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).

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