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Tiergarten

I wrote this last Saturday when I was in Berlin but had all kinds of email problems that were only resolved today. Here it is:

Am coming back from Berlin. A crazy day of delayed flights resulting in missed connections and finally having to fly from Heathrow to Edmonton in order to get to Calgary. Instead of getting home at 3:00 I’ll probably get home at 10:00 tonight. That said I had a great walk at Berlin’s famous Tiergarten this morning so my day started off on the right foot.

The Tiergarten was once the royal hunting grounds for German princes and kings but around 1700 work began to transform it into a garden and park for the use of the people. Today it sits in the middle of Berlin. One portion houses the famous Berlin Zoo. I set out at 6:00 a.m. for what turned out to be a two hour wander.

For starters its big. It’s probably a couple square miles. There are many ponds, the odd meadow and lots of oaks, maples and fir trees. Its dark enough to get a sense of how legends could grow up about otherworldly figures lurking in haunted German forests.

There are many statues but my favourite is probably the huntsman taking on a wild boar with a spear or maybe it’s a pike, but I’m not sure what the difference is. Two dogs nip at the mammoth boar.

Another depicts what appears to be a Roman soldier stabbing what looks like a bison. (Well, that’s what it looked like but I know that doesn’t make sense) Anyway, it was all apropos given the park’s history.

Much of the park was damaged during the war. Fully 60% of Berlin was flattened by Allied bombs. What wasn’t destroyed in the park by bombs was cut down by Berliners who needed the firewood. You wouldn’t know it today though. It looks awfully wild in some places.

Lots of crows or it was certainly a bird from the same family (corvidae), herons, what I take to be some kind of thrush (they sounded very similar to Robins) and rabbits every where. Lots of little birds that I couldn’t identify.

All in all Berlin is a terrific city. Incredible history, unbelievable architecture. Checkpoint Charlie was another highlight as was the little museum that highlighted the stories of those who found ingenious ways to get over, under or through the Berlin Wall.

If you get the change go.

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