Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Kulturforum

Our internet hasn't been working for a couple of weeks so now I'm really behind on blogging. But my brother is home for reading break and he's had a chance to fix it!

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My last big ‘cultural’ trip out with Walter in Berlin was to the Kulturforum, where one can locate museums, one of the Staatsbibliothek’s, and the Philharmonie. Our main destination for the day was the Gemäldegalerie, home of Berlin’s older paintings. 

The Philharmonie -- I like how it sort of looks like music, or at least sound waves!
I’m always a little apprehensive when I take Walter to a museum, especially one where I need to pay to get in, because there’s no guarantee that he’ll co-operate with the idea of quietly looking at the different treasures. Fortunately he fell asleep when we got to the museum!

He later woke up but was content to look at paintings, although eventually he demanded to be carried so that he could have a better view!
I had a great time as it turned out that the museum had a number of paintings by some of the masters I admire, like the Holbeins, Dürer, and Bosch. My art gallery trips thus far have been in the UK and North America, so it was neat seeing the different geographical emphasis of the Gemäldegalerie as it meant getting to view a lot of ‘new’ styles and subject matters. Everything, aside from the audio tour, was in German but that was nice as it meant I didn’t feel quite as compelled to read all the notes! 

A portrait of the Virgin by Hans Holbein the Elder

A portrait of a merchant by Hans Holbein the Younger. It's really neat because you can actually read the writing on the scraps of paper in the picture.

Portrait of a young girl by Petrus Christus. I loved this one so much that I had to get it on a magnet...

Bosch's St John on Patmos -- the background contains various illusions to the Book of Revelation

A scene of young revelers by Willem Buytewech. The details are quite amusing, including the young man on the left who is relieving himself into a jar.


After the gallery, Walter & I were to meet David at the East Berlin Staatsbibliothek. This turned out to be quite an ordeal – between construction, heavy traffic, and the overall distance it was quickly apparent that if we walked we would be late. So I took the train, but I was still running late, and due to German paranoia over cellphone hacking I was unable to use my phone because I’d turned it off (for the first time since putting in a German SIM card) and when it rebooted it required a password to access the phone! This meant that I couldn’t call David to tell him that we were running late, so he was stuck waiting in the cold for over twenty minutes while worrying over why we hadn’t arrived. Then our plan of having cake in an old palace was also cancelled, as the cafe was closed.

Eventually we found a little bakery where we could grab a snack (and grumble over the excessive prices in Mitte). Then it was time for David’s treat, namely a return to Berlin’s oldest currywurst stand so that he could experience it for himself. The elevators happened to be broken at all of the train stations we needed so it was really good that he was along for the trip as I’m not strong enough to carry Walter & his stroller up and down the stairs!

We had a great time at our little supper. We were able to sit in the makeshift restaurant and we splurged on beers to help wash down the currywurst and pommes. It was a nice little break for David as well, since he wasn’t able to join us on most of our adventures.

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