Berlin Vol 3.3: modern art and a lot of chocolate

24 April 2016

The morning of my third and final morning in Berlin started in the exact same way as the previous two – with breakfast at Weyers. Perhaps I should have been more adventurous but when you find something good, why mess with it? And considering the fact that I am not a morning person (in fact, I am barely a person before caffeine) so this is not the time of day to throw in a curveball. Besides I did at least try something new on the menu everyday. This time, my Dad and I split the breakfast for two, which consisted of a selection of meats, cheeses and breads, as well as some salmon, horseradish sauce and a few pieces of fruit.

If you are going to go out for a German brunch then this is really what you need to order at least once – it was certainly the best thing I ordered during my three trips to Weyers. My big cup of coffee (tea is just not the same in Germany) and fresh orange juice were also perfect accompaniments and I left utterly stuffed – once again.

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We wandered up to the Kurfürstendamm and hopped on the U Bahn to Hallesches Tor and walked until we arrived at the Berlinische Galerie – Berlin’s gallery of modern art. Tickets were €8 each and were in there for a good hour or two.

The ground floor consisted of the gallery’s temporary exhibitions. The first of these was by Erwin Wurm (and runs until the 22 August 2016). His first piece was the Narrow House – a reconstruction of the house he lived in with his family when he was younger. The only difference was that it had been compressed down so that it was only about a metre wide – just wide enough for visitors to be able to wander inside. Although getting in and out of the rooms, around other people, was still a feat in itself. It was pretty cool though. The house even included compressed furniture.

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The Narrow House was followed by a room of “One Minute Sculptures”, where everyday objects had been placed around the room for visitors to pose with. These objects came with suggestions for posing – perhaps stemming our creativity a little but a perfect  photo-taking opportunity.

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There was also a photo exhibition from Heidi Specker, (until 11 July 2016), including portraits and images of the city and its natural landscapes, as well as a room dedicated to the works Paul Scheerbart, Bruno Taut and Paul Goesch (until 31 October 2016) – artists who worked during the Weimar Republic – and a film room.

The gallery’s permanent collection is on the first floor and displays art in Berlin from 1880-1980. The art is presented within its historical and cultural context, so you can see how war, economic troubles and the Berlin Wall affected artists working at the time and how their art developed. It was really interesting and I spent a while wandering around these rooms, reading all the information on offer.

After we left the gallery, we walked up to the Gendarmenmarkt for lunch at Fassbender & Rausch – a chocolate shop with a cafe and restaurant. It’s one of my favourite places in Berlin. We had to queue for a little while but it wasn’t too long before we were seated at a table in the window, looking out onto the square below. The cafe menu consists of a range of chocolate tortes, each of which look ridiculously delicious. I’ve been a few times before and decided I should try something new the caramel mousse with almonds, nuts and caramel creme with a layer of sponge, all wrapped in a thin layer of  dark chocolate. I must admit, the white chocolate and raspberry torte is still my favourite but this one was still lovely.

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As if that wasn’t enough, I also ordered a hot chocolate. There are both milk and dark chocolate options on offer (I’m a milk chocolate girl) and both are so rich that they are served with a little shot glass of water to help wash them down. It wasn’t enough – we both needed two lemonades to balance out the amazing sugar overload.

After all the chocolate, we needed a bit of walk before we were ready to get on the U Bahn. We walked down the famous Unter den Linden until we reached the Brandenburg Gate, where we stopped for an obligatory tourist selfie. Then we walked into the Tiergarten – Berlin’s huge park which I have never actually been into before. It certainly didn’t feel like we were in a city anymore. We didn’t wander too far in as we needed to come back out again to catch the train from Potsdamer Platz. Whilst in there, we found an array of marble stones, all positioned so that once a year, on 21 June, they catch the sun and reflect the light off of each other. Sadly, that wouldn’t be happening during our trip.

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As we came out of the Tiergarten, we noticed a collection of Berlin bears all arranged together. This turned out to be the United Buddy Bears exhibition. Here there is a bear for every country recognised by the United Nations, each designed by an artist from that country, representing peace and harmony.

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Finally, we caught the train back to Wilmersdorf, and spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing with a book. When we started to get hungry again, we ventured out and found an Italian restaurant called Franceso Forgione where we stopped for dinner. This was a really nice place with friendly staff, big plates of comforting Italian food (tortellini in my case) and cheap wine. It may not have been local German food but it was still the perfect place for our last night in Berlin.

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The next morning we were up and out early(ish) to catch the train home. As we headed back to England, my stress-o-meter (which usually switches off when I enter Berlin) reactivated as our U Bahn train seemed to be quite delayed and waiting around at a lot of the stations. Then there was a big old queue through security at Schonefeld which meant I didn’t have time to pick up food. Or at least I didn’t think I did but then my plane was typically delayed. Anyway, as much as I did not want to leave Berlin, I must admit I was pretty happy when I was finally back in London and had access to a McDonalds.

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