I had my ICE train to make at 330pm from Berlin to Frankfurt so yesterday was an abbreviated day in Berlin. I started the morning by heading to Museumsinsel (Museum Island) in the middle of Berlin and went through the Pergamon Museum. The entire Museumsinsel complex seemed to be under a bit of renovation and once I got in to the Pergamon there were a few hundred school children jostling to get tickets and general madness all around.
Once I managed to get my tickets and walk through the entrance, what an incredible museum the Pergamon is. Outside the Met, the British Museum and the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, it’s probably the most impressive collection of antiquities and the ancient world I’ve ever seen. It’s breathtaking. What’s most unique about it is the huge restored excavations, such as the Ishtar Gate from Babylon (you know, from the Bible), the Pergamon Alter, the Market Gate of Miletus, the Aleppo room and the Mshatta Facade. Fully reconstructed out of excavations from the late 1800s and early 1900s, it’s awe inspring to stand around and walk through all of these major parts of the ancient world. To make it even better, the audio guide (which is surprisingly included with the admission cost) is fantastic. The guided audio tour takes you through all of the most important areas of the museum and is very well done.
After the Pergamon I walked around the Museumsinsel are some more and then ended up on Unter den Linden and made my way by foot and the 100 bus down to Gendarmenmarkt, which is a very pretty square. The day had gotten warm so I had lunch there in an outside cafe before heading out to the hotel and back to Berlin’s main train station.
Overall impressions of Berlin: super modern, super clean, amazing public transportation (who said you can’t do major infrastructure works in big cities — take that San Francisco), and amazingly well spoken English. I really enjoyed the city and it turned out to be quite different than I had originally had mentally envisioned Berlin to me.
I’m now in Frankfurt and my flight for split in is a few hours. I’m going to take a quick stroll and breakfast in Romer square before I head over to the airport.