Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Central Europe: Day 11 (Berlin)

First day in Berlin!

We took a very early train from Prague to Berlin, arriving around 11 a.m. I had lunch reservations at a fancy restaurant, so we made fast tracks to our hotel, the Motel One Berlin Hackescher Markt. It was a great location and ended up having an even better lunch buffet - one of my favorite places we stayed at the whole trip!

We were a bit early for lunch, so we went around the corner to Knit Knit Berlin, an adorable little shop. They specialize in mohair yarns and had tons of different colors. I picked two - a gray and a chartreuse - for a lacey, light office cowl.

Lunch was at the Michelin Star Pauly Saal, and it was probably the most delicious and intense meal we had in Europe. We had the four-course menu, with amuse-bouche, of course!

After lunch, we headed to Museum Island to buy our museum passes and try to fit in as much viewing time as possible.

The museum pass is actually pretty reasonable, about 30 euros, and we were able to see a TON of museums while we were in Berlin! And the island is beautiful. It's all Greek columns and fancy domes.

First stop was the Neues Museum, where we looked at collections of antiquities from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and more. The Nefertiti bust was a huge highlight.

The building itself was fascinating, too. It was bombed in WWII and laid in a state of disrepair during the Soviet occupation of East Berlin. (In fact, the Soviets sort of plundered the museum, taking the Troy collection back to Moscow - a fact the museum points out with some indignance.) It has now been reconstructed with the pieces that remained, making it a sort of artifact of its own.

Next stop was the Pergamon Museum, which was probably my favorite museum of the whole trip even though it was only partially open during renovation of the Pergamon Altar.

You walk in to the beauty of the cobalt Ishtar Gate, then you see this massive Greek market facade. It was so hard to take pictures; I just tried to take it all in.

Somehow we fit in a stroll through the Alte Nationalgalerie, a collection of German masters. Maybe it didn't compare favorably since we had just seen Neues and Pergamon, but I'm glad we didn't try to spend too much time there. It was maybe my least favorite of the museums we saw in Berlin. 

We stopped for a visit and climb up the Berliner Dom - if you have been reading the whole trip this far, you know that Dave and I cannot resist a 300+ climb up church steps.

The view was pretty cool; it was a clear evening and we saw pretty far into Berlin in all directions as the sun set.

The Dom isn't included in the museum pass, but what are you gonna do.

Dinner was had at allegedly Berlin's oldest restaurant, Zur Letzten Instanz. The food and beer were classically German, and allegedly some other diners in this restaurant's history included Beethoven, Napoleon, and more! I had the lamb sausage with salad, and Dave had the meatballs. We both had beer!

Berlin really blew me away with its grandiosity - it reminded me of Rome in that way. And even though we were going to some of the most touristy museums, it didn't feel touristy. It feels like a vibrant city where you are running around amid the normal folks. I was a big fan right from the start.

Onward and upward! 

No comments: