Monday, February 8, 2016

Your German Is Good, And I Hear Also Your French

The next morning we battled the cobblestone streets once more to catch the train to Berlin, which was our last stop on this epic adventure.  We sprang for first class seats so Taylor could have enough leg room and we would have ample window space to look at the beautiful countryside.  A few hours later, we arrived in Berlin.  After a Starbucks coffee and snack of donuts, we were refueled enough to figure out how to get to our apartment.  Like in Prague, the ticketing system was a little different (and all in German) so we asked a concierge for help.  Not only did we receive perfect directions, but we got to hear a German-English accent sounding like the SS Gestapo guys in all the WWII movies!

Our flat was pretty far out from the downtown center, but it was nice and clean.  The doors were all keypad operated, which was great because we didn't have to arrange a time to meet the owner and deal with that whole situation.  We got settled and found a nearby grocery store for sandwich-makings, which was tough because neither of us knows any German.  Trying to pick out the right kind of ham we were looking for included a lot of guessing and hoping that we wouldn't go home and open it to find pieces of fruit or something mixed in!

The next morning we made the cold journey to the metro station and rode the twenty-five minutes back into the town center.  Our plan was to go check out Museum Island, which is a really cool concept.  Rather than spreading all of the museums out around the city, they just put all of them together on one island in the middle!  Makes it easy to find them.

The island also happens to be home of the Berlin Cathedral.  It has a long and complicated history, but the current building was completed in 1905.  After damage from the wars, many parts have been refurbished and remodeled.  It was quite an impressive building, but the statues and the mosaic underneath the side entrance ceiling were the best parts.

Just beyond the church was what we were looking for; the Alte Nationalgalerie.  We read that it had some Romantic, Impressionist, and early Modernist works, which appealed to both of us.  The building itself looks like the Parthenon, with all its columns and triangular crown.  Again, it was a statue that grabbed my attention.  The female archer, by F. Lepcke, stands at perfect attention with the columns, guarding the Old National Gallery until the end of time.

 (photos by e.hunt)

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