Finally a return to in-person programming! Not just another Zoom call! On Sunday, August 1st we will have an outing to the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) in the Havel River. The island was developed in the late 18th century by King Frederick William II, who built a castle, dairy, and various fake classical ruins. Schinkel's Palm House unfortunately burned in the 19th century and has never been rebuilt. Exotic fauna were introduced to the island, but only the peacocks - over 60 of them - remain today. You will find them mostly in the area near the castle and the ferry landing.
In the middle of the island is an Imbiss selling drinks, snacks, and sweets, but expect a long line which moves slowly. You may find it more practical to bring a bottle of water, and enjoy coffee and cake (or a full meal) at the Wirtshaus, at the ferry landing on the mainland, after your visit to the island. Rest rooms on the island are located next to the souvenir shop at the ferry landing and behind the Imbiss.
The only admission charge is the ferry ticket (€4, reduced €3), which may be purchased on the website of the Stiftung Preussischer Schlösser und Gärten (click on "to ticket shop" and "Peacock Island"). Additionally, there is one ticket machine at the ferry landing (takes credit/debit cards only) or tickets may be purchased (cash only, preferably with exact change) from the ferry operator. There is no schedule for the ferry, which takes about two or three minutes to cross to the island; typically there are ten to fifteen minutes between crossings. Thirty people are allowed on board.
The easiest way of getting to the island is via the 218 bus, which is the loveliest bus route in Berlin (half of the route goes through the Grunewald). I will be on the bus that departs U-Bhf Theodor Heuss Platz (U2) at 12:45, S-Bhf Heerstraße at 12:47, and S-Bhf Wannsee at 13:20, and arrives at the ferry landing at 13:30. For those of you tempted to drive to the ferry landing, the entire length of Pfaueninselchaussee, from Königstraße to the ferry landing, is a no-parking zone, though it is, in fact, often parked full. The Ordnungsamt does occasionally ticket cars, however, particularly when they block the bus route. The 218 bus returns to town from the ferry landing on the :04 and :34 of each hour.
There is no formal program for the outing. We will assemble at the ferry landing at 13:30, cross to the island, and walk around the castle and formal garden. People who want to peel off at the Imbiss (or elsewhere) may of course do so, and rejoin the group on our way back from the dairy and the temple, or at the Wirtshaus on the mainland. The important thing is to enjoy the natural beauty of the island, catch sight of at least a few peacocks, and engage in some good conversation.
Please note that masks are required on all public transportation, including the bus and the ferry. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes; most of the paths are flat, but both ferry landings are cobblestoned, and the initial rise from the ferry landing is rather steep. No bicycles are allowed on the island; smoking is also prohibited.