Walk IV: Schloss Charlottenburg
August 14, 2016 § 1 Comment
There may be those who are disappointed by the absence of Schloss Charlottenburg images in this piece.
My thinking is that one can google it and find any number of pleasing photos, sketches and paintings of the building.
Additionally, I actually didn’t find it that impressive. The feeling of the entire space – grounds and structure – is pleasant. Maybe it’s because we’re spoiled in Europe, with so many classic castles, cathedrals and palaces.
No matter. These musings are focused on the journey to and through different areas of Berlin, and I found the almost-10 kilometer walk from Prenzlauerberg delightful.
The predominant feature was the river. The Spree runs through the heart of Berlin and allowed my friend and I to travel much of the way along the shoreline.
Rivers and large cities go together to make an irresistible recipe. I come from one of the great beach cities in the world; the problem such places (as profoundly felt in LA) is unless you happen to live near the water, the town just doesn’t feel like a beach city.
Rivers are inherently democratic- usually highly accessible, running through affluent, less affluent and industrial areas and finally (and most importantly), usually able to be enjoyed without traveling by car to see them.
A river breaks up a city’s rhythm in the most pleasing way; it re-stimulates senses overloaded by traffic noise and buildings that obliterate sunlight and space.
Rivers also have the incredible aesthetic advantage of having boats pass through them and small, charming bridges hang over them, bridges where one can do the age-old meditation of leaning against the stone railing (what’s the word for that?) and taking in both city and water simultaneously.
Beaches are fun, rivers are contemplative. Beaches are sex, rivers are romance. Beaches are cocktails, rivers are fine wine, gently savored.
In the case of Berlin, our river performs a lovely function. It softens the city and helps it to retain a sometimes elusive element: loveliness.