SPRING IS IN THE AIR

Where Berlin - - FRONT PAGE -

A cou­ple of months ago, I was walk­ing around Chamis­so­platz in Kreuzberg, one my fa­vorite Ber­lin squares, and sud­denly I found my­self try­ing to re­mem­ber what ex­actly it was that I liked so much about it. It was a mono­chrome day, maybe the greyest of the whole win­ter, and the Platz seemed to have lost all of its charm: the build­ing fa­cades all looked sim­i­larly flat, the trees were, well, al­most in­vis­i­ble, and the shop signs ap­peared blurred and dull. I couldn’t even find names for any of the colors I saw. All of this sounds de­press­ing, es­pe­cially if you are as weather sen­si­tive as I am, but be­lieve it or not, aw­ful days like th­ese do have a pur­pose: they make the Ber­lin spring all the more longed for, gor­geous, and un­ex­pected. Ev­ery year, some­time around Easter, the spring sud­denly ex­plodes with its colors and scents. From one day to the next, Ber­lin wakes up and dis­cov­ers blue skies and green leaves once more. The en­tire color pal­ette mag­i­cally reap­pears. If this hasn’t al­ready hap­pened as you read this, be pa­tient, as to­mor­row could be the day. Mean­while, start cel­e­brat­ing the new sea­son by em­brac­ing the sea­son’s colors. Here are our tips for a mul­ti­hued stay.

GREEN:

The color of growth and re­lax­ation is also the color of the first leaves, and there’s noth­ing like go­ing on a green binge to wel­come the first days of spring. Max­i­mize your chances of catch­ing as many leaves as pos­si­ble with a walk in Ber­lin’s old­est public park, Tier­garten. Once the Prus­sian kings’ fa­vorite hunt­ing spot, the park was en­closed in the 1600s, when its very first gar­den­ers neatly trimmed its hedges and planted flow­ers in geo­met­ric ar­range­ments in au­then­tic Ital­ian style. When such elab­o­rate de­signs went out of trend in the late 1800s, ar­chi­tect Carl von Linné was called upon to add nat­u­ral land­scape el­e­ments such as ponds, small hills, and stat­u­ary, turn­ing it into a more en vogue English-style gar­den. The park’s struc­ture has re­mained the same since, but its most im­por­tant el­e­ment, its trees, had to be en­tirely re­planted in the 1950s, as war- and poverty-stricken Ber­lin­ers had chopped all of it for fire­wood.

The park is filled with in­ter­est­ing memo­ri­als and pic­turesque cor­ners, but my fa­vorite at­trac­tion is the lit­tle-known Gas Lamp

Mu­seum (on the north­west edge of the park), an out­door dis­play of 90 work­ing lamp­posts from all over Europe, each la­beled with its home­town and date. For a ro­man­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, visit the “mu­seum” at dusk when the lamps go on, pos­si­bly af­ter an idyl­lic af­ter­noon at nearby pond-side

Café am Neuen See, where you can also

rent small boats.

BLUE:

It is the color of free­dom, of va­ca­tion, of es­capism. There’s only one place in Ber­lin where large skies come to­gether with leisure and care­free life: the Tem­pel­hofer

Freiheit

park. This for­mer air­port is not only the place where air­lift planes landed dur­ing the Ber­lin Block­ade, sav­ing West Ber­lin­ers from star­va­tion af­ter the Sovi­ets blocked road ac­cess in 1948. It is also one of the quirki­est public parks in the world, and pre­cisely be­cause it was built to be an air­port, com­plete with run­ways, huge signs once used by planes for land­ing, and a his­toric air­port ter­mi­nal. To­day, Ber­lin­ers use the run­ways to fly kites, skate, rollerblade, kite-surf, and pic­nic. If this 360° view of the sky has left you long­ing for more blue, take the S-Bahn to Wannsee and visit

Pfauenin­sel, or “pea­cock is­land,” where you will run into dozens of the beau­ti­ful birds, with their iri­des­cent blue-green plumage and mar­velous tail dis­plays.

WHITE:

For the mys­tic types, it is the color of pu­rity and in­no­cence; sci­en­tists say it’s sim­ply a non-color, though it con­tains all the wave­lengths of the vis­i­ble spec­trum. But over here around this time, white mainly re­calls the quickly mov­ing clouds dash­ing though the blue skies in spring, re­spon­si­ble for the rain­drops you’ll feel on your skin ev­ery now and then. Af­ter all, May flow­ers need those April showers to grow, don’t they? To cel­e­brate the can­did clouds, visit the bright, min­i­mal­ist in­te­ri­ors of the Cam­era

Work photography gallery (Kantstr. 149, www.cam­er­a­work.de). Un­til 18 April, the gallery will be pre­sent­ing 20 large works

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