“Visit old Berlin at the turn of the century: horsetram and confectionary, hurdy gurdy man, Brandenburger Tor and Neptun-fountain, Wintergarten variety theatre with first-class program."
At first glance the postcard above appears to depict a scene as described above, but the fact that it is in colour and all the people are wearing 1980s clothes is a bit of a clue. It is a re-creation of Berlin at as it would have been in the early part of the 20th century. And there in the middle, near the top of the picture is the name of the theme park: Phantasialand, Brühl, near Cologne, Germany.
This is part of our souvenir pamphlet, describing in more detail some of the delights of the park. We went there over thirty year ago, when my husband was serving with the RAF at Rheindahlen. My parents were visiting and luckily my dad had his camera (I think we took movie film and no stills). I’d almost forgotten about it until we were scanning Dad’s old slides and found these three amongst them. They’re beginning to deteriorate so we got them in the nick of time.
Here we are sampling some of the ‘confectionery’ on offer; though my son has resorted to his thumb whilst he waits for Mummy to break a piece off for him.
There are two things to note here; the 1970s McLaren Baby Buggy, originally my daughter’s and so much simpler than modern ones; and the matching waistcoats my offspring and I are wearing. The creator of this beautiful fairisle knitwear is walking between us - my mother, who is still knitting at 93 years of age. I still have (and wear) that waistcoat and it is in perfect condition.
The children are waving to their parents, encouraged by Mum. Yes, that’s us in the overhead cable cars.
Are we waving back? I think I can see an arm raised above my husband’s head (we’re the ones at the front).
This time it’s the children’s turn for a ride - my son is in the centre. My husband holds onto the empty buggy whilst keeping an eye on his kids.
Mum is shielding her eyes and peering across at Dad, who has no doubt just shouted to get her attention.
There was much to see and do and as far as I remember we had a very happy day. I have a vivid memory of the theatre and Chinatown. Apparently Phantasialand is still going strong today with more attractions, and more in keeping with the 21st century.
It was the busy street scene which was our prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday, that started me on this journey, stopping at two destinations in the past; old Berlin more than a hundred years ago and a thirty two year-old snapshot of my own family life.
To see what others found in the picture to set them on their own journey of discovery, step inside the wonderful time machine that is Sepia Saturday. Enjoy the ride!