Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Herr Jeremy Joins Frau Bevin's Adventures!

We had so many adventures during Jeremy's visit!  I debated breaking our adventures into a few different posts, but decided to do one mega-blog instead, so buckle up!

Possibly the most important photo of Jeremy's entire trip.
Jeremy flew into Berlin, so we began our adventures there.  We checked into our hotel and then had dinner with Corine at a lovely Italian place near our hotel.  Jeremy and Corine had never met, and I was so excited for them to get to know each other!  We had great conversations and food before finally letting Jeremy crash back at the hotel after a very long day of traveling.

On Monday, Jeremy and I spent the day wandering around Berlin and seeing some important sites.  We started with Checkpoint Charlie (the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin)  and the Mauer Museum (Mauer=The Wall) first thing in the morning.  It was a very crowded museum, but the history is so neat!  There are portions of Mauer in the museum, and still standing at certain points around town.  After Checkpoint Charlie, we walked to the Brandenburg Gate, a monumental triumphal arch built in the 18th century.

One of Jeremy's favorite artists, Keith Haring, painted a portion of the wall, and it is in the Mauer Museum now.
Sign from Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie, complete with men in costume
A section of The Wall
Jeremy with The Wall
Brandenburg Gate
Next we went to the KunstHalle museum in Berlin to see a small exhibition surrounding a very famous painting by Jackson Pollock in 1943 called Mural.  We continued walking around town and checked out the Berlin CathedralSt. Hedwig's, and Marienkirche  (you know how I can't pass up a church!) before heading back to our hotel to rest our ailing feet!
Mural by Jackson Pollock
The Exhibition at KunstHalle
Berlin Cathedral
Tuesday was museum day in Berlin!  We began the day by trying to go to the Bauhaus Museum, but it was closed.  So we went to the nearby Kunstgewerbe ("craft") Museum and Gemäldegalerie ("painting gallery").  The Kunstgewerbe had an extensive Medieval and Renaissance section, which I enjoyed greatly.  Previous attempts to email the museum have gone unanswered, but I will try again now that I have a better idea of what is there.  The Gemäldegalerie was a total optical feast of paintings from the thirteenth through eighteenth centuries all across Europe!  Here we saw works from such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Holbein, Rogier van der Weyden, Jan van Eyck, Raphael, Botticelli, Titian, Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, and Johannes Vermeer.  Mega cool!

Even though we didn't get to go inside...
Me and my good friend Rembrandt
After these two museums, which are located in a district called the "Kulturforum," we went to "Museum Island," so-called because it is located on a small island in the Spree River which runs through Berlin.  On Museum Island, we first visited the Neues Museum which houses mostly Ancient Egyptian, Classical Antiquity, and Pre-historic art and objects.  Their main attraction is the bust statue of Queen Nefertiti.  We also visited the Pergamon Museum, which is a very famous museum for its life-size reconstructions of monumental architecture including the Ishtar Gates of Babylon and its namesake, the Pergamon Altar from Greece.  Unfortunately, the Pergamon Altar is closed for restoration, so we didn't get to see that part.

Me standing in the Market Gate of Miletus (2nd Century Roman)
Jeremy with the Ishtar Gate (ca 575 BC)
With some Cranachs at the Neues Museum
Jeremy at the Neues Museum
After two and a half exhausting but thrilling days in Berlin, we hopped a train to Wolfenbüttel on Wednesday morning.  We arrived just in time for Jeremy to accompany me to coffee time with my fellows at the library!  I got to show him off, and it made me happy to introduce him to all the people I have told him about and and vice versa.  After coffee, we walked all over town (which admittedly doesn't take long...) and I showed him all my favorite spots.  That evening, we ate traditional German food at the Brauhaus im Ratskeller ("brew house in city hall cellar"), which is where George Clooney ate dinner when he was in the area filming Monuments Men!  They have a photo of him in there to prove it.  We figure he probably sat right where we did and ordered the same thing Jeremy did, so basically Jeremy=George Clooney.

Some Wolfenbüttel Blooms
Some Wolfenbüttel Ducks
Jerm drinking local German beer
Thursday we went to coffee at the library again, and wandered around town a bit more before having a nice dinner with some of my friends for more fellowship and chit-chatting!  I really enjoyed showing Jeremy my home here, and introducing him to my friends so that he has a better idea of what I'm up to all the time!  

Jeremy and I at dinner in Wolfenbüttel
Meeting friends!  Me, Jeremy, and Katja at dinner.
Friday morning began the journey to Paris!  Approximately seven and a half hours on the train from Wolfenbüttel to Paris, and our Parisian adventure began!  We arrived around 5:00pm, and after checking into our hotel right by the Pont Neuf, we spent the evening wandering about the Seine and taking it all in.  What a beautiful city!!

