Joe Tro's Berlin trip report

May 6th, 2007, 04:12 PM
  #21  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,082
OK, I see. I saw that exhibition also, but that was quite a number of months back.
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May 7th, 2007, 07:10 AM
  #22  
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SATURDAY

I had planned to take a Cold War Tour but opted against it considering I was a bit behind in museums and I thought I could do most of it myself. I knew that the Stassi museum was on the itinerary, so I went there first. My guide book informed me there would be a detailed English book on arrival, and there was, but it was not nearly as detailed as I had thought. They translated some placards but probably less than half, and of the placards that were translated some information was missing. This is the kind of museum that a guided tour would really have helped with. I got the gist of some things but not nearly as much as I could have. I spent about an hour there.

I then went to Gemaldiegalerie to finish it up and was a bit disappointed with the rest of the collection. It was almost all Italian, which grates on me after a while. The museum as a whole was very extensive but not exactly my period of interest. The audioguide was helpful.

I then walked around the Nikoalivertil area a bit, which I enjoyed even if it was a bit too cute and touristy. I visited the Mariakirche and then wandered over to the Berlin Dom. The Spree area was nice to see. I liked the Dom very much. I think admission was 3 Euros, and I just had enough change to cover it. I went up to the top which was also good. Great views of Mitte.

I then made it to the Altes Museum around 4. I was worried I would not make it to everything I wanted to see, but I just managed. The Greek/Roman stuff was good, but the Egyptian was even better. Nefertiti was very attractive, and they had a special exhibition of paintings for some reason with a great Vermeer and Renoir. I made it out by 5:45.

I had a reservation at Gugelhof for 8, so I went back to the hotel to change a bit and rest. I made it by 8 and was seated at my table. The place was busy and they were turning people away, so I think you really need to book.

I had two .1 dl glasses of wine so I could try two kinds. However, I think I was served a bit more each time. I can tell when I'm a bit tipsy, and I definitely was there. I also had a huge starter salad with goats cheese. It turned out they had served me the main portion, but I suppose if you are going to overindulge in anything, it's okay to do so with salad. For my main course I had an alasatian pizza which I enjoyed, but I was quite full already and could certainly not make it through the whole thing. My bill was 21.50, a pretty good deal. The food was oustanding and the restaurant was very nice. I'm glad I splurged there. They had several fixed price menus that also looked good, but I don't think I could have made it through 3 courses there, even without having had lunch.
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May 7th, 2007, 07:23 AM
  #23  
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Sunday.

My last day, and I had three big museums that I still wanted to see. I first hit Parisian Platz and the Brandenburg Gate. There was some protest there to call attention to Darfur and some weirdly-clad marching band performing. I liked the area very much. Lots of energy. I then walked to the Holocaust Memorial and wandered through for a few minutes. Very maze-like and interesting. I finally walked to Hitler's bunker, which I'm still not sure I actually "saw". I took a photo of the area around the placard and then made it back to MuseumIsland via bus 100.

I first went to Pergamon and arrived around 11. OMG the line was so far out the door it was crazy. I walked in the out area, assuming this would be okay as I already had my tickets. I was let in but could not get an audioguide as they were all out. I first made it to Pergamon Altar and wandered around there for 20-30 minutes or so. Impressive, but I enjoyed Ishtar Gate and the processional area better. Miletius Gate was closed off. I spent about 2.5 hours in the museum and really enjoyed myself.

The Islamic Art was impressive and something I don't often get to see, so I'm glad I made it there. They had amazing photographs by an Iranian couple that I really enjoyed. Modern takes on Islamic women. There was one photograph in particular of a woman with bright lipstick and a burka holding her purple inked-stained finger to her lips that almost made me lose it. Obviously it was stylized and Iranian not Iraqi, but it really made me thing of what an amazing accomplishment the vote was.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the Pergamon Museum but found it to be really too busy for my taste. I had no idea it would be so popular. Please buy your tickets in advance!

It was about 2, and as I was right next door I popped into the Bode Museum for 1/2 an hour. The inside was so beautiful with great domes and staircases. I wanted to see the Russian idols mentioned in my guidebook but never found them. I see the room of German/French romanticism and then the coin collection, then went down to the 1st floor to see the Byzantine art, which was very impressive. I like that kind of art, and there was a beautiful gold Mosaic from Ravanna that I loved seeing. No postcard of that, though.

I finally went to the Alte Nationalgalerie, saving the best for last. I love 19th century art, and the audioguide was excellent. I made it straight to the French impressionists. I thought this collection was good but not great. Most of the 2nd floor was consumed with a temporary exhibition on Berlin in 1800. It was upset because it cut a lot of the romanticism stuff out I would have wanted to have seen, but the Schinkel and Caspar Freidrich rooms were open, to my delight. The downstairs was also quite good, with some nice succession pieces and the one of King Wilhelm playing the flute at Sans Souci. I had 2 hours here and could not have done it in that time had I not cut off most of the 2nd floor because of the exhibition.

I then made it back to the hotel, collected my bag and headed to the airport. It was nice to be on BA and have a sandwich and a glass of wine on the way back. I arrived in Oxford at 10:30, tired but glad to have had such a nice trip to Budapest and Berlin.

Let me know if you have questions about anything. Thanks for all your help!
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May 7th, 2007, 09:03 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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I never got to the art gallery when I was in Berlin (shame on me) but I did get to see that painting of Frederick the Great playing the flute another time when the painting was at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

And I liked the Ishtar gate better than the Pergammon altar as well.

You seemed to have covered all the best sites of Berlin!
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May 8th, 2007, 01:53 PM
  #25  
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HOTEL REVIEW

I stayed at the Hotel Am Savignyplatz for 50 Euros per night. I loved the location, about 2 minutes from Savignyplatz S-Bahn with great access to all the places I needed to go. My single was small but not insanely so, and they had some nice amenities like a mint on my pillow the first night, some nice soap and a powerful and larger shower than I am used to. The hotel was a bit loud though both because of the street noise and the other guests coming in/out. There are 8 rooms and they are very close to each other. The TV had a lot of channels - at least 25 - with 2 English ones. Breakfasts were the same each morning but had a lot of variety. The receptionists spoke very little English, and there is no free internet access.
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