Friday, 21 August 2015

Berlin day three (part two)

It’s not a long walk to the history museum. But it’s still a sweaty one. The bits where we have to dart across shadeless expanses are the worst.

Alexei looks hot. Uncomfortably hot. But it isn’t stopping him talking.

“Daad, Why did Trotsky have to leave Russia?”

“He fell out with Stalin.” What is this with Alexei and Soviet leaders?

“Daad, didn’t he build the Red Army?”

“Yes, that’s why he was a threat to Stalin.”

I never imagined back in 1987 that one day I’d be standing in the centre of Berlin discussing Soviet politics with my son. The thought would probably have pleased me. Though the reality isn’t quite as much fun.

We have a chance to look at the Royal Palace being constructed opposite the cathedral. Dolores is disappointed.

“They’re just building it out of concrete. That’s cheating.”

I can’t argue with her on that point. It looks weird. In some sections they’ve already added the brick facing which doesn’t fit at all with the concrete structure behind it.

Like most museums nowadays, the entrance is through a shop. Once we pass through that and paid we linger a while in the hallway, cooling down a little. I’m relieved to discover that the air conditioning is top class.

It’s a fascinating museum, full of all sorts of stuff. Lots of maps, which I like. Good for Alexei, too, with his Holy Roman Empire obsession.

“Daad, what happened to the Holy Roman Empire?”

“Everyone got bored. Anyway, it was wrong on all three counts, Lexie. It wasn’t holy, it wasn’t Roman and it wasn’t even really an empire.”

We spend a long time – a couple of hours – patiently pacing around the building. The different spots we hang around in say much about our differing interests. I spend much time in the WW I exhibit which has a good collection of propaganda posters and proclamations.

I find Andrew admiring a flak 88.

“It’s much smaller than I imagined, Andrew.”

By the time we’re finished, it’s almost closing time. We have – or rather Andrew and Dolores do – another discussion about the most suitable route back. Eventually deciding Hausvogteiplatz U-Bahn station is the place to start. It’s a little cooler and the sun has gone in. Despite those advantages, still not what I’d call a pleasant walk.

It’s getting close to 6 PM and we’re not far from Gendarmenmarkt.

“They’ll have cask Edelstoff in a few minutes, Dolores.”

“You can go if you want. I’m too tired.”

Unfortunately we have a single group ticket for all of us. I can’t be arsed to get myself a new one and head back with the others.

“Do you fancy going to the beer festival, Ronald?”

Amazingly, I don’t. I’m too knacked. On the way back, we pick up more supplies at Kaiser. Vintage Fanta for Alexei, a Jägermeister-like thing for Andrew and some more Andechs for me. Dolores wastes her time getting food.

I spot this in a U-Bahn station on the way back:

We laze around in the hotel until it’s dark. Then Dolores and I stumble off to Jägerklause for a beer or two. It’s pleasant sitting outside in the cool(er) night air. Especially with a cool beer in your hand.

Tomorrow we really will be going to the beer festival.

Deutsches Historisches Museum
Unter den Linden 2,
10117 Berlin.

Grünberger Str. 1
10243 Berlin

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