Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 4 Saturday, Rehearsal, Checkpoint Charlie, Konzerthaus

Saturday morning we had a dress rehearsal in the church where we were performing Sunday. Unfortunately it was a good distance away from the closest S-Bahn station so we had to walk for 15 minutes or so to get there. It wasn't so bad for me but I imagine it really sucked for the cellos. When we got to the church, the door was locked so we had to stand around outside and wait for a while before someone was woken up to let us in. The church itself was very nice, old building but modern stained glass.

After rehearsal a small group of us went to Checkpoint Charlie and to check out one of the remaining sections of Wall. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum was interesting, I thought, although a bit large and too varied. For instance, tt included a couple rooms devoted just to non-violent protests around the world and another just to different world religions. There were some neat exhibits showing the inventive ways people tried to escape East Berlin. My favorite was one where a lady was hidden in two suitcases side-by-side. The section of Wall nearby was tucked away back in a neighborhood and not
well-signed at all but we found it. All the graffiti had been chipped off (probably sold to tourists like me) but it was still cool to see what it looked like. Being a civil engineer who had just taken a course in concrete, I was interested to see how heavily reinforced the wall was. Where the wall has been knocked down there are cobblestones showing where it used to be so we had fun jumping back and forth from East to West Berlin.

By this time, we were exhausted from carrying around our instruments all day (some people went back to the hostel to drop them off but we decided that would have taken too long and chose to lug them around instead). We walked from Checkpoint Charlie over to the area of the Konzerthaus to find somewhere to eat. None of us were all that hungry, but the only place that we could find was a fairly chic Italian place, where the waiters were visibly irritated by our ordering of two pizzas to split among the five of us.

After dinner, we went to the Konzerthaus to see an all-British program (Bridge, Britten, and Elgar). The building was very ornate and felt like it wouldn’t seem all that extraordinary if Mozart himself wandered in. The first half of the concert was pretty boring but the second half (the Elgar 1) was good and certainly made up for the first half. Then we went looking for currywurst, Berlin's local delicacy. Afterward we came back to the hostel and played Apples to Apples, Berlin Tour Edition with an ever-growing number of people.

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