Bold color

Despite the cold, gray skies in Berlin, many plants are coming out with their bright, bold colors. The wonderful yellow hues on this bush are warming to the spirit, if not to the actual body.

This week has really flown by. I am so glad the weekend is here. I have plans for some golf, but I hope I won't get hailed on like last weekend. That was most unpleasant. Hope you have fun plans for the weekend. Happy Friday!

A magnolia blooms in Kreuzberg

This spring has been an odd one in Berlin. Despite the cold, gray weather, a few Japanese Magnolias have been blossoming around town. I found this one on Mehringdamm in Kreuzberg, not far from where I found last Monday's mural.

A trip to the Monkey Bar

Last week I made a trip to the Monkey Bar with some colleagues that were visiting from our US offices. It's a very popular cocktail bar here in Berlin, but I thought we wouldn't have trouble getting in before 6.30pm. I was wrong. 

We only waited 10 - 15 minutes though. The views at the top over the monkey cages at the Berlin Zoo were worth it and the drinks were also surprisingly good, if expensive. I'm ready to monkey around again anytime! For more signs, take a look at Signs. Signs.

Spiraling up

It is perhaps difficult to tell from this photo, but this is the staircase that takes you to to the top of the Juliusturm at Zitadelle Spandau. It was interesting that the stairs were against the walls of the tower instead of being right in the center. It was quite the walk up, though I find coming down is often worse! For more treasures, take a look at Tuesday Treasures.

Checkpoint Kreuzberg

I found this mural on the side of a cinema in Kreuzberg. It's a shame that someone has added their own "artistic" touch, but I still like the overall feel of this mural. I'll show more from the front of this building next week.  For more fun, take a look at Monday Mural.

Looking up

Looking up into the blue skies from my vantage point on the cherry tree bench. Hope you have a great weekend. You'll find more skies of all kinds at Skywatch.

Cherry benches year three

The cherries on the square have not been nearly as beautiful as last year or the year before. But I suppose that's a byproduct of an unseasonably warm winter - these trees were almost in full bloom back in January! It's shame though, they can be really beautiful.

Upside down, inside out?

Here's a funny bear for you! He's called the Pablo bear after none other than Pablo Picasso. I found him outside the Europa Center. He was designed by German artist Jurgen Wolke. Another one for the Buddy Bear archives. More signs can be found at Signs, Signs.

More eagles

I do love the German eagles, even if they're on weapons of war. 

You have to admit, these canons have their own artistic merit.

They certainly don't make them like that anymore! More treasures abound at Tuesday Treasures.

Metallurgy in Spandau

In the Middle Ages, Spandau was a center of industry and advancement. New techniques for metallurgy were developed here at a large mill. Power from the mill was used to melt ore and cast it into cannons and other weapons. You can see how it worked in this mural, tomorrow I'll show you some of the output. It's Monday again and you'll find more murals at Monday Mural.

Der Juliusturm

The Juliusturm (Julius Tower) is the oldest part of the Citadel, it dates back to a fortress that was on the site as early as 1200. A trip up to the top is one of the highlights of a visit to Spandau. On a clear day, you can see quite a ways and you easily understand the defensive nature of its position at the confluence of the Spree and Havel.

Though it was a bright day, it wasn't sunny and it was pretty cold and windy. I couldn't stay up top for very long, but I got a few snaps of the view. This is a view onto part of the moat which ensured the safety of Citadel in the old days.

And here's a look into the city center of Spandau. You may remember the church tower from yesterday's model. I hope you've enjoyed your week at the Citadel. For more reflections, visit Weekend Reflections.

A look at Spandau

Here's a look at a model of modern-day Spandau from the Heimat section of the museum. I always find it interesting to see a city on a scale like this, though the Citadel is not included. 

Spandau used to be a separate city from Berlin, until it was incorporated in the 1920s. It has historically been a site for manufacturing and industry, but there were a few surprising facts I learned from touring the museum.

Spandau was once an important center for film and television work. This car and motorcycle were used in filming. The popular German/French actress Romy Schneider filmed a few movies on a soundstage in Spandau.

This red device is an old fire alarm with a picture of the Spandau fire brigade behind it. As Spandau has traditionally been a center of industry, having a modern and responsive fire service was especially important to the city.

Lastly, a bit of the darker side of Spandau's history. After the Nuremburg trials, seven high-profile inmates, known as the Spandau seven, were sent to the Spandau Prison (which is not part of the Citadel). The prison was guarded on a rotating schedule by the Aliies. Above is a picture of the changing of the guard along with a hat from each of the Allies uniforms. 

In 1987 the Spandau Prison was destroyed after the last remaining inmate, Rudolf Hess, died. (There is still controversy as to whether his death was suicide or murder.) City leaders did not want the site to become a neo-nazi shrine and a shopping mall was built in its place.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour so far. Believe it or not, there's still more! Tomorrow we'll take a look at the Julius Tower and get a view over Spandau.

