Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Foreign climes

It's been unseasonably warm in Europe this past week or two and here in Milan it almost feels like spring. Apart from there being no leaves on the trees or flowers coming up.

It was a pleasant journey here by train, stopping off in Paris for a night. It's very hard to take photos from the train of the beautiful mountain scenery as the double glazing and bright lights create severe reflections.

Over the weekend, though, I took a plane to Berlin to stay with one of my friends there. It was a quiet time when I had a chance to look at some of the fantastic treasures in the archaological museums in the city centre, stroll in the Tiergarten (the central park), ride the trams, see how reconstruction of the palace is coming on. I've posted many pictures of Berlin over the years but here are some new views.

The Altes Museum on Museum Island, full of superb Greek and Roman antiquities

Tiergarten in winter

Frederick the Great in Unter den Linden, the main thoroughfare

The royal palace is nearly rebuilt. The crane is for the underground line that they have been digging for ever! Berlin has had no end of building sites since German Unification in the early 1990s. There's a lot of building and rebuilding still to do. Ironically the palace was not so badly damaged by wartime bombing despite being in the very centre of the city but was pulled down by the communists as a symbol of imperialist repression. East Germany then built its parliament building on the site but that was torn down, allegedly because of asbestos, but really because it was a symbol of communist repression.

More obvious signs of war. Missing statue and shrapnel damage.

These pieces of Berlin Wall are left as a memorial. Having been brought up in the Cold War era, these still have the power to make me shudder. So why do today's moron tourists stick their chewing gum and write their names all over them?

It was also the chance to eat out a lot (always a favourite activity of mine). There's cuisine of all nations to choose from and I ate Vietnamese and Indian as well as German. But the one that stood out was the German tapas restaurant, mini dishes of German classics. Here's currywurst and chips, fried chicken and chutney, Berlin meatballs and mini onions. Odd but fun.

There were fabulous views of the snowclad Harz Mountains, Black Forest and Swiss Alps from the plane, the Upper Rhine Valley, Lake Lucerne and Lake Lugano, and the blue line of the Vosges in France were all very clear and beautiful.

Back in Milan now.

Sue x