THRILLING OPULENCE OF BERLIN

The picture above shows the colorant facade of an occupied house in West-Berlin from the early 1980s. This creative artwork delivers quite well the massive rebellious spirit of those days when there were more than 130 squatter houses downtown, and I used to live in one of them, a real crazy time. May be therefore ruins attract me very much till today?!

Simply like holidays, Havel river in summer, Berlin-Grunewald

Early morning in one of the many allotment gardens with view on an old water tower, Berlin-Westend

Rusty bridge to nowhere, Berlin-Charlottenburg

The railway system of Berlin used to be very different till WW II, quite similar to that in Paris with several stations (dead-ends) encircling the city centre. Hamburger Bahnhof  is now a museum, and Görlitzer Bahnhof a city park. This rusty bridge here used to be part of the already  forgotten freight station of Charlottenburg. 

Renaissance citadel of late 16th century, Berlin-Spandau

Collage by Saule Suleimenova, Berlin-Kreuzberg

This collage-work is made of hundreds of small plastic pieces assembled together, another form of ecological recycling. Strange, that it looks really more like a painting.

Crazy mural on Teufelsberg, Berlin-Grunewald

Home(land) is where you feel cozy and challenged at the same time. 

Urban idyll far away from the city centre, Berlin-Spandau

Graffiti in the endless ruins of VEB Kühlomat (former airport Johannisthal), Berlin-Treptow

The city full of contrasts, colorful, creative and flashy, but also with a lot of very quiet natural corners spread over the entire urban area.

Late afternoon view on Wannsee, Berlin-Zehlendorf

Suburban railways jungle of socalled Siemensbahn, Berlin-Siemensstadt

A must for all fans of Urbex (urban exploration) is the now unused Siemensbahn (suburban railways leading to Siemens City). It was built by Siemens company in the 1920s so that their employees could reach more easily the headquarter, administration offices and factories of the company. From 1946 till 1989 the suburban railways  were owned and run by the East-Berlin magistrate, also in West-Berlin like here. The administration of West-Berlin wanted to become independent and extended underground line no. 7 to Siemensstadt in the early 1980s. So people would use no longer the traditional Siemensbahn being closed as a consequence. One of many crazy stories from the time when the city was divided.

Dahlia beauty at Britzer Park, Berlin-Neukölln

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“Paris is always Paris, but Berlin is never Berlin.”

(Jack Lang, former Culture Minister of France, 2001)

Take care and stay safe!

LATE SUMMER POTPOURRI BY BEATRICE

Here are some of my favourite photos and/or places – just a very small selection for today’s pleasant viewing:

Flowers are a great passion in my own self-raised jungle.

Late afternoon on the outstanding clear Weissensee at Carinthia, Austria

Curious wildcat (felis silvestris) at animal park of Assling, Austria

Autumn is approaching steadily now each day.

Urban still life on our green balcony

Black swans (cygnus atratus) from Australia at animal park of Assling, Austria

Old El Puertito, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

View on the Atlantic Ocean near El Puertito, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Hiking in the Valley of Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria

View on Rhaetian Alps, Valley of Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria

 

DAHLIAS – PLEASANT MESSENGERS OF AUTUMN

Cool winds by now signalize the approaching autumn, so bloom dahlias, night frosts will hence come round in a short while and chase away you again.


Like many other flowers dahlias originate in Meso-America. Martin Kral writes in his well-researched paper Of Dahlia Myths and Aztec Mythology: The Dahlia in History that Aimè Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt saw dahlias growing all around them as they traveled through all Latin America. But the first recorded picture of dahlias was designed by the native Mixtecs in Mexico in the 14th century which shows a Mixtec woman using dahlias in the form of headbands as a part of matrimony (see graphic hereunder). Other daily or ritual uses  of dahlias by the Mixtec and/or Aztec culture are so far not known because only few documents survived the Spanish Conquista in the 16th century.

Mixtec woman with dahlias, Oaxaca, Mexico, 14th century

Mixtec Palace of the Columns, Oaxaca, Mexico

In 1529 Friar Bernardino de Sahagún arrived in Mexico and would later write the first Western account of the dahlias. But only in 1790 the first seeds were sent from Mexico to botanical specialists in Madrid who did successfully raise the first plants in Europe shortly thereafter in 1791. During that period the species’ name dahlias was subsequently created in order to honour the Swedish botanist Andre Dahl.

Humboldt and Bonpland at Chimborazo volcano /  Friedrich G. Weitsch, 1806

During their famous trip leading to South and Central America (1799 – 1804) Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland did a vast research on plants and nature in general. When returning home to Europe in 1804  Alexander von Humboldt brought seeds of Dahlia coccinea to Berlin while it is assumed that Aimé Bonpland had presented Dahlia seeds to French Empress Josephine for her large collection of plants. In 1805 seeds are successfully germinated and also flowered in Germany and as well in England while in 1818 the first exhibiting of dahlias took place in Scotland.

Early botanical drawing, German newspaper, 1804

Claude Monet, The Garden at Argenteuil (The Dahlias), 1872

In the 19th century dahlias had spread over all Europe, there existed for example the Czech Dahlia Society, and besides it is also known that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe raised dahlias in his private garden, while in England the illustrious Lady Holland increased the popularity of these flowers. A real center of European dahlia culture became the small Thuringian town Bad Köstritz, where the commercial raise of dahlias was established by Christian Deegen in 1824 and with great success is existing till today.

Thousands of different dahlias are today to be found, but these hybrides are often much different compared to the wild plants still to be seen in Meso-America. The best overview on this subject offer dahlia gardens which may be visited in late summer at diverse locations in Europe like Milnthorpe in England, Gera in Germany or La Source in France and elsewhere of course.

All flower photos made at dahlia garden of Hamburg, Sept. 2018

Flower of the Day – September 19, 2018 – Delphinium

FLOWERPOWER


“When I touch that flower I am touching infinity. It existed long before there were human beings on this earth and will continue to exist for million of years to come. Through the flower, I talk to the Infinite which is only a silent force. This is not a physical contact. It is not in the earthquake, wind or fire. It is in the invisible world.”

George Washington Carver, early 20th century