Posts Tagged ‘Art’

August 11th,

Urban is the theme of the morning. My friend and I have breakfast out at a coffee shop/micro roaster Van Dyck. It’s all hospital surgery white, with shiny metal embellishments. The delicious coffee can be smelt half way down the street. We have espresso shots of the Adorno blend which is surprisingly light with a caramel hint. It certainly wakes me up.

As the weather is the opposite of what was predicted (glorious sunshine, not thunderstorms) we go for a stroll in the neighbourhood to look at the street art. This is one of my friend’s artistic passions and she is a great guide for finding large, or hidden or minuscule pieces of art on walls (flayed rabbits, Edelweiss Pirates from WW2, grinning skulls in mock ad posters).

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There’s even art hanging from trees ( a white fish holding a rainbow umbrella).

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Some are commissioned, others are spontaneous outbursts of creative political expression. The latest artist feels Banksy inspired. The works are playful and irreverent with unusual depictions of children in black and white.

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My friend won’t let me leave before trying some traditional german food so once I am packed we head to a modern beerhall. The meal is comprised of creamy cabbage (with bacon bits) fried potatoes (with bacon bits) and grilled german sausage. There is a lot of pig on my plate. It’s delicious but sinks like a brick in my stomach, weighing me down with my heavy rucksack for the rest of the afternoon.

After saying goodbye to my friend, I pick up some perfume and find I have some time to kill before my train. Wandering once more around the Dom, this time with my rucksack, makes me empathise for turtles. Dodging through the crowds is difficult and I’m not able to stop to listen to the excellent accordion buskers playing Mozart without causing a real pile up in the street. Eventually I give up and go for an ice cream (banana, melon and strawberry, if you were wondering).

I really didn’t need to worry about getting to the station early, the train is delayed by 30 minutes due to “people on the line.” Then, when we have all been waiting around for 20 minutes the PA system announces the train is arriving (yay) at an entirely different platform (boo).

You have to love a slighted American abroad; man, does this dude make a fuss. A girl wanted to sit in her reserved seat and so she asked the American dude to move. She didn’t say he couldn’t sit next to her but he moved across the aisle and I nabbed the free seat. He proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes complaining about this girl, who clearly wanted her window seat, to the guy he sat next to. He ends by muttering something about “that’s logic, European logic for you.” Seriously dude, shut up or I will give you a slap of European logic.

The train guard looks like a Young Mark Gatiss, and he pays a lot of attention to talking to the men he checks tickets of but not the ladies. The American across the aisle is in trouble again for not filling out his ticket properly. He’s a surfer/jock in a wife beater style top, if that helps give you a picture of the git.

As the second train heads for the channel tunnel, a rain appears across the tracks as if the continent were waving a cheery goodbye. This holiday has been much needed and I definitely want to travel round more of Europe on the train in the future.

August 10th

International food stats:

Breakfast – german bread, cheese and pastries.

Lunch – Lebannese deliciousness including sticky honey filled pastries.

Dinner – Japanese sushi, miso soup and matcha green tea ice cream.

I am a little bit like a zombie today. In hindsight I think there was a bit too much walking yesterday. The Gee family motto for city break is “If you aren’t ready to collapse in a heap with your legs turned to jelly after one day you are doing this wrong,” so I feel I have done my family proud. As the weather has turned it seems the best possible solution is… MUSEUMS!

Attempt number einThe Fragrance Museum. Thwarted by missing the tram and turning up 5 minutes too late for the English language tour. However, the lady who works in the shop gives us a brief history of Farina, the Italian dude who invented Eau de Cologne. My friend and I get a tester of the fragrance on our right wrists and it’s actually still quite a pleasant smell after all this time. The error we make is trying out a tester on our own of the new star sign related scents . This splashes all over our left wrists and down most of our arms. We pretty much stink for the rest of the day and no amount of washing removes the scent. [ By the end of the day I decide I actually like the scent and am going to buy the Pisces perfume tomorrow.]

Attempt number zwei Wallraf-Richartz Museum. Mainly ecclesiastical art as the impressionist gallery is closed for a new exhibition. My newly acquired biblical knowledge from the York Mystery Plays really comes in handy;I am especially happy to be able to now identify the harrowing of hell in the pieces which show Christ’s life. My friend and I spend a lot of time amusing ourselves by making up captions for the paintings. In one God appears in bubbles watching Job and his family as if God were part of a cosmic CCTV system. In another Jesus talks to his Dad on what seems to be a prototype for Skype in the clouds while judas plots in the front of the painting.

And then there are the mini images of the donors of the paintings, knelt piously, totally incongruous to the usually emotionally charged scenes. In one, the female saint looks like she’s going “Psst, Psst, don’t look now, but tell me who is that tiny person kneeling there?” to another saint. In another Mary’s looking down at the huge family of donors at the bottom of a crucifixion scene as if to say, “I don’t remember all these people here.” [In the evening, my friend and I are in fits of laughter, over these online examples of the same irreverent art jokes: Two Monks Invent Medieval Art

Upstairs in the Baroque section my friend and I are surprised to find gigantic modern photos. This is part of a project, Rubens, Du un Ich, to reproduce the image found in a Rubens with young people. A photo booth is set up so visitors can take a picture for the blog which accompanies this project. So, you know, we have to, all for the sake of art and all.

Attempt number drei – Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum. After lunch we hurry through the rain to the anthropology museum. This is a very modern, interactive museum which tries to show how displays in museums are constructing stories which may not be very accurate, that there are always multiple narratives to tell and that what to us may be an object of art, to the original owners was a functional tool. It also conveys a good sense of the wonder that the first collectors felt as they travelled around the globe.

Another packed day… tomorrow it is time for some last minute shopping and then the long journey back to York.