Thursday, April 14, 2011

london berlin, but mostly berlin

i am in berlin right now. really, i should be going to bed (it's 12:36am) since i have an imporant demo with some clients tomorrow, but for now i don't feel too sleepy. and how often will i have a chance to blog whilst in germany?

last saturday i left to fly to london. it was a long trip via jfk, but thankfully i had a good book to read. i was reading "the year of magical thinking" by joan didion. and i watched two movies while flying over the atlantic.

i'll write more about the london part of things later, but right now i will focus on berlin since i'm here and i should get to bed soon.

i got to berlin on wednesday morning. my first order of business (since i didn't have any actual business i needed to attend to) was to figure out the underground and ride it to schloss charlottenberg. it's a royal residence within the city. of course, now it's a museum/site to visit. it was great. i really enjoyed walking through it and seeing the rooms. the rococo-ness of a lot of it was pretty overwhelming, but neat. i saw some original fete galante paintings by people like watteau that i studied as a stundent. i also saw the original david of napolean on his horse. it was cool. and the gardens in the back are quite striking.

walking through the schloss neighborhood was neat too. there were lots of nice buildings to look at.

then i went to new national gallery, which is a modern art museum. the current exhibit is called "modern times" (after the charlie chaplin film), and it was good. i had to go through it rather quickly, but i always enjoy modern art. they had some really great pieces. i again saw some i studied as a student (nole, picasso, etc). i liked the klee ones they had and there were some propagandistic-seeming russian ones that were interesting.

after leaving the museum i headed back to the underground station, but saw a sign that said brandenberg tor this way. i figured tor meant gate and walked over to see the brandenburg gate. it isn't as big as i imagined it would be (although it's certainly not tiny), but it is beautiful. even in the rain the statue on top is extremely bright.

i meandered a bit through the holocaust memorial on way way back to the underground. after getting a bit confused on the underground i got off and took a cab to the indonesian restaurant i wanted to go to. it was nice there. i spoke to a nice man who sounded american, but was a norwegian who had gone to college in the us and now lived in germany. he seemed self conscious of his english, but i would have guessed he was american. the food was good. i had satay, gado strips, and beef rendang (it was a combo platter). it also came with fried duck, but i have to say i didn't enjoy that--too greasy. then i had sweet black rice with coconut and banana for dessert. the rice was a little crunchy, but good. it had a good flavor. i've always wanted to eat black rice--so this was a good excuse to do so.

after that, i came to the hotel and went to bed.

today was filled with client meetings--from 9-6. there is a nato meeting here now, which means that traffic is bad (they've closed a lot of roads off). that forced the taxi to take a more scenic route--so i got to see lots more of berlin than i would have otherwise (thanks, nato). afterwards, a german colleague of mine and i went out to eat a really nice rustic german restaurant. there were old wooden tables with old carts and wagons hanging up from the ceiling and little candles at everyone's tables. it was so charming and cozy inside. we had a nice german meal--all of my colleague's choosing. i got to have some good soups, meat balls, fried potatos, and a pork with mushrooms dish. it was all really good. if i would have had any room i would have gotten a dessert, but there was no room.

we walked back to the hotel and enjoyed a nice view of the river. i don't know which river, but a river. it's been cold here, but it's still nice to be out and about.

ok, now i need to go off to bed.