Friday, September 4, 2009

I want to go to Berlin...

Traveling for its own sake, just to see someplace else, is not a particular love of mine. Every once in a while, however, something somewhere else catches me and I really want to go: walking the Camino across Spain; attending the Patristics conference in Oxford; going to Las Vegas for the Star Trek con...

Despite my lack of desire to travel, one way and another--usually, but not always, on someone else's steam--I've ended up completing quite a lot of the Grand Tour, visiting many of the Great Cities of Europe: Dublin, London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Copenhagen, Istanbul.
But I've never been to Germany at all. I suppose partly because, growing up, my associations with it were formed by movies like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. (Yes, OK, also the Nazi thing.) Very grey and scary.

Now, however, indexing a book on green (eco-friendly) architecture, I see there's a big shiny thing in Berlin! The new (-ish, completed in 1999) Reichstag dome.
I love big shiny things, like the Bean ("Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor) in Chicago, or the Great Court of the British Museum. (Oh! I see it shares the same architectural firm, Foster + Partners, with the Reichstag dome.)

"The Reichstag Cuppola," by © 2006 Steve Wateridge

I also love when a thing is both itself and a portal to ideas and people, like a time travel machine, and the Reichstag building is that.
Looking for images of its dome, I realize I've met the building many times before.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin 1971-95 "After a struggle spanning the 70s to the 90s, the wrapping of the Reichstag was completed on June 24th, 1995 by 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers. The Reichstag remained wrapped for 14 days."

"Soviet soldiers raise the flag on the Reichstag building, Berlin, Germany, May, 1945." Photographer: Yevgeny Khaldei (1917-1997); Source:

And, of course, Wings of Desire--a gorgeous film, but not exactly shiny.

I am adding "Go to Berlin to see the Reichstag" to my list of Stuff to Do (which I need to revise).
My favorite way to travel is to go somewhere and sit there, day after day, preferably much of the time in a coffee shop. Surely Berlin has many good places to sit and have coffee? Beer would do too.

Also, history, architecture, philosophy aside, I want to go to Berlin in search of--let me be as transparent here as the Reichstag's clear dome promotes the German parliament to be--marzipan.


Annika said...

Immediate reaction: do tell me if/when you get around to go there! It might get lonely in those coffee shops...:)

Fresca said...

Yes, please meet me there!
I'll buy you a cup!