At the moment it is raining in Berlin, and the weather is more like autumn at its worst than like summer. Autumn can be a glorious season – with the leaves changing from green to yellowish and reddish colors, with crisp air in the morning and sunshine and warmth later on the day.
And autumn is the season of harvesting – big red apples, green pears, green and dark red grapes.
So I decided to create an autmnal atmosphere on photoshop. There is this fantastic tool called “shapes”. Photoshop offers a lot of shapes, and leaves of all kind are included. I hope looking at the picture will lift your spirits – in case they are down because of some nasty weather outside!
It is the first day of my vacation. After doing some work on the internet in the morning (I began to work on a cute little devil for my Halloween products – not finished yet!) I went around the corner to the Italian restaurant in order to have some aglio and olio (garlic and oil pasta).
They have a nice patio and while I am waiting for the waiter to come I have a look around and I am taking in my surroundings. How many different shades of green there are, depending from where the sun comes. There’s a light breeze, and the leaves are dancing in it.
I look up to the sky, and I wonder how intensive the color of blue can be. It is the blue of a typical summer day, and here and there you can see some fluffy white clouds.
Then I try to focus on the various noises: the restaurant is near to a busy street, and I hear the cars rushing by. Whamm, whamm, whamm – a big truck, but empty truck is passing by. Some doves are goo-gooing near by, and there’s the sound of plates clattering when the waiter fetches the empty plates and carries them to the kitchen.
The scent of pizzas is in the air, combined with that of garlic.
I observe and I absorbe and take in.
After many months of low temperatures and grey skies Berlin is now being attacked by desert heat – 35 degrees Celsius in the shadow. The weather forecast for next week announces a pleasant 24 degree on Tuesday, but don’t worry – the temperatures will raise again from Wednesday on.
So there’s no problem watching the football match Germany vs Spain in the open air: The match will be shown in the evening (no need to put on sunscreen at that time) and it will still be pleasantly warm, but not too hot.
However one still has to work – inside. I work on the 5th floor under a flat roof. It took me some time to find out how I could create some tolerable working conditions (no air-conditioning at that place, mind you):
- open window in the very early morning.
- close window after one hour, open door of office room.
- put heavy object on doorstep in order to prevent door from shutting with heavy bang.
- tell colleagues in the room next to me that having a window openened at 11.30 in the morning has no cooling effect at all…
- Leave office to fetch something to drink.
I think about adding item no 6: Look at the mousepad below in order to keep cool:
On some places in my neighborhood the ground is covered with those pink blossoms. For me it is an example how fast those days of Spring pass by – we are in the middle of May now, and the chestnuts are already blooming. (Note to self: Must get photos of them!!)
And it is an example that while the one beauty of nature has passed another one is pleasing our eyes. Time flies, yes, but let us not bemoan passed beauty, let us look forward to the beauty that is to come!
It is the contrast which caught my eye – the contrast between the white fluffy things and the straight lines of the twigs.
Here in Berlin snow and ice have disappeared. It is still not spring yet, but it is the beginning of March and the first snowdrops are rising their little heads. It won’t be long and there will be crocusses (croci) all over Berlin.
I don’t know how the weather is where you all live, but for any of you who is waiting for spring I’ve got something to spend the waiting time in a most pleasant way: The music piece “Spring” created by Antonio Vivaldi. Enjoy!
Some regions of Germany celebrate “Fasching”, “Karneval”, “Fassenacht”. It is difficult to describe it to someone who is not from Germany, but I will try.
It is a time where people dress up as pirates, sheiks, cowboys, clowns, knights and monks or as princesses, she-devils, spanish ladies – only to name a few examples. They go to events where funny songs are sung, a lots of drinks are consumed, and some people on the stage make witty remarks about politicians.
Last Thursday was the first highlight of the crazy days – it was “dirty Thursday” or “Weiberfasching”. ( “women’s carneval”). In Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz (cities situated at the Rhine) work stopped at 11.15am. Ladies, young and old, rushed into the office of the mayors’ of the three cities and got the city’s keys as a sign for giving in to the “crazy people”. Then they cut off the ties of every male they could get their hands on. (Those men of course knew what was going to happen that day and wore the ties they wanted to get rid of). Then everybody went out into the streets, having a glass of prosecco, of beer, or whatsoever, and moved about, singing and dancing.
On the following Monday there were big parades through the streets of Cologne, Mainz and Dusseldorf. I enclose a photo taken in Mainz which gives you an impression of the parade.
Of course the crazy days are over now. It is Ash Wednesday – time to fast and prepare for Easter…
This is a wagon with a political statement: a locust devouring money (bankers were compared with locusts in the hightime of the financial crisis).
Photo: courtesy of Libär on Flickr
This is a Christmas Fair I like – small streets, old houses, some stalls. In Germany we have Christmas Fairs of all kind – big ones with a lot of noise and stalls offering clothes, bags, and shoes; medium sized ones with stalls offering candles, wooden toys, sweets and that kind of beverage which is called “Glühwein” – hot wine with spices. And small ones, just one street, and often only one one Advent weekend.
Of course the weather is important, too. Christmas Fairs are most attractive when it is cold and snowing, and you are glad that you can warm your hands on a mug with Glühwein or Grog (grog = hot water and rum). Just now we have mild temperatures and rain – let’s hope we get some cold days soon!
I am a calendar freak, and today, while I am writing this post, 1 December 2009 has arrived. So it is time to change from November to December on all my wall calendars.
I really like to do this, because I usually like to see the next photo on the wall. But now, in December, it is a bit different. It will be the last photo of the 2009 calendars, and in a few weeks all my calendars will be replaced.
This year 2009 has flown by, and somehow I have the impression that the months and weeks went faster than the year before.
No, it is not gone yet. Four full weeks are still going to come – and pass. It is the time of advent, and tradition in Germany wants it that it is a quiet time. It is not Christmas yet, even with the shops and the malls being full of christmas-y things.
Today our highest court decided that the government in Berlin who allowed to have all advent Sundays open for shopping from 1pm to 6pm (only in the city of Berlin) is acting against our constitution. The next year it will be prohibited. But I am asking myself: Can laws guarantee “silent Sundays” with no shopping? Nobody is forced to participate in the crazy flocking to the malls on a Sunday afternoon. I did not on last Sunday, and I won’t on next Sunday.
I prefer to light some of my candles and to listen to some wonderful music, just sit there and look at the lights, maybe do some journaling in order to reflect on the last weeks of the year.
How are you spending this time of the year? Has Christmas already begun for you?
The coming Sunday will be the first of the four Advent Sundays. In Germany we have the tradition of advent wreaths – you can either buy them already with candles and ornaments or you can buy the wreaths and put them up yourself.
We have them in restaurants, too. Even my local restaurant, the Mexican Steakhouse round the corner is putting them up (although at least one of the owners is a muslim). They come in all colors and forms, but the light of the candles is the same: warm, welcoming, soothing. And the one candle burning on the next Sunday is a symbol for the beginning of the Christmas Season.
May you all have a beautiful Sunday!