Prussian Paradise – The Peacock Island

Last Tuesday I took advantage of what I assumed to probably be one of late summer's last warm days to venture forth to Berlin's famous Lake Wannsee, and, in particular, the “Pfaueninsel” or “Peacock Island”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peacock Island – view from ferry boat

To get to the island by bus you might want to start at U Theodor-Heuss-Platz and take number 218 (goes every hour) right to the terminus. From there you take the small ferry boat departing every 15 minutes. Every other hour you can have a bumpy ride on the vintage bus with its overstuffed benches, just as comfortable as grandma's sofa. I strongly suggest you try this.


After a chequered history in which figure a wendish village in the island's northeast, rabbit breeding and an alchemistic glass foundry, King Frederick William II (Friedrich Wilhelm II.), King of Prussia, Prince-Elector of Brandenburg and sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel, nephew and successor of famous “Old Fritz”, aka “Frederick the Great” took over the island that had lied fallow for over 100 years.

Already as a young prince Frederick William had spent many precious and romantic hours with his beloved mistress “Wilhelmine Encke”, daughter of a chamber musician at Frederick the Great's court.
Now he installed a dairy farm in the island's east and built the white palace serving as love nest in the west. The interior of this palace survived two world wars and has been almost completely preserved until today.

The place holds a good deal of magic for kids, if I want to trust the various reviews from "ex-children" on the Internet.

They seem to be very fond of the palace which to me – quite frankly – looks like the imitation of a bouncy castle without the fun the latter might provide. For kids it might look like a real fairy-tale castle, though.

Anyhow, I went there to take some pics for you, gentle nature loving reader, and so I spent two rather boring hours walking around in this natural preserve, shooting photos and never being able to get anywhere close to the Lake Wannsee.

It is strictly forbidden to leave the official paths and they make sure visitors do not infringe those provisions by securing the bank slopes with electrified fencing. Ouch!

As the island is a natural preserve, visitors are not allowed to bring animals or bikes onto the island, neither is it permitted to lie down anywhere else than on the one lawn referred to as “Liegewiese”.
Liegewiese = lawn for sun bathing

Smoking is forbidden as well and passing gas might be somewhere down the list, too – if you care to take a closer look.
Now, as I mentioned my boredom with this idyllic island, it is only fair to state that I'm not exactly a fan of virgin landscapes or wildlife, but rather of tutored lawns (like the Liegewiese, I admit), well-groomed hedges and insect free environments. I know ... I know …

They have that really extensive lawn for sunbathing.
What I didn't understand was why the hell they don't have a playground for children there, too.
Altogether I think it's a beautiful little island.

You might be interested in watching this little film by Stefan Wirth on Youtube.


Vintage Cars on Berlin's Ku'damm – Shots

I'll do better when I have more time to bring the pics online!


Misheard Lyrics – German/Turkish

I just love this, so I have to share. Only people who know German will understand, though:

Funny video where Turkish lyrics are interpreted as German


Soviet War Memorial (Ehrenmal) – Воин-освободитель

This impressive (12 m high) statue of a Soviet soldier holding a child (artist: Yevgeny Vuchetich/Евгений Викторович Вучетич) crushing the Hakenkreuz under his feet overlooks the burial site of 5,000 soldiers of the Red Army (among the 20,000) who fell in the Battle of Berlin in April/May 1945.

Built in Social Realist style in the Treptower Park, the vast memorial consist of a central area in front of the monument, lined on both sides by 16 stone block with decorated with military scenes and quotation from Joseph Stalin, both in Russian and German.

View from top of hill
A portal consisting of a pair of stylized Soviet flags and flanked by two statues of kneeling soldiers builds the entrance to the central area.

Right opposite the gigantic statue on the other end of the center line, another figure, a female, represents the Motherland weeping at the loss of her sons.

Really artsy film about the site on Youtube by KrokyMovie

Frescoes inside the gazebo beneath the statue


Treptower Park Impressions

Weeping Willow
Why the hell has nobody ever told me about the Treptower Park? I don't get it. Do people wanna keep it to themselves, or what?

I only discovered this gorgeous beauty last weekend, in the course of a short film project, when we were supposed to shoot somewhere in Treptow-Köpenick.

Part of the super-sized park is a beautiful promenade alongside the river Spree. Feels like a holiday at one of the North Sea ports. For real! I like this part of the park most.

If you continue to follow the river, you come right to the "Insel der Jugend" (Isle of Youth), a tiny romantic, almost kitschy place. Wonderful.

If you prefer a stroll in the woods, the part between "Puschkinallee" and "Am Treptower Park" is more suitable for you. There you also find the gigantic Soviet War Memorial which is embedded in an artificial landscape.

View to the church on opposite peninsula Stralau

Bridge crossing over to the Insel der Jugend (Isle of Youth)

View to the bridge from the Insel der Jugend (Isle of Youth)

Footprints of famous polar bear Knut (Eisbär Knut)

Promenade alongside the River Spree

Landscape between Puschkinallee and Am Treptower Park