So, where did we leave off?
Wednesday followed much of the typical routine. I struggled to be productive in the morning, partly because I started looking for new places to stay in Barcelona. It is not easy to convince people you are a good candidate when you are not physically present in the city. The good news is that I have managed one skype interview for next week and I am cautiously optimistic. All of the photos of the house are taken with antique-y filters and the room is purportedly small, but the location and the price are excellent and the girl I’ve been emailing with has been sweet, patient, and prompt, all of which I value.
So, after all of that school work I accomplished on Wednesday morning (wink, wonk), I decided to be cultural and go to the art museum, the Gemäldegalerie. Walking up to the museum, a girl perhaps my age or just a bit younger said, “Excuse me, are you going to the museum?” Turns out she had bought an area ticket, good for one entrance to the three museums nearby, and since she hadn’t gone in the art museum, she was giving it to me! How sweet. It was a Jude moment. (My abuelo, Jude, was known for doing things like that.)
The view from the Gemäldegalerie.
From the outside, the gallery doesn’t look too big. I mean, it doesn’t look Louvre-big. I was fooled. It had way more paintings than I actually wanted to look at and after the 40th byzantine Jesus, I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, I walked faster to look for the Velásquez, but no dice. Quite frankly, I needed a tour guide (or Rick?) to help me understand what was the significance of the paintings. Lucky me, there was one French tour happening…and let me tell you, after listening to German for a few days which is truly an impenetrable language, I felt like French was a breeze. I found myself nodding along to more than half of what she said and I learned about one painting as a result. Woohoo.
I tried to walk into a special exhibit next…some famous photographer, à la Annie Leibovitz. But, they didn’t let me in since that wasn’t covered by the ticket. BUT! The gift shop had a book with huge reprints of his work so I got to flip through. Like many of the centuries-old paintings I had just seen, these two were portraits, in some ways infinitely more relatable and in some ways equally as distant (the last time I did a glam photoshoot nude or next to Andean llamas was, uhh, never). It was interesting to consider how art has depicted the human body throughout the ages; our ideals of beauty have changed (we no longer “like” the ladies with the curvaceous middles and smallish tatas like in the Renaissance), but we are still utterly fascinated by studying the body in movement. Anyhoo…
Walking out of the museum, I found and ice cream and a non-Lebanese grocery story in the Mall of Berlin and that was Wednesday, folks.
Thursday was slightly more exciting because I left the house earlier to have lunch with Doritos at Mar y Sol, a German take on a Spanish restaurant, which is almost as funny as an American take on a Spanish restaurant. The food was good and my small tapas dish was reasonably priced (6,30€ for 4 small tapitas). I also appreciated the large
horse dog that was chillin’ next to me in the restaurant. After lunch, we wandered back to D.’s building so he could go play with lasers and I could read exciting articles about Catalan football culture. When the excitement got to be too much, I decided to go explore the nearby Schloss Charlottenburg, just your average inner-city summer palace (almost torn down, in fact, after substantial damage in a certain World War).
Walking up Schlossstrausse to the palace…
Back of the palace…Note the clock: 6:25. I was back to the lab by 7, which is to say, I powervalked.
I didn’t go in because it was closed, but lucky for me the gardens were not and they seemed to be equally, if not more, beautiful. The symmetry almost killed me. A., you would have loved it. It is supposedly a Baroque castle, but the orderliness of the gardens felt Neoclassical to me. I only wish I’d had more time to wander more. I made do with snapping a few photos and power-walking back to the metro.
Palace gardens, vision 1.
Palace gardens, vision 2.
Palace gardens, vision 3.
D. and I decided to go out for a chela (Mexican word of the day: beer), but because of strikes, the S-bahn (a type of urban train they have here) we were hoping to take was not vurking! So, we opted for alternative modes of transportation…a bus, a tram, another metro, another metro. Imma be real wichu–we wandered around the city for two hours looking for the peeerfect place to have a beer. It was actually a delightful way to see the city, but I was getting hungry too. Just before hanger-pains[inthebutts] set in, D. picked a place called Sauerkraut. The size of the beers they served was positively intergalactic (and very welcome at this point). BUT, the real pièce-de-resistance was the food. I ordered–and hang on cause this is going to sound veird–a goat cheese veggie burger with apple chutney and avocado. It wasn’t your typical “veggie” patty, but rather thin slices of perfectly cooked and seasoned veggies topped with a hockey puck of warm goat cheese on top of a yummy bun. HOLY GUACAMOLE. It, like the beer, was out of this world. (Either that or I was really, really hungry, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.)
They had wifi, which meant family gets updates.
The “burger” to end all burgers…and schnitzel.
Sleeping was easy.
And today, we are headed to München on a bus ride that will hopefully be more scenic than painful.