Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Museum Island Day in Berlin

Well I must confess…when I tucked into bed last night and looked at the clock for the last time it was only 11 pm…1 am Russia time!  So I got more sleep than I thought I would!  But we were awake at 5:30 am…should have those body clocks adjusted by tomorrow.

They start serving breakfast downstairs at 7 am so we were down early and then out the door to find the ATM for some Euros.  We’d brought some with us from last spring but need more.   Then a stop at the Tobacco Shop to purchase all day train passes for today and tomorrow.  Back to the Hotel…which is actually a huge hostel to prepare for our day with instructions from the desk downstairs on how to travel to where we needed to go.  FYI…we’re paying 50 euros a day and it includes a buffet breakfast!  But…no television or phones in the rooms but free WiFi!

We rode the cable car to Alexanderplatz; four stops and then we had to find the train station.  That took some doing but we found it and caught the train three stops to the main train station called Hauptbahnhof.  There we found the travel assistance shop and purchased our train tickets for our trips to Dresden and then to Prague.   Our travel will be by train from here until we fly to Paris from Budapest.  That all took an hour but it feels good to have accomplished our mission and now we’ll know where to go on Saturday when we leave.

Back on the train to Hackescher Markt.  We located the restaurant area where we are meeting people tomorrow and then we walked over to Museum Island.  We were standing in line to purchase tickets when the skies opened up and we had a sudden downpour!   It looked so great out this morning that we didn’t bring umbrellas!  I had a “one time use” plastic poncho in the backpack that we held over our heads as the water ran down our arms; but we were drier than most of the people standing with us in line.  We were definitely not the only ones that left their umbrellas at home!
Soon it stopped raining and within thirty minutes we had our tickets:  Jim has a three day ticket and I have a one day pass for all the museums.   I plan to do more than just Museum while we are here!  We first entered the Neues Museum that had the Egyptian artifacts, including the bust of Nefertiti that is over three thousand years old which pre-dates classical Greek Art.  She is the mother of King Tut.  We also saw the gold jewelry of Piriam, the ruler of Troy, in the exhibit of Schliemann’s excavations of Troy.
Then we went to the Pergamon Museum and saw the Pergamon Altar, The Gates of Babylon and other antiquities from Persia.  Back in the 1997 while on a trip to Berlin with friends…I chose to sit outside and read my book while the others went in to see these treasures.  Jim was thrilled that I’ve finally seen them and I must admit…they are spectacular.  I’d seen one too many Museum on that day so long ago and I must admit I have a greater appreciation for art today then I did then.

Our last Museum for the day was the National Galerie.  All three of the Museums sit next to each other.  This one was full of art; mainly German artists but a wonderful room of French Impressionism paintings and sculpture. 
It was nearly 3:30 pm as we left the island and walked along the Spree River that flows through the center of Berlin.  We decided to do a boat ride and enjoyed seeing the various sites along the waterfront.  The Berliner Fernsehturm, better known as the television tower…is visible from all over…even from our room.  It is located in Alexanderplatz and we plan to make a trip up for the views before we leave.  But from the River we also saw the Aqua Dom and other famous sites, some old and more new ones.    There are many construction sites in both the East and West sides of Berlin.  There are areas that have poles when the “wall” once stood.  About half way through the boat ride the rain started and we all went downstairs.  But, it was only sprinkling so we went back upstairs and enjoyed the rest of the hour long ride. 
Back to Alexanderplatz where we enjoyed dinner at the American “Burger King” and then the fair that we found in what had been an empty platz early this morning.  Arrived home about 6 pm and enjoyed a beer from the bar downstairs before calling it a day.  Phone calls and Internet and a bit of laundry filled the evening.  The wifi is not quite as good as it was in Russia; but it works with a little tweak here and there.  Tomorrows another day!
Here is the link to the slideshow:

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