This is the facade of the entrance to the commuter train station “Botanischer Garten” in Berlin. It is one example of the public transport architecture in Berlin, especially regarding the commuter train (S-Bahn). Many of the stations are under the ground, like subway stations, but some of them are above the ground, like the S-Bahn station “Botanischer Garten“.
The S-Bahn is part of the Berlin public transport system. It connects the outskirts of Berlin with the center. Normally trains stop at the stations every 10 minutes. On some lines you have a train coming every three minutes.
Some of the stations are quite old. The S-Bahn came into existence in 1924, and in 1929 the electrification of the existing suburban lines was completed.
The S-Bahn Station Botanischer Garten (in English: botanical garden) is part of the line from the north of Berlin going straight down to the south. As you can see on the photo there is a lot of green on both sides of the line – taking the S-Bahn will show you how green Berlin really is!
I took this photograph early this year while visiting some friends who lived out of Berlin. The region around Berlin is beautiful – small dark lakes, little villages and old churches.
The swan had approached us hoping that we would feed him. It took some time till he realised that there was nothing dropping from above, and then he or she (I guess it is a “he”) turned around and slowly swam off.
Biberach – the town where I was born – was founded in the 13th century. Many old houses are still standing, and you can see from the photo, how narrow the distances between the houses are. As many of the old houses were built in a half-timbered style fire was a big danger. Once a fire had broken out in one house it easily moved over to the next ones, and soon big parts of the town were on fire.
Between the houses you can see the church tower of St. Martin. St. Martin has been and still is used by Catholics and Protestants alike. In former times Catholics and Protestants had their own mayors, and people from either side would not marry people from the other denomination. Catholic people had “catholic shops” to go to, as well as Protestants had their “protestant shops”. These times are over now – and I am very glad about it!
There was a time when Berlin – East and West – was famous for their pubs. Often you coud find then at the corner, and so they were called “Eckkneipen” – which means “pubs on the corner”. They served a few brands of draft beer, some snacks, and that was it. No stylish furniture, no latte macchiato, no capucchino. Just beer and “Schnaps”. You did not find any tourists in there, just the locals: hard working people who enjoyed their beer after a long day of work; old age pensioners who escaped the loneliness for their homes; and the one and other person who was unemployed and needed the booze to get over the day.
Of course people were allowed to smoke at that time, and how they did! You could even smell the smoke when you got near the premises, and the door were open in the summer time.
The times they are a changing – and only a few of this kind of pubs have survived. And not all of them which have survived are recommendable. But some of them still are.
Those half-timbered houses are can be found all across Germany. Actually there exists a German Half-Timbered House Road, which is more than 2000 km long and stretches the Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse, Thuringia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Württemberg is the state I was born and raised, went to school and to university, before I moved to Berlin in 1981).
Every year in July the Swabian town of Biberach celebrates the “Biberacher Schützenfest”, which is a very old country fair with a fairground and several processions showing the history of the town.
On last Sunday you could see several guild dances – you could see the dyers’ dance, the farmers’ dance and the weavers’ dance. It had been raining cats and dogs on Thursday and Friday, even on Saturday, so everybody was wondering whether the dancers and the audience would stay dry. They did.
All the dancers were school children. Later on, on the parade, the majority of the musicians and the people presenting historical persons were children. You could see the participants of the 30 years war in their historical costumes; you could see an old mill and the miller; you could see women sitting at the weaving looms.
Here you can see official photos showing the parade and the various groups. The page is in German, but you can have a look at the pictures and get an impression.