Spring comes suddenly in Berlin, but it feels more like summer. The car roofs are down and it’s time for a barbecue, drinks outside and the first boat trip of the year. Last weekend the Berlin Tagesspiegel captured the scene perfectly. Here is a taste of the city centre sunshine, in English.
The Lustgarten fountain in front of the Altes Museum
City Ost (East Berlin)
At Hackescher Markt, the first summery morning of the year belongs to the beer delivery men. Their lorries are parked in front of nearly every café and pub. Crates are being stacked and barrels are being rolled. The warm sunshine makes you thirsty. New on offer are Apple Beer and Cherry Beer. But who drinks this kind of stuff? “The tourists will love it”, says the delivery man.
A beer in the sunshine at Hackescher Markt
But the tourists have already arrived. In front of the Brandenburg Gate it’s selfie time, accompanied to the strains of the barrel organ with its eternal Berlin tune, ‘Das ist die Berliner Luft, Luft., Luft!’ (You can listen by following this link) A group of French school pupils, here for the first time in Berlin, is full of enthusiasm: “Berlin is very beautiful”, they say. ‘A great city!’
Tourists at the Brandenburg Gate
In the Lustgarten on Museum Island the fountain is in full flow. By the end of April there will be 33 of them bubbling away in the Berlin borough of Mitte. Deckchairs have been set up opposite the Alte Nationalgalerie, watching the pleasure steamers glide past. An Adonis figure stretches out in the sunshine. Bring on the first sun tan! Two female students stick to reading in the shade.
The Nationalgalerie at dusk
City West (West Berlin)
On Breidscheidplatz by the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) the beers are on the table by noon. There’s a funfair atmosphere; the smell of beer, fried chicken and Bratwurst wafts across the square, accompanied by the beat of the latest hit songs. The once upmarket West Berlin has sold its soul. The wooden huts and roundabouts were meant to have disappeared, but no one seems able to get rid of them.
The Easter Fair at Breitscheidplatz
Time to commune with nature and it’s only a short walk to the Tiergarten. The buds on the trees are still fresh and even the weeping willows look happy. The blue carpets of Szilla already have an enticing scent. The wood anemones and buttercups are in flower and the Tiergarten rabbits are delighted. The first rowing boats are out on the lake and it seems that the new fashion is for the woman to take the oars.
Carpets of ‘Blue Stars’ in the Tiergarten
The nightingales are back, not just here but all over Berlin, wherever there is water. In fact, Berlin has more nightingales than the whole of Bavaria. In the Tiergarten they sing especially loudly to compete against the sounds of the city centre.
A Tiergarten ‘Nachtigall’ in full song