A little bit of Russia in Germany: Potsdam and Alexandrovka

I found a city in Germany where I feel myself almost at home. About two weeks ago we have visited Potsdam. As it is the capital of the Brandenburg State, we had to go there for some documents in State Ministry of inner affairs.  Everything started in this Ministry. There were signs in Russian and they offered the handbooks about integration in German and Russian.

On the streets of Potsdam we met many times Russian speaking people that were the inhabitants of the city (naturally there were a lot of Russian tourists too). Some signs there were also in my language.

So we were not very surprised to discover a Russian village: Russische Kolonie Alexandrowka. The village is situated in the north of Potsdam and includes several Russian style houses, huge fruits garden and an orthodox church. The village has been built in 1826 by order of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III and named after the Russian emperor Alexander I. Till 1945 the families of Russian soldiers and their ancestors lived there. Now the Russian colony Alexandrovka is an architectural memorial site included in the UNESCO World Heritage.

So Russians were in Potsdam long time ago and no wonder that they still keep coming :) I would also like to stay living in this city full of history and beautiful sites.


The III International Poetry Festival MERIDIAN CZERNOWITZ, September 6-9, 2012


This year the festival in Chernovtsy will take place from 6th till 9th of September. The final program of the festival has been published just recently. I found there a lot of new and fascinating events.  It is dedicated to the modern Ukrainian and European poetry (of course! it’s the poetry festival) and includes poetry readings, lecture, musical and theatrical performances, screenings of the poetry films, poetry in animation, electropoetry and so on.  Last year I was positively surprised by the concert combining poetry and rock-music. This time there will be something similar, I guess.

The participants changed a little bit. No French poetry this year :( But there will be a lot of events performed by representatives of Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Romania and Israel.

One of the guests is Oksana Zabuzhko. I have never read her and heard about her just recently from my husband. It turned out that she is the most famous (and maybe only one) Ukrainian writer beyond Ukraine and her works are translated to other languages.

IMHO the highlight of the MERIDIAN CZERNOWITZ 2012 will be the day trips and the poetical events in Khotyn and Kamenets-Podolskiy – the towns with the beautiful impressive fortresses. I still dream to visit these towns one day.

Last year I enjoyed Chernovtsy and the festival and I hope that this year it doesn’t become worse.

The things that surprise me in Frankfurt (Oder)

I don’t know how it’s in other German cities but in Frankfurt on the Oder there are a lot of things that are very strange for me.  Here are some of them:

  • The trams go only every 20 minutes. After 6 pm some of them don’t work at all. On the weekend they go every 30 minutes. For not lazy people it’s easier and faster to walk.
  • The supermarkets close at 8 pm (only one in the center works till 10 pm). On Sunday everything is closed. When people go shopping if not after 8 pm or on Sunday? At least I always did like this in Ukraine…
  • People greet and say goodbye to other unknown people.
  • I’ve never met before so many people with the hair colored in red-pink-violet and with tattoos and piercings.
  • I hear Russian language very often (once even Ukrainian) though I’ve never spoken to any Russian speaker here.
  • The products are often cheaper than in Ukraine!
  • It is a problem to find green tea, especially in leafs, especially with some taste. I accidentally bought a package of the green tea with jasmine at one Chinese girl at the festival. I guess next time I will import it from Ukraine.
  • You can enter municipality, university and library freely. Nobody asks you for a document or a student card. You can attend any lecture.
  • There are almost no people on the streets, even in the evening or on the weekend.
  • There are no normal pavements! I break my legs every day.  Almost everywhere are the paver blocks, or the stones, or just the earth fill. They don’t think at all about the people! One can die on these streets!
  • Strange monuments and children playgrounds.
  • Frozen bread. Sausages in glasses. Pancakes in plastic packages… All food is just strange.