Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Gifts of Freedom - Day 3

Berlin.  Oh my.  Peter was born here!  But, he left as a 3 month old baby and returned in 1986 for a week.  Obviously, he had no idea where anything was.  The hotel concierge became our best friend. 

We set out to learn what we could about Berlin's treasures but knew that we would only have a short time on this trip.  Museum Island was a must - primarily because of Nefertiti.  Brandenburg Gate and the Bundestag... as well as Berlin's noted transportation system.  We used every form of transportation with the exception of taxis and planes.  It was marvelous although I have to say that it took us until the second full day to connect the maps between the S/U Bahns and the Trams.  Once that was done, Berlin was our oyster!

Walking through the snow to the Neues Museum (full of the Egyptology and the beautiful bust of Nefertiti) and the Altes National Galarie (Peter von Cornelius wasn't there - darn it - foiled again!), Peter pointed out the damage from WWII.  I had not even noticed but, of course, there were the pock mocks of gunfire and repair of whole sections of columns.  In the effort to move ahead, it is easy to forget that this city was destroyed because of a terrible ideology.  And yet, there is this sacred space for art.... and especially the heritage of humanity.  How else can we explain the existence of ancient papyrus with translations of the Illiad?  How else can we pass along to others the beauty and dignity of Nefertiti?  We took the day and visited just two museums (had lunch at the museum cafe) and then moved on to the Brandenburg Gate and Bundestag.  Our day ended with the Christmas Market on the Alexanderplatz and a very nice dinner in the hotel.  The antiquities, the art, the architecture --- we were full!
Nefertiti (okay - this is off the website - you can't take pictures)
The Altes National Galarie (we took this picture)
Brandenburg Gate (and this one)
Bundestag (And this one. It was snowing!)

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