Sonntag, 7. Juni 2015

Afternoon in Britz

Once upon a time, I feel I have to go out of my comfort zone and explore carefully those corners of the city with unfamiliar names and maps. As a visit to the Britz Castle was in the cards for a long time - for reasons I will disclose later in my travel story - yesterday I decided to take a 45-minute ride bus and cross the geographical and mental border to a completely new place. I did stop at Parchimer Allee, a street I never been before and start the walking under the very hot sun. 
The first invitation to learn to manage the unknown landscape come from Kunst im Taut Haus, a gallery hosted in one of the 3 floors of a small house whose current Adolf Strübe exhibition was advertised quietly at the entrance of a small alley. The paintings were influenced by impressionists like Pissaro and Degas, and can be bought on the place too. The wall paintings and the sweet lines of the work of art create a mesmerizing symbiosis that keeps you on the spot for longer. 
When I am finally able to get out of the empire of colours, I am captivated by the colours of the famous Hufeisensiedlung, a quarter of building part of the UNESCO heritage for their special colourful facades and the old cherry trees. I take a mental note to be back soon only for a full time architectural exploration of this area.
After another minutes of walking on the very quiet Parchimer Allee - after all, it is Sunday afternoon and everyone looks to stay mostly at home with the family I suppose - I reach the area of Britz Castle, my foremost and final destination. The yard is hosting various institutions, from a music school to a museum and small coffees. An exhibition of agricultural tools and of historical carriages, plus a 1927 Ford A limousine, reminds the countryside past of this area.
For children, a Bauerhof was created, presenting various animals that can be touched and especially photographed. 
As for the rest of my trip, the ambiance is relatively quiet, without too many groups of people around. Maybe this will change the next week, when a Middle Age Festival, Cocomedievale, is expected to take place between 12 and 14 of June. 
The half-timbered Gutshof Britz is open serving various interesting high-end dishes, out of which the passion fruit based sweets seem to be the most tempting calls. 
For now, I prefer to have a look at the exhibition hosted at the Neukölln Museum, presenting through 7 exhibitional spaces the table culture of this very multicultural area of Berlin. Through videos and table objects displayed, it gives insights about changing habits, new mentalities and sometimes even new recipes. 
On the other side of the yard, the white silhouette of the castle is inviting to a different discovery. The current structure dates from the end of the 19th century, following the creation of Germany as a unitary states and testimony of the new mentalities and habits. The bright white facade with stylish intarsia is testimony of the historical and mentalities changes taking place in the industrial area. 
The rooms are big enough to give place to the massive pieces of furniture, on special colourful carpets. Everything seems to be set up to last longer and to create enjoyable spaces for the wealthy third class members. 
But if I wanted for so long to visit Britz Castle, it was for the special exhibition of Biedermeier dolls. It is fascinated how the adults can start molding the children's world from a very early age through games and toys that prepare them for the adult life. The dolls, many created in German factories, are also testimonies of the fashion trends of the time. Overall, all my reasons to visit this exhibition were justified and felt like the entire trip was a good reward after a full day of crazy work. 
My relaxation session continued while walking the wild alleys of the park, in the middle of the green leaves and yellow roses. Although going in and out of Britz took me around 2 hours, the entire excursion was a good choice and with or without a serious reason, I plan to be back at least once again this summer. 

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