Friday, October 14, 2016

Well, Hello Berlin. . .

Last post, I waved to you from the train as we left Paris, but I was coy about our destination.

If you've been following me on Instagram, you will know by now that we're in Berlin, our first time in the city, the first time in Germany, for that matter. We've been very favourably impressed, although we've done very little of the many things recommended to us as must-do's in this city rich in history, architecture, art, music, food, and so much more. A future visit is definitely on the agenda, but our main purpose in being here is to be with "our Rome family" who are here for work.

I quite like this approach as a way of getting to know a new city. While we may not tick many items off an obvious "Berlin list" of must-sees and must-dos, we've soaked up atmosphere by walking our usual 15+ kilometres a day and just observing.

We've done some of this together. . . that's all family there, spread out below that monumental memorial to Soviet soldiers killed in WWII.

And Paul and I just happened past the very moving Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as we walked to meet a blog-reader for lunch (a lovely lunch, lovely reader, very long walk to the wrong Café not realising there were two of the same name in the city -- and that detour also forms part of my memory and knowledge of the city).
 So much architecture, and the iPhone and iCloud transfers aren't working as well as I'd like to my MacBook -- and especially are not easily accessible to Blogger, Grrrrr!). . . but I'll try to post a few photos later.
 For now, let's just say there were ample opportunities to look up and say, Wow! and that a blogger's husband really has to be a patient kind of guy. . .
Mostly, though, while we did manage to cover considerable ground in Berlin and feel as if we got a decent introduction to what to do next time (oh, the museums, the galleries, the opera, the Botanic Garden -- supposedly the third best in the world, although that's a claim made by the local tourist people). . . we were quite content to table much of that for another visit. And instead, we were happy to spend some of our Berlin time watching this, in the park behind the rented flat...

unless we were busy playing hide'n'seek inside the apartment or running loops at pre-schooler speed through living-room and kitchen and hallway, reversing suddenly every few loops to startle a little girl into giggles.

And no matter what Berlin holds out for us, it couldn't quite compete with a Two inviting me to "Dammi cinque, Nana, Dammi cinque" (Give me Five, in Italian -- who knew? ;-)

So this is where we are, for now, and you'll have to watch this space to see where we land next. (Hint: considerable retracing of steps ahead of us). If you're curious, by the way, yes, the combination of Berlin and October is challenging my carry-on-only wardrobe. Still getting dressed in clean clothes, though, and managing to stay reasonably warm. For those who aren't on IG, this is What I Wore yesterday--black wool knit skirt, cashmere cardi layered over cashmere pull, black tights, with a faux-fur vest and my Vince sneakers --  for a long day of sight-seeing and meeting a friend for lunch on a day with a high of 14 (and yes, that's my gorgeous daughter pushing the stroller on the right -- we were both shivering a bit, until the sun came out)
Now off to study the day's itinerary and wait for a granddaughter to wake up. What are you up to this weekend?

31 comments:

  1. Although living comparatively close I've never been to Berlin. Our daughter keeps telling us we should hop across for a weekend. She went on a school history trip there in S6 (last year of high school) and was bowled over by it. They had a serious historical immersion in the city, and also visited a concentration camp and Potsdam.

    Your monochrome look is very svelte and European urban cool. And your daughter has a real Italian chic look. Would love to see more of her outfits!

    This weekend for me? We had intended to do outside work on my late father's house up in the north east. Husband is replacing rotten fascia boards and soffits on the gables. I was to be on digging the garden duty. But there's a strong easterly blowing a fine, drenching rain, so it will be indoor stuff. A reprise of tidying out cupboards and loft, I think.

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    1. Must admit we wouldn't have prioritised a visit there, but the chance of meeting "the kids" and seeing a new city was an irresistible pull -- and now, I think we'd go back for another visit and see more of Germany as well.
      Thanks re the outfit -- and I passed the compliment along to my daughter. I'm really hoping she gets back to her blog now that Little One's at daycare part-time. . .
      I'm glad you put that weekend work off for now -- not fun to do outdoor stuff in miserable weather!

