Bilbao is a perfect place to visit: it has Guggenheim, amazing food and wine and charming running paths. The Guggenheim collection is shaping up to be pretty great, I was super impressed by their Anselm Kiefer collection as well as ‘The Matter of Time’ by Richard Serra. They also have one of Louise Bourgeois’ spiders in front. And then there is the food thing: Azurmendi by Eneko Atxa is not just expertly created menu based on local Basque cuisine – it’s also their amazing wine collection and the extremely original presentation – the perfect experience. And if you don’t want to eat super fancy – any random bar will have pintxos, which is the best street food ever invented.
I’m currently visiting Santa Barbara for KITP Program: Machine Learning for Quantum Many-Body Physics. If you ever get an opportunity to go for one of the Kavli Institute programs, definitely definitely go. I will write more on science part later, for now just a few pictures of sunrises and sunsets I took while running.
Saas-Fee is a wonderful car-free Swiss village with the proximity to a glacier and several 4000 peaks. I just took a short holiday there and here is a few pictures. If you are ever going to hike there I can especially recommend going to Spielboden and Langflüh, from where you have excellent view of the glacier, and walking from Felskinn to Plattjen, which starts way above the snow line and is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever went to.
I’m trying not to love New York in that kitschy soapy hollywood way, because yes, it totally has all it’s glamour, but also cockroaches on the subway and Trump buildings everywhere. Then again, Guggenheim is the cosiest and most comforting place in the universe, MET Opera has the best productions in the world and all the super cools bars and modern galleries and amazing views do not hurt. So yes, while I have my reservations and all those people without home in the streets break my heart, I also like coming back for the undefinable feeling all the movies always promise.
I don’t even know where to start with highlights from this last visit. So MET Museum totally rules this spring: they have Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons exhibition, amazingly staged, really hard to understand and pure pleasure to look at (also with the merch designed exclusively for that exhibition:)). Secondly, there is Irving Penn retrospective, which I suppose is little bit more mainstream and less controversial, but I loved it immensely. I also found couple of pieces by my beloved Jean Arp. For me, there is something incredibly comforting and grounding about his art. I have pictures of all his marble statues I’ve seen in my phone and look at them whenever I need to calm down.
The huge surprise for me this time was Brooklyn Museum, which is one of the best designed art buildings I’ve seen. It’s just a perfect space with expertly curated super interesting exhibitions. Don’t just stay in Manhattan and go there, it’s so worth it! There is ongoing exhibition about gender identity in ancient Egypt, that is based on the recent discovery that women after they died had to be temporarily transformed into men so their soul could leave the body and they could be reborn. Only after the re-birth was complete they could turn back into a woman. Then there’s an exhibition of black female feminist artists and activists from 60’s through 80’s. It really offers different take on feminism, because of course black women had hard time to identify with white middle class feminist ideas. It’s spectacular.
Finally, I got to hear Mahler’s 4th from NY Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert with solo performance of Ying Fang. She’s amazing! I hope her star will keep rising and soon we’ll hear her in more MET Opera leading roles. Also, I got into the shoot of my favourite show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee!! Then there’s Strand bookstore and the reason why my next move will be very very difficult. Their selection is just so amazing and staff so qualified that I simply can’t stop myself. Lastly, I want to give a big shout out to The Museum of the Natural History for spending their money wisely on education and updating their exhibitions in the coolest way. This time I saw a wonderful feature on whales told by Ewan McGregor and I’m sure if every kid would watch that together with the rest of the museum the world would be full of compassionate and environmentally responsible people. Actually, yeah…I wonder if Donald even went..
Most amazing orchestra: I just had a wonderful opportunity to hear Berlin Philharmonic playing Verdi’s Requiem conducted by Riccardo Chailly. It was a supremely powerful performance. Requiem is just one of those intense pieces that are absolutely best enjoyed live and I am forever grateful that I had a chance to hear it in such a great space with wonderful soloists and an amazing choir.
- Coolest non-mainstream places to eat. We tried Cookies and Cream this time — a great vegetarian place which is sort of hidden in a narrow dark lane behind other buildings. It’s a perfectly cool place that has excellent food, wine and the secretive exclusive vibe that just form the perfect mix together.
Impressive mixture of edgy galleries and classical museums in the most impressive buildings: While Museumsinsel has this majestic Munich-y vibe (I especially loved archaeological treasures of Pergamon, and yes I know Berliners will probably hate the Munich comparison…), just few steps away from it you find the coolest mixtures of cafes and ultramodern galleries.
And I guess I could continue with Humboldt uni, cool shopping, Kreutzberg and allover artsy atmosphere. If you are looking for a weekend trip, you should definitely put Berlin on the top of your list!