Sunday in the city. Again! This time, I wanted to go a little bit West to the West, this time, and a winter visit to Spandau was instantly approved by the rest of the gang. I returned very often there in the last years and I always feel good. This time, I had a plan to explore before a bit the area around Simensstadt too and made a stop at the hippie looking Paulsternstrasse. 'Paul Stern' was the name of an English pub. The U-Bahn station, inaugurated in 1984, was designed by the architect Rümmler, who projected other stations in the West Berlin.
The Siemensstadt area is a predominantly industrial area and a big smog is uttered by the furnaces of Vatenfall factory nearby. A historical billboard reminds that Siemens, as many other German factories, used forced labour. Our first stop for the day was the Texas ranch with a couple of typical country amusements, but the place is only open on Saturdays.
A bit disappointed, we returned to the U-Bahn and continue our way till the station Altstadt (Old Town) Spandau, which brings us directly in the middle of the shopping area - another Sunday when the shops are open - , but also near the Cineplex where we should look for a convenient our for watching the Hobbit. The station has the same architect as 'Paulsternstrasse', but it is more sober, with floor mosaic, white red shaped pillars looking opening up like flowers. The lightning is interesting too, modern in the style of the end of the 1970s, yet part of an elegant ensemble.
Every time I go to Spandau I am pleased with the quietness of the streets. Apparently, there could be more silent areas than my corner of Charlottenburg. Some may explain it as a sample of gentrification, a typical phenomenon for many Western parts of Berlin. But if one visits this area, formerly a completely independent city, during the mid-December, will have a completely different impression. The streets are full, people are eating and talking and if necessary dancing on the streets, in the smell of wurst and other local 'delicacies'.
As we don't plan to eat outside walking, or to spend too much time in the middle of the busy masses anyway, we want to use the 2-3 free hours before the beginning of the movie walking the cobbled stones of the little village within the city. In the old historical areas we find peace and a lot of history. Remnants of the old city wall are co-existing now with buildings for another times, all of them keeping a certain air of noble family.
In the summer, the park around river Havel shores is full of people, their children and/or pets. This Sunday, with our notable exception and some joggers, it was no one around. The boats were waiting the spring, and the beer garden the summer for customers and fresh beers.
Suddenly, we were missing the hassle of the streets and we slowly made our way back, on small streets, with buildings from the 19th or beginning of 20th century, in various stages of reconstruction or simply left looking old, as a reminder of the times when graffiti was not invented yet.
When we are hungry in Spandau, we always stop to Soy, a Vietnamese-Japanese restaurant, close to Cineplex, where you can watch how the sushi is prepared on the counter or to watch the colourful blue and yellow fish from the aquarium from the back of the room. The chairs or couches are disposed in several rows, close to each other so don't expect too much privacy. The service is fast - take away orders are possible as well - and the prices are accessible. We started with some veggie spring rolls and a sour sweet sauce.
The meal continued - as usual - with my favourite mixture of rice, eggs, tofu and various veggies, fresh or a bit boiled. It is a light combination that helped us to move fast for being in time for the movie. The most delicious part for me was a mango smoothie, refreshing and energizing. I saw on the menu that they have avocado lassi, that I would like to test a next time.
One more stop, before running to catch the Hobbit: Vom Fass, offering a variety of drinks based on fruits or various flavours, but also oils based on interesting ingredients, such as truffle, chilli, orange, avocado. We end up the evening with a (bit too) long screening of the Hobbit, very entertaining and with beautiful landscapes, but almost unrecognisable for one who had read the book.
Maybe I will return in Spandau in spring, when the days are longer and I can spend more time walking the old streets. Going to a movie can always be a good reason for a comeback.