24 October 2016

Some Casual Observations Donnerstag bis Montag (20 Oktober - 24 Oktober 2016)

Speaking of gulashsuppe...

the second best in the world can be found in this restaurant in the Nikolaiviertel in Berlin. I've had it there several times and it never disappoints.  (The best is found in Prague, across the river, in a nameless restaurant that serves it with wonderful dumplings.)

The Ballet in Berlin - Giselle was playing, so we had to go see the production at the Staatsballett Berlin, performing temporarily at the Schiller Theatre in West Berlin.

The stage was a bit small, but the sets were quite fantastic, better than SFB's. The corps at SFB, however, is distinctly superior. We both enjoyed the first act, but the second act (my favorite) lacked something.

A couple of amusing things happened. A French couple was convinced that we had their seats (they being on the left, and we the right). It took some time to explain the situation to them, to the amusement of those sitting around us. Also, during the intermission we looked at the Opernstore, the only Ballet store that I know of that sells mustard.

Saint Hedwig's Organ - is always a delight and so we took advantage of an afternoon concert on their magnificent Klais organ.  A piece by Bach and then Durufle was played to the delight of all. 

Saturday on the Spree - We always like taking a Spree cruise, that takes you down river and then back to the Tiergarten by way of the Landwehr canal.  It gives you a different perspective on the city, and allows several opportunities to experience locks.

That and a glass of hot chocolate, and later tortellini with vegetables makes for a delightful mid-day.  On several of our walks we run into Stolpersteine, small memorials to people who were deported and then murdered at the camps.

It's impressive to watch a culture and a people wrestle with their past - there are so many evidences of a good effort.  Every now and then, however, one runs into something like this:

In the neighborhood near our hotel there was once a synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazi's and further decimated by the bombings in Berlin. The city erected a memorial there made of Corten Steele - a stylized menorah with a panel explaining the history and the memorial. The panel had been defaced with yellow paint proclaiming "Jesus Wahrheit" (Jesus the Truth). It is embarrassingly disgraceful. The plaque is really quite beautiful with the Hebrew and German text incised into the steel.

Sundays in Berlin are locked up tighter than a drum - so finding ourselves at Hackescher Hof with nothing to look at or buy, we got on a streetcar, and took it to the end of the line and back. It allowed us to see parts of Berlin we had not visited before, and to see how rejuvenated the eastern half has become. There is one thing, however, that Berlin can't seem to deal with and that is graffiti; it appears everywhere, and to the detriment of some fine buildings.  

A visit to Amarna - On Monday we visit Museuminsel, and specifically the Neues Museum.  We are there to visit Nefertiti, of course, but she wasn't allowing photographs. A photo, however, of Queen Tiy gives you an idea of the beauty of this collection's holdings.

And there is a wonderful example of the Amarna style in a fresco of ducks and water lilies.

We had a good conversation with two different couples, both from London. It expands your world to share ideas and points of view with people from other places. Delightful! Especially delightful, however, is traveling with Arthur.

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