Oh autumn, how beautiful you are. Like many, during this season my heart warms, the sweaters come out of the closet, the kitchen starts to smell like cinnamon, and eyes wait patiently for colorful foliage to show off. I look forward to living in or visiting cities that have all four seasons waiting at their front door. This autumn I’ve been fortunate enough to ride my bike through browning leaves in Berlin. If you find yourself in this city during fall, here are a few suggestions on how to enjoy autumn in this special city.
Enjoy the foliage around the different neighborhoods
One of my favorite things to do is watch as the leaves fall from their trees and leave a golden glow upon residential streets. I looked forward to stepping out every single day as the greens transitioned into browns. Take a moment to soak in this natural beauty while you’re out exploring on bike or by foot.
Check out the light fixtures at the Festival of Lights
Every year during autumn, Berlin becomes a city full of lights and art displays. On some of the most famous landmarks, monuments, and squares, you will encounter fun and detailed designs making it hard to keep your eyes off. Artists from all over contribute to make sure that the themes and messages are being presented to all in a special way.
Celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall
November 9th marks an important day in history for the world, especially for Germany and Berlin. On November 9th, 1989, citizens under communist rule were free to cross the country’s border. For almost 31 years, the Iron Curtain governed the east, limiting the rights of its citizens. Some claim to have had a good life in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), but many did not and planned detailed escapes to the west.
During this time, families were separated and people killed trying to cross over in search of freedom and family unification. Before the official announcement was made about open borders, the Peaceful Revolution had already begun days prior. Once the news was broadcasted on the 9th, citizens from East Germany gathered at the checkpoints and swarmed their way through the gates. They were happily greeted by West Berliners.
This past November marked the 31st Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall. As this date is celebrated every year, it is very likely that you will come across events and exhibits if you’re in town. This year I made sure to catch some of the video displays and art at Alexanderplatz, Brandenburg Gate, and Kurfürstendamm.
These locations also played an important role during the Peaceful Revolution, therefore I made it my goal to attend and inform myself more about the Iron Curtain and its wall that affected this city that I’m currently living in.
Visit the Brothers Grimm at St. Matthäus Cemetery
In the lovely neighborhood of Schöneberg, you can find this beautiful cemetery that was established in 1856 and rests some iconic German figures, among them are the famous Brothers Grimm.
At one point in time the cemetery was partially demolished and was eventually going to be completely demolished but plans changed during Nazi occupation of the zone. This cemetery is a two minute bike ride from my apartment so I pass it everyday. It is a serene place to visit when you want to reflect, surround yourself with greenery, or if you simply want to visit the Brothers Grimm gravestones.
The brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, held many titles, one of the most famous being authors. We can all thank them for their folk tales, which I’m certain played a big role in our childhood. From Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel, their stories continue to be told and retold to children around the world.
Stroll Through A Market
I’ve posted about markets in many of my blogs, I can’t help it, visiting a market should be a must during every season. Strolling through a market during fall is magical. If you have an hour or so to spare, browse the local seasonal produce and artisanal goods at any of the markets near you. You’ll have your pick of gourds and lovely décor to sort through. My favorite one is the Turkish market near the St. Matthäus Cemetery. Here you can get inexpensive produce and interact with some of the Turkish community. Berlin is so diverse, my favorite way to get a glimpse of a different culture here is by browsing their markets. What better way to immerse yourself, right?
Wander Through Viktoriapark
This lovely park is located in Kreuzberg, very close to Schöneberg. It opened in 1894 and is located up at the top of a hill, giving its visitors a nice overview of Berlin.It was originally named Kreuzberg after the Iron Cross, Eisernes Kreuz, but changed to Viktoriapark in 1877.
This park is known for this monument and the lovely waterfall placed at the foot of the hill. It’s a replica of the Krkonoše waterfall, the mountains and waterfall that wealthier Berliners would visit during holiday. During the warmer months residents gather at the rocks to hang with friends and soak their feet in the cool water, which is powered by a pump.There is also a very tiny zoo that houses a few animals and a beer garden.
It’s a great city park that takes you away from the business of the city and into nature. It’s excellent for biking or walking uphill. It’s a great place to end your day before the sun goes down around 4:30 pm.
Visit a Pumpkin Festival
Autumn wouldn’t be complete without seeing a pumpkin or two around. Luckily for you, Berlin is filled with tons of festivals around the city. This Pumpkin Fest in particular was right down the street in front of the Apostel Paulus Kirche. No festival is complete without food, not to worry, the street is lined with vendors selling yummy treats.
There are tons of other things to do in the city during autumn but these are just a few suggestions that will get you outside with the actual foliage. All are free, fun, and relatively safe, especially to do during this pandemic.