Monday, 18 December 2017

These are our travel plans.

There’s thirteen tabs, each containing material relating to a stage of the trip. There are boarding passes printed in duplicate. There are tickets and itineraries and an index. I want to cover the pages in officious looking stamps. I want to miss a train and balls the whole thing up.

I began today with a present:

It’s a map, which I had guessed, rudely. But it is a very good map which tells you how to get to the Bierpinsel. All maps should tell you how to get to the Bierpinsel because it is clearly the apogee of human civilisation. It is closed at the moment because all the tenants were unprofitable and it needs to be periodically rebuilt from the inside out to maintain structural integrity but I am very excited to go and see it because it is the Future of all buildings and it is very silly looking. I will add a photo once I have been and taken one.

We went to the Reichstag this morning.

We walked past an ad on the way in for ‘Heroin Kids’ with the byline

FUCK FUCK FUCK

NOTHING IS EVER ENOUGH

which you can get on a T-shirt.

The Reichstag has strange airlock doors operated by bored guards and they check your passport on the way in for I am not sure what. It has very good views of Berlin which is an extremely flat place:

Winter cityscapes are more beautiful here, with white plumes of steam from the buildings and the softness of the sky. You can practically stare into the sun.

At around this point my phone battery died, so there are no photos for the rest. We went on to the Pergamon museum. The art island is somewhat less of an island than I was imagining. We actually went in to the cathedral first, which was only completed in 1905. It is a very comfortable cathedral. The doves are very Germanic: you get the feeling the artists who made all of the doves; stained glass, silver, otherwise, were much more used to making eagles. The doves descend from above, claws outstretched, beaks open. This somewhat confuses the effect.

The colours in the church are very muted, with beautiful Beidermeier wood and black marble columns, and pale green stone on the walls. We went up to the dome and saw a giant statue of Jesus on a leash, tied to the wall of the building.

The gate of Ishtar is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. That and the market wall of Myletus, which they seem to have shipped back in tiny pieces, really overwhelm the rest of the collection. In terms of awkwardness it is right up there with the British museum – many mentions of negotiations with the Ottoman Empire, which, great I suppose but very little mention of Aryan racial theory.

I made dinner in the evening at the hotel, just chicken with salad and potatoes.

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