From Prussian Kings to Communist Spies
We started our last day in Berlin by heading to Charlottenburg palace. It was built by the first queen of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte (SC). She was very fond of music, philosophy and witty conversations. After she was done with performing her royal duties and giving birth to an heir, she retired to her palace to engage in her favorite activities (listed above). SC considered music her only true and loyal companion because it never betrayed or bored her like human friends and lovers. One of her contemporary writers described her as having compass shaped eyebrows and beautiful teeth.
I wonder how boring their lives were…
They collected porcelain, because what else?
They had a chapel with a giant crown hanging above
Decades later, SC’s grandson decided all that decorum was old-fashioned and not opulent enough, so he built another wing in the palace to fit his modern tastes.
I wonder if anyone these days would consider this beautiful…
To fuel our drained souls after hours of listening about royal habits and activities we got some Turkish food. There is a lot of Turkish food in Berlin, it’s everywhere and it’s delicious. Matt went for a standard (of XL size) doner kebab that never disappoints. I decided to be more experimental… I really like lentil soup but I didn’t know how it’s called in Turkish/German and didn’t feel like asking. So I picked one of two available soups and hoped for the best. Well, it was a tripe soup:
We had to Google its name to figure out what it was after getting it. Why didn’t I do this before placing the order? Anyways, I had a few spoons and that was it. I think the shop owner was disappointed in me. He told me (at least that was my interpretation of his words I didn’t understand) that he makes very good tripe soup. I believed him… But it was too weird even for my tastes.
The main dish for me was Iskander kebab. I knew that I’d eaten it before, but I was not 100% sure what it was (remember, I felt experimental). Apparently, it’s a very elaborate dish (Matt devoured his doner kebab before they finished cooking my Iskander) smothered in butter… It was very delicious but a bit too much for a lunch dish.
My experiments don’t always have desired consequences…
Anyways, all fueled up we got on a 🚆 and traveled across the city to visit Stasi museum, which used to be headquarters of East Germany secret police (basically, main office for Communist spies).
The interior design brought back some of my memories because all government offices looked like that in Soviet times.
But the spying equipment was new (I promise I have never been a spy!) and peculiar.
For example, a bug in living room doors (the owners had no idea it was there until years after the Wall fell):
Or a watering can with a hidden camera under the elevated bottom.
This museum had three floors of rooms, equipment, displays and videos that provided detailed description of Stasi workings. We live in much better times right now. Well, hopefully. To elevate my spirits we got some 🍺. Apparently, Stone has a brewery in Germany, so we had to get a beer they don’t sell in the US.
After that we went to see a performance in Chamaleon theater recommended by a friend (thanks Julia!).
It was fun and inspiring with a lot of acrobatics ans some comedy. I was really impressed by female performers who were super strong and fearless. But the best part for me was that their roles were equal to men. Actually, the main role belonged to a female artist, and it was obvious why. She was better than everyone else at everything. Chamaleon cheered me up!