A recent visitor took pity on me and left behind a copy of the New Yorker (an international subscription costs $120), which happened to contain a really interesting (although, not without serious faults that I won't go on about here) article on the city of Dresden. Dresden is only a little over an hour from Berlin by car, but somehow despite our wandering ways, we had never made the trek. A few weeks later, my Schwiegervater (aka father-in-law) made an unexpected visit to Berlin and suggested a day-trip, which, of course, we had to accept. We only got a taste of the city (along with a tiny sampling of Meissen, the nearby town, which you probably know for it's porcelain manufacture). I can, however, recommend the Residenzschloss, which houses the Grünes Gewölbe (or, Green Vault), an exhibition of the collections of the Wettin rulers. These Wettins were serious collectors and you can check out such treasures as a cherry pit with 185 faces carved into it, a massive and extremely ornate diorama of the Royal Household of the Grand Mogul, and about 1,078 other beautiful, but useless items.
I can also recommend stopping for snacks at the self-proclaimed "most beautiful dairy (store) in the world," Pfunds Molkerei. It is a bit touristy, but the dairy products were actually pretty tasty (I seem to be making a habit of visiting dairies of late, so I'm definitely qualified here). We shared an east German cheese plate (which made me wonder what the store was like during the GDR, when as I understand it, there were only a couple types of cheese available) and glasses of fresh milk/buttermilk.
In other news, it seems to have finally stopped snowing here (knock on wood): once last week I went out without a coat (!) and there are even little buds on all the trees! It's exciting. To inaugurate the change of seasons, we S-Bahned out to the Pfaueninsel where we strolled among fake ruins (very cartoonish in appearance and just plain odd) and real live peacocks (also odd, but quite nice), all of which I neglected to document, alas. There was actually a Meierei (dairy) there, too, but it was closed....luckily, we had packed our own cheese sandwiches (with pickled pepper for me and extra mustard for mein Mann) for the first official picnic of the year!