No major diorama, just visiting dinosaurs in Berlin

I’m in my pajamas with heavy eyes, thinking about going to bed, but I want to get a few thoughts onto the page before sleep.  I just had a wonderful Berlin weekend with LTN (and his Mo), doing stuff.  Okay, we didn’t actually fit all that much stuff in, his plane was late, so we missed many museum windows and Saturday turned into a lazing and eating yummy food day (Gnocchi Berliner art: with red cabbage, bacon and apple in a red wine sauce. YUMMEH!), and Monday had teaching in it but we made it to more things than last time.

F’rinstance, we went to the Museum für Naturkunde .  They have the biggest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the whole world.  Fact according to Guinnesss and yes indeed, it’s pretty tall.

from the museum website

We mused on how the accepted format for natural history museums wherever you go seems to be to take a cool building with a big hall very near the entrance, add a dinosaur skeleton and arrange other stuff around the edges.  Whatever, it works.  This one got extra interactivity points though, lots of buttons for instructive clips including very exciting cladograms, plus 3D binocular doodahs on stands which magically clothed the skeletons in muscle and then set them wandering around the oldtime landscape.  Muchos exciting.   Berlin also has a world famous Archaeopteryx fossil, the ‘Ur vogel’ which was discovered 150 years ago in Bavaria and shows the hitherto ‘missing link’ between reptiles and birds – exciting stuff for scientists and, with dramatic storytelling as part of anniversary celebrations, for me too.

My favourite part of the visit was “Feathered Flight” a special exhibition celebrating this anniversary. There was a lot of fascinating science, but the outstanding element was a series of glass boxes suspended around the room which held a series of individual feathers, all absolutely stunning.  It really was outstanding, one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen for a long time.
Just one of many beautiful cases of feathers

Another two sections which I found particularly interesting were the Wet Collections and an exhibition detailing the preparation of items for the collection, both for scientific and display purposes.

Admittedly they may have contributed to some nightmares I had that night, but they were still worth seeing.  The wet collections are kept in a climate controlled room, and are both grotesque up close and strangely beautiful when viewed from a distance.  Like nothing I’d ever seen before.

Some people claim that this might not be the most romantic ‘date’ venue, but we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  At which point I should confess that the title of this post is an in-joke, sorry, and I’ll have to love you and leave you there.  Tales of the  Christmas Markt and German excellence in snack food shall be told tomorrow.  Auf wiedersehen.

Ed’s note – all pictures are from the museum’s website.


Tacheles and touristing

Another apology is due, I just saw yesterday’s post and realised that I’d managed to get some of the text out of order.  That was due to extreme sleepiness and surely some kind of bad tech magic.  Sigh.  It’s now corrected, I hope it makes more sense.

Anyhoo, here in short order are some pictures from Tacheles, after I finally made it there, and touristing with the girls.  Aren’t they (the girls) beee-u-diful?

Der Dom

I’ve grown very fond indeed of the Berliner Dom.  It’s a really beautiful building, elegant and restrained.  It does look good pink though.

LTN and I went to explore after we missed the beginning of a film. It turns out that films start at the advertised time here, not after half an hour of adverts/trailers.

It was a happy mischance, the Dom is beautiful inside and has a fabulous 360 degree view from around the dome itself.  Sadly it was a grey evening, but that meant that we had the place pretty much to ourselves, which is how I prefer it.

The Sausage Palace

Nearly two weeks ago, LTN and I went for a jaunt out into the green environs of Potsdam ( I’m in slow mode, sorry).  We were in search of the fabled Sausage Palace*, where bratwurst grow on trees and curry sauce flows freely in the fountains.  In fact we discovered not just one palace but  two: the utterly charming Schloss Sanssouci* and the Neues Palais (tha’s “new” people), and a whole host of other gorgeous buildings.  These are set in a delicious park where I got rather overexcited by the gorgeous trees, the abundance of absurdly purple and fragrant lilac bushes and the fantastic planting in the formal flowerbeds.  I took so many pictures that I’ve had to just gallery a selection at the end of the post.

I think I’d have liked Frederick the Great, he furnished his summer retreat quite brilliantly (in the ro-co-co style, as the entertaining audioguide carefully enunciated) with lots of flowers and vines, and every bedroom has double doors out onto the sunny terrace and the bed located in a little nook that you could draw the curtains all the way across and have a cosy dark sleep.  He also had a totally gorgeous little library which is round and made almost entirely of cedar wood (if memory serves).

All in all, LTN and I had a lovely meandering afternoon in the sunshine.  We entered the park up the avenue from the south towards the new palace, which is warm and pink in the sun because it’s made of bricks.  We had a cheese-and-bread-from-the-market picnic and played at statues before wending our way through dappled shade and balmy warm sun to the yellow palace ‘without care’.  The garden there won my heart, and after our tour we spent quite some time taking photos in them before visiting the Peace Church in the corner of the park and then finding a bus home as the sun went down.  Fabulous.

* editor’s note: The sanssouci – saucisson pun was perpetrated by LTN not me, I take no responsibility at all, but I’m afraid that the new name stuck.  Je m’excuse.

Take a walk

Yesterday, one of my teachers told me to take a walk. Or go skating. Or dancing. Exercise anyway. Today was Saturday and there was sunshine, as you can see. Most of these are pics from along the way, but you can also see the view from my bedroom window and Jake conked out on the sofa at the end of the long week. Jules has also been asleep on the sofa but I woke her up before I managed to get a photo. Wish I had these napping skills…. You’ll also see one photo I took leaning out of the window, in shock at the number of people in the protest march that was streaming along our road and onto Friedrichstrasse. It was very green: if you’re interested…

Also for your listening pleasure, I’ve been enjoying mixtapes provided by CHROMEMUSIC today, excellent study aids since I really haven’t got my own music sorted out at the moment.  I particularly enjoyed the Kreutzberg, reggae and sweet seranade mixes.  Cheers little cuz for introducing me to this site.  Now I’m in Berlin I’ll have to try and find it live…

p.s. I should have mentioned, the sketch is by Jake Stotler.  He needed to draw, I needed to read, it seemed to work out fine.