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Blossoms again!

Tree in blossoms

Tree in blossoms. Photo: Ulla Hennig

What a beautiful sight! Unfortunately we are just having a period of rather nasty and cold weather, but the weather forecast is announcing rising temperatures and sunshine for the coming weekend. 

We had some April days which reminded me very strongly of Summer – above 20 degrees Celsius. The long Easter Weekend was gorgeous, and even the weekend after that provided a blue sky and sunshine all over, although with a strong wind. 

So there’s no reason to be grumpy because of the weather, it has beeen good to us here in Berlin.

Ephraim Palais in the Nikolai Quarter

Ephraim Palais

The Ephraim Palais in the Nikolai Quarter. Photo: Ulla Hennig

The Ephraim Palais is one of the best known buildings in the Nikolai Quarter. It was built in 1766 for Veitel-Heine Ephraim, the financier of King Frederick II of Prussia. Today it serves as a museum focussing on art and culture history.

The Nikolai Quarter in Berlin

Nikolai Quarter in Berlin

The Nikolai Quarter in Berlin. Photo: Ulla Hennig

I had been offline for some days. One of my cousins from the South of Germany stayed in my flat from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning, and it was wonderful to show her my home town and spend the time with her.

Apart from writing e-mails and creating photo books with the computer she doesn’t share my fascination for the internet, and as I did not want to spend our precious time me hacking away at the keyboard and she being left alone I decided to stay away from my dear notebook.

We had gorgeous weather on the weekend, and the photo above is one of the results of strolling through the city. The so-called Nikolai Quarter is the oldest part of the town. To put it precisely, it was the oldest part of the town, because it was destroyed during the bomb raids on Berlin. In order to celebrate the 750th birthday of Berlin the German Democratic Republic decided to re-build it.

So the Nikolai Quarter looks like a town in the middle Ages, but it is not. There are many cosy restaurants and cafés there, and we enjoyed to sit outside and drink a typical Berlin beverage – the so-called “Weiße mit Schuss” (a certain brand of beer with syrup in it).

In the middle of the photo you can see the “Berliner Dom” (Berlin Dome), a huge round cathedral. This cathedral was the church of the Prussian Kings.

City Art


Mural paintings. Photo: Ulla Hennig

In Berlin there are quite a lot of people who spray on walls, cars, subway trains. Of course it is not legal, and often the result cannot be considered as something art-like.

On the other hand there are some street artists among those young kids. Just a few houses away there is a place where they can spray without having to fear the law. Every two weeks or so a piece of the wall is being painted over with white color, and then everyone can come and have a try.

Some of the results could be taken out of a comic strip or a manga – some of them are more abstract and sometimes remind me of the ornaments in a mosque. I think it is a wonderful thing that young kids who probably hate their art lessons at school can express themselves freely at this place.

One of the most famous buildings of Berlin

Once a week I go through the photos on my hard disk and select a new one to upload on my Zazzle account. This time I was looking for photos of buildings.

I uploaded a photo of the Deutscher Dom on the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin and created a postcard out of it. Here it is:

It doesn’t look very much like Berlin, does it? Could be a dome somewhere in Italy. In fact you have to go to the Gendarmenmarkt on a nice Summer’s day and you will get the impression on standing on some Italian Piazza. There are some really nice cafés on the corners of the Gendarmenmarkt, and on Summer days every chair outside is occupied.
Of course, most of the people there are tourists, but Berlin people as well enjoy the easy atmosphere.

Trees in Blossoms

Trees in blossoms. Photo: Ulla Hennig

More and more trees are in blossoms now – white, light pink, dark pink. It is such a pleasure to the eye!

You can find those colors everywhere in the big city, and once again I am reminded that Berlin is a green city, with lots of trees and lots of green spaces.

Windmill in Berlin-Marzahn


Windmill in Berlin-Marzahn. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Marzahn was once a small village, founded in the 14th century. In 1920 it became a part of “Groß-Berlin” (Great Berlin). 1945, after WW II it belonged to the Soviet zone. In the 60s Marzahn was known for its modern housing – many young people moved there out of the old and uncomfortable houses in the Eastern inner city.

The windmill is a “left-over” from the village. In 1815 the first windmill was built. Today it is still working, though not all the time. It is working about 200 days a year driven by the wind.

I participated in a guided tour through the mill. We all usually eat some kind of bread every day – and this guided tour reminded me of how grinding the process of making bread was – from harvesting the corn to cleaning it,  milling it and then baking the bread.

It made me think that in those times people probably appreciated the daily bread more than we do today…

The Renaissance Garden

Renaissance Garden

Renaissance Garden in Berlin-Marzahn. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Today has been the first day for a week with sunshine. Well, the sky got cloudy again after lunch, and when I got home from work it looked dreary again. But at least it stayed dry.

On days like these I like to browse through my flickr account. That photo was taken in the middle of September on a sunny day with a blue sky. It shows one part of the Renaissance Garden in Berlin which is a part of a wonderful big park called “The Gardens of the World”.


October 3, the Day of German Unity

Where the Berlin wall was. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Where the Berlin wall was. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Tomorrow Germany will be celebrating its grand national holiday, the Day of German Unity. A lot of years have passed since 1990, the year of German reunification. Those have been years of enthusiasm, of joy, but also of disappointment and bitterness.

When I arrived in Berlin in 1981 the Berlin Wall was a fact. Nobody could imagine that it would break down one day peacefully. In Berlin we lived with the wall. Everytime when we had to leave the city by car or by train we were confronted with East German border police. When we drove through East Germany we always had a funny feeling–maybe we did something wrong and did not know it? We were always glad when we arrived in West Germany safe and sound.

Younger people who were born after 1989 when the wall broke down don’t remember those absurd times. On one hand that’s good because for them German Unity has become a matter of course. On the other hand I think we can only appreciate what we have now if we know what we had in the past. The tiny band which you can see on the photo represents the Berlin Wall going around West Berlin. It was a huge complex with thick and high walls covered with barbed wire, illuminated in the night. Sometimes people ask me “wow, this was a small wall” and then I have to explain what it really was.

There will be a lof of festivities tomorrow in Berlin–bands will play on different stages, there will be stands offering beverages and food. Let’s celebrate–nothing to be said against it. But let’s remember also!

The Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Chinese Garden. Photo: Ulla Hennig

The Chinese Garden is a part of the “Gardens of the World” in Berlin-Marzahn. Berlin-Marzahn is a neighbourhood in Berlin with many multi-story buildings. These buildings were erected in the 60s of the 20th century, and many families moved there, leaving their flats in the old houses which were at that time in very poor conditions.

But when you enter the Chinese Garden you forget where you are–you can watch the lake, listen to the birds, have one or two cups of fresh green tea and just be. On the day I was there the colors were a perfect match: the blue of the sky and the lake, the red and white of the buildings, the gray-blackish color of the roofs and the green of the trees and the shrubs. A symphony of colors!


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