Day 4: Wednesday, September 19

Hitting The Museums

We started our day fairly early, with the usual delicious breakfast at the hotel.

Back in our hotel room we packed our day bags and cameras, and caught the U-Bahn from Nollendorfplatz to the S-Bahn at Friedrichstrasse. From there we walked to Museuminsel (Museum Island) to begin our day of Museum surfing. Many of Berlin’s prominent museums and galleries are in one spot on a small island in the centre of the city. The museums on Museuminsel are:

  • Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum)
  • Bode-Museum (Bode Museum)
  • Neues Museum (New Museum)
  • Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)
  • Altes Museum (Old Museum)

We hoped to see as much as possible today, depending on how our stamina held up over the course of the day. Our Berlin Welcome Cards helped defray the museum admissions somewhat so that helped.

First up was the Neues Museum where we toured the Egyptian Antiquities exhibit. There, we saw, but could not photograph, the bust of Nefertiti – so amazing to gaze upon this famous statue:

About two hours later we left to take a break and walked to the Lustgarten (yes, the garden is actually called Lust) in front of the Altes Museum:

Across the street was the Berliner Dom (or, in English, The Berlin Cathedral). Berliner Dom is the common name for the Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church in Berlin. We marvelled at the structure…:

… then took a peek at the Altes Museum, although we didn’t go in due to time constraints:

It was lunchtime so we stopped to eat at Heat restaurant in the Radisson Blu Hotel, situated beside the river Spree and the museums. We had our one and only German currywurst experience here… amazing! (“currywurst” is considered a really big treat in Berlin. Basically, it consists of a large wiener covered in curry sauce – it sounds gross but is utterly delicious).

Waiting for the Currywurst to arrive

When visiting the W/C in this restaurant one must pass through the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel, where you behold quite a sight. The lobby of the hotel contains the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium, called the AquaDom, which sits on an elevated platform and is 82-feet high. The tank contains one million liters of saltwater, and is a habitat for many species of tropical fish. The AquaDom is maintained by Sea Life Berlin, located right next door to the hotel. Apparently one can take a two-story elevator ride through the hollow middle of the AquaDom. It’s quite something to see – hopefully Berlin won’t have an earthquake any time soon:

After lunch we moved on to the interactive DDR Museum (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) at Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 1, and toured it – what a fascinating trip back to life in East Germany before the Wall fell! We struggled to share the museum space with a very large group of German high school students on a field trip. This was par for the course – throughout the course of our trip we seemed to constantly run into school groups no matter where we went in Berlin! Don’t these kids every go to school?:

Moving on to the Pergamon Museum, we continued our museum exploration. First, we climbed the massive spiral stairs to the top of the Asisi Panorama and observed the 360 degree presentation of The Ancient Metropolis. It was quite impressive to view but after a while on top of the Panorama tower we both agreed we could feel the whole thing swaying slightly – which felt a little unsettling – so we opted for the descent sooner, rather than later. We moved on to the Pergamon Museum itself where we viewed the near-Eastern antiquities. Amazing:

Finishing up at the Pergamon after a couple of hours, we exited and walked past the Bode Museum, marveling at its architecture:

The Bode Museum

Alas, the afternoon was just about over and the museums had started to close, so the Bode will have to wait for us until next time.

Continuing on, we walked down Oranienburger Strasse and had dinner at The Oranium Diner (American-style diner) at Oranienburger Strasse 33/34. Odd waiter but great food, if not a little unusual:

After dinner we took the S-Bahn / U-Bahn combination back to our hotel, uploaded the daily pictures and fell into bed, exhausted. It had been a visually-intensive day, to say the least. The rest of the museums that were on today’s agenda will simply have to wait for our inevitable second visit to Berlin, whenever that may be.

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