I wasn’t going to write about Berlin because, it’s Berlin. And there are people far better equipped to write about a city that’s name and reputation precedes it so thoroughly it is nigh on impossible for a passer-through to do it justice. And Berlin, like Hamburg, is one German city that I’ve been fortunate enough to get to a few times. So I reconciled myself to two days of wandering around, a spot of light shopping, some good old fashioned eating and precious time spent with my intrepid Aunt and Uncle who are currently on a road trip around parts of Eastern Europe.
What I was going to do, was take a few photos and make this a quick, easily digested photo post. The camera came with us and we snapped here and there. But, really, as we swayed between book stores and crepe cafes and hand-warming cafe lattes, the camera stayed zipped in its bag. Berlin, for both of us, is a city we’ve seen a fair bit of and documentation of its grit and grandeur has happened on previous trips. So it seemed, with no details being scratched into a notebook and no one really manning the camera, the SG and I were subconsciously determined to just take it in and take it easy.
But then I went and Googled the area we were staying in, because I wanted to know about the big, beautiful houses that seemed architecturally unusual and sort of higgledy piggledy, as if someone with a lot of money had brought to life a series of their dream houses complete with spires and spikes and the overall feel of being something out of of a fairy tale. As it turns out, the neighbourhood we were in – Lichterfelde West – was developed throughout the late 1800s by a wealthy Hamburg business man, and is, according to Wikipedia ‘a remarkable example of 19th-century Villenkolonie, a German concept of settlements completely made up of mansion houses or villas.’ Those big, fairy-tale houses were indeed the product of someone with a lot of money and a penchant for spires and homes that look like mini castles. Furthermore, gas lamps are still found on street corners in Lichterfelde West, just to add to the sensation of suddenly existing in 1892.
So there you go. You learn something new everyday. And also … Villenkolonie … what a bizarre concept.
For words on Berlin from the aforementioned people far better equipped than I: