06.09.2017 - 12.09.2017 65 °F
We have been very excited about returning to Berlin - I had a fairly extensive list of things I wanted to see & do. We arrived at the train station in Copenhagen to begin the reverse journey back to Hamburg and then on to Berlin. Shai was once again very curious about the train station.
We set out across the Danish countryside
Once again the train is driven right on to the ferry to cross a section of the Baltic
Once parked on the ferry we go up on deck for the crossing - Shai is a good traveler for sure
We met a very nice young man, Sebastian, from Sweden who was moving to Hamburg where his fiancee lives and starting a new job. We have really enjoyed the conversations we have had with the people we've met along the way during this trip. We are slowly gaining insight & understanding in the many cultures we are experiencing.
We arrived in Berlin, got a taxi to the hotel and got settled in. Traveling with a cat does require a few extra steps in checking in & out of hotels and traveling between places. We try to be very conscientious about not leaving a mess behind. We have refined the process over the years of traveling with her though - but the first thing to do once in our room is to get her set up.
We then decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant - great choice - we enjoyed a fantastic dinner of a perfectly cooked pork chop, wonderful potatoes, and green beans done the right way (with bacon & onion) with a nice bottle of Riesling.
First Full Day in Berlin
One of the big things I wanted to do in Berlin was the Pergamon Museum - as luck would have it - it is under going a major remodel and the Pergamon Altar was closed! Oh well - a reason to return. When you enter the museum the first thing you see is the very impressive Ishtar Gate of Babylon - this was so huge I could not get the whole thing in my camera lens! The gate was one of 8 gates and was ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar II about 575 BC. This gate on display is the smaller of the double gate - the larger one is in storage.
Here is a model of what it would have looked like
The next room contains the Roman Market Gate of Miletus - this gate was built around 120 - 130 AD during the reign of Hadrian - it was severely damaged by earthquakes and in WWII so much of it is rebuilt.
In the same room is
and the Orpheus Mosaic - 2nd century
The museum is filled with many treasures from antiquity - some of my favorites
Not Ray - the relief behind him! Yes Ray is a favorite - just not from antiquity!
an exquisite prayer niche
Amazing this glass bottle has survived intact since 700 AD - the figures on it are playing polo
This domed ceiling was originally in the Alhambra in Grenada Spain
Beautifully illustrated books
The Aleppo Room - an ornately painted room from the house of a Christian man in Syria @ 1600
Our next stop was the Berlin Dom (Cathedral) - it is the largest church in Berlin and was built in its present state @ 1747 - 50 in the baroque style.
The interior of the dome
The stained glass of the three main windows depicts the Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection
At the time of its dedication in 1905, the organ was the largest in Germany, with its 7269 pipes and 113 registers, distributed across four manuals and pedals.
The pulpit is a marvelous work of oak woodcarving designed by Otto Raschdorff, the son and employee of the Cathedral’s architect. It bears the inscription, “The Word of the Lord is Eternal”.
It was definitely time for a cold drink and something to eat. We stopped at a cafe and ordered beer and this delicious Berlin Potato & Sausage soup - just right on a cool day!
On the way home we passed the Jungfernbrucke - the oldest bridge in Berlin
The eventual cold we both ended up catching was starting to wear on us - bedtime was becoming earlier!
A New Day...New Museums to Conquor
I had two places on the agenda for today - Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas Church) & the Old National Gallery. We walked across the Spree River to the Nikolaiviertel (St Nicholas Quarter)
The church here has been the center of Berlin for almost 800 years. The church & the neighborhood were bombed during WWII - in the 1987 the area was rebuilt and the church restored for the 750th anniversary of Berlin There are parts from the original church left and some photos showing what it looked like before the church was bombed.
This is a model of the Nickolas Quarter - today it is a great walking area lined with cafes and shops.
After the church we headed for the Old National Gallery which feature works from 1800 to present day and is one of the major museums on Berlin's Museum Island.
Some of my favorite pieces
These two statues greet you at the entrance - Mercury & Psyche and Prometheus complains of the Okeanids - he is surrounded by sea nymphs comforting him
This is an actress playing Circe - Love the expression on her face!
The lace is so realistic - you can zoom in on it here- can't believe it was painted
Van Gogh's Moulin de la Galette
This one is The Sisters
One can only take so much museum time before a little recharge is needed. We headed back to the Nickolas area for dinner at Marcellino's.
Day 3 - Slowing Down Even More
The one place I wanted to see today was the Spy Museum - it was pretty interesting. There were lots of secret cameras in pens, lipsticks, umbrellas, brief cases and tape recorders too. There was even a poison capsule in a glass ampule you swallowed and could covertly retrieve (ick) if captured and wanted to avoid torture.
There were a couple of the Enigma coding machines and a Stasi equipped Trabi that was used for surveillance.
They even had a laser maze you could try and get through! Where is Catherine Zeta Jones when you need her!
We spent the rest of the day in bed and all of the next day, Sunday. We did venture out Sunday evening for dinner.
Feeling Better - at Least One of Us
Monday was laundry day. I downloaded the app for the transportation in Berlin so bus & underground tickets were easy peasy. We took the U-Bahn to the "Waschsalon" and took care of the dirties.
We headed back to the hotel to drop off the laundry then back out to see the East Side Gallery. It is a portion of the wall still standing covered in graffiti devoted to freedom.
We sat on the banks of the river Spree for a bit then headed out on foot through the Kreuzberg area of Berlin.
The Oberbaum Bridge (German: Oberbaumbrücke) is a double-deck bridge crossing Berlin's River Spree, considered one of the city's landmarks. It links Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall, and has become an important symbol of Berlin’s unity.
Molecule Man is a series of aluminium sculptures, designed by American artist Jonathan Borofsky, installed at various locations in the world, including Berlin, Germany, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States.
The first Molecule Man sculptures were made in 1977 and 1978 in Los Angeles, USA. The sculptures consist of three humans leaning towards each other, the bodies of which are filled with hundreds of holes, the holes representative of "the molecules of all human beings coming together to create our existence".
Thank you Wikipedia
We wandered the Kreuzberg neighborhood a while
Kreuzberg has emerged from its history as one of the poorest quarters in Berlin in the late 1970s, during which it was an isolated section of West Berlin to one of Berlin's cultural centers in the middle of the now reunified city, known around the world for its alternative scene and counterculture.
After walking ourselves tired we hopped on the U-Bahn and headed back to the Nikolas area - we ended up at a small brewpub for dinner. OMG - Pork Shank with cabbage & potatoes - so good - between the two of us we could not finish one serving!
We loved this dragon sculpture
Our last day in Berlin was Ray's turn to be hard hit with the cold - we stayed in bed and rested for our travel day to Poland!