In a rare occurrence these days, I realized last night that I had nothing, absolutely nothing on my schedule for today, Friday. Sure there are things to write and people I could see but I thought last night, “Well, then Friday morning shall be about exploring a few places I have been meaning to find and explore.” Plus Ana had meetings from 10am to 1pm today so this gave the excuse to not be around.
I booked my ticket to Gropius Bau, a contemporary art museum that I have heard a lot about and has been on my list for months. Most places in Berlin have to have a prebought ticket to get in right now.
I masked up and headed out this morning on the M41 bus to Mitte. Gropius Bau is near Checkpoint Charlie and close to our balloon ride (right by existing wall and the “Topography of Terror” outdoor exhibit. It is in the most beautiful building. Half of why I wanted to go was to be in awe of the building.
The building was built between 1877 and 1881 by Martin Gropius. It opened officially in 1881. It was originally designed to be the Museum of Applied Arts but over the years it has been different museums and it was really harmed in WWII. It didn’t reopen until 1981 after extensive renovation.
When you exit the building you will also notice that where the wall was was directly in front of this building. Right in front of it, at the bottom step almost.
Right now there are a few exhibits that are showing. The ground floor highlights a massive exhibit of representing all forms of masculinity. Room after room of artists work and interpretation mostly in the form of photography and on the 1st floor is the exhibit about our earth and the earth’s resources. Both exhibits are stunning…stunning enough to make you wander longer.
I wandered for a while and oooooed and awwwed through the rooms, taking in the building itself and the scenery as well as the exhibitions. There were few of us walking throughout and it felt open, a nice little getaway.
I was glad for this moment in time and the chance to still observe art in a safe way. The world around us is so full of uncertainty and the numbers keep climbing here. Last night I had gone to babysit for a family that I won’t be working much with anymore and all forms of transit were packed. I could and couldn’t believe it. We were all masked but here we were shoulder to shoulder, all risking something.
After spending time inside I wandered out into the partly cloudy but sunny for a moment but chilly outside. I still had lots of time in my day and I have recently read about something curious. Supposedly there is a Klosterkirche Ruin site in the middle of Mitte. I wanted to see this. It has been on my list and appeared there fairly recently. It was a short bus ride away in an area of the city that I have actually spent quite a bit of time traveling through, Alexanderplatz area. This is a more touristy area and also more commercial in some ways. The largest mall type stores are here. So I set out.
I arrived on the other side of the public transit stations, just a passage walk away and a whole new world for me. Before my eyes as I approached were these beautiful and amazing ruins of a cloister.
Founded in 1250 this monastery was a church for Franciscans monks. It is called the Franziskaner Klosterkirche. The remains sometimes display art and can be seen all the time. Sometimes the ruins are open but today they were closed to the inside of them but I could walk around in amazement. Just across the street are hotels and giant stores and so much traffic and construction. I couldn’t believe it. If I looked one way I saw these beautiful bricks and alcoves while if I turned the other it was commercial and metal. I have been close to here probably hundreds of times and had no idea until today that this was here. They were beautiful and I am so glad I found them, these old ways in which so many prayed and walked and meditated. In this city there are few places that feel so sacred.
What else has been around just before my eyes? What else can I explore and find in this city? We shall see.