Sights of Berlin

Our first full day in Berlin began without a particular plan.  My husband & I decided to head over toward Museum Island to check it out.  The Berlin Cathedral or Berliner Dom is also over in that area.  As you can see it was a very overcast and misty day, but still pleasant enough to walk around.  Museum Island sits in the middle of the river that runs through Berlin.

We found our first Berlin Bear (they are scattered over the city, all painted differently).
I’ve never seen a brat stand quite like this, the guy is wearing the grill and the umbrella!

We decided to pop into the cathedral to take a peak.  It is quite “cozy” on the inside.  It’s not as massive as some of the other churches we have visited but I thought it was nice.  You get a more intimate feeling inside.

Music was playing while we were inside, so we stopped to sit and listen for a bit.

Statue at the tomb of one of the King’s wives, death is writing her name down…creepy!

From there we headed over to the Neues Museum.  Most famously it houses the Egyptian bust of Nefertiti.  It also houses many different artifacts from ancient civilizations.  It was really well presented and laid out.  The building itself still shows signs of damage from World War II.  It was left that way intentionally as a reminder.

Source-The bust of Nefertiti
The inside and outside architecture is littered with pock marks from the bombing of the city.

From there we ran back onto the “mainland” for lunch because the museum cafe was just too crowded for us and our stroller (but the food looked delicious).  We settled for an outdoor lunch of club sandwiches instead :).  Then we popped into the Pergamon Museum.  This museum is impressive because it has taken actual pieces of buildings and gates from ancient civilizations and rebuilt them inside the museum.  The Pergamon Altar was taken from the Greek city of Pergamon, there are models to show how it would’ve appeared in whole in the city.  The Ishtar Gate was the inner gate to the city of Babylon.  Both of the pictures below cannot do them justice, they are truly massive in scale and very impressive to see.

The Pergamon Altar-Source
Ishtar Gate-Source

From there we went back to the area of our hotel to meet with R, K, and E at the Topography of Terror exhibit.  It sits on the former headquarters of the S.S. and Gestapo.  It is a free exhibit outlining Nazi history, rise to power, and fall after the war.  It was a very detailed and though we’ve seen many of these sites before, we find ourselves learning new things each time.  It is hard to imagine, and never loses it’s astonishing horror. It’s a heavy topic but an unavoidable part of European, and world history.  Just outside it sits the only remaining connected section of the Berlin Wall, another dark part of the city’s history.  Honestly I didn’t know much about the wall until getting ready for this trip.  I knew that it existed and that it came down in my lifetime, but I never understood the purpose.  One of the things I’m the most grateful for about being in Europe is how it has allowed me to learn and deepen my understanding of history.

After World War II, Berlin was split in half by the Soviet Union on the east and the Americans, British, and French on the west. The wall was built in the 1960’s by the Soviet controlled East Berlin authorities. The east side was communist, and there were rising tensions between them and their capitalist neighbors. The Soviet authorities constructed the wall to keep their own people from escaping and leaving to the  west side. Families were separated by the wall, and people died trying to escape beyond it. The history behind it is fascinating and is another very hard to imagine scenario.

After all that, it was time for a pick me up and dinner!  We headed out to find a Cuban restaurant recommended by our favorite travel guide.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us in with our strollers-boo!  So we had to go elsewhere.  Luckily we found a delicious Indian restaurant down the street that was happy to accommodate us!  One more full day was left in the city.  Here’s a happy picture of Baby Girl and me enjoying our time in Berlin!