[I have pictures. Editing and uploading would take time and effort. I’m feeling lazy. Maybe later.]
It’s just as well that I began yesterday with breakfast on the balcony (there’s a balcony!) as this morning the weather’s decidedly wet and grey. It was so clammy all day Tuesday, though, that the rain in the evening was a relief. Not that I suffer in the house, which is nice and cool and spacious. I could get used to this…
After breakfast I headed to the Musikinstrumenten Museum. Because I’m funny that way. If I know there is one, I need to go. This was probably the largest one I’ve been to, very light and airy. Tight security – attendants everywhere, no handbags, they want your passport in exchange for the audio guide – and a huge collection. The audio guide was allright, basically just music played with the instruments, and since there wasn’t much by way of introduction to the instruments themselves, it was nice to at least have some music to listen to. Many, many harpsichords and the like (my favourite was the nightstand one); more violins than you can shake a bow at, and plenty of bows, too; woodwinds and brass I’m less familiar with, but rest assured, they were plentiful. The pocket fiddle collection made me want one. Upstairs there was something about string-making and a grand piano construction exhibition, but it was all in German so I gave up quite soon. I understand some, but it takes a lot of effort and makes the brain hurt. Heavy on 17th c. classical instruments, and after a while you might think that some of the violins might be put to better use than sitting in a glass case. Well worth a visit, anyway, at least if you’re me, which I am.
I tried to find food inside the tourist hell that is Sony Center, and at the Potsdamer Platz shopping centre, but soon (not soon enough) gave up and took the metro to find the vegan restaurant Viasko, as recommended by Jojo. Good service, and even the very affordable lunch menu included gluten free options: a cold cucumber soup (delicious) and a chickpea curry with rice (ditto). Highly recommended. I was starving to begin with, but this meal kept me going happily for the next 7 hours. During those seven hours I:
- marvelled at local scenery – really, go just for the neighbourhood if you don’t want food – and located a second-hand bookshop with an English backroom nearby; no trip is complete until I’ve been to at least one (that’s it though, I bought my token book, even a little too expensive for second hand one, I’m not allowed more)
- took the metro again to TeeTeaThé, which had a tea list that would make any tea lover weep with joy; I sure was happy with my refreshing Kabuse no. 1, as recommended by the staff, that had enough caffeine in it to wake the dead (much needed it was too); could have done without the orange walls that weren’t exactly calming, though
- took the metro once more to the Jüdisches Museum and basically spent the rest of the day there.
About the Jewish museum: do go. But make sure you have enough time – I was there for hours, and I didn’t even try to go to the special exhibition. Pray for no school groups (…just my luck…) and give yourself time to take in the architecture of the place because the new building, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is definitely a huge part of the experience. Good English signs everywhere but don’t bother with the “A thousand years ago” demonstration unless your German listening comprehension skills are at least tolerable. Beware: there’s a lot to read. If you’re very dutiful about reading everything at museums (guilty as charged), you’ll be a) knackered and b) defeated in your purpose by the time you get out.
My evening ended with a quick walk past Checkpoint Charlie – I really should look into the whole east-west divide thing, it’s so difficult to comprehend, being here now – and a metro home to rest my tired back. Oh, it was tired. All good now, though, after stretching and a good night’s sleep. Another day awaits.