I'm home. It was a wonderful week in Germany with Claudia & Chris, Valentin & Leopold. It's good to be home, too, although I haven't seen much of it yet.
Arrived home 8pm Tuesday night, called Bryan to say I was back on land at home, then crawled into bed. Up at 5:30am and on the way to work by 6 to tackle the snowdrift of work at my desk.
Basically I've been at work or asleep at home for the last three days.
The Flight of Discontent notwithstanding, this is why I went and it was well worth it:
Got to see the new house, which is delightful so long as you don't mind living very close to your neighbours:
About the only photos I got of Chris were during a family soccer match in the back yard one day.
We did some of the 'tourist' things that warm the cockles of my heart. On route to the Museum of Natural History (the boys love that place, full of enormous dinosaur skeletons) Chris took a little detour to show me this interesting spot:
This is one of the last remaining guard towers in Berlin, where the GDR soldiers kept watch over the Berlin Wall for anyone trying to cross it - in or out. It's in a tucked-away spot, not hidden but not on the beaten track most tourists would see. There are many spots like this that usually only the locals know about.
I wanted to get to an art gallery or two, but it didn't work out that way. There is a Rennaisance Masters exhibit at the Bode Museum - only to be shown in Berlin and New York. Claudi and I went down to Museum Island early in the morning - at 9am the line-up for tickets (not into the museum but just to buy the tickets to get into the museum!!!) was over 1 km long.
So while Claudi went for coffee with a girlfriend, I tackled the Berlin Cathedral.
Like so many of its sisters, the interior is almost overwhelming. The organist was working his magic on this instrument when I entered:
I'd love to get some time on the keyboard.
And the altar is stunning:
as is the sanctuary ceiling:
It takes a good two hours to tour the Dom if you're so inclined. There is a museum on the mezzanine and catacombs below (both fascinating and creepy with it's 98 coffins & sarcophagae). My goal was to climb the 270 or so steps up to the walkway. If you look at the first picture of the church (or go online) you'll see a railing just around the bottom of the copper cupola. That's the walkway.
Keeping watch over the city all around the dome are angels and cherubs with a variety of musical instruments and song sheets:
I love this juxaposition of very old and futuristic - the TV Tower in the background.
The angels and cherubs have lots of patches on them. Bomb damage from WWII. It's a miracle the church is even there. Truth be told, the ol' girl's had many face lifts over the years.
Looking over Museum Island. The Bode is the black domed roof in the middle back. The River Spree can be seen on the right - it splits and rejoins, creating the island.
Berlin - northern Germany - is flat, flat, flat all the way up to Denmark and over to the Netherlands. The view is filled with church spires and red roofs.
A taste of the steps up to the walkway, or a set of them. And these are generous in size and depth compared to some tower steps I've climbed, including the next day in Erfurt.
Yes, I have more photos but I also need to do some laundry (heck, unpack my bag!), take a walk to get re-aquainted with my garden, and just get caught up at home.
Theres's a good panoramic photo of the sanctuary and more information about the church at this site:
And this one for the Bode:
And the show I missed: