Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

Signs of Berlin

July 11, 2014

Berlin’s atmosphere felt really positive and welcoming – and then it was even better.  I started to notice the signs.  Some stressed the power of goodwill, or of collaborative effort.  This is a Grabbeallee sign.


I think it says (with thanks to Val for sorting my version out):

 If no one does anything then nothing is done
If no one dares anything, it stays as it is
If you don’t move anything, nothing will move.

And wrong will never be right
And lies will never be true
Whoever has the courage to fight
Will triumph over danger

If nobody says anything nothing will happen

Time is so precious
And much shorter than we think
You can make time
Each day is your gift

If nobody says anything nothing will happen

If nobody says anything nothing will happen

It must go further.

                                                          Stop watching us

I saw that sign (with it’s slightly paranoid close) on the way to the local Bäckerei – whose sign came to represent a great deal to me in just two days: good food, community kindness and warmth.  And so the sign en route also seemed immensely comforting and friendly in itself.


On the first day in Berlin, I walked about the nearest area – down to the Bürgerpark in Pankow, an easy stroll.  The Bürger are the citizens – those who live in the Burg (the town or city) and though it feels cognate with  the French bourg and bourgeois it doesn’t seem to have quite the same implication of social pretension.  It’s more inclusive.  I hope.  The park was full of people enjoying the autumn sunshine – I will put the cyclists, the dog owners and the people wearing green in later posts, since I have decided on this slightly resistant (not to say Borgesian) method of documenting my Berlin delights.

Nope sorry – can’t resist the temptation – here’s a man wearing green –

green trousers


Now back to the park:


It’s another celebration of the achievements that individuals have made by collaborating, and I think it says:

The citizens of Pankow have enabled the planting of the flower beds.
(Then it lists the firms that have contributed money.)


We were staying at the Yogitel, where the entrance sports another interesting sign:

Not your usual Hotel greeting.

Not your usual Hotel greeting.

Here is the English version:

Who are we?

In 2007 we decided to create a safe place, where people could be supported in finding their eternal essence, and so live their potential in health and joy.

From this decision, with the support of many, the Triguna Zentrum was established in Tschaikowskistrasse.  Here: 15 families live

  • a yoga centre offers more than 30 courses a week, various workshops and three different kinds of training;
  • guest rooms are available;
  • a kindergarten cares for 24 children;
  • therapists of various kinds practice;
  • a community café is being started.

 Why Triguna?

The name Triguna can be found in many Vedic texts and indicates the three states of being: rasai, tamas, sattva (broadly translated: physical, mental, spiritual).  We gave the name Triguna to the Centre to show clearly that for us it’s all about these three basic energies.  We want to support all visitors and inhabitants of this house to come into balance and to live in balance.

From the very first day therefore we have focussed on diversity, and created a place where freely creative teachers and health practitioners meet interested seekers and seek the interested, and find one another.

Marvellously, one can stay overnight at the Yogitel for 12 euros, sleeping on a sofa in their common room.  (We didn’t do that – but it felt welcoming – like a bit of the Old Days.)



There’s a limit to how far you can get on foot. – I had to wind up my courage to launch upon the public transport system.  But I needn’t have worried: it turned out to be limpidly clear and easy to manoeuvre.  So I jumped on a tram to the Mauerpark.

a tram on Grabbeallee

a tram on Grabbeallee

In a previous post I showed you lots of dogs in the Mauerpark. This post, though, is about signs.  (If I can just control myself long enough . . . .)


Towards the end of our few days in Nieder Schönhausen, another lovely sign blossomed in the window of an empty shop near the Bäckerei:

notice 2

“Very soon a children’s and young people’s bookshop will open here.”
You don’t  need me to comment on that one, now do you?

The glass reflects Andrew, taking the photo, and the crossroads – and although a proper photographer might see reflections as a flaw, I must admit I like the way they record the event.  I suppose the bookshop must be up and running by now: let’s hope it’s a success.

There are more signs to come – another day.

Dogs on Sunday

November 2, 2013

In Berlin

We stayed for the first few days at a lovely place – the Yogitel on Tschaikowski Strasse – which is really a community of families who teach and practice yoga and various therapies.  Part of alternative Berlin, I guess, and very very cheap.  They don’t do breakfast or meals, so one pops out to the local Bäckerei first thing in the morning – only to discover that it is the weekend and so the place is full of families, dogs, relaxation.