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  2. Lovely!
    Time with young Rome family-precious!
    I love Berlin and its atmosphere-would like to visit again!
    If you're still there- try the Zoo (real one-although Banhof Zoo is very near)-Frankie would love it!
    We have a very rainy weekend ahead-coffee with a friend in newly open coffee bar,going to the cinema (The girl on the train- I loved the book ),some procrastinated but important administrative work and some beautiful hours with tea and a book in between,I hope!
    Dottoressa

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    1. I did see there was a zoo, but oh, there was so much we didn't get to see, and really, so much we did! Definitely need to get back!
      That sounds like a good weekend you had, despite the weather (or maybe because of the weather -- sometimes it insists we stay quiet, and that's just what we need!)

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  3. I am so impressed how you are managing clothes wise. What a great idea when travelling to so many places. Bet you had fun planning what to take. Good to hear you're having a great time with your Roman family. B X

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    1. I just try to remember that no one here knows I'm wearing the same pants or top over and over again. And when I feel like grumbling my outfit boredom, I just remember how manageable the smaller case is when taking public transit back from the train station. . ;-)

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  4. Great photos, and, of course, great to be with the little family. I recognize lots of your photos - I've also been to the memorial in Treptower Park. That was in 1979 and in those days it was in East Berlin. Do you think you'll get a chance to do the tour of the Reichstag? You have to book online in advance, perhaps you won't have enough time. It's worth a visit though; they put a lot of thought into the renovation, taking the past (and the future) into account in a meaningful way. I remember being there in 1979 and looking out of a window to a building that was in East Berlin; as well as the no-man's-land, we also saw a bed of barbed wire underneath a window. Very telling.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay there!

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    1. I'd like to go back and see more, Patricia, but no, no tour of any buildings, nor did we step inside any. Amazing to think that you were there in '79 -- what an experience! (and you were really young then, high school still, no?)

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    2. First year of uni actually. It was my first time abroad, a study trip during the Easter holidays. We were a small group and went with two of our lecturers. They did a marvellous job getting us into different places and the whole thing left a great impression on me. I hope you do get a chance to go back some day.

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  5. Really enjoying your travel posts and so wonderful that you are spending it with family.
    The weather here is positively beastly.... We are being pummelled by storm after storm. I have a new book and if we do not have power outages will be drinking tea and cocooning here inside.
    Have fun and look forward to more of your adventures.

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    1. Yes, that weekend weather where you are was drastic, wasn't it? On the little island we used to call home, one neighbour had their golf cart (they serve as cars on the island, special license) smashed by an immense arbutus branch, while another had a near miss of their home when another arbutus was ripped apart midway up its thick trunk. Honestly, Paul was so relieved we weren't still there, having to worry about the boat, hoping the dock didn't get broken up. . .

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  6. Following along on IG as well as checking in here too, Frances. Glad you are enjoying your trip. Sometimes "must-dos" are over-rated. Not that the "must-sees" are not fabulous (if you'll pardon the double negative) but that sometimes just walking, and being, in a place is exactly what you want. I'm off to NYC on Monday with a girlfriend. Really looking forward to it.

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    1. A short trip to NYC would definitely challenge the definition of "Must-dos" and "must-sees" -- Can't wait to read about your adventures!

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  7. How exciting! Germany has been on our want-to-visit list for some time. How wonderful to be able to spend time with that adorable grandchild!

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    1. Yes, we'll definitely go back! And I must say that, except for the cool weather, the confluence of Oktoberfest (honestly, beer gardens aren't a big pull for either of us, but still) and, especially, the Festival of Light in Berlin make a good argument for the fall there. . .