Looking over the Seine at sunset
Pont Neuf on the Seine
Notre Dame across Saint-Michel
On Saturday, we were top-notch travelers/tourists and explored more than anyone thought possible in a single day!  We began by visiting Shakespeare & Company, the famous English bookstore on the Seine, on our way to Sainte-Chapelle.  Sainte-Chapelle is a beautiful jewelry box of a building, filled with floor-to-ceiling thirteenth-century stained glass, originally built to house the relics of the Passion (including the Crown of Thorns).  After Sainte-Chapelle, we stayed on a medieval kick and went to the Musee Cluny.  Talk about a super collection and thoughtful display!  The collection lives in a wonderful building, and includes top-notch medieval sculptures and a full set of Unicorn Tapestries!  Hooray!

Shakespeare & Company
Musee Cluny
Musee Cluny-- Sculpture heads from Notre Dame
Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, Cluny
Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, Cluny
Then we strolled through the Tuileries Gardens, enjoyed some gelato, and visited the Musee de l'Orangerie, a delightful little museum filled with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist delights.  I especially love the round rooms where Monet's largest Water Lilies are displayed!  Some of you may not know that my first interest in art history was as a child, when I was in LOVE with Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir.  The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements were the first I loved, and as a child I studied my page-a-day Van Gogh calendar trying to memorize title/artist/date for each day.  No wonder I became an art historian!

Jeremy at l'Orangerie
Jeremy at l'Orangerie
Monet's Water Lilies at l'Orangerie
Me with my Water Lilies
Close-up of Water Lilies
Because we simply had not had enough walking and standing yet, we journeyed to the Eiffel Tower by foot, and I was again amazed at just how enormous it really is.  That never gets old.  We circled back around to see the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees before heading back to the hotel to rest our feet a bit.  That evening, we had dinner with my friend Lindsey and her boyfriend Arnaud at a delicious Moroccan place in a less touristy part of Paris.  I always love seeing familiar faces in not-so-familiar places!

La Tour Eiffel

The Arc de Triomphe is so very enormous!
Arc de Triomphe

Easter Sunday was definitely one to remember!  We began the day with an Easter Mass at Notre Dame!!!  Super music and fanfare, even though we didn't understand most of what was said!  It truly felt like a trip back in time, as the clergy walked in with the processional cross held high and the priest wearing a colorful chasuble!  After church, we went to see the Musee d'Orsay, a museum housed in the former train station built around 1900.  We both love the building, with all its natural light and token train station clocks.  Not to mention, there is a fun collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Easter Sunday at Notre Dame!
Notre Dame on Easter Sunday
Notre Dame on Easter Sunday
Notre Dame on Easter Sunday
Notre Dame on Easter Sunday
Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay
Me with Toulouse-Lautrec's Moulin Rouge dancer!
Van Gogh
Van Gogh
Jeremy with Manet's Dejeuner sur l'Herbe
In the evening, we went up to Sacre Coeur, a church built between 1875-1915 on top of the butte in a district known as Montmartre, for Compline prayers sung by the nuns!  Totally cool.  I kept hoping they would bust out a Sister Act style "Oh Maria," but no such luck (watch this).  After the prayers, we had dinner at an adorable cafe with live piano music.  We requested "La Vie en Rose" (listen here) and "Complainte de la Butte" (and here) and had a totally stereotypical and wonderful dinner soundtrack all to ourselves.

Sacre Coeur on Easter Sunday
Sacre Coeur on Easter Sunday

Monday was our last full day in Paris, and we spent most of it at the Louvre.  We also had another adventure, which I will be telling you about in a separate post soon.  The Louvre was PACKED with people carrying selfie sticks and bumping into each other!  But once you escape the room with Mona Lisa in it, it opens up a bit and you are able to move about more freely.  Because it would take an eternity to see everything there, we picked the highlights and moved with purpose!  We spent our final evening eating delicious food, walking around Paris at night, and soaking up every bit of vacation goodness we could stand!

Chaos around the Mona Lisa-- You can barely see her above everyone's heads!
We had to search very hard to finally find Michelangelo's slave sculptures!
Jeremy with El Greco
Tuesday morning, we took the seven and a half hour train back to Wolfenbüttel, ate dinner, and packed up to head back to Berlin for Jeremy's flight.  Wednesday we went back to Berlin, had time to walk around the city before dark, ate a nice German dinner, and went to a movie.  Then on Thursday morning, I had to take him to the airport and let him go back home.  So sad to see him go, but had the best eleven days a girl could ever ask for with the best man and husband anyone could ever dream of!  I laughed so much, smiled non-stop, loved every second, and filled up my senses for the next six months!

Sony Center-- Where we went to our movie
Sony Center ceiling

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