Winter does strange things to my brain. For years I associated the expression "brain freeze" with ice cream or a milkshake that was consumed too fast, but if you have to battle the bitter nordic winds and can feel your cheeks stinging while walking, the brain just stops working. I have come to appreciate the long commute to work because I get to warm up inside the bus, but the sudden change of temperature also makes me so sleepy that I missed my bus stop the other day and alighted one further down the line. This actually turned out to be a good thing because I discovered the quaint Lichtenstein Bridge in Tiergarten.
The Lichtenstein Bridge links the Berlin Zoo to an extension area on the other side of the Landwehr Canal. Like my other bridge adventures in Berlin, it is only when doing the post-photography research that I discover some interesting features that go with the object of my affection.
For starters, the Lichtensteinbrücke as it stands today is the modern reincarnation of the original built on the same spot in 1873 but was completely destroyed during WWII. Named after Dr. Martin Hinrich Lichtenstein, and not the country, the bridge was replaced by the current one in 1985 through a private initiative.
The bridge caught my fancy the other day and I decided to visit it after work, hoping to catch it in a sunset light. Well, I had absolutely no control of the sunlight today and reminded myself that there was a reason I am hellbent on photographing the bridges in winter. The dreary light that filters through the snow clouds is unique, adding a touch of nostalgia that you don't get any other time of the year. In a few weeks the bare trees will sprout the new leaves and the drama of the naked branches will vanish.
It was far too cold to wait around for Blue Hour as well, so I took whatever I could get and ran to the bus stop afterwards. There is another interesting feature to this quaint bridge originally intended as a memorial to Dr. Lichtenstein, the founder and first Director of the Berlin Zoo with a fascinating biography. Beneath the bridge is a memorial plaque dedicated to Rosa Luxembourg, another equally fascinating historical figure whose body was found at that particular spot after supposedly been thrown from the bridge. Now you understand why I processed the photograph in such a dreary manner?
We tend to be blinded by the big and bright things in life, and easily overlook the smaller and quainter details. The same is true for bridges in many cities. In Prague, for example, the focus is on the Charles Bridge, in Florence on the Ponte Vecchio, Paris is marked by Le Pont Neuf or Le Pont Alexandre, and who can forget Venice and the Bridge of Sighs. The more popular the bridge the less appealing it is to me. I have always believed in supporting the underdog, so I seek out the lesser known or hidden treasures.