Snowy bench and camouflage dog

I went out to the Grunewald over the weekend. Parts of the smaller ponds and lakes were frozen over, so there were lots of people out enjoying the bit of sun and blue sky we had. There were also plenty of dogs! But most of them were quite friendly and excited to meet new friends. 

It's finally Friday! Learning German really wears me out, so I am ready for a short break. My weekend looks pretty free right now. What about you, do you have any big plans?

Potsdamer platz station

During the "Divided Years", Potsdamer Platz would have been found in East Berlin. Since reunification, it has been built out and up and has become an important part of the city. It's hard to imagine (at least for me) that a little more than twenty years ago, there was almost nothing here. Now it's one of my favorite places to walk around and take in the city.

Under the platz

I don't know why I am so fascinated with subways. When I travel to a city that has an underground system, I absolutely have to take at least one ride on it (and get some photos too!). I have been traveling through Alexanderplatz quite often these days for my German course. I must admit I love the blue-green color of the tiling in this particular station. I'm not sure my photo got the color exactly right, but I hope you'll agree it's a calming and pleasant color.

It's Wednesday and that means we're halfway to the weekend! It also means you can see more signs at Signs, Signs.

Giant toothpaste

Do you know what this is? I believe some of my Canadian friends might recognize this substance.

Although it looks like a giant swirl of toothpaste, it's actually ice from one of the outdoor skating rinks you can find around town this time of year. It's finally been cold enough for outdoor skating, but unfortunately my skates are still in the container! I hope we find a place to live soon, so I can get a few rounds in before the season is over.

Winter comes to Berlin

We got our first snow of the season last week here in Berlin. I captured some of the first flakes on Alexander Platz for you. I think the scene looks even better in black and white, and I hope you'll agree!

Best for last

To conclude my tour of the Berlin subway system, I thought I'd show you one of my favorite stations - Wittenbergplatz. It is one of Berlin's oldest stations and still retains the original grand art deco entrance. This particular stop will also take you to Berlin's biggest shopping mecca: the KDW. 

I'm glad Friday is finally here! I don't have any particular plans, but hopefully I can get out and take some pictures. It's been cold here though and the weekend is forecasted to stay that way. Hopefully we can at least get a little blue sky!

Old timey car

I've shown you the modern U-Bahn cars, so now here's a look at one of the original cars from the Berlin subway. These old cars were nicknamed "owls" because of the big bright lights in front. I think they're rather cute! It's pretty amazing that after all these years, the color of the cars has not really changed much. I guess when you have a good formula, there's no reason to come up with a new one.

Potsdamer Platz

I just love the typography on this subway sign. As you can imagine, Potsdamer Platz is a popular stop on the S-Bahn system. For more signs, visit Signs, Signs.

Triangle station

My recent subway station tour took us to Gleisdreieck which translates to Track Triangle station. There are two different lines that meet up here and they really do make a triangle, although they come in at different levels, so there is no danger of the two trains crashing. Unfortunately, this was not always the case and Berlin's most deadly transport accident happened here in the early days of the U-Bahn. Two trains had a head-on collision and one car fell off the elevated track, eighteen people died, but luckily there haven't been any fatal accidents on Berlin's system since then.

Old timey station

I love exploring the subway system of any city, but I find Berlin's public transport system to be especially interesting. Here's a look at the Friedrichstrasse station back in 1900. This station has seen alot, it was used by both the East and the West before German reunification. I hear that there were lots of twists and turns in the station at that time and you could easily find yourself at a dead end (on the West side at least). I recently took a tour to learn a bit more about Berlin's underground. I'll share some more shots and stories with you as the week goes on. Until then, you can see more murals at Monday Mural.

Berlin from above

For a price, you can see the city of Berlin from above in the "Der Welt" helium balloon. On this gray day, I thought it better to stay on the ground and get a shot of it in the sky. The weekend is finally upon us! I hope you've got some exciting plans underway. I am going to meet with friends to play cards and maybe go see a comedy show. It should be fun! For more skies, take a look at Skywatch.

