Monday 8 July 2019

Eating in Berlin

More Monday news

I am pleased to report that Benedict Ambrose has had a bratwurst mit pommes und sauerkraut although he left most of his sauerkraut on the plate because--sauer.

Meanwhile I am toying with founding a small scholarship for deserving Edinburgh Uni Classics students to go to Berlin for three days to tour the Museum Insel in Berlin because, like money and travel, it is wasted on the old. B.A. and I queued up for 45 minutes outside the Pergamon before we were allowed indoors where, while waiting in another queue, we realised we were too hungry and tired to see the Gates of Miletus, etc., etc., and went to the cafe in the Zeughaus (German History Museum) instead.

I had a "Veggie Bowl" so as to have room for a big supper, but then we came back to the beautiful flat in Tempelhof where I ate a bowl and a half of Erdnuss flips. It's so sad that of all the things that have stuck with me for the 13 years since my summer in Frankfurt, it's my fondness for cheezies made not with cheese but with peanut-butter. Yes.

What else? We began the day with Milchkaffee and pastries (a croissant for me, some apple pastry for B.A.) at a local bakery and openly read our tour guides. Then we went to the U-Bahn and bought 2 7-day-tickets at 30€ each, which is undoubtedly a good deal. Next we went to the Friedrichstrasse U-Bahn, supposedly to start our touring with Unter Den Linden, but really so B.A. could go pray at St. Hedwig's, which is right near where all the Jewish books got burnt by the university students from across Unter Den Linden.

St. Hedwig's was, however, closed for a new wreckovation, so we walked to the Brandenburg Gates, stopping on the way at the Hotel Adlon because I was freezing. We have friends who go every July and come back mahogany brown, so I am very disappointed--although not with the Adlon. I saw the bar where my character Catriona caroused with other journalists, so that was great, as was the hot chocolate with whipped cream.

I also liked the Russian Embassy, by the way. There were Russians outside trying to get in, which was moderately entertaining. Meanwhile the Russian Embassy looks fantastic compared to the British (which looks like a po-mo library), the French (which looks like a post office), and the American (which looks intensely dull).

We went through the Brandenburg Gate, thinking our Children of the 1980s thoughts, and then we went back through to former East Germany (we think) to find Museum Island.

There is a "Silent Room" right inside the Brandenburg Gate, which sounded interesting, and so we went in and found ourselves chatting with a doorkeeper, a German lady who loves Scotland and was mildly disappointed we weren't from Bridge of Allan. Then we found ourselves in the actual Silent Room, which is a chapel for all religions and none to sit in silence and pray for peace in the world. It has a lovely wall-hanging in wool.

Then we went to Museum Island, stopping in the Zeughaus, which was once the armoury, to look at its foyer and covered courtyard for free. After a great delay taken up in wandering about the renovation works, we found the queue for the Pergamon.

Meanwhile it was cold and occasionally it rained. I sneezed and B.A. sang to himself. After our late lunch, I thought about Polish words and how amused my tutor was when she discovered I thought "Niemiec" was Polish for "enemy" because it actually just means "German."  It took me a long time before I remembered it was "wróg", which I said aloud very suddenly as we waited for the bill.

It isn't Poland. It isn't Rome. However, it is itself and my brother and his family will be here in less than an hour.

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