Tempelhof Field: Berlin’s Airport Turned Community Park

 

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Berlin82Berlin2Ok, I am *finally* sitting down to get this blog up to date! I’m still taking pictures and traveling quite a bit. I’ve been really busy with a Fulbright to go back to Iceland, a move to Poland after that, and my podcast, Museums in Strange Places.

But first things first, I need to get past the roadblock that has been the enormous amount of photos I took in Berlin in February 2017. These are from Tempelhofer Feld, a site with a long and fascinating history. Originally a military parade ground used by locals as a park when it wasn’t needed for it’s formal purpose, it became an airport in the 1920’s and was the sight of many early experiments in flight. The Nazis took over in the 1930’s and built a much bigger airport on top of the existing one. After the war, the airfield served many purposes, and in recent years was serving once again as an airport. In 2008, the airport was closed, and rather than see the land be developed, the surrounding communities came together to keep the area preserved as a huge mixed-use park. Today, the former airport buildings are being used as Germany’s largest refugee shelter.

It’s a weird place to explore because little of the airport apparatus was removed. When we went, even on a gray February day, it was filled with people using it in many creative ways, from cleaning out their plot in a beautifully chaotic community garden (pictured above and below) to using the old runways to windsurf with skateboards and roller blades. Parents with kids strolled around the outer walkway, while kids and teens raced back and forth on the tarmac, enjoying the enormous empty paved spaces you don’t usually find in the middle of a city park.

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35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more posts from Germany.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast about museums and travel, Museums in Strange Places, available on Apple Podcasts and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

Berlin, Germany

In February 2017, Aleksi and I met in Berlin, Germany. I’d just been to London to visit him in October, and he’d already been to Tennessee a few times, so we wanted to go somewhere new. We stayed at a flat in Prenzlaurberg for six days, and had an amazing time exploring, even in rainy weather. I can confidently say that Berlin was one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. It was my first time to Germany, and I can’t wait to go back to Berlin (maybe in the summer next time) and explore more of Germany.

Above: The Reichstag building, home of the German legislative body, the Bundestag.

Below: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

 

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

Winter is certainly not the ideal time of year to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we didn’t let that stop us. Even in the winter, it was one of the most spectacular drives I’ve ever taken. We drove about an hour north on the parkway from the Visitors Center near Asheville and hiked the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, which gave us a stunning (and extremely windy) 360 view of the seemingly endless layers of mountains. (Photos from our Christmas 2016 roadtrip from Nashville, TN, to Upper Marlboro, MD, and back.)

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

Asheville, North Carolina


On our way back to Nashville from Maryland this past Christmas, we stopped for three days in Asheville, North Carolina. This quirky mountain town is known for it’s live bluegrass and thriving arts scene. We had a blast walking around, popping into cool shops and bookstores, catching mid-day movies at the indie theater, and checking out a bluegrass jam at a local pub one evening.

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

Virginia: The Natural Bridge

A rainy stop at the magnificent Natural Bridge in Virginia. Photos really can’t capture how neat this geological masterpiece is in person. This was the second day in our road trip from Nashville to Maryland and back over Christmas.

 [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of Virginia, click here.]

TN: Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Rather than fly or drive straight to Maryland for this past Christmas (2016), Aleksi and I decided to rent a car and make a road trip out of it. We took two days to get to Maryland. On the first day, we stopped to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains outside Gatlinburg, TN and spent the night in Johnson City. Our day two stop was one of my childhood favorites: the Natural Bridge in Virginia. After a few days in Maryland enjoying family and friends, we headed down to Asheville, NC, where we spent a few lovely days before driving back up to Nashville via Nantahala National Forest and Chattanooga.

The area we hiked in the Smokies was hit by the severe forest fires that affected the region in November 2016. During the first half of the hike, the forest smelled faintly of smoke and had little to no underbrush growing. Not many trees had been felled by the fire, but many trunks were blackened at the bottoms. Once we got higher up, there was a clear line where the fire had not gone, and it was shocking to see the lush undergrowth that should have extended all the way down the mountain. It certainly made for an interesting hike, although it was sad to think of those who had been killed or displaced by the fires.

 [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of Tennessee, click here.]

Walthamstow and the William Morris Gallery

One of my favorite afternoons in London last year was spent at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (East London). This gorgeous old home was the one-time residence of the Morris family during the formative years of Morris’ early teenage years. Here he fell in love with the forest and dreamed up heroic adventures. The museum itself is a delightful look at all the many interests and pursuits that Morris mastered over his lifetime, including interior design, poetry, book-making, stained-glass, and more. They had a lovely tea room with a beautiful view of the house’s garden and Lloyd Park.

I didn’t get to do too much exploring in Walthamstow, but having spotted three instances of William Morris street art walking to and from the tube, I left very much in love with the place.

 [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of London, click here.]

Day Trip to Cambridge, England

 Near the end of my two-week visit with Aleksi in London last October, we took an early-morning train to Cambridge for a day of wandering around the gorgeous colleges, eating fresh baked goods in town, and taking our time in the fabulous Fitzwilliam Museum. Unfortunately for Aleksi, the Fitzwilliam had a great exhibit on the art and science of illuminated manuscripts, so I took at least an hour to stare deeply into each page and reach ever label while he patiently waited. We also met up with a college friend of Aleksi’s who had recently begun graduate studies at Cambridge.

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of England, click here.]