August 21st 2019

DSC01617Today my daughter and I searched for some of the same little stores we had visited the year before. First was an ice cream shop called Gimme Gelato. They make their own ice cream and their own ice cream bars. Then after that we looked for the Dahlem Museum. Years ago a visited the museum and saw the works of a relative of mine from the 19th century—an artist who was seemingly renowned for his landscapers. Full stop. With sheep.

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And apparently his drawings (not paintings) of sheep, shepherds and shepherdesses were noteworthy enough to earn him a place in the museum, albeit a minor place. The only trouble is that the Dahlem museum closed back in 2017. And they’re still moving their collection (including my distant Great Uncle’s sheep) to a building on Unter den Linden—the Humboldt Forum. Its still under renovation. So, no sheep.

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Berlin continues, in truth, to recover from World War II. The east Germans never had the wherewithal to restore their half of Berlin, and so they let it decay, and if there wasn’t enough left to decay, they razed that and built charmless buildings out of concrete. Many of these have been renovated and dolled up. However, not everything produced by East Germany was relegated to the trash heap of history. Their walk signals, a little red or green man wearing what looks like a Jägerhut (a hunter’s hat) became so beloved by the West Germans that they’ve become a tourist fixture. There are dozens of Amplemann and Amplefrau stores filled with Amplemann trinkets.

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Last year I was gifted an Amplemann towel. You can see the same beach towel in the back, top center of the picture. We ended the day passing through Berlin’s main train station, the Hauptbahnhof, which is really a beautiful station. It’s almost a tourist attraction in its own right and it’s my other daughter’s favorite landmark—not Frederick the Great’s palaces, but Berlin’s main train station.

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As I write this right now, the sun has all but gone down and there is flamenco music playing in the street below—and also filled with the sounds of voices sitting at the various sidewalk cafés and restaurants. Berlin is just about idyllic this time of year, but I’d still rather spend my winters in Vermont.

 


this
    way and that like early leaf-fall—school
        children

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