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  8. Mater, Berlin is one of my favorite cities. The Gelamdegalerie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemäldegalerie,_Berlin is stunning and very few tourists go there as it is not on Museum Island. If you are hardy, you could find Boesner - this is the Ikea of art supply stores. We went to a suburban location, not the warehouse and it was a total mindblower! The art graffiti in the alley on the way to the store is worth the trip. Fortunately, they do not take credit cards. You are missing rain of biblical proportions, so you have chosen a good time to be away. Kris from Courtenay

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    1. Boesner sounds amazing, and good for you for getting yourself out to it. I'd love to see that graffiti! We were very (happily!) constrained in our activities, as the main draw to the city this time was simply the chance to spend time with the 2-year-old, and she had a cold/bad cough. Still, I saw enough to be really impressed.

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  9. Our youngest and her husband spent a couple of months in Berlin while working in Europe for a year. They loved it, although the cold became quite intense in December. They recommended taking bike tours in new cities for a quick orientation. I'm thinking a tourist bus tour would accomplish the same thing with less effort. Spending time with that sweet little face would rise to the top in importance.

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    1. I like the idea of bike tours and would do that in a new city (haven't yet, but will make a point in future, I think) -- my daughter did a bike tour in Paris a few months ago when she was there on her own for a conference.
      And yes, you know how important is the time with those little faces -- they change so quickly!

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  10. I first went to Berlin as a high school exchange student in 1964. I first went to Moscow in 1969. Both cities have changed almost beyond recognition since then, in ways that were unimaginable then. Looking forward to more observations from your wanderings in Berlin, Leslie

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    1. Wow! So you have clear memories of cities whose politics and culture and economies have changed dramatically over the past 50 years -- very cool!

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    2. And, in the case of the reasons for the changes in those two cities, almost beyond belief!

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  11. I agree with Sue, sometimes we miss the "must does" in favour of just wandering and soaking up the atmosphere of a new city. Saying that one day we'll come back and see the rest. It can be so much more relaxing this way and more fun! Although I amay often left with the feeling of "maybe we should have visited ..." :)
    So lovely to be spending time with your family.
    Have a good week.
    Rosie

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    1. Yes, I do have that feeling of "maybe we should have" -- also a certain sense of embarrassment or of having to justify why we didn't visit sites. But no real regret, especially since I know we can and will get back to the city, but we won't be able to get back lost opportunities to be with our granddaughter as she grows. . . Thank you! You have a good week as well, Rosie.

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  12. I've fallen behind in keeping up with your wanderings but love your pictures here and your introduction to Berlin. I've never been, but I like your approach, always finding that just walking and exploring, and experiencing some of the flow of life in a place, to be a good introduction, with the "must sees" perhaps becoming more relevant on a later visit. Those places I've just done the required tourist stops and not wandered remain more vague in my memory, as if I didn't visit the place, just the authorized portrait.

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    1. Thanks for this comment, Mardel, which really resonates with me -- that notion of "the authorized portrait" of a place. My Berlin is an emergent one, and while it's far from complete, it feels organic and sensory and, well, mine! There's no question I'd love to see some of the art, in particular, but sometimes more can be learned about a place from pushing a stroller through a market as the rain begins to get serious and you peel a warm chestnut to put in a little girl's hand. . .

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  13. So often, when visiting somewhere new, we enjoy stumbling upon places and then find later that they are on the must-see list. A bit random but it works. Wonder when you will be back home again? A long trip straight after a big move is a big ask!

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    1. I like that kind of serendipity very much, Marianne.
      We're not home 'til the beginning of December -- can you believe it?! Totally nuts to do such a long trip after the big (double!) move, and in some ways, I'd like to be home figuring out how to make the new place the nest I want/need. But this kind of couple time is really important for us, and I wanted some continuity of our life's previous rhythm, which has included Europe trips for the past decade or so. . . And it might be good to just sit with the notion of the new space for a while, from a distance. . .

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  14. I have been following your travels on IG and marvelling at your solo trip, it was inspiring and I plan to do similar when life allows, when my boys are (a little more) grown up, thinking of a solo trip to London with my camera and good walking shoes, getting up very early, and spending the days taking photographs, eating in small cafes, visiting peculiar shops and obscure museums. I have that little project tucked away for a few years' time! X

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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