Berlin

Jul. 4th, 2012 01:55 pm
abouthalfthree: cute big cat cub (Cheeter Cub)
There has been a lack of ice cream in my daily life since leaving Dresden, but given that that is in part due to a change in the weather I am not terribly disappointed. The weather broke my last night in Dresden; I was woken up sometime in the middle of the night and had to close the door to the balcony. Awesome storminess and also awesome no longer 30 degrees.

We're looking at mid twenties for the few days. Phew.

I am in Berlin, after a very stuffy two hours on a train that can come to Dresden from Budapest via Prague on its way to Hamburg. I found my way to my host's apartment easy, thanks to a lucky choice in exit from the Underground. I have to managed to do it again, so there is a bit a difficult road crossing to get home. The Berliners have a word for that immediate area around one's house, the path from home to the U-Bahn station: Kiez.

I spent Sunday morning in the State Art Collection of Dresden. They have some amazing Turkish stuff from August the Strong's reign. And a lot of ridiculous jewels. I went mostly to see an exhibition of works by Gert and Uwe Tobias which were inspired by the collection of Chinoiserie and the collection of prints from the Master of Playing Cards. There was a suit of flowers, a suit of birds, a suit of deer and a suit of wild animals: Lions and bears. The Nine of Wild Animals had nine different etchings of lions or bears, different poses.

Saturday I caught the bus to Moritzburg, about 30 minutes out of Dresden. It's where Käthe Kollwitz was born and spent the end of her life. The Käthe Kollwitz House has a great collection of her work from her whole carrier and well her death room. I didn't even know it was there until I got off the bus and there was a sign for it.

Then I went to the castle. I took the tour, which got us into one of the round turret-y bits, excellent. It was very sunny, but the grounds had a forest. It's a hunting castle, so most of the decoration was antlers stuck onto plaster deer heads. In the main ballroom they had gilded the deer heads and some of the antlers.

There was also a little festival happening in the grounds, so I could get something to eat.

I arrived in Berlin Sunday evening and got to have a short chat with my host before heading out to have dinner with Marco at his favourite pizza place, which was very pleasant.

I spent Monday being tested the Goethe Institute. After the written test a supplementary test and an interview, I am clearly in B2.2, which is a step and a bit higher than I was in Melbourne, which is good. Less grammar, more vocabulary, because it's just two weeks. We're also doing word building/word family stuff, and turns of phrase that are more specifically German. It's good. Small group, too, which is nice.

This afternoon I'm going on a tour of the Neue Nationalgalerie. Yesterday I went on a tour of various neighbourhoods of Berlin, where we discussed gentrification.

There's also a Stammtisch (pub outing) this evening.

Even though I now get to spend several hours a day in a classroom, I still managed to spend about six hours yesterday walking. And I got home before dark (because it never gets dark in Summer).

Dresden

Jun. 30th, 2012 12:12 am
abouthalfthree: "Those who throw objects to the crocodiles will be asked to retrieve them." (Objects from Crocodiles)
Tonight I climbed up to the top of the Martin Luther church. It's not very tall, I went up the Frauenkirche yesterday. But the Martin Luther church is a little local church, and it was night. Coming down is much worse than going up. The spiral staircase is inside one corner of the bell tower bit, so going down, you have a clear view of the cars in the carpark outside the church, but you can't see what you'e walking on very well. It's like over nothing.

Brilliant view up there. And it was lovely weather for it. It's hot and humid at the moment, so being up there was better than being almost anywhere else. The icecream place was open on the way back to the hostel, though, so I got to have an icecream.

I spent several hours in the art museum today. Excellent collection. They've got some fantastic stuff.

Yesterday I wandered around for a while and went to a fantastic exhibition at the Lemon Press. A retrospective of Xu Jiang, whose a contemporary Chinese artists. Fantastic.

Then I went out on this tour of the local area lead by this great guy who told us about the church tower being open on Friday nights. Much fun and drinking and interesting things to see. Then we went on successful a 2am hunt for kebabs.

I got to see all the art Weimar as well, including Goethe's house, which is interesting. Good, too, becaue you do get to wander through all of it. He had some strange stuff. (I forgot to say, one of the things in the Wellcome Collection in London is a French revolutionary guillotine!) The New Museum also had an exhibition of the students of the Bauhaus University in Weimar.

I'm considering going to one of the castles tomorrow. Before I go to bed, I'm taking my doona out of its cover and just sleeping under the cover.

The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death-ride with crouching motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half-city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories, the palaces, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary, and when the period of its sojourn is over, they uproot it, dismantle it, and take it off, transplanting it to the vacant lots of another half-city.

~ Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino