Friday, April 14, 2017

News from the Daffodils

After yesterday’s brutal, but necessary, tour, I declared today a Hitler-free day. No more news of the horrors of yesteryear and instead, the news of the beauty of today. That was the plan.

But off to a rocky start with this uncooperative, cold weather, winter stubbornly holding on even as the cherry trees were blooming. Started off like the Michelin Man with my winter shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, gloves and hat, but at least it wasn’t raining. By now, I was an expert of the Berlin Underground. (The transport that is, not the hip disco scene.) First to Alexanderplatz on the U5, then transfer to the U2 to Potsdamplatz in search of rental bicycles.

Not easy, but with perseverance and help from some folks, we found some for 4 Euros for 4 hours. Perfect! Off we went into the Tiergarten and got to the river and just ambled alongside as far as we could and isn’t that a lovely way to spend the day—on a bike path by a flowing river with occasional appearances from Mr. Sun. Sometimes the path ran out and we had to cross to the other side, sometimes take some back streets and lean back towards the river and that’s just how I like it— slightly lost and not caring.

Now we were firmly in West Berlin and it’s odd because coming here I imagined I’d be mostly in the West and then venture into the exotic East. In fact, just about everything that people go to see is in the East, including the neighborhood (Freiderickshain) we’re staying in. Can’t say that I got much of a feel for the West, some parts along the river turning somewhat industrial. But I’m sure there’s much more.

Following the river back, we got back into the Tiergarten, which is really quite and extensive and quite a lovely park. We stopped at the towering monument with Queen Victoria in the center of it all, locked up the bikes and rushed through the little museum without reading anything to ascent the 285 steps to the top (almost the exact same number as the “Eiffel Tower” I climbed in Prague and the Coit Tower Filbert St. steps in San Francisco!). I’m please to report that this old guy can still do things like that and happily so.

The view from the top was…well, a view from the top. 

Down the steps we went and back into the park meandering the extensive network of paths. For a brief moment, I could take off my gloves and sit and commune with the daffodils. 

The news? As usual:

“You humans are a piece of work, running around here and there doing useless and often shameful and hurtful things. Just cool out, enjoy our brilliant yellow color and admire our lovely shape and listen to what we’re telling you: Spring is coming! Go romp in the fields, smell the flowers, make love! The Earth is coming to life again and don’t forget summer will soon follow! Rejoice! Exult! Have fun!”

That’s the kind of news I like to read! Even if it’s hard to believe when the sun disappears and I start bundling up again. Well, one more day of this marvelous five weeks away from my usual routine and who knows? Maybe it will be warm!

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