Monday, February 4, 2019

Berlin, Pt. 3

After we spent the morning looking at East Side Gallery we headed over to Museum Island. Museum Island is a World Heritage Site containing five museums and the Berlin Cathedral Church. I'm not a big fan of the typical arts history museums, but when you want to beat the heat you'll do anything to get inside. We decided to go to the Pergamonmuseum, a museum housing classical antiquities, items from the Ancient near East, and Islamic art. My cousin mistakingly told me it contained the bust of Nefertiti, but it turns out she resides in the Neues Museum. The Pergamonmuseum also had the shortest line and most of it was in the shade.
We went through the museum pretty quickly, and honestly, I probably wouldn't pay to go in, but that's just me because I don't really like museums like that. There were also renovations being done so much of the museum was closed off and it was pretty hot inside. However, the tapestries and tile work found throughout the museum were absolutely beautiful, so if you're into that kind of thing I'd totally recommend it! According to Atlas Obscura, this is the most visited and most controversial museum in Germany. The acquisition of the Pergamon Alter and Market Gate of Miletus are currently believed to have been acquired illegally from Turkey. To make this museum even stranger, some items were stolen or taken to Russia after heavy bombing in World War II. While most were returned a few of the more important items remained in Russia, and, surprise, Russia isn't planning on returning them any time soon.
After walking through the museum we went back to the square I visited the day before because I wanted to take a photo of the Bebelplatz sign I failed to take on the tour. This was the place of the famous book burning in 1933. A crowd of about 40,000 people gathered here to purge the universities of any "Jewish Intellectualism." I wish I could go back to my Nazi history class knowing what I know now about Berlin and the location of these famous events. Across the street people were selling books, photos, and old art works. We checked it out and Elizabeth, who speaks German, bought a few things. I was on a budget and only had a backpack for traveling so I decided not to buy anything.
We were thirsty and needed to charge our phones so, after searching for a place that was open, we headed into Steel Vintage Bikes. At this point I felt like my face was going to fall off because I was so sunburned. I remember hoping the sun would go away, but with my luck it stayed out. After our phones were charged I quickly ran to the Georg Elser monument. If you don't know who he is you're not alone. He's the man who almost killed Hitler by placing a bomb in the placing a bomb at the Bürgerbräukeller where he knew Hitler would give his annual Beer Hall Putsch speech. He was actually arrested trying to get into Switzerland, and was killed in 1945 at Dachau on Hitler's orders.
Throughout the city you'll see pieces of the Berlin Wall on display. There was even one in front of my hostel, but there were always a ton of people around so I felt weird stopping to take a photo.
I honestly don't remember the order of the rest of the night. I know Elizabeth had some time so we walked around trying to some more of the Atlas Obscura things. Throughout the city there are tiny memorials to those who died in the Holocaust. They are little gold squares outside houses and apartments with the names of the people who once lived inside. We walked in circles trying to find a specific one but we had no luck. Next time I visit I'm going to pay more attention. Then we headed to the train station to try to find something to eat. After eating we walked back to Invalidenfriedhof because I wanted to get better photos, but I ended up only taking two. After the cemetery we parted ways, and I went back to my hostel to pack for Amsterdam and talk with my roommates.
When I first arrived in Berlin I felt overwhelmed and upset that I booked five full days there. By the time the fifth day came I realized there was so much more I hadn't seen. Berlin reminds me a lot of Moscow, which is probably why I really liked the city. Do you think you'd ever visit Berlin?

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