The weekend before Thanksgiving we took a night train to Berlin for two days. Again, I didn’t really sleep on the train (I think it is an acquired skill), but we still saw a lot despite lack of sleep!
Our first stop was the Bundestag, or the German parliament building, with its glass observatory dome. Nearby is a two-brick wide line down the road in front of Brandenburg Gate marking where the wall once stood. By the time we reached the gate, the weather turned wet. We decided to take a double-decker to Museum Island.
At the Berlin Dome overlooking the destruction of an East German government building, we made it to the top of the dome to catch the first snow fall. Very slushy snow that made wet feet wetter. The crypt was interesting though, a good cathedral to visit. The Pergamon Museum was worth all the squishy walking, though. Absolutely awesome collection of classical architecture and artwork.
After spending much time in the Pergamon, we went next door to the Bode Museum, which houses Renaissance and Christian art. We were actually looking for the Egypt collection but didn’t make it in time. I would not recommend the Bode Museum, unfortunately. Everything was depressing (it is my least favorite period for artwork).
The second day started in the Kudamm shopping area, where we walked by a Christmas Market setting up underneath the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was bombed out in WWII. We made it to the musical instrument museum just in time to hear an organ performance. Personally, I am not a fan of carnival organs and the musician played everything much too fast, but it was set up so observers could look inside to see its innerworkings.
At my brother’s suggestion, we hopped the metro over to East Berlin for an early dinner at Gugelhof. I could tell it would have been pretty good, but almost everything had alcohol in it and our waitress wasn’t very focused (friendly though). We went back to Kudamm for one last quick shopping sprint before catching our train back home.
Overall, I thought Berlin’s history and museums were awesome. I am still having problems with Germany’s affinity to alcohol and cigarettes though, and Berlin was no exception.