Tuesday, August 30, 2011

climbing siegessäule

july 15, 2011 I - siegessäule

One of the highlights of my 2011 will be the climbing of Siegessäulle. In having finally done that I can actually check off one little life dream. Which holds a certain melancholy satisfaction in its little own.

The experience was briefly mention in my "the berlin-to-do-list". Now some more photos and words, because a golden (angel) moment certainly deserves a post of its own.


:: The monument was raised, only as a column initially, in 1864 as a war victory monument. Which is just a sad and horrific reason to erect a monument of course, but obviously this is how people like to boast about killing eachother and not much has happened since where human madness is concerned.


:: In 1873 there were apparently more war victories to boast about and the column was re-inaugurated now with the golden Victory angel on top. She's 8,3 metres high and is said to weigh an astonishing 35 tonnes. To get that big girl up there must have been a lot of work...

:: The golden victory angel's nickname is Goldelse, which translates Gold Elsa, and it's a rather sweet name I think. Kind of takes the edge of the monument's bellicose, violent origin.


:: The monument was moved from its original place (in front of the parliament) in 1939 and it escaped WWII without being harmed. After the war ended the French wanted to destroy the monument, as it was seen as a nazi symbol, but the British-Americans vetoed that. Which I'm grateful for, without it where would angels congregate? And what little dream could I then have checked off my to-do-list in 2011?


:: If you haven't seen Der Himmel über Berlinyou really should. Besides it being a fantastic movie (one of my favourites) in its own, you get to see some titillating scenes featuring Goldelse. And the sequel "Faraway, so close!" is wonderful too.



:: The 67 metres high monument is situated in a heavily trafficed street circle - parking the car in what can be described as nothing less than a busy highway, getting out of the car with other cars in high speed swooshing by, then try and scutter over the same 'highway' to get to a pavement can possibly be the ultimate big city experience. I'm glad Germans in general are excellent drivers... - and it's reached via pedestrian tunnels under the 'highway'.

can you spot a swedish car?

:: In july 2011 I finally climbed the 277+ spiral stairs to reach the trellis balcony. It was very very windy and pretty crowded given the very limited space. The views were spectacular - even on such a cloudy day - and really, Berlin is quite a green city amongst all its concrete, exhaust gas galore sinful citiness. And looking up the golden angel's dress - even with my non-fondness for being close up and personal with statues - that was magical.


:: Climbing up and down, and spiral staircases are so not my favourite stairs, those narrow steps plus the excitement (even if you're not a bobbaloo) left me strangely both tired (lactic acid legs plethora) and uplifted the rest of the day. Pure magic.

:: The dream day was rounded of in a perfect way, also golden, with one of the, if not THE, best meals I've ever had. Vegan food, raw food, gourmet food. Pure bliss. And more of that in a post of its own.



Elephant's Child said...

Oh Wow. I did not know about here. Odd, as you say, to erect an angel to celebrate war. Nonetheless she is a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Fuzzy Tales said...

You certainly had a fabulous view! Congratulations on achieving one of your dreams!

I remember going up the CN Tower in Toronto once--via elevator. I have no head for heights and at the time the glass floor was new--I didn't walk on it at all, just couldn't, though I walked around the rest of the tower. Amazing views from up there, too, but I wouldn't do it again. The trip down in the elevator left me woozy and a bit nauseous for hours after.

Definitely a once-in-a-life experience for me!

Now you can be strapped/tethered up and walk *outside* the tower, at the top. Acck. No, no, no. A man did it recently to celebrate his 90th birthday. Seriously. Made the night time news.

DahnStarr said...

Been up to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington several times. That is always new and fun whether in the day or at night. I didn't know that you could go inside and up to the top of the Arch (The Gateway to the West) in St. Louis, Missouri until I did it. I loved that! But, I've never walked the steps to be with an angel! Someday.

pärlbesatt said...

När jag läste "climbing" så tänkte jag mig att du skulle klättra på utsidan, med rep och allt... :D Ja, jag har lite svårt med det bokstavliga tänket ibland. Inte så sällan...

pärlbesatt said...

Och grattis till drömuppfyllelsen och bedriften. Själv är jag så vanvettigt höjdrädd att jag inte tror jag hade fixat det.

Carolyn Lackey said...

Great pix, Pia!

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