the transformation of things

In the west of Berlin, amidst the Grunewald is the Teufelsberg, a man-made mountain. Or rather women-made, since it were the Trümmerfrauen (literally translated ruins women), who piled up the debris of post-World War II Berlin up to a 120 m high mountain. And on top of this mountain there is a relict of another war: a now abandoned listening station that was built by the British and the Americans in the Cold War.

Today this place is slowly decaying. But it's not abandoned. You can book tours and visit it. And there are some artists living and working there, too. I didn't see many people while visiting, but every now and then I heard the sound of a spray, creaky music from a radio transistor or the sound of a hammer.

The acoustics in the radar dome on top of the tower, that was once made to hear everything that was transmitted as far as to Moscow, is overwhelming. Every word whirls like thunder inside the dome. When I visited this place there was a guitar player sitting in the middle of the dome, under two impressive larger-than-life figures of a street artist, humming and playing his guitar absorbed in his music. A somehow surreal scene over the roofs of Berlin in a place that was once strictly forbidden to the people.

 It has a strangely calming, almost soothing atmosphere, this transformed place.

I booked this tour via go2know - they organise phototours in lost places, and they do a fantastic job! Thank you, guys!

Theo and the gang

It was a Saturday in August when I visited an Alpaca farm with some friends. It is located in the Uckermark, a beautiful landscape in Brandenburg, about two hours from Berlin. It was one of those summer days when the light and smell create memories of childhood summers - hot and long and full of adventures.

When we arrived we were welcomed by Theo, a black charmer with a friendly face and a wild haircut. I fell in love instantly. But I was told that Theo was more interested in blonde ladies...

We also met the rest of the gang and, honestly, Alpacas are amazing! They almost have an other-worldly appearance and the freshly clipped bodies emphasised the frizzy hairstyles - making them look like some Muppet Show fellows.

And they aren't shy, on the contrary, they are very curious and trusting already after a short time. Alpacas are very sensitive animals, especially when it comes to humans, similar to dolphins. That's why they are used more and more as an alternative to dolphin therapy, the farmer told us.

The family who owns this farm and welcomed us so warmly and never tired to answer our many questions also showed us their wool mill. It is Brandenburg's first wool spinning company and here they process not only their own Alpacas' wool but also wool that is sent to them from all over the world. From washing the wool, to combing, to spinning, to twisting - it's a complicated process that involves much love and skill and many sophisticated machines.

Thank you, Mr and Mrs Funke of the Alpaka-Park for this wonderful day and for explaining all this with so much enthusiasm and delight and for letting us visit your lovely animals!

July to July // Update September

70/365 - the lights of Marseille
[the lights of Marseille]

September was my month of summer this year. Of long, hot, humid, lazy days in the sun, with nothing more to do than reading, talking and a random glass of wine. Of flip flops clapping on the cobbles of old french villages. Of warm rain and already fresh nights. It was the month of my birthday and my holidays. Of fresh thoughts, of breaking old habits, making way for new ones. As it is often for me with autumn - when the air gets clearer and the wind gets stronger - it is the feeling of reflection and new beginnings. And those fresh thoughts in autumn seem to come with less pressure, somewhat slower and a bit wiser, than they do in spring.

I took my 365 pictures project with me but in a slimmed version. I took a picture everyday, which is obviously easy when you are in new surroundings, but I didn't upload everyday. Just when I really felt like it.  I connected my camera to my ipad, downloaded the picture I liked, edited it a bit with Afterlight or VSCO and uploaded it to Flickr. It was quite easy, stressless and most important it was fun.

72/365 - "L'amour de soi est une idylle qui ne finit jamais."
[love and the sea]

73/365 - the tree
[can you see the leaf, photobombing my tree picture?]

74/365 - Salon de Thé
[I couldn't leave the Côte d'Azur without taking at least one b/w image - don't ask me why...]

83/365 - Nature's pattern
[I love palm trees. I would stand in front of people's houses, admiring the palms, the lemons, the oranges. I know it's nothing special for them, like it's not special here to have an apple tree in the garden. But I find it really fascinating to have a lemon tree in front of your window.]

78/365 - sous le soleil
[wine and words]

75/365 - Evening
[soft colours in the evenings]

82/365 - Peperoncini
[A short trip to Italy which was bright and loud and colourful and amazing. And everything they said sounded like something delicious to eat. Everything.]

88/365 - back in Berlin
[Berlin, charming as ever, said hello with a rainy, cold autumn night.]

91/365 - squirrel encounter
[I met a squirrel. It lost its nut and blamed me... ]

92/365 - analogue adventures
[and there was a birthday gift]

The whole album is on Flickr: click
And here are the
part of the project so far.