The Prussian Eagle and other things

The Zitadelle Spandau has become a repository for relics from the Prussian days. Before Germany was a federal republic, it was divided into kingdoms and duchies. Prussia was one of the bigger and more powerful of them. The Prussians rulers were known for their political savvy and built their empire over the years through both marriage and military means.

Unfortunately, the Prussian history is linked with military aggression and a monarchy who was out of touch with the people. For this reason, many of the old busts and statues of Prussian rulers were removed from their public places. You can see some of them here at the Citadel along with many other historical items, like this Eagle of the Prussian empire.

I don't recall the historical significance of this desk, but I like the way the light is hitting it, making the wood seem to glow.

This gun and the accompanying papers reveal the fate of military deserters.

Lastly, it's hard for me to resist a shot through a doorway, especially when the light is so perfect. Hope you've enjoyed the tour so far, I'll show some of the Heimatmuseum of Spandau tomorrow. Until then, there are more signs at Signs, Signs.

The one-eyed count

Meet Count Rochus Graf zu Lynar, the Italian architect who designed and built Zitadelle Spandau. Though he looks like he's winking in this portrait, it's just the one-eyed count's way of saying hello. He lost an eye in the Battle of Saint Quentin in France, after which he concentrated his efforts on other pursuits, like building fortresses. He was a shrewd builder and planner - the Zitadelle is built on the confluence of the rivers Havel and Spree and has four tall bastions that make it impossible for anyone to approach the site without being seen. 

The Museum inside is part showcase for all things Prussian and part Heimatmuseum (hometown museum for Spandau). 

Here's a selection of ceremonial helmets that were worn by elite members of the Prussian Military. There were quite a few of them on display.

Some had interesting symbols.

Others were over-the-top ornate. It couldn't have been very comfortable to wear such headgear, I'm sure it is very heavy.

I hope you'll stop by again tomorrow. We'll skip the rest of the military stuff and take a look at some of the more interesting items in the Prussian section of the museum. I'm linking this post with Tuesday Treasures.

Spandau Citadel

As promised, this week we're taking a tour through the Spandau Citadel. It's always good to start with a full-frontal of the building itself. The Citadel was completed in 1594 and is built at the crossroads of the rivers Havel and Spree, making it a perfect defensive spot. Today the Citadel hosts a Heimatmuseum. I hope you'll stop by again tomorrow for a look inside.

Renaissance fence

This fence is outside the Spandau Zitadelle. i'll be taking you on a tour of the Renaissance fortress next week, so I hope you'll come back. Until then, take a look at Good Fences

PS: Don't forget to stop by Halcyon Travels for of the beautiful Alsace.

Everyday beauty

You can sometimes find the most amazing details in the most mundane of places. Take this art deco style chandelier found at the rather plain Bundesplatz S-Bahn station. From the outside, it looks very similar to yesterday's stop, lots of hulking concrete.

On the inside you're greeted by a long stretch of light that leads you right to the chandelier and up to the platforms on the left. The decorative brickwork on the ceiling and the upper walls is also a nice touch. Sometimes it pays to give a place a second look!

PS: Don't forget to stop by Halcyon Travels for of the beautiful Alsace.

Der Platz

A few Sundays ago I made the trek to the Lidl at Inssbrucker Platz, only to find it closed. That particular Lidl was famous for being one of the few supermarkets that was allowed to open on Sundays. I don't know why it's not open anymore, but I ended up going to a store at Sudkreuz train station where I had to wait 10 minutes outside because the store was overcrowded. On the positive side of things, I did get a nice shot of the S-Bahn sign and the crest. I'm linking up with Signs, Signs.

PS: There's more of beautiful Colmar on Halcyon Travels.


I just love photographing spiral staircases. Luckily, Berlin has no short supply of them! This one has a special touch of elegance to me and I think it looks great in black and white (even in color, it didn't look much different). I'm linking up with Tuesday Treasures today, stop by to take a look at more interesting things from around the world.

PS: There's more Alsatian glory at Halcyon Travels.

On the Gendarmenmarkt

A look at the beautiful Konzert Haus on the Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte. It's always a nice place to walk around and I think the beautiful architecture lends itself well to black and white. Hope you agree!

PS: I have an Alsatian mural of sorts for you at Halcyon Travels.

April theme day: Beauty of simplicity

Though spring has officially started, it doesn't look or feel like it here in Berlin. Despite the low temperatures and cold wind, I have to admit there's a certain beauty in the bare branches of this tree and the gray sky. I just hope things will change soon, a bit of warmth and some blue skies can do wonders for your golf game.

A new month is upon us. For more examples of the Beauty of Simplicity, take a look here.
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