Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Berlin, Day One

We took a flight from Stockholm to Berlin in the morning. I got a juice in the airport. It was a small bottle of juice, and only 20% real juice, but the label said it contained: orange, apple, grape, pineapple, passionfruit, apricot, banana, mango, peach, guava, pear, and lemon. That may be overkill for 25 centiliters of liquid. But it was good.

The guidebook for Berlin mentioned a restaurant entirely staffed by the blind and visually impaired, where you eat as if you're blind. No lights I guess. This seems kind of unnecessarily silly. I'm all for bizarre tourist experiences, but, um, does this make any sense? That wouldn't have stopped me from going, but, really, I'm not sure I understand how this idea would come to be.

There's a big E around various places in Berlin. At first I asked if there were an H, I, T, L, and R too, but it turns out there's some Einstein celebration stuff going on and it's all about his accomplishments.

We went to the Guggenheim museum, which had an abstract exhibit about artist self-portraits that wasn't really all that thrilling.

Then we went to the Daniel Libeskind-designed Jewish Museum. Libeskind is the guy doing the World Trade Center memorial in New York. The Jewish Museum in Berlin is extraordinary. First, it's enormous. If you read everything in a museum (I wish I did but I don't), you could easily spend 6 or 7 hours there. The three centerpieces are the Garden of Exile, which is 49 stone columns with willow trees growing from them, arranged in a square with a ground that's lopsided and angled and makes you feel very much trapped and disoriented and dizzy and it's very powerful stuff. It's very powerful and moving just to walk through it and experience it. Then there's Holocaust Tower, a narrow cell that's almost completely dark and you feel trapped and claustrophic and, again, very powerful architecture that really draws out an emotional response. It's worth visiting. And there's a piece with lots of metal faces on the ground which is also powerful. The rest of the museum is exhibits tracing the history of Jews and the history of Jews in Berlin, and it's all interesting and well-designed and a solid museum experience. But if you're going, you're going for Libeskind's architecture, really.

You can check this all out here.

For dinner we ate at a Vietnamese place called Vuong recommended in the guidebook for its Glass Noodles. It was good. I had a banana shake to drink, and banana pudding for dessert. Just coincidence, no real agenda with the bananas. The glass noodles were the highlight though.

I also bought orange tic-tacs. This normally wouldn't be of note, except while here orange tic-tacs are orange, in Germany orange tic-tacs are white, in an orange tinted container. They're white, but taste like orange. It's amazing, actually. Mind-blowing.