For some reason, the first snow of a winter is a special time of the year, the confirmation that the cold season has finally begun – even though a rainy Christmas is already bygone. It’s this very particular day after horrible weeks of sleet and freezing winds when the season’s romance suddenly unfolds and covers the city with its heavy, yet soft cloak of powdery snow. However, a winter’s first heavy snowflakes also evoke this peculiar emotion of a long anticipated satisfaction, probably because we can finally come to a rest of constantly complaining about how climate change took away our perfect storybook seasons, because we can persuade ourselves for a short time at last that it’s not as bad as we always feared. For both reasons, the anticipation of the first snow finally culminates in a thrill once we listen to the weather forecast announcing the first snowfall, putting an end to the long waiting.
Some of us like to enjoy this first snow to the full, going somewhere the snow blanket covers trees and cars, where it suffocates the city’s hectic noises or just makes everybody’s faces a little brighter (and reddened). We already enjoyed the refreshing tranquility of Tiergarten and Neuer See, we raved about a city covered in snow, and, only few days ago, already made plans what to do when winter was not only coming, but already there. Which happened to be as late as this week.
Since I prefer to step out of my usual environment and find enjoyment in other parts of the city during that time, I decided to drive all the way up to Spandau, where the historic district and the citadel would be the perfect scenery to take a long walk. The former is perhaps the closest a Berlin neighbourhood looks and feels like your average German small town, where a typical Fußgängerzone spans over several hundred meters, connecting small stores and big retailers, cafés and even Spandau’s very own Hasir branch. Just as every day, busy shoppers populate the area, today carefully tramping through well-trodden snow blankets. Bright sunshine permitted to step out into the cold at last, although clearly many people were either at work or stuck at their cozy homes. This way the otherwise crowded citadel saw only few visitors in the late afternoon, where the snow-covered ramparts were bathed in the sunset’s glowing light, with nobody to disturb the placid and oddly peaceful mood.