Saturday, May 31, 2008

Notes from Berlin

I did the tram, train, plane and taxi thing today ... arriving to 31 celsius here in Berlin.

Since asking myself the 'what would I rather be doing?' question - comparing root canal fillings to flying, I've begun to enjoy flying immensely which is fortunate, since I'm flying a lot at the moment.

It has to be noted that this belief was the tiniest bit shaken today ...
1. The airport express went past a large cargo plane that had apparently broken in half at Brussels Airport last week. It was lying there like a large whale carcass and definately made me run the root canal or flight question through my mind again.

2. I checked in my luggage without queuing, being in possession of an electronic ticket printed at home. I love the speed of it all BUT the woman who had checked my baggage for Rome recognised me and we were talking when she realised that my flight had closed.

Gert is a bit of a phenomena when it comes to organising things and so it was that I was stunned when she started to work out what I could do. It turned out that she had misread my ticket ... the wrong was quickly righted however this second incident had left me fairly interested in having a third 'experience' before boarding the flight.

I didn't quite shout 'Praise the Lord!!!' when my bra set off the metal detector at the security check but it was a close thing. I was calm, knowing it wasn't anything I had hidden and made a mental note to pack the black bra and only wear the white one.

Anyway, today was the the Brussels to Templehof Airport day, traveling on a wee SN Brussels plane ... it's a flight everyone should do, just to experience something outside of the huge busy airport and baggage lines.

Almost no flights land at Templehof anymore and it's scheduled to close in October. I'm sad, as the experience is both unique and entirely excellent.

To give you a taste of what makes it special ... The site of the airport was originally Knights Templar land in medieval Berlin, and from this beginning came the name Tempelhof.

The airport halls and the neighboring buildings, intended to become the gateway to Europe and a symbol of Hitler's "world capital" Germania, are still known as the largest built entities worldwide, and have been described by British architect Sir Norman Foster as "the mother of all airports".

With its fa├žades of shell limestone, the terminal building, built between 1936 and 1941, forms a massive 1.2-kilometre long quadrant yet has a charmingly intimate feel; planes can taxi right up to the building and unload, sheltered from the weather by its enormous overhanging canopy. Passengers walk through customs controls and find themselves in a dazzlingly simple and luminous reception hall.

Tonight, after finishing work on the very last of 'the wedding' photographs and burning them all to dvd, I wandered out in search of food.

Restaurant Zum (Sum) Ulten Tor?
Hmmm okay, I have no idea but you can find it at Torstrasse 221, 10115 Berlin - Mitte serves the loveliest home-style German food I've ever tasted and it all happened out on their street veranda, with a little Chianti in honour of Rome.

There were the little tender roasted pork medallions with a rich and intense gravy.
The mushrooms in a creamy sauce with delicious other stuff, and potato croquettes.

It may be that I expressed an interest in the Berliner strudel with cream. I almost died quietly there on the street.

Tonight is the night where I finish up the last of my portrait work and get them posted. Yes Paola and Simon, I mean you. Rome was hugely distracting (and deeply exhausting and sublime, superb and divine) but this woman has both income and a room of her own for the next few days. I plan to work hard in-between the work gig that starts early tomorrow morning.

31 celsius expected ... and reading ahead, Gert almost died laughing when he discovered that yes, the Istanbul I fly into on Wednesday is also expecting 30+ degrees.

It's not that I'm complaining but 30+ after a longgggggg Belgian winter isn't the easiest thing. I'll tan for all of you back home in New Zealand ... okay?

Auf Wiedersehen.


Manic said...

Why is it hot everywhere you go? Since you've been in Rome and now in Berlin, it's been bad weather all the time. We need you back asap, or no, wait until I finish my exams. Do not return to Belgium until then :D

Di Mackey said...

I'm so sorry Manic ... I would rather be cooler. I 'glow' in this heat.

When do your exams finish?
Good luck :)

Peter said...

28°C/82°F tomorrow (Mon 2nd) in Antwerp Di!

I'm off to the pool, the multicultural leftbank open air pool :-)

paola said...

Don't worry Di, I am sure that the photos are well worth the wait!!

Di Mackey said...

The pool ... at the rate I'm losing weight, Peter, I can surely meet you at the pool this summer :)

Grazie Paola. The photographs keep slipping away in this jumble or travel and work. I'll have to cook you guys a huge feast when I get home to make up for the delay

paola said...

Wow, great photographs AND dinner? I shall get you to photograph us more often!

Di Mackey said...

It would be a pleasure to photograph you guys more often. Beautiful beautiful family! :)

Lol but you haven't tasted my cooking ...