Monthly Archives: May 2016

May: Wild Flowers

May is almost over, so there’s only a short time left to gather together your photos of wild flowers for Jude’s Garden Challenge! I already put some photos up of the bear leek growing on the island of Rügen in north Germany; now I’d like to show some more photos of wild flowers I’ve spotted growing around Europe. I don’t know the names of most of them – I should really buy a book of European plants. If anyone can label any of them, I’d love to hear what they are called. Of course I do recognize poppies, and they are among my favourite flowers. They pop up on many roadsides at this time of year (often around railway tracks for some reason), but you can also see them grown commercially for the seeds (presumably they also grow them somewhere to make codeine and morphine). In Germany, poppyseeds are called Mohn, and they are used in lots of sweet cakes, pastries and dumplings. A piece of Mohnkuchen is delicious, with an almond-like flavour, and if you ever visit Germany i’d recommend popping into a bakery to try a piece.

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #19 – there and back again

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It feels like it was a short week, as we just returned from our bike trip in the Alsace, France, on Tuesday morning and now we are off to Cambridge to visit a friend for the weekend. But here are this week’s small pleasures nonetheless. This week I tried to take note when little happenings (rather than things) made me happy, so they were not always things that could be photographed. Continue reading

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May: Wild Flowers – Wild garlic in Rügen

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The theme for Jude’s garden challenge this month is wild flowers.

This month I want to see native wild flowers found in the hedgerows, woodlands, farmland, meadows, by the coast, up a mountain, on the heath and even in your own garden. Basically those plants that haven’t been planted, but occur naturally, although specifically planted wild flower meadows can be included. Wild flowers provide food for humans and wildlife and are usually hardy, resilient and well adapted to the climate and soils, and yes sadly often referred to as weeds.” Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #18 – Lilac and canola

 

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We are headed off on another adventure in few minutes, but before we go I wanted to do a Weekly Small Pleasures blog post. Weekly Small pleasures is Mani’s blog event where you highlight the little things that made you happy this week. For her post and other people’s, head here. Here are mine:

It’s May.
What’s not to love about May in Berlin: it’s a month full of public holidays. 1 May is Worker’s day, but this year it was a Sunday and they didn’t give the Monday off, so we lost out on that one. Then there is “Himmelfahrt” (Ascension Thursday – date varies by year) and also “Pfingsten” (Pentecost – date varies by year), which seem to always fall in May too. So last Thursday instead of sitting in the office I was kayaking in Neu Venedig (New Venice), and this weekend is a long weekend and we’re headed off for a bike tour in the Alsace wine region of France! This promises to be quite an adventure (possibly an uncomfortable one, since we’re taking two night trains and sleeping on tatami mats in a Yurt one night, with a dry toilet and cold shower, oh the horror) – but I guess that’s what the wine is for. Unfortunately being away means this year we’ll miss the Carnival of Cultures.

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Drastic increase in temperatures.

It feels like not long ago I was wearing boots, a jacket, scarf and gloves, and now I’m in a T-shirt and need to carry sunglasses. This is how rapidly the temperatures can increase in Berlin! But I’m not complaining, I much prefer warm weather. Plus, I’m pretty sure my vitamin D levels must have been super low after the long grey season and now is a chance to soak up some sun and make some more! I feel more energetic already.

The trees have flowers.

I haven’t got over the novelty of flowers on all the trees yet. Yes, the little pieces of flowers blowing in the wind get into your eyes when you’re on the cycling lane – but everything is so beautiful!

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #17 – Berlin and Brandenburg

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Small Pleasures, Mani’s blog event where you take note of the little things during the week that bring you happiness. After spending the whole week working inside a biosafety level 3 facility, the weekend was a good chance to get some sun and some time outdoors. We had great weather in Berlin this weekend, and spent Saturday walking around the city of Berlin and Sunday cycling in the surrounding countryside of Brandenburg.

Our first stop on Saturday morning was the Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg, an indoor market where you can enjoy different foods such as English pies, Italian cheeses, German cakes, Spanish tapas as well as craft beers, coffee and ice-cream. a good coffee is always a pleasure. After that we took a long walk around Berlin. My favourite part was the pretty and charming area around the Nikolaiviertel. After a brief stop at home we headed off again to check out the blossoms at Bornholmer Strasse and continued walking by the railway tracks right up until Pankow.

On Sunday we went for a bike ride on the Panoramaweg, as it is Baumblütenfest time. We enjoyed cycling in the countryside through villages, orchards and countryside and trying the fruit wines along the way.

Other pleasures of the week were the fact that it’s getting light later now, the temperatures shot up, ending the cold spell of the week before, and we are having blue skies more regularly.

Check out A new life wandering blog to see what other people enjoyed this week.

Wishing everyone a good week ahead!

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