Wednesday, 20 December II

After the Old Masters gallery, which had twice as many paintings in it as you could mentally deal with in one sitting, we went on to the Neues museum. Lunch was a strange dish at a chain cafe. It was described as veggie pasta with chorizo. The pasta turned out to be sheet pasta, lasagna style, wrapped around chunks of falafel, with many piles of sausage on top. It was odd. Also beer, beer is everywhere. I have been getting dehydrated because I am mostly drinking beer.

Despite appearances, the renovations to the Neues museum happened after the war. It is an interesting place. It was built in the 1850s in a faux Egyptian style, with false frescoes and tomb like bricks framing the exhibits. Then it was ruined by bombing, and parts rebuilt. It has been taken away just enough from its camp Victorianness for it to feel strangely appropriate as a setting for the objects. The occasional orientalist history painting interrupts but mostly it has a huge, memorializing scale.

The only photo of the collection I took was of this happy Roman jug. * The Germans are VERY salty about the Red Army taking Schliemann’s Trojan bits away from them. This shows a considerable lack of self awareness. There were three signs saying the Russians held the collection ‘in breach of international law’. There were no signs mentioning anything about repeated requests to repatriate the bust of Nefertiti to Egypt.

After the museum we walked through a Christmas market at the base of the TV Tower.

This is the TV tower again (I really like it):

You don’t realise how important food is to joy until you cannot have it. The markets were warrens of little tents with wurst and glass ornaments and roasted nuts.

We did stop for a glass of gluhwein, which my dad tipped out into a plant and my sister didn’t seem to enjoy. I enjoyed it. There was an ice rink with no one on it, but mostly a lot of people enjoying hot meals and mulled wine, and walking their Christmas daschunds.

Ice rink and statue:

Representative mood photo below. There is much walking and no space to think. I wish I could lie in a park and stare at the sky for a few hours.

* We saw the bust of Nefertiti. I don’t know why, but even though it is very perfectly preserved, and very beautiful, it didn’t move me. The granite statues were more amazing – carving as good or better than any Roman marble but in hard stone, in 3000BCE.

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