The Merry Month of May

Hello Again! May has been delightful. Berlin is having an unusually gorgeous spring weather-wise with temps in the 70’s and 80’s every day. It’s been a joy to witness the progression of blooms from cherry trees in April to lilacs and wisteria in early May then chestnut trees and now the roses. Oh, the roses! My theory is that living in a Northern climate makes one appreciate the beauty of spring all the more. Each new bloom is a fresh revelation.

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roses blooming at Friedrich Wilhelm Platz

This month has been all about the travel. We’ve had pretty much constant house guests since the end of March and I’ve seized the opportunity to see some more of Europe while living here and have willing travel partners. I visited the medieval Hanseatic city of Lübeck with my sister-in-law at the end of April. Famed for its well-preserved brick gothic architecture and 7 church spires, it was a thriving city in the middle ages and one of the centers of trade between western Europe and the East. We visited the Hansa museum which focused on the history of this medieval trade organization which was headquartered in Lübeck.

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Headquarters of the Hanseatic league in Lubeck

Then another sister-in-law and I went to Venice and Verona for the weekend. The highlight of this trip was people-watching while drinking Aperol spritzes. The evening passeggiata (or stroll, more like a parade) is very big in Verona where people get decked out and stroll the main street (paved in marble no less) and basically just check each other out while drinking lightly alcoholic apperitivos and eating Lay’s potato chips. It’s the best! I also ate a horse steak and way too much gelato and I love Italy forever and ever and want to go there on vacation any chance I get. Venice was tourist heaven. The highlight was sitting in the Vaporetto (water bus) and taking in the Grand Canal in all its majestic crumbling glory. Touristy nightmare?  Yes. Unlike any other city in the world?Also, yes.

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The Grand Canal, Venice

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Aperol spritzes, potato chips and people watching:  A match made in heaven.

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Venice: totally touristy, for obvious reasons.

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Gondola jam

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Verona and the Adige river from above.

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Blurry field of blooming poppies seen from the train between Verona and Venice.  Please rent or read “A Room with a View” by E.M. Forster for more reasons to love Italy (film highlights include fields of poppies and full frontal male nudity, a win-win).

Then Dan and I stole away to London for a weekend leaving the kids in Berlin with his visiting parents. Eating good food as always was a priority and we had some lovely Pakistani food, Ethiopian fasting food (aka vegetarian, my favorite) and splurged on lunch at Ottolenghi where I had the best-ever roasted eggplant. The city was decked out in Union Jacks and barricades in anticipation of the royal wedding taking place the following weekend. I resisted purchasing a monogrammed H&M teacup.  London was overwhelmingly huge but highlights were hanging out in St. James Park, seeing a French film ( Jeune Femme) and visiting the Tate Modern art museum.

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Harry & Megan monogram tchotchkes for sale

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Union Jacks on display in Soho

Then last weekend our family and Dan’s parents all flew to Copenhagen, rented a car and drove to the lovely quiet island of Langeland and just relaxed in rural Denmark for the long weekend (Germany has a lot of holidays in May.  The kids have had no full 5 day school weeks this month whatsoever). Highlights of Langeland were the walking trail around Tranekaer Slot (castle) featuring art made out of natural materials alongside the trail (sort of a less spectacular version of  Andy Goldsworthy’s work).  Denmark was very, very beautiful and very, very expensive.  I would love to spend a whole summer there just biking around and eating Danishes (maybe after I win the lottery).  There is a reason the pastry is named after the country as they do them right.

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Tranekaer Slot

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Rapeseed fields in full bloom near Emmerbolle

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painting with natural pigments at the Viking museum in Trelleborg

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family dinner outside, near Tranekaer