Sometimes things don’t really run smoothly. But there are also days when one thing blends into another; without any planning and high expectations.
Summer sunday? Not at all. The intermediate bad weather period appeared with rain showers and a gusty wind. So, best to stay at home? The day before I was at the Baltic Sea, got plenty of sun tan and now shiver by just 15 degrees C. Actually I wanted go visit an openair steeldrum concert at the Citadel in Berlin-Spandau with “Tin Pan Alley”.
Ready for some Caribbean calypso and samba rhythms? Some „heating up“ would actually be the right thing for now. What the hell. When I get to the event-location around 11.30 a.m., suddenly the sun emerges from between the clouds. The great sound and typical melodies like Tika-Tika, La Habanera and Conga make the audience cheer (all placed at a distance without mask and compulsory C-test) and the scenery appears like a flight to the Caribbean.
Steel drums and steelpans have their origin in Trinidad around 1900 (at that time still
British colony). As of today the barrel instruments and singing bowls are carefully prepared, hammered and tuned from oil barrels. Inside the concave barrel, the walls are marked with different sound fields to guarentee for a good reverberation.
Some players relay on playing by prepared notes, others just listen and play “by sight or by ear”. Sure, as a beginner you might be able to perform a slow music piece after a short time but for faster rhythms you need an extremely flexible quick wrist and years of exercise. If you try out the different “metal drums” yourself, you can quickly hear which sound fields result in better or less harmonious sounds and in which sequence the sound fields are arranged around the concave barrel bowl.
When the last drum beat disappeared, the sky promises a further improvement and I spontaneously decide to continue to go downtown Berlin to finally enjoy “Clärchens Ballroom House”. The historic establishment (built in 1895) located in the Auguststreet was closed for some months and was almost demolished two years ago in favor of stylish apartments. What hasn’t all happen here? On the upper floor in the legendary „Hall of mirrors“, where the upper society loved to dine and celebrate glorious festivities, while below on the ground level the common people preferred to dance and chat. Even movie scenes such as “Stauffenberg” or “Inglourious Bastards” were filmed here. Even today tango is regularly danced here and
the unique object serves as an event location. Even during the GDR era, it remained in private ownership.
During the day you may also enjoy the beautiful rose garden while dining and gatherring with friends (without a permanent annoying reservations or C-test).
I sit in a cozy corner while deciding for either the traditional “Bühler veal schnitzel“ with Berlin-style potato salad or another speciality. I finally opt for “Königsberger Klopse (burgers)“ in caper sauce with handmade puree. In addition I order an “Orangutan” (Campari with orange lemonade). Meanwhile the sun keeps smiling. Sometimes actors like Ben Becker or Katharina Thalbach intend to relax here. Also “1920s bard” Max Raabe, who lives nearby, is a frequent guest in this “institution”. Today just happy „normal audience“. Well, you can not have everything.
Just around the corner in the Oranienburger Street next to the „Bode- and Pergamon Museum“ you find the old synagogue.
I am almost back to the car when I suddenly notice the exhibition notice “Lady Dior”. This is a travelling exhibition of original handbags that has already been seen all over the world. Admittance is free of charge and guides, video clips and info boards offer a lot of explanations about the individual objects.
Vogue wrote about it: https://www.vogue.de/mode/artikel/dior-ausstellung-berlin-lady-dior-as-seen-by
The handbags exhibited here are more than unique, they are crazy. That means they are made of metal, ceramic, glass or filled with objects such as a crocodile bite or a feathered snake. However, the quilted square Dior bag only became an icon among bags when Bernadette Chirac (French President’s wife) gave it to Lady Diana as a present. Lady Di loved this type of handbag in all variations and made the style so popular.
“Right in the middle, instead of just being there”. You can’t barely plan such a surprise day, it just happens …
Discover the possibilities; Berlin is always worth a visit.