While the bright, melodious songs of blackbirds herald spring, the squawking crows signal that autumn is on its way. The chill in the air and the lingering scent of dry leaves hints the same. Summer has faded away, once again, too soon.
The Season Wheel turns
How many of you had to make a Season Wheel at school, where you divided a paper plate into quarters and drew a picture for spring, summer, autumn and winter? Growing up in Cape Town, you’d draw flowers for spring, sunshine for summer, falling leaves for autumn and rain for winter. Yet, it was only when I moved to Berlin that I really experienced the dramatic four seasons. In Cape Town it’s too warm for very strong autumn colours, there’s no snow, and there’s less flowering trees. I imagine if you grew up somewhere like Thailand or Senegal where it’s always warm, you’d draw your seasons very differently too, maybe with wet and dry, windy or stormy seasons. And in some countries, it might rain all year round.
Right now it’s autumn in Berlin, and the trees are getting noticeably barer as the last of the golden leaves fall off. It starts getting darker by 3:30pm already and it looks like midnight by 5pm. We’re heading to the long, dark time of year. We had a great long summer this year, with warm temperatures starting in May and lasting right up till October. This was a big contrast to last year, when there was basically no summer, and it stayed cold and rainy throughout the year. This year winter was very long, but spring flew by very quickly as temperatures warmed up fast, leading to a long warm summer. Autumn seemed fairly short as well, since the summer was so long.
As I haven’t posted any seasonal updates all year despite taking a gazillion leaf and flower pictures as usual, I thought I’d do a round up of the months and seasons before we enter winter, to show how the seasons look in central Europe. Unlike in English or German where the month names are derived from the names of Roman gods (e.g. March from Mars), numbers (e.g. September from septem, meaning seven) or the Caesars (e.g. July from Julius Caesar), in Czech, the month names are often related to the season. For fun (and because I should learn them) I thought I would list the Czech month names here too, along with their meanings. Note that in Czech the names of months are not capitalized. Continue reading
Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #35 – Winter is coming (2)
Temperatures dropped drastically in Berlin in September, making even the non-summer we had this year seem like a pleasant warm time. A lot of people started getting colds, including an office-mate, and I subsequently caught the cold from him. Just as i thought I was getting over it, it suddenly turned into a head cold and a cough – argh. So i did not do much last week until Sunday when my husband dragged me outside for a walk because the weather had suddenly improved drastically and it was too good a day not to miss. At any rate, here are this week’s small pleasures, because if you look hard you can usually find some. Continue reading
Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #28 – going back in time
Other than that, I have to say that not much happened this week. But still it’s good to try to remember the good things about the week, so here goes: Continue reading
Festival of Leaves – week 7
– Verena Cave
The last few weeks have been very grey with a lot of mist, but luckily the bright yellow leaves shining on all the trees cheer everything up. The pavement outside my work looks like a whole lot of yellow stars fell to the ground.
The leaves are falling quite fast though – from the beginning to the end of this week one particularly beautiful tree has lost almost all of its leaves. I’m looking forward to getting out to the countryside in the weekend to really enjoy the autumn colours, before they’re all gone!
Festival of Leaves 2016
The leaves are just starting to change here in Berlin, and I’m looking forward to photographing some of the autumn colours over the next few weeks! This photo was taken on a forest walk in Brandenburg. You can see more autumn photos from other parts of the northern hemisphere at a blog by Verena called Festival of Leaves. Maybe you have some of your own autumn photos to share?
See more photos here:
Autumn Highlights 2015
So it’s almost December, the trees are bare, the afternoons are dark, the first snowflakes have fallen, the Christmas markets have started – autumn is pretty much over. I thought I would reminisce over some of the highlights of autumn, before its memory has faded. Here’s a look back. Continue reading
Autumn biking in Naturpark Barnim
We enjoyed a long, warm and golden autumn this year, but finally the rain came, followed by strong winds, and now the trees are bare again. It made me sad to see them at first, knowing that it would be many months before we would see them coming alive again. Once the leaves had fallen, the temperatures dropped rapidly, and we have even had some light snow already. Before we get too far into deep, dark winter, I wanted to share some photos of our glorious autumn season. To start with, here are some photos from a bike ride we did in Naturpark Barnim, a big nature area in Brandenburg near Berlin. We started at Karow and followed lovely cycle paths all the way to Eberswalde. Brandenburg is really the perfect place for cycling. Continue reading
Battle of the Seelow Heights and a walk near the Oder river
Approximately 90km from Berlin lies the Seelow Heights, where the last major defensive line outside of Berlin was situated towards the end of World War II. This area of countryside, woods and villages lies near today’s border of Germany and Poland, near the Oder and Neisse rivers. From the 16-19 April 1945, a battle was fought for passage to Berlin between 1 million Soviet soldiers of the 1st Belorussian front and 110 000 German soldiers. Between 20 000 -70 000 Soviet soldiers (according to different sources) and 12 000 German soldiers were killed, and victory was taken by the Soviets, leaving the road to Berlin open from the 19th April. By the 23rd April, Berlin was surrounded and the final Battle of Berlin began. It is estimated that more than 1 million German soldiers were killed as well as 100 000 civilians and 300 000 Soviet soldiers, and that approximately 100 000 women were raped. Within 2 weeks, Berlin was taken, Hitler committed suicide and World War II had come to an end. Continue reading