Welcome to the Goethe-Institut CityScapes Blog.
From January through December 2011, these were the parameters for a playground of diverse, fascinating, vibrant tales: Responding individually to a collective impetus, a host of hand-picked young bloggers uploaded photos, texts, and multimedia. Every month, they were given a new theme. Step by step, they created a kaleidoscope of impressions, opinions, ideas and… plain fun.
This project has now ended. If you like what you see, you may want to check out the brand new CityTales Comic Blog.
I love riding my bike to work in summer, passing under the Brandenburg Gate. It's like witnessing history every day. Plus, it's an easy cycle. The city is flat, motorists look out for you AND there's so much green on the way!!
I'd been to Berlin heaps of times, before moving here. However, it was just about always in winter. The German capital was nothing but a big, old block of concrete - covered in graffiti and dog business - and cold. With the constant grey skies and all of the cement, it was grey-on-grey and depressing. But then I came to Berlin for a long weekend one summer.
I nearly fell off my seat, as the plane came in to land. It wasn't the turbulence. It was all the green!
This métropole is full of parks and covered in trees. One of the highlights of cycling in to work for me is zipping through Tiergarten. It's the oldest, biggest and most-popular inner-city park in Berlin. This sprawling oasis of lakes, wooded walking paths and luscious green fields easily rivals London's Hyde Park and even New York's Central Park. If I'm riding home after doing the late shift, I've just got to dodge the rabbits that come out at night. Once, I even spotted a fox, the size of a labrador. Seriously! I nearly fell off my bike. I didn't know they could get that big. Obviously, there are lots of rabbits.
But the park wasn't always packed with animals and trees. On the weekend, I was at a photographic exhibition, where I was left staring in awe at a collection of old black-and-whites of Tiergarten during World War II. There wasn't a single tree standing. They'd all been chopped down for firewood - and the park had been turned into a massive potato field.
It's come a long way since then. And thank goodness! The beautiful gardens are the lungs of the city - and I love taking in a deep breath of fresh air as I whiz through. Every city should build parks like it - and MORE of them. They make such a difference to quality of life.