Since mid-April, I am trying to save at least one day every week for going to visit the IGA 2017, but the weather was the worst partner ever in this project. How could I visit an International Garten Exhibition where beautiful flowers and gardens projects are displayed and writing about it without being able to take pictures with the rays of sun soaking the natural colours? The last week, things started to change, and I spent one of the few first days of the spring without any drops of rain outdoors exploring an unique temporary project.
The exhibition takes places until 15 October this year. For the 186-day duration, around 5,000 events - among which concerts and theatre representations - are scheduled. Full updates of the program are available on the English and German versions of the exhibition website. Initially, the exhibition - which is organised in Germany every 10 years - was planned to be held in Tempelhof the former airport turned into a public park, but it was transferred to Marzahn-Hellendorf, where the infrastructure of the Gardens of the World was already available, to which a couple of more hectares were added where new constructions were built and new project created.
As I went to the Gardens of the World several times, I rather preferred to see the newest additions, including the cable car which connects the old and new part of the park, with an overview over the flowers exhibitions and the various other projects developed. The launch of the project was accompanied by a new refurbishing of the metro station Kienberg-Gärten der Welt - which looks just modern but without any special personality as many of the metro stations I featured in my post dedicated to the most beautiful metro stations -, which can be easily accessed via U5 line. With the S5 from Spandau, Zoologische Garten or Alexanderplatz, the train should be changed at Wuhletal station. The duration of the ride is about 45 minutes. If you arrive by car, there should be some problems as there are no parking spaces available around.
In most cases, IGA 2017 is easily accessible to persons with disabilities and families, with elevators and ramps facilitating a best overview of most places of interest. Particularly for children, there are so many parks and playground where children of different ages can have a great time outdoors.
Near the main entrance, for instance, there is a big playground inspired by the works of the beloved German children author Erich Kästner.
Age doesn't usually matter here, as you can enjoy your childhood memento on the top of one of the hills playing on a swing, eventually barefoot for touching the small heaps of sands underneath. Time to dream about the location of your summer holidays.
The ambiance of the natural paradies continues in the Arche Park, where horses or sheep are freely roaming around. Maybe a relaxing gateway in the countryside suits you better?
There are many places where one can meditate about the future, including planet's. Bridges made of recycled metal brings you in the middle of wilder nature patches.
The architectural structures easily integrated into the natural landscape are confirming this frame of mind focused on creating more awareness about the environment among different generations.
At IGA 2017, one can touch, see and learn from first hand sources about various farming conditions of different types of grains or about the life of the bees.
Creating a huge installation out of the eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo boosts the limits of creativity in architecture, while keeping in mind to use technologies that don't create chemical pollution or any harm to the environment.
The area designated to introduce nature-related projects and to offer additional information about plants and green cultures is fascinating, especially for someone that has spent too much time in the urban areas. For instance, the small vineyard created where I hope to return in autumn when maybe some drops of fresh wine will be available for tasting.
Or how to create eco-friendly roofs made of recycled materials...There is so much to learn that I almost forgot that I only have only one full day to spend here this time.
The silent Chinese Pavillion, where the tea can be sipped as in the Imperial times, remains unchanged, even nowadays the curious passangers from the cable car might be intrusively overlooking the tea-lovers.
If you visit the Gärten this time of the year, you can fully feel the spring in all its fragrances and colours. For instance, wisteria, which is a rare appearance in the Berlin catalogue of flowers.
Children are invited to visit a Brothers Grimm thematic park, with representation of different stories by the famous German story tellers. I may confess that with some exceptions, many of the characters were completely foreign to me so it is about time to return to some basic bibliography.
Hopefully, there are many friendly characters, out of the classroom, which can entertain and make a trip with the children an enjoyable experience.
As during my previous visits, I enjoyed spending some time in the Japanese gardens and their balance between nature and man-made constructions...
As I spent some good time lately at the Botanical Gardens in Berlin - a video displaying the beauty of this part of the world being under editing right now - I was reminded one more time about the preciousness and fragility of our eco-system.
And how else one can celebrate the beauty of nature otherwise than by dancing under the fresh wind of summer, surrounded by interestingly manicured trees and a symphony-like beauty of tulips of all colours, in different stages of blossoming.
The journey at IGA 2017 means more than a hiking trip well-spent taking pictures of flowers. With all the knowledge about nature and the inspiring beauty of flowers, it can be compared, at a lower level though, with the inspirational journey of the prophet Jonah, whose Biblical whale was built in the middle of one of the many playgrounds.
I cannot leave the Exhibition without using the opportunity of having a ride with the cable car. It goes smoothly on the top of the park, with a perfect view over the entire area through the window walls. At mid-way it stops for the exceptional construction of the Wolkenhain, which offers an overview of the Eastern part of Berlin, including the famous TV Tower. During the night time, the entire construction is illuminated creating an impressive visual effect.
One can reach the top with the elevator or by using the stairs, eventually with a stop at the small coffee at the ground level. Food- and coffee-wise, IGA is providing many resourceful stops, serving mostly snacks and icecreams, without anything noteworthy from the point of view of the gourmet option. Hopefully, you can easily buy bottles of fresh water for a well-hydrated journey through the many wonders offered at the Exhibition.
From the top of the terrace, you can reach far-far East beyond the typical communist constructions of the Plattenbauten which are surrounding the area and are visible anyway, until you can spot the vivid yellow raps camps and the gigantesques windmills. The green patches are beautifying the ugly concrete constructions - I know that those constructions look so fancy and fashionable for expats, but nothing will convince me that besides the affordable rent prices there is anything else to like about living in such boxes of matches.
Berlin is a city smart enough to give you serious reasons to stay more and explore its insides even longer. IGA2017 is another example of the unexpected potential of this city.