Cherry Fest and Fancy Dress

Apart from a lifelong aversion to idiots, I’ve been pretty lucky on the allergy front, i.e. I haven’t had any. So, it was with some surprise that, at the ripe old age of 38, I suddenly developed hay fever.  I put this down to some sort of weird German tree that I have never encountered before; clearly I’m not allergic to birch as Latvia is 98% tree and 2% people and I survived just fine there. (Kind of.)

Anyway, as with most things, I felt that the best way to tackle my new condition was head-on. In a bid to show my “Heuschnupfen” who was boss, I decided to take it to a tree festival. However, going to a festival with just your hay fever for company would be a bit dull so, luckily, my good friend Han said he’d come along for the sneezy ride.

Evil trees...
Evil trees…

Kirschblütenfest (Cherry Blossom Festival), now in its 10th year, takes place in the Japanese, Chinese and Korean Gardens of Gärten der Welt (Gardens of the World). This all sounds lovely until you realise that Gärten der Welt is in the ever-so-picturesque district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf – so far east that you could easily think you’d crossed into Poland.

Marzahn-Polskidorf
Marzahn-Polskidorf

Han: Do you know where we’re going? 

Me: Um, kind of. I don’t usually go this far east. 

Han: Yeah, I always feel that the further east I go, the greater the risk of being stabbed. 

Me: … 

Following the instructions on the Fest Facebook page, we hopped off the train at Wuhletal and ran for what we hoped was the right bus. It wasn’t. Instead of getting mad at being flagged down for no reason, we must have looked forlorn enough that the driver felt sorry for us, took the time to give us detailed directions and let us on the bus without even checking our tickets. He dropped us back at Wuhletal and we got back on the train. So far, so circular.

This time, we managed to get off at the right stop, find the right bus and, in no time at all, we reached the end of the world Gärten der Welt. It was a tad busier than we had expected.

What the ...?
What the …?

We decided to be clever and go for some coffee and cake in the hope that the queue would have cleared a bit by the time we came back. No such luck. If anything, it was longer. But at least there was a little entertainment to keep us occupied.

Very tall Asian lady
Very tall Asian lady

After queuing for close to an hour and paying the princely sum of €7, we entered the gardens. Relieved at finally being able to walk at a speed greater than 1mm an hour, we scoffed at all of the people who had left one queue just to join another – this time for coffee. We, on the other hand, had far better things to do.

Like this!
Like this!

You might think that I’d feel like a bit of an idiot, climbing onto statues and taking silly photos, but you would be forgetting one very important fact – this is Berlin. You are never the craziest-looking person.

Still, even by Berlin standards, people had really pulled out all the stops. Some were vaguely on theme with an oriental flavour…

Some were just bizarre…

Some were probably at the wrong party…

Because you always need goths...
?

And one was, nope, you’ll never guess…

A Canadian Mountie
A Canadian Mountie

Having recovered from our embarrassment at dressing normally, Han and I set off to explore the gardens. While some of the park is still under development, the parts that are finished are quite beautiful.

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The “Catholic” Gardens, in particular, were rather interesting in their design – and far nicer than actually going to church on a Sunday. (Sorry, mam.)

DSC00395

DSC00393

Heaven (or sky) in German - see what they did there?
Heaven (or sky) in German – see what they did there?

The day turned out to be much nicer than the forecast had predicted and we happily wandered around, feeling the sun on our faces and enjoying the madness. This being Berlin, there are no silly “Keep off the Grass” rules and, as far as the eye could see, Geishas, fairy-tale characters, goths and possible asylum escapees amicably intermingled.

While I’ve always believed that I could have been a samurai…

Can I have a go of your stick?
Can I have a go of your stick?

this didn’t really feel like the day to find out. Instead, we strolled over to a stage to watch some traditional Asian dancing. In keeping with the fairy-tale theme, I have done a “Queen of Hearts” and chopped off some heads for your viewing pleasure.

Knowing there was probably going to be a scrum for the bus (and with me now sneezing uncontrollably), we decided to leave a little early. I left Han at his station and proceeded to my next train. The drunkest couple in the world sat down beside me. He was tiny and loud; she looked like she’d been hit in the face with a shovel repeatedly (but probably hadn’t felt it). He took a dislike to me for some reason (not shovelled enough?) and I left the train with him shouting insults at my back. Ho hum. Onto the next train.

On the platform, I was approached by another little man. This one turned out to be a rather persistent Algerian who seemed determined to find love on the S-Bahn.

Actual footage
Actual footage

Unfortunately, it was not to be. I leapt out of the still-moving train at my station and headed for home.

And we all lived happily ever after. Probably.

 

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63 thoughts on “Cherry Fest and Fancy Dress”

  1. You totally violated that dragon, didnt you?
    I am pretty lucky on the allergies front (knock on wood), but when I was in London last week all I could think about how this is NOT a place for Jenna in springtime – EVERYTHING was in bloom, everything was smelling of flowers and nature (in the best way).
    (Moscow is still trying to remember what “nature” looks like since last October).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did not violate the dragon – I am very mature… 😉 Going to another blossom fest in a couple of weeks – this one’s got fruit wine though so it’s even better again 🙂

      Like

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  3. let’s just hope that your newly developed hay fever is seasonal and will be over when the height o blooming season is over. As much as I enjoyed your Latvian (mis)adventures, there’s too much of Berlin and Germany for you to cover here before you move to North pole where there’s no chance for hay fever at all

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll be visiting Vienna for a day this summer, while on a Prague-Vienna-Budapest summer tour, so looking forward to some of Linda’s tips on visiting Vienna. You have an uncanny talent to find the most interesting places while on an ordinary trip 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My garden is just coming into bloom not – looks amazing 🙂 My first spring in this flat so it’s all new 🙂 And there’s another festival coming up in a few weeks – this one has wine 😉

          Liked by 1 person

              1. My jaw dropped, and then I realized you’re talking centigrade. We antediluvians still use the Fahrenheit scale where 22 is well below freezing. But a week ago we had snow here, so I’m happy with anything above 13 C!

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  4. I believe what you meant to say was “You might think that I’d feel like a bit of an idiot, climbing onto statues and taking silly photos, but you would be forgetting one very important fact – I am Berlinda.” 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha! Yeah, that too I guess! Luckily Han doesn’t embarrass easily either 🙂 It was harder to get up on that thing than it looked – he had to hold my handbag 🙂

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      1. Yes, except for the hay fever, it sounds like you had fun. Too bad about the hay fever though. You’ll never want to Tallahassee, Florida, then. It’s the “allergy capital” of the US. I never had allergies until I moved here.

        Liked by 1 person

                1. Yeah, a Costa Rican. Crazy wasn’t the word for it – might get around to writing a blog post about it at some stage 😉 Spanish mistakes are very different from German ones! I could hardly understand a word he said!

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Oddly enough, I don’t think they were selling alcohol! Really unusual for Berlin. I didn’t see anyone drinking anything stronger than coffee – only really noticed towards the end. The costumes were pretty mind-blowing – maybe there was a shitload of drugs floating around instead 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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