31 December 2010

A little rococo

I wanted to visit Schloss Charlottenburg during the Christmas holidays.  I picked yesterday for several reasons.  I thought that being the coldest day of the year (certainly the coldest for years), the tourists would stay away, preferring the warmth of their hotel lounges.  Wrong!  They turned up in their droves.  Another, more pecuniary reason, was that the entrance fee goes up 2 Euros on 1 January (perhaps that's why so many tourists were there).

I won't bore you with a history lesson about the palace's origins; the official 'Prussian Palaces' website has full details and better pictures than mine. 

The building and the exhibits inside were breathtaking.  Each room was unique and quite often the ceilings were works of art in themselves.  They were better than the walls and furniture.

The highlight for me was the labyrinth of rooms displaying silver tableware, crystal and porcelain dinner sets. There's a small selection of pictures on Flickr that gives you an idea of what there is to see.  

Photographs displayed in some rooms show just how much serious damage was inflicted during the second World War.  The restorers' skills in bringing the palace back to its original condition, equals, if not surpasses, the skills of the first builders and artists. 

It was also bitterly cold inside the palace: rooms were air conditioned (!) to maintain the correct humidity and temperature, in order to preserve furnishings and artefacts.  Despite this, and the crowds, the visit was well worth it.  I'm definitely going to visit a second time, when the weather warms up: there was a lot that I didn't get round to seeing the first time, having lost my way a little!

If you get the chance to visit the palace, don't miss it!

21 December 2010

Twitter and German high school kids

I've been using Twitter for a while now and like to follow the "Trends" listed for Germany, seeing how I live here.

This evening I was astounded to see among the top 10 a hash for 'last school day' and I took a peek to see what they were saying.  Of course it's not surprising that teenagers are excited about finishing school for the holidays.  What did surprise me was that they were writing tweets about it so late at night!  At midnight!  Don't the parents know what their own children are doing so late at night?  Do they care?  Are they even in the house?

Yes, I plead guilty to being old fashioned, regressive, conservative, and somewhat advanced in the aging process.  But a little more parental guidance (I won't say 'discipline') wouldn't do any harm.

19 December 2010

Bicycles, Snow, Christmas

Bicycles, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Chairopoulou.
This is the view in my apartment building's courtyard.  Judging by the quantity of snow on the saddles, these bikes haven't been anywhere in days. Their riders will have to wait around in the freezing cold like the rest of us for the tram to get into town to do their last minute Christmas shopping.  Having said this, however, one sees exactly the same view in August when there is no snow.  It's a good job I don't own a bicycle: I wouldn't have anywhere to store it outdoors.  I wonder why these people own bicycles they rarely use?

One good thing has come out of this.  As a mere pedestrian, I am (for the time being, at least) not in mortal danger from cyclists who speed at breakneck speed along the pavements
, in blatant contravention of the law.  They expect, nay demand, that pedestrians get out of their way immediately,  as if they have exclusive use of the pavement.  In this weather, walking speed is once again the norm on Berlin's pavements.  End of rant.

16 December 2010

Berlin-Kreuzberg Prinzenstr

The U1 underground runs on viaducts above the main road. Here at Prinzen Stra├če the track is level with the first floor of the surrounding apartment buildings.

14 December 2010


Berlin-Kreuzberg, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Chairopoulou.
Windy streets, fresh snow but a little early for Santa yet.

9 December 2010

Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin

Volkspark Friedrichshain
Originally uploaded by Elizabeth Chairopoulou

Not a good morning to go jogging in the park - too much freezing fog.

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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.