We had an excellent nights sleep in our very luxurious hotel room. We were in no hurry to be off as we were going to the British Museum which was just across the square. We had breakfast in the hotel and then took a leisurely walk round to the museum. We were there to see the German history show and the Ming exhibition, but of course we took in other things as well, including the Sir Percival David collection of Chinese pottery. In many ways I much prefer seeing things like that to the big shows but it has to be said that in the Ming show in particular, one was seeing things that were very rare and exquisite.
We had moules et frites in a small restaurant just off Regent Street and then hurriedly made our way up the next street over to the Royal Academy to see an exhibition of painting by Anselm Kieffer. I would gladly have spent a bit longer there but we weren’t sure how long it would take us to cross London so we departed for Paddington.
Flora was very pleased to see us when we returned home after a relatively fast train journey.
The weather remained mild and sunny for our trip and although there was quite a breeze in London, it wasn’t at all cold. For once I was wearing the right clothes and I continued my recent trend of ‘travelling light’. I had made a shoulder bag out of some skirt material that Thelma had given me so everything fitted in their well including jars of jam and other pressies for Matt.
First port of call was the Malevich exhibition at Tate Modern. It was quite busy at the Tate as I guess it was half term for many, nevertheless it wasn’t too crowded in the show. It was quite an extensive show and followed his development as an artist. It was quite good but I can’t say that I personally warmed to his work but then I don’t suppose that was his intention. Afterwards we saw some huge fabric installations in the turbine hall and then went for lunch in the Tate cafe – I had fish and chips!
After lunch we braved the wind and crossed the Thames on the footbridge towards St. Pauls. I’ve never been so close to it so it was a first for me. It was lovely and sunny so it really looked good. We had a coffee and then took the underground to our hotel which was in Russell Square. The Morton was rather a smart hotel, waffle bathrobes and a huge Samsung television! Matthew came up to our room and then we set off to Gails Kitchen, passing be Senate House, SOAS and Habitat. Maureen joined us and we had a very jolly supper, a bit like tapas only bigger plates. Afterwards they walked back to our hotel with us before catching the tube home.
The MortonxGails Kitchen
Bright and sunny today! After breakfast we set off for the Hauptbahnhof and dumped our suitcases in the luggage lockers, then we took the number 85 bus to the Gemäldegalerie for total immersion in Renaissance painting. We were somewhat tired by lunch time, but after making use of the gallery restaurant, we had sufficient energy to see an exhibition called ‘Bathing’ which turned out to be very good. By then it was time to head for the airport so we retraced our steps and took the train out to the airport. As with the flight going, we were 25 minutes ahead of schedule, a good flight and home in Devon by 7 pm.
Another splendid breakfast, smoked salmon with horse raddish, then straight off to visit the museums. First off was the Pergammon, the Ishtar gate was even better than I had imagined. Then we went to the Egyptian museum for another treat, the head of Nefertiti. A break for lunch, the oysters were on special offer in Galleries Lafayette, so combined with a plate of bulots, there was no competition. Much restored, we then went back to see romantic and 19 century painting. Having exhausted ourselves with Caspar David Friedrich we called it a day and set off for home stopping for a beer in the place across the road. Hyw then went in the supermarket, I walked back to the hotel and watched from a distance as Hyw went in the opposite direction! There was nothing I could do except wait for about ten minutes until he realised!
Supper tonight was another visit to the Turkish restaurant, Honca they really deserve a Michelin star. Tonight we were given free drinks and I had a fig and date mousse! Scrumptious. Pictures to follow.
A wonderful breakfast, smoked salmon, various hams, plus cheese, croissants and cereals, juices, rolls etc. etc all for only 5 euros! We set off for Zoo station and caught the 100 bus as that in effect does a round trip of the tourist sights. We got off to see the Brandenberg gate and walk down Unter den Linden, passed the Hotel Adlon Hotel of Bernie Gunter fame. We caught various S and U Bahn train and then found ourselves somewhat lost. We went into the open air and walked to a less complicated station and then got back on track, opposite Galleries Lafyette, where we had a wonderful lunch and a couple of glasses of restorative wine. It was quite bright and sunny at this point. We went to the museum island and went to the museum that housed the Greek and Roman collections, unfortunately discovering at the same time that the Berlin card we had bought earlier didn’t in fact gain us entry to museums. Having exhausted ourselves in the museum, and having walked over 12,000 steps according to my Fitbit, we caught the 100 bus back to Zoo, took the overground for one stop and then walked back to our hotel.
This evening we went to a traditional German restaurant where I was served with massive portions and liberally plied with glasses of a grappa type spirit
at the end.
Left home in brilliant sunshine only to arrive in dull, overcast weather. By the time we had caught the S Bahn and U Bahn the weather had improved somewhat and by chance, I suspect, we had got the combination of trains just right, so all we had to do was walk down Pariser Str. Until we reached our hotel. First impressions of Berlin weren’t great but it is very much a city you have to be in to appreciate it.
We went straight out after dumping our bags and walked round the block, into the Kurfürstendamm before going for an Erdinger in a local hostelry and then on to a very swish Turkish restaurant. We had a sharing starter of all sorts of Turkish dishes and for the main course I had duck with apricot and parsnip pure and Hyw had lamb shoulder, absolutely delicious.
Hyw is now snoring beside me but I shall read, not a bad first day, we shall see what tomorrow brings.
As usual I am writing this blog at home as I was just too tired to do it whilst I was away and in any case I wanted to spend all my spare time in the pool.
So after our trip to Limone we were rather surprised to find ourselves back there again on our tour of Lake Garda. We had thought it was a boat tour whereas in fact it turned out to be coach and boat. We had a good time nevertheless as we sat around in bars and cafes at most stops! The coach made its way from Riva to Limone through very narrow tunnels and then onwards to Gardone, very smart place, where we caught the motorboat to Sirmione, dreadful shops selling tatt, and lastly Lazise, which was very elegant, and for us the best place of all, excluding Brenzone.
On Saturday Verity and I decided on a day of being lazy, sketching, drinking and swimming. The other two went to the market in Malcesine but we had had enough retail therapy by then. We went to the shop in Brenzone first of all though to buy our Limoncello then we went down to the Harbour in Brenzone and did some sketching. After a bit we walked slowly back up the lake, stopping for a Hugo on the way, and then to the hotel for sun and lunch. The other two joined us for lunch and a good time was had by all. That night at supper we were very sad to be thinking that the next day we would be on our way home, especially as we had to wake up at 3am!