On the way down the street I spotted:

lovely tri-colour border collie seen on Grabbeallee

lovely tri-colour border collie seen on Grabbeallee

This beautiful chap was the first I photographed – just because he looked a lot like Bandit.  Nice leather lead, too.

FB keeps asking me to tag these seedy characters, who watched my entire sequence of photographic exploits.  NO, facebook, I really don't know who they are.

FB keeps asking me to tag these seedy characters, who watched my entire sequence of photographic exploits. NO, facebook, I really don’t know who they are.

The streets are populated by families (many wearing bright green), cyclists, dogs. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed.  Little kids come to the shop by themselves and go out with big bags of croissants or buns.  Two little girls had brought the family dog – but I didn’t take their picture – it doesn’t feel seemly to take kids’ photos, and so I have to deny you many many bright green garments, dog owners and cyclists.  But I did take some photos of dogs waiting willingly outside the Bäckerei, or trotting along with their owners.

Standing patiently outside the Bäckerei without a lead at all.  He was there for some time, solid as a rock.

Standing patiently outside the Bäckerei without a lead at all. He was there for some time, solid as a rock.

Not far away was this little poodle –


When I tried to take Pablo’s picture, his owner gave me a rather formal ‘look’ and asked me what I was doing – the only person who was even slightly suspicious.  I explained (best German, worked out in advance) that I was making a collection called ‘Dogs on Sunday’ and she said ‘OK’.  Then her friend got Pablo to pose like this.



– We found out later that we were in fact staying in a quarter (Schönhausen) that had been in East Berlin.  It had been rather smart, though: the location for the foreign embassies.  Indeed, many houses there looked very fine indeed, especially on the Mayakovsky Ring nearby.

By the time I photographed Ken I was becoming quite confident about asking owners for permission.  Ken’s owner spoke really good English and was more than happy to chat. – Ken is a rescue dog and very friendly – you can see from the tail.  He even accepted a treat from me.  ( I didn’t ask about the name.)  He, too, waited outside the bakery off-lead.

little dog at the Backerei

little dog at the Backerei

OK, I thought, that was fun.  Then I caught a very crowded tram down Grabbeallee

discreet, conscientious: a dog that manages a bus, crowds and a complex lead, and gets everything right.

Discreet, conscientious: a dog that manages a bus, crowds and a complex lead, and gets everything right.  You had to admire his style.

to the Mauer Park  ( a park that contains a short stretch of the Wall).  Here the atmosphere is absolutely hopping on a Sunday.  Hordes of people, singers and buskers and ‘acts’ involving comedy/juggling.

slack-wire walking

slack-wire walking – also note green garment on the little boy drawn from the crowd to assist. (‘Leo’)

A massively tempting flea market; loads of fabulous street food.  And (a German speciality, I later found) – deeply concealed toilet facilities.  This last can be a bit of an issue for me – but a helpful stall holder saved the day.  And, to my great joy, I had at last found someone whose English was worse than my German: we communicated effectively auf Deutsch. She was immensely kind and helpful – made absolutely sure that i knew where I was going.

But I am straying from the point of this post: the people in the park were accompanied by their dogs, in the most natural and unassuming way imaginable.  Your correspondent, photographer and dog-lover, was bowled away by the sheer variety and numbers.  And all – all, I tell you – impeccably behaved and happy. Here are a few:


Sorry about the angle – it hardly looks like a dog at all.


Excellent owner-plus-dog combo. Is that dog even on a lead?


A lot of people use these great harness contraptions: must try them out.


This fine fellow was unusual for being a clear cut breed. (most of the dogs at the park were excellent bitsers). I think he is a Bernese Mountain dog.

Tall thin person with tall thin dogs.

Tall thin person with tall thin dogs.

stalking away - having checked out the other dog.  Owners were picnicking nearby.

stalking away – having checked out the other dog. Owners were picnicking nearby.

belongs to a stall holder - maturely calm in the crowd

belongs to a stall holder – maturely calm in the crowd

There’s more to come about the Mauerpark – but I need to find my camera’s connection lead – somewhere in my packing, before I can upload the photographs.  Another day!

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