Berlin : Festival of Lights

Out of nowhere, the tall buildings of the Potsdamer Platz are illuminated with famous images of modern art. Works by Warhol, Haring et al flit across the buildings.image
That most famous of monuments, the Brandenburg Gate, is awash with a changing display of light. One minute it is striped, the next minute covered in floral wallpaper.image
And amidst this arty, edgy cool which is modern Berlin are many young New Zealanders. A young Wellingtonian, here to try to get a start in the film industry, guides us on the underground. Artists and actors are making coffee, and staffing the vintage furniture and clothing shops. The delightful Stephanie Taylor from Auckland hosts one of the most popular walking tours of the city. She’s writing a book about Berlin in the last 100 years – a social history.

The Festival of Lights is a happy accident for this visitor, a bonus, but it’s well worth planning for. It runs in October every year. I don’t know how they do it, but it beats the changing colours of the Sky Tower. I reckon Wellington could pull off something like this.