A great evening on the restaurant ‘ship’ Patio, a kind of two decker river cruiser permanently moored on the banks of the Spree near Bellevue and the Akademie der Kunst. The entire lower deck was booked by Mana Verlag for an evening of NZ food, wine and literature and supported by the embassy and MCH. About 40 people enjoyed a five course gourmet dinner with NZ style ingredients, each course accompanied by a different NZ wine. The courses were also followed by a reading from the five kiwi writers there, providing a similar variety of flavours. The arrangement was spontaneous enough that Chad Taylor, without hard copy, had to download his novel ‘Pack of Lies’ from the net and read from his iPhone while Diane had recourse to poems she had on the iPad. What did we do before? Peter Walker, Robert Sullivan and I all read from real books, ‘The Fox Boy’, ‘Star Waka’ and ‘To Each His Own’ respectively. All went down a treat, even book signings to follow. Got home before the S-Bahn stopped.
Other highlights have been a visit to the flea market at Mauerpark … Stalls along what was once the death zone between the Berlin wall. Here, for the second time this week, and it happens every time I come to Berlin, if I stand still for too long, someone comes up and asks me the way to somewhere. Do I look like a friendly German or someone who knows?
We went to the Pergamon Museum today and the highlight was the Pergamon Panorama – the 21st century version of the cylindrical displays of battles or exotic places that used to be such an attraction in the early 19th century. And then the Neues Museum, the marvelously self-reflective museum that displays its own archaeology of bullet and shell wounds from WWII, as well as its Greek, Roman and Egyptian treasures. The single wonder is Nefertiti’s head, more than 3000 years old yet utterly timeless and mesmerising in its androgynous beauty. See Nefertiti and die.
Off to Frankfurt tomorrow.