On the fourth day we visited Berlin Zoo, said to be the best zoo in Europe. I have mixed feelings about zoos. I love animals, and seeing creatures I would never normally see unless I visited their native habitat. However, while some animals seem happy in their enclosures, I can’t help feeling they should be in their natural homes instead of a pen far smaller. That said, I think it is beneficial in terms of breeding endangered animals.
I was disappointed to discover that the panda had died some years previously, which was fairly misleading considering they had used it’s photos on the leaflets, website, park map and even their current merchandise. It seems most of the zoo wasn’t that up to date with signs, and unfortunately some of the animals, especially the big cats, had a tiny glass cage for a cell. Thinking about it now, most of the enclosures were clinical and sadly not representative of their natural habitats in any way.
The seals and sealions were beautiful creatures which seemed reasonably happy. I took some shots for reference for selkies.
At night we went up the TV tower. The landmark is visible from almost every part of Berlin at 368 metres tall. The downside was that the lights from inside the tower reflected on the angled glass which made taking photos a bit more difficult. I bought a picture book from the gift shop. The beautiful watercolour illustrations tell the story of the TV Tower and the Berlin Bear mascot taking a trip around the city.
On the last day we visited the Marchenbrunnen, the fairy tale fountain in Volkspark Friedrichstain. The fountain features statues from traditional Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. Unfortunately, it seems the fountain is under maintenance at the moment. All of the fountain’s statues are housed under graffiti-covered “sheds”, and it looks like it has been that way for some time. There was no English notice stating why it was this way, and I have found nothing about it online since.
The Marchenbrunnen – with the statues covered
There were some freestanding statues that I was able to take photographs of:
Sadly I didn’t see any postcards of the Marchenbrunnen. The shop across the road (actually named after the fountain) was no help either.
The rest of the day was spent with some retail therapy. I bought two books on children’s illustration from a fantastic book shop which actually has illustration as a separate category from graphic design, which doesn’t happen often! One is called “Print and Pattern” and the other “European Children’s Illustrators”.
In the shopping centre we spotted a fantastic display for the new “Pastry Chef” range of Swatch watches. The watches are inspired by sweets, and each watch is featured alongside boiled sweet jars and cake stands in matching colours. The catalogue itself is a work of art, and seamlessly blends product advertisement with homemade sweet recipes.