Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Monday, 29 February 2016

The present of an extra day

©Brigitta Huegel

Sweet February Twenty-Nine! 
This is our grace-year, as I live 
Quick now! this foolish heart of mine; 
Seize thy prerogative!  

This lines of Walter De La Mare tell us to enjoy the extra day of the Leap Year.
I wish you a wonderful new week!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Snow - again!

©Brigitta Huegel

I love the little vase that a famous German potter made - he used copper in the glaze, and it cracks so nicely emerald green on the darker ground. I have two vases by him - a big one and a small one, though I prefer the little one: just right for snowdrops.

©Brigitta Huegel

These husband brought from our garden in Hildesheim, and I felt a sudden pang of homesickness and nostalgia and burst into tears - though I absolutely don't want to go back. Strange.

Added: Richard Uhlemeyer vases.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Mugaritz, 2 Michelin stars, Nr.6 - World's Best Restaurants 2015

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You,
one of the highlights of the Berlinale is the "Culinary Cinema'.
First we saw a documentary about the Mugaritz, a Basque restaurant, and Daniel Brühl, the actor, read the German text, so we could concentrate on the beautiful pictures and witty words.
Then Andoni Luis Aduriz cooked with his crew the menue. It was the first time in my life that I ate a dinner from a cook with 2 Michelin stars, whose restaurant Mugaritz was rated 2015 the 6th best restaurant in the world.
It was delicious, and I might sound philistine when criticizing it as "a bit tame". The Menue:
"Sweet potatoe baked in quick lime, black truffle" as a starter (slightly sweet, and the truffle not overpowering...),
"Threads of king crab with vegetable mucilage, macademia and pink peppercorns (a lovely, slightly sweet shredded mousse),
"Cod fish covered with pine nut cream and fried 'kokotxas' skin" (a white fish cube, a blond cream, and deep-fried fish skin),
"Tuna belly, beetroot and horseraddish" (a bit of colour here, but many people including Yours Truly did not touch the Tuna: coming from Northern Germany I learned in early youth that a fresh fish does not smell. It just doesn't . Full stop)
"Whisky pie" - a lovely dessert.
Conclusion: my palate might not be refined enough to taste the very subtle nuances of the dishes.
I love variety and my teeth are very good - figuratively spoken I don't enjoy white cauliflower with white sauce, white rice and pale chickenbreast (minced :-)
But I learn easily: the Berlinale is a social event - "to see and to be seen" is as important as the movies. The hunt! The endured pains of waiting for hours!!
Not for nothing the opening film was called:  "Hail, Cesar!".

Friday, 19 February 2016

Peace begins with a smile. (Mother Teresa)

©Brigitta Huegel

"A half dozen recent studies demonstrate the power that a simple positive interaction with a stranger has to make us happier " they write in Psychology Today
Well - for this Berlin is the right place. 
I have lived in many towns and cities - and even succeeded to have wonderful conversations with unbeknown Scots in Edinburgh (while English people had warned me that this would be almost impossible). 
I have very interesting conversations in trains. 
And in Berlin people very often smile at you often, quite unexpectedly. At first I was really surprised - 'What did they want?' my Northern soul asked cautiously. 
They smiled because they are (often) happy and content with there life here. 
And I smile back. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

This is NOT a Chinese Takeaway!! (Keeping up Appearances)

"No you cannot have another number 21 with rice instead of noodles!"
"Now will you please get off my slimline white telephone with last number redial?"

Happy Birthday, Patricia Routledge! (She turned 87 yesterday).

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Vers(a)e instead of Vice

One is often in for a surprise if you go through life with open eyes and open ears.
Though: that with the ears I'll take back.
OK - I have the hearing of a bat - which is quite annoying sometimes, especially when the person in the flat above your bedroom wears iron-clumps as bedroom slippers, thinks that a carpet on the floor board from 1902 - creak, creak - is utter luxury, and has to visit the loo three times at night. (Remember? We moved our bedroom in this big Berlin flat 4 times - he follows...)
Hearing loss is now mainstream: not a symptom of growing old any longer - the young show it off proudly too. Uni-deafness instead of unisex. (Huh? Eh?) Deaf by disco-music, deaf by in-ear headphones.
You (hopefully) heard me complain about the ghetto blaster tunes at "A Quiet Passion" - yesterday I saw 'Maggie's Plan' - and - in another cinema: the same tornado howl!!!
The silver lining?
This infernal noise overlays all those spectators' crunching through hectoliters of popcorn while dear Emily D. is reciting her poetry.
Bliss - a different "Sound of Silence"...

PS: By the way: absolute silence in case of the Staatsbesuch from Israel - Gwil wrote, he couldn't find information in Austria, and Husband said, even the Hildesheimer Allgemeine (newspaper for a tiny city near Hannover) did not mention it. Strange.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Yes!!! A Breakthrough!

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You, 
Thank you for crossing your fingers! It helped me and all those with tickets to cross the street. In the first photo you see only the start of setting up...) The Zoo Palast showed the movie at 12:30 a.m. (in the evening you had to drive -- well: sneak - through half the city to Friedrichstadtpalast).
They even put protection around the groundfloor windows of the Waldorf Astoria. Normally I visit after a film their Romanisches Café (you can eat there too) - but this day was everything except normal. I thought about the guests who had booked their expensive rooms long in advance - strange surroundings for them. President Netanjahu's visit came quite as a surprise. Mrs. Merkel and he will talk about the problems between Israel and Palestine.

©Brigitta Huegel

Being quite early (to be still able to dash to the Friedrichspalast in case of need) I got a wonderful seat: horizontal and vertical middle - and an aisle in front of me, so I could stretch my long legs during the movie comfortably.
The movie "A Quiet Passion", which depicts the life of Emily Dickinson, was really good (in my opinion - some people left the cinema - maybe the last third was a bit weepy). Beautiful décor (I instantly decided to upholster two armchairs with a fabric they used and which I once had); of course little action, because we all know that Emily was a sort of recluse; wonderful recitations of her poems.
But the cinema operators must have misunderstood the movie's title - "A Quiet Passion" - they ghetto blastered the sound to my threshold of pain.
Well: the very young are often aurally handicapped nowadays, "thanks to" headphones and discos.
I hope I remember to take my earplugs for todays movie with me!