Berlin 2009 – Day 2 – Fri 6th Nov

8 11 2009

We were meant to meet at 9.30am for info on the day’s planned activities but … well, we didn’t quite make it. However, I was still keen to see the Photography Museum and we were able to find out where to go and set out about half an hour after the others.

I was impressed with the information people at the station (the Zoo station) – when we asked how to get to the musem (which wasn’t far away), they didn’t just give us directions, one of the women took us through the station as far as a place where she could actually point to the building. Brilliant!

Outside the Helmut Newton Foundation

What I hadn’t realised was that the museum was the Helmut Newton Foundation museum and there was a permanent exhibition of his “private property” (as billed) – notebooks, letters, a car, clothes on mannequins, lock of his hair, all sorts of things. Most fascinating. The main exhibition was also of his work – all the images from his Sumo book. What a treat! I love Helmut Newton.

We had to check in our coats and bags before we went in, and put our stuff into lockers. A bit odd, but it was nice not to have to lug my bags around as I was not going to be able to take photos anyway.

Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition but it was tiring walking around in the quiet. I was struck by the number of ‘security guards’ around the place. We’re somewhat used to seeing a few people dotted around, maybe seated or standing near doorways in museums, but here they were ‘patrolling’ and looked rather stern. Not sure what they thought we were going to do.

After the exhibition we headed over to Hackescher Markt for some browsing through the shops. This was near(ish) to the TV Tower. You could certainly see it from almost everywhere in that area. There had been a trip planned to go up it but I would prefer to view a city from up high when I am familiar with it, not before I’ve had a chance to explore. Otherwise it would be like looking at a map.

The TV Tower - a huge landmark in the East

We had a good look at the shops along the way. Lots of designerish/arty shops but the prices were quite high compared with the UK – particularly as we’d not got a very good exchange rate on the Euro (almost one for one).
On the way there we popped in to a little alleyway that Alberto had visited when he’d been to Berlin before. The delapidated walls were covered in fly posters, stickers, graffiti, paste-ups and anything else they could cram on there. There were a few proper murals and brightly painted ‘street furniture’. Walking further in we came to a courtyard area with a dimly lit bar and a huge metal sculpture. The whole place looked both like a work in progress and an established artist’s commune. At the end of the courtyard was a stairway plastered in posters, stickers and graffiti, which led to a wonderful little bookshop.

Part of the stairway to the bookshop

Luckily most of the books were in German – otherwise I’d have bought loads and spent too much money. I settled for a handful of postcards to send home. Needless to say there are a lot of photographs of this place.
After this and the shops, Alice, Alberto, Martin and I went in search of food and found a little Italian restaurant, run by Germans, playing Spanish music (which Alberto – who is Spanish – said was very cheesy and something his grandparents might have liked). The food was good though. My pasta was unusual (gorgonzola cheese sauce with broccoli – quite a strong flavour) but tasty, and we got free starters of a noodle soup.
We’d been tired before heading out so we headed back to the hotel for a half-hour nap then set off to the Supalife Kiosk for a launch of a book. The book was ‘Graphic Europe’ and I’d wanted to see it because I’m doing mapping for my self-elected project. I ended up buying a copy and got it signed by the women who designed the Berlin and London pages, and by the publisher.
It was quite odd in the little bookshop – occasionally it felt as though the floor was moving, as if you were on a boat. We decided that it must have been because of vibrations from the trams or the U-Bahn below. A little disconcerting all the same.
We were entertained on the way home by a drunken Polish guy who wouldn’t stop talking to us and tried to follow us ‘home’ after we left the train. Despite being a little annoying, he was quite amiable. Drunks are drunks, wherever you go. Back at the hotel we sat and had a drink and a chat with everyone before crashing out. A long but very enjoyable day.

I added one of my Moo stickers to the many covering the walls in the alleyway




2 responses

10 11 2009
Sara H

gorgonzola cheese sauce with broccoli sounds divine! so does the bookshop, vibrating floor and all…

7 02 2010

It’s nice reading your Berlin section of your blog; I can relate to it very well! I remember when I visited a few of the places you’ve mentioned already I look forward to reminiscing some more! That’s funny about the cheesy music that Alberto picked up on, coz it’s a little fact that doesn’t really matter, but you just so happen to know now because Alberto was there, it made your visit that little bit more interesting I’m sure. I too visited that bookshop! I loved the path you have to take to get to it, such a ‘cool’ place! And! It’s fantastic you put your little bit of Paula on the wall, I love that! I wish I could’ve done the same!

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