(but I think I got away with it.)
|Abbey in the Oakwood (1808), Caspar David Freidrich|
We had planned on having two days in Berlin, but that wasn't realistic given that we woke up Thursday morning in Wolfsburg—or more to the point, that we had spent Wednesday night drinking beer in Wolfsburg, after Sweden's unexpected triumph over the US in the Cup that evening. Nevermind that now: the point is that by the time we made it to Berlin Hauptbahnhof the afternoon was well along. Beyond having reserved a hotel room, we had done embarassingly little prep for Berlin; fortunately S. found us the bus to Friedrichstraße before she left for the airport, which dropped us at the straße in question. From there all we had was a street address—106—so trusting to my innate sense of direction we set off down the street. 130, 131, 132… have I mentioned that one should not always trust my innate sense of direction? Choosing to put our faith in the natural numbers rather than instinct, we pulled a volte face and headed off the other direction. Five blocks later we'd made it down into the 120s. We were just contemplating whether to stop for lunch before finding the place when suddenly we found ourselves in the low 130s again; on closer examination, the name of the street had just changed. What the what?
I tell you all of this so that you will understand when I explain that we didn't actually do that much in Berlin. It was the end of a long two weeks, we were tired and hungry, and the cold that I had picked up from my roommate back in Turunç was finally hitting full stride. So, rather than setting out immediately to explore this little piece of what used to be East Berlin, we collapsed in our relatively comfy hotel room until evening. A little internet research led us the few blocks to Kartoffelkellar, where we sat on the patio and ate schnitzel and potatoes while catching each other up on our various adventures over the previous week or so.
Friday we had nearly a complete day in the city, so after breakfast we left our bags at the hotel and set off to while away the hours until our evening flight out of Schönefeld. Our destination was the Alte Nationalgalerie, now the home to one of the world's premier collections of 19th century German Romanticist art. I know this might seem like an odd choice, and admittedly we did consider making our one destination the Stasi museum; but we both have a fondness for the seriously overwrought paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, such as Abbey in the Oakwood (pictured above). Plus, we figured it was better to pick one thing and do it well; honestly, flights to Berlin have proved to be so ridiculously cheap that we really have no excuse to not come back again, soon. Anyway, it was a day of wildly romantic views for us. It's a pretty nice collection, and we wandered through as much of it as we could stand, then had a leisurely fika in the basement bookshop before taking a quick peek at the rest of the place. And it wasn't all overwrought—there were actually a number of rather whimsical pieces scattered throughout.
|The Tyrolean gentleman in the center has clearly just been outwitted by a girl.|