy. 

Then I read: Drink a small espresso before taking your nap. The caffeine needs about 30 minutes to get your body into motion. Hurrah - I feel as fresh as a daisy after that! 


Sunday 5 March 2023

Sheer Willpower


There are some days I feel like that flat tyre on the photo above. 

I took it today, when I walked down the hill (notice the double meaning, haha) and saw that a rural neighbour, lets call him Onslow, had put a lot of ancient farming rubbish a few metres further from the spot he put it on last year.                                                   

"Picturesque", I mumbled - but then I am only a romantic city-plant... 

I have been in Berlin for a wonderful week - though this time very much engaged to cultivate my friendships rather than hurrying from one cultural event to another. 

No, we hurried from one restaurant to another - and if you fear now that Yours Truly might have become fat more portly (I saw that the publishers of Roald Dahl picked out anything that might aggrieve somebody - and am still discussing what I think about that within myself) by so many meals, I can reassure you: NO WAY! 

 This (nothing eaten till after taking the foto) is the meal that our famous vegetarian Chinese served me - not Business Lunch (which is always cheaper) but a regular serving at a quite horrendous price. 

New was: only two-third of the normal portion (ah, the price of gas!). 

New was: "We have to charge 2 Euro extra, if you want rice to your meal.

New was: I - and that is really new, because I am a person of small portions - I was still hungry when I had finished the mix of onions & paprika & a few chilis (which I did not eat), a few nuts and a minimalist copy of two vegetarian chicken-chunks. 

I translated a huge English cookbook for a German publisher and I can cook and I can do arithmetics and know the price of these few ingredients, and how long you have to stir them in the wok (can't be the price of gas, noway!). Chop, chop - that's what I will do with that restaurant... 

As to the flat tyre above: you know that normally I am quite active. 

But after a few days of sunshine and hope and Lebenslust it became very cold again, look at this gloomy landscape today: 


But I went out for a long walk - whether I wanted or not. (I didn't, but my internal Slavedriver painted pictures of decline and immobility). 

That gets me going. Always. On Autopilot