Martin Gropius Bau

I love the facade of the Martin Gropius Bau. The building was designed by none other than Martin Gropius, who was the great uncle (thanks Jack!) of Walter Gropius, one of the founders of the Bauhaus movement. I've been to a few exhibitions in the space and it's also very nice inside, perhaps it's time to see what else is coming up!

The Ampelmann

The Ampelmann is a popular sign that came from the former East Germany. The pedestrian crossing signals in the former East depicted a man with a big hat either walking or standing still. These signals were so well-loved that the former West has also adopted them and there are lots of souvenirs and shops dedicated to the Ampelmann. I haven't yet tried this cafe which is on the Ku'damm, but maybe I will come this spring! For more signs, visit Signs, Signs.

Bony puppet

I'm not really sure what this puppet is supposed to represent, but I somehow like the idea of a skeleton selling glasses. He is also part of the royal display I showed on Friday.

Graffiti monster

He hates graffiti and I do too! I found this funny guy not far from the Hackescher Markt. There are always plenty of interesting subjects to photograph in the area. For more murals, visit MondayMural.

Royal reflections

Here you see the queen of puppets showing the latest selection of glasses at the Optiker's shop. Friends of mine run this shop and every year they decorate their windows for the New Year with these puppets and the latest glasses. I'll show you some more of them next week. Until then, have a great weekend and check out other reflections at Weekend Reflections.

S-bahn in monochrome

One of my New Year's resolutions is to improve my German. I thought the best way to do that would be to take a course at the Goethe Institute. My course started this week and this is the station where I get out. I love those bricks and the fancy windows. They just don't make subway / train stops like this anymore!

At the platz

Imagine my surprise to find a fire-breathing dragon inhabiting the Sony Center on Potsdammer Platz!
I recently went there to see the movie The Physician (Der Medicus) at the large cineplex, it's one of the best places to find movies in original version. There was some kind of show going on to promote the upcoming movie - The Hobbit. The crowd was so large that I couldn't catch what was going on during the actual show, but I did get a shot of the dragon and his magic fountain. Despite all of this advertising, I probably won't go to see the movie. Fore more signs, head to Signs, Signs.

Street sculpture

I found this piece of sculpture in a residential area of the city. It was a bit surprising as works like these are typically found in the more urban areas, but I like the idea of art in unusual places!

Happy Go Lucky

I found this interesting mural on the outside of the Happy Go Lucky hotel on Stuttgarter Platz here in Berlin. The hotel advertises itself as "artist friendly" and allows guests to add art to selected rooms and the courtyard. I think that's a great idea, although perhaps the artists need a bit more supervision. I'm not sure a depiction of the crazy hotel manager from The Shining is what you really want to see when walking into a hotel!

Here's a better look at the colorful bench. It almost gets camouflaged in the first shot and it's definitely worth a closer look. Hope your week is off to a good start, for more murals head over to Monday Mural.

Riesen rad

A giant ferris wheel was erected especially for the New Year's revelers of Berlin. I bet you could get some great fireworks shots from up there! Hope your New Year is off to a great start so far. My resolutions include finding a home and a job. I'm pretty sure things will work out!

Ringing in the New Year

So here is a look at the party I attended for New Year's Eve. This is actually a shot of one of the many screens that were placed around the "fan mile". I couldn't find any articles with an exact count, but there were several hundred thousand people celebrating in front on the Brandenburg gate this year. It's hard to imagine that I was actually among these masses!

Here is a look at the actual stage in front of the gate. My husband and I got to the party around 7.30pm so we could get a good spot. We did make it pretty close to the front, but then decided to go back a bit as the crowds were really tight and it was not comfortable.

There were even two shows going on at midnight: the fireworks display and a laser light show. It was hard to watch both of them though (I prefer fireworks), but my tall husband did get a few shots of the laser show. 

All in all, it was a great night - it wasn't too cold and the skies were clear (before all the fireworks at least!). I'm glad I made it out to celebrate on the streets of my new city!

Frohes neues Jahr!!!

Here's a look at the fireworks show that took place last night over the Brandenburger Tur. My husband and I braved the crowds and the cold to celebrate at Germany's biggest party. It was really quite fun - we talked to lots of people, ate some yummy food and enjoyed the various shows. I think 2014 is off to a good start - I hope it brings you good health, love and joy!
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