It was one of those days when I felt as though the walls were caving in on me and I could no longer breathe inside my own home. I needed desperately to get out but didn't fancy going to the city or shopping, although I did have errands to run. Spring is in full swing here in Germany and this year many are complaining about the unusually high amount of pollen. Having lived in India, the Philippines and Thailand, when I looked at my furniture the other day and saw this layer of dust I automatically wiped it down, and noticed that the cloth turned yellow. Even worse were my camera lenses that had yellow dust all over them! Anything that is dark-colored that falls on the floor these days will be orange when you pick it up. The annoying thing about all this is that you can clean and mop all you want, a few hours later it's back to haunt you. I'm just thankful that I am not allergic.
In any case, I decided to take one of the routes recommended to me by an avid jogger who knows the area well. I asked for a route along the canals and rivers, listened carefully knowing in my mind that I was going to get lost anyway. What the hell, where is the fun in going for a walk of you don't discover "alternative routes"... I know, I know, drives all you map-readers up the wall.
So, I started out by crossing the quaint little bridge outside my building and took a right turn. In two minutes I was embraced by a canopy of trees and had a cheerful canal to my right. With sunshine and blue skies, chirping birds and quacking ducks, I could have sworn I was in a fairy tale instead of Berlin! This time I had my XT10 with me and wanted to try something out.
It wasn't long before I found myself back at the nature reserve that I discovered shortly after moving in, but instead of the water buffalo, I found myself in what turned out to be the protected beaver dam. Imagine that! OK, forget the fairy tale, I was in Narnia all of a sudden. I stood in utter fascination and soaked in the beauty of the place, slowly imbibing the much-needed peace I sought.
Like in all new places, you should look left, right, straight ahead, but also up and down. Because it is often times in looking down that you realize that a change of perspective can actually cheer you up. I love clouds, but clouds reflected in the calm water are simply magical.
The neighborhood was absolutely adorable, with most people building terraces along the river, at water level so that they can feed the water fowl.
I never imagined such wonderful places could even exist as options for a garden. It changed my entire attitude on life goals as far as getting my dream home someday.
If it wouldn't have a been an invasion of privacy (and the privacy laws are very strict in Germany) I would have photographed much more of the terraces. But the parked boats and wheelbarrows had to suffice.
I retraced my steps back to the main road but wasn't ready to go home yet. So, following another tip I explored an area along the banks of the Havel this time, behind all the rowing clubs. What a goldmine! It's full of life, picturesque, but peaceful at the same time.
The neighborhood was out in full force, either cleaning boats, paddling, and the serious rowers are back in training, much to the horror of the water fowl with young at the moment.
As a final twist to the walk, I ventured down another path towards the fields again and found my water buffalo out in pasture. I didn't have my telephoto lens with me, so proper portraits of the beasts will have to be done another day. I did, however, make a new friend, and established an immediate rapport.
To round off the day, the swan family spent the night in our backyard again. It was too dark to photograph them and Mama Swan was putting her little ones to sleep already. The cats who were out playing were very curious but Papa Swan was on guard and all he had to do was stretch out his neck and grumble, and the was it for the cats.