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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday: Museums in the area

On Saturday I overslept: odd since I have a cell phone alarm, and I need to look into it for my return date. I had a croissant-coffee breakfast, and went on to Museum Island and the Alte Nationalgalerie. In one of my lost posts, I discussed how, after there were separate cultural institutions on both sides of the divided city, now museums have their scope, with this one having painting and sculpture of the 19th century. This was a good visit, with some Impressionists and people around them, and a cross-section of German art of that period.

At any of the Island Museums, one can get timed tickets for the museums that call for it: so at the end of this visit, I asked for one for the Pergamon Museum. This seller gave me one for the immediate 1.30 time, although I meant to ask for one for 2 p.m. In this time, I still managed to stop at a stand and get Currywurst and a glass of Sekt (sparkling wine) for €5. I still got to the Pergamon a few minutes before 2, and the advice is to go anytime during the half-hour, and not right at the start. I found a sign, which people were blocking, saying where people with tickets were to enter. I got caught up with a tour group, and this was the first time I was seeing crowds in a museum in Berlin.

I must admit that I didn't really know the meaning of the term Pergamon; I've just handled books from the Pergamon Press. So there upon entering was the grand reconstructed temple of Pergamon in present-day Turkey. Then there are more installations, and in one wing the tiles of the Processional Way and Ishtar Gate. There's a Middle Eastern collection upstairs, Then in the other wing, I think the upper level is under restoration, while the main level has a show on Tell Halaf; a museum of materials from this Syrian city was destroyed in World War II; after complications in divided Germany, sculptures have been rebuilt from the rubble.

Afterwards, I explored the empty space where the damaged Royal Palace was replaced with the palace of the East German Republic, which has also been taken down, with plans for a new replica of the Royal Palace delayed by funding.

I crossed to the east quay, on the lower level, to see the DDR Museum, an active multimedia display on life in East Germany. They have replicas of housing and consumer goods, in addition to discussing politics and the fear of the Stasi.

I found it raining when that was done. I looked for a place to eat, and got to the Hackescher Markt, where there are several big restaurants coming out of the train station; they had outdoor seating apparently well protected by umbrellas, but I wanted to eat inside and was having trouble finding a place this Saturday night. I got to Weihenstephaner across the street, where they led me to extra spaces in their cellar, and I had a filling Jagerschnitzel meal.

Keeping more or less open plans for Sunday

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