Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Birds and the Trees in Berlin

Written by Adam
Berlin sure is an interesting place to discover.  One of the things that struck me about it was how truly green it was.  There were dense groves of trees and massive bushes everywhere, easily visible from above when you fly into Tegel Airport.  Once safely on the ground, the unrestrained botany does not let up.  Neither did my allergies, but that was on an earlier visit and I’ve forgiven the German landscape for that casually inflicted agony.  

An especially noteworthy example of vegetative overgrowth in an urban park is the Tiergarten, located in the Mitte section of Berlin. Karen and I made it a point to walk there from our rented apartment in Charlottenburg.  We hiked for miles straight down the Bismarckstrasse, a major boulevard that includes the Victory Column as a highlight. At the outer edges of the urban park are the Reichstag Building, and the historic Brandenburg Gate.

Once hiking past the electronic data collection depository (aka the American Embassy), we made our way to a large cafeteria located just within a stone’s throw of the Reichstag building.  We browsed the menu offerings and then ordered a quick sit-down lunch and a cold beer.  Laden with those essential provisions, made our way outside to sit in the shade of some nearby trees.  As we ate, we noticed that under the picnic tables there was a constant stirring of dust and leaves.  Small birds were scattered all about.  The diminutive birds began to ascend - first to the level of the benches we were sitting on, and then onwards and upwards to alight upon the tabletops themselves.  There were dozens of these small birds, wandering lost in the Tiergarten and presumably instinctually preparing for their pre-winter migration to Africa later on in the year.  

They had ultimate designs on our lunch, and with some protectionist strategies we somehow managed to enjoy our menu selections without a feathery condiment or two ruining the meal.  As we pushed our plates aside when we finished eating they boldly arrived and pounced...and put on a show of bird gluttony unseen outside of deepest, darkest Africa.  The snakes seemed to prefer hiding in the bushes, luckily.

The Victory Column
View from the observation level of the Victory Column.
The Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten
They play chess at an architectural scale in Berlin. 

London has Harrod's...Berlin has Ka De We.
The setting for many a memorable speech - The Brandenburg Gate.
The Reichstag as it appeared on election night when incumbent Angela Merkel was re-elected as Chancellor of Germany.
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Charlottenburg Castle looks much like an architectural rendering.

Did Alfred Hitchcock ever direct Gregory Peck in a movie?

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