Friday, July 06, 2007


[Atrium of the Filmmuseum in Berlin]

So last night we went to dinner one U-Bahn stop away at an Italian restaurant called "Trattoria Paparazzo." The food was excellent; by far the best Italian food I'd had since I left the States. We ordered two antipastos: bruschetta and a roasted vegetable platter. It was all delicious. For main courses, Bruce had the calve's liver with red currant sauce, with gnocci garnished with black truffles; I had the pappadella noodles with black truffles. I loved mine and Bruce loved his. I tried his gnocci, but I didn't care for his liver. For some reason, I only like liver when it's chopped or pureed. This tasted light and buttery, but it was still distincly "liver-y," too much so for my taste. For dessert, we split some pannacotta with strawberry puree.

Bruce was trying to give me grief about eating too much, but, in fact as I pointed out to him, he ate more than me. His main course was larger than mine, and I made sure I served him more of the dessert than I took for myself.

After dinner we walked back to the main street and took a tram. I'm still getting used to Bruce's mobility. I should explain that he has cerebral palsy, and while he has always had mobility issues, he's moving much slower than I remember. It's good for me to learn to be more patient. There's a lot I want to cram into the day, but I need to remember that he can't move at that speed.

Where I wake up between 7 and 7:30 in the morning, he gets up around 9, but doesn't head out until after 10. As a result, what I've been doing is having a leisurely breakfast, where I read the paper cover to cover, then mail some post cards and head out to a museum around 10. I've been setting aside the mornings to do my necessary work. Then I grab a sandwich from a vendor, and meet Bruce at the hotel around 1 pm.

This morning, I went to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. I decided to do the audio tour, which I thought was excellent. They highlight their efforts to teach the Holocaust from a victim-centered perspective (the subject of an article I've submitted for publication). They do a good job of giving a general overview of the victims and their experiences, less so on the mechanics of the death camps. But since this will be one of the early museums I visit with my students, that's not a problem. The audio tour took a little less than 90 minutes. I asked at the desk about arranging group tours and they gave me the information on that.

After that I went to the Komische Oper to buy tickets to Sunday night's performance of Der Rosenkavalier (I have to remember to review the plot before hand), and Monday night's performance of Der Fledermaus (whose plot I know quite well). I found a gift shop next door with DDR kitsch and picked up a refrigerator magnet of the little green man, who indicates when it's safe to cross the street, as a gift for Bruce, who is in love with all of this.

Given Bruce's speed, he can realistically only do one museum a day. Today he wanted to go to the Film Museum (I'd hoped we might have time to visit the Neue Nationalgalarie afterwards, but that didn't work out). We got to the Museum, located in the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz, and started our tour. For about half the time in the museum, Bruce used the wheel chair, and for the rest he stood on his own. In the end we spent some three hours there. They have a lot of interesting stuff on the history of German cinema, which, particularly pre-1933, was one of the great world cinemas.

Now Bruce is off getting some 90 minutes of physical therapy, while I do our laundry. Given how cold it's been (some rain, but mostly cool and cloudy), I had to wash my pants, since they are now my only pair (Nathan's Villa in Krakow lost my blue jeans). So, I'm going to try to survive for a couple of hours in my shorts, while my pants are washed. The good news is that I'm going to have some room in my luggage if I want to buy any books.

Tomorrow morning I'm off to Sachsenhausen, and then I've told Bruce that I'm insisting we have lunch at KaDeWe in West Berlin.

Bis sp├Ąter.

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