Monday, June 14, 2010


After a leisurely breakfast, we left for Wannsee, a woods and lake district in the Berlin suburbs that is a summer retreat for city residents. We took the bus to see the Wannsee Conference House, but didn´t go in. We read the story of the place on the plaque on the gate and then walked up the hill to the Max Liebermann villa (only 7 minutes walk away).

The weather has been very good today. We have alternating sun and clouds. When the sun is out, off comes my jacket, but when it clouds over it gets chilly. What I love most about the Liebermann Villa is the garden. Inside, we went briefly upstairs to see some of Liebermann´s paintings, but as it was 1pm, we decided to eat in the cafe. What they lack in selection (either quiche or crispy tomato and cheese-filled rolls that look like bunuelos), they make up for in setting. We took our plates to the veranda overlooking the back lawn and the Wannsee lake. We could see sailboats passing by and the weather was particularly lovely. After I had a slice of Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte (you can work it out), we walked down past the birch trees to the water´s edge. Lovely views of the lake and the villa behind us up the lawn.

Back at the villa, Annie and Cherie went back upstairs to look at the paintings, while I hung out in the reconstructed painter´s garden. Liebermann was an important German impressionist (perhaps the most important), but his work doesn´t really speak to me. I much prefer sitting in on a shady bench among the flowers and strawberries.

I had hoped to go to the Brücke Museum, one of my favorite in Germany, but it´s really complicated to get there from Wannsee (you have to back track then change trains twice and catch a bus) and I wanted to make sure that Annie and Cherie had time to rest before dinner and tonight´s dance performance. As it is, we only got back from Wannsee at 4 pm, and we´ll have to leave for dinner between 5 and 5:30 if we´re going to make an 8 pm curtain.

One thing that really struck me from the train, looking at the various suburban buildings, was how many things, both big and small, show up also in Israel. From something as simple as the shape of the house numbers to the hallway lights on timers, a lot of Germany was brought by Jews to Palestine/Israel.

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