So here is my trip report of the first three days of our Berlin trip. I thank all of you at TA for the help you give us travelers. Used everything you told me! Or tried to. Been too tired to write anything up prior. Our first vacation week was in Italy where we had fun till we ran into transit strike. It took 12 hours, three cabs, two trains, and a plane to get out of Italy. We lost our first day of Berlin. But we have caught up.
We arrived at midnight to our hotel the Aldon. The festival of lights was displayed right outside and on the gates next door. Amazing!! -the Brandenburg Gate is cool just on its own.
So here's the blow by blow day by day. We bought a welcome card for five days and a museum pass for three days ( I'm sure we save money). We mostly used the public transportation which we found surprisingly confusing. Hard for us to figure out which directions the trains were going and there was a break in the line we needed a lot (u6) causing us to get off and change trains a lot!
Saturday - 19th - we did half day tour overview to get oriented with our very nice guide Yonatan Weizman (email@example.com) of the historic sites starting with Parizer Platz, which included the Brandenburg gates and The Reichstag (the house of parliment) and the Chancellors office, as well as the memorial for the murdered Roma and Sinti.The outside of memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe and the LGBT memorial.We went by the site of Hitlers bunker, where he finally ended his life. We walked through the Potsdamerplatz and the Kulturforum and The Topography of terror museum, and the Berlin wall. Check point Charlie was amusing. Friedrichstr and the place where the books were burned. Learned a lot of history and made plans to return to see the insides of several places we passed. We ended up at the Museum Island where we went on to see the museums ourselves- Got to the AlteNationalgalerie where we enjoyed the Impressionists. and the Pergamon Museum for the Great Altar of Pergamon the Great Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate(my favorite) and the collection of ancient Persian carpets and tapestry. We tried to finish it off with the Berliner Dom but it was closed! We returned to our hotel to check out the spa (crowded ) and then headed out to a delicious dinner at Katz Orange Bergstrasse22; (49-30) 983-208-430http://katzorange.com/. Foolishly we tried to see some more of the festival of light shows and ended up wandering all over town. We were rewarded with some amazing shows but ended up crawling home and into bed at midnight. Fit bit recorded us at 12.5 miles. My poor feet.
2-Sunday- 20th – first we went to a private (Boris) collection of modern art in a real bunker. It was the best tour I've ever taken in my life. Fantastic combination of history and art. Highly recommended. Next we took a walk through the park to the NeueNationalgalerie” (New National Gallery). The museum building and its sculpture gardens were designed by the Bauhaus architect LudwigMies van der Rohe. The museum was supposed to feature modern 20th century painting, but it's regular collection was closed. Big bummer for us! Instead there was a special modern collection that was ok. Caught the special Picasso exhibit in the exhibition hall next door which was great and went over to the inside of the museum of terror and the memorial to the murdered Europeans. Left in tears. Excellent museum. One of the most moving treatments of real people and their families. The attitude in Berlin seems to be let us face everything we did and figure out how it happened so it won't happen again. Everywhere it's discussed. Headed home for a massage and drink. Then a great dinner at Noto 55 Behrenstraße 10117 Tel: +(0)30 2749-2940
3-Monday the 21st - first we went to the Berliner Dom which had been closed the day before and climbed up to the top (247 stairs) and were rewarded with a great view. The weather has been very good. We did a half day tour with Yonatan of the Jewish sites end up at the Jewish Museum. Learned a lot about the history of the Jews in Berlin. Saw the remains of the first and second synagogs. Visited a wonderful brush factory where the owner saved many Jews set up by one he saved. Had a yummy falafel lunch at dada. Then took the u to The Jewish Museum ( open till 10pm on Monday 8pm other days ) with exhibits and architecture, by Daniel Liebeskind. We had heard that the especially moving architectural spaces evoked an emotional response: The Garden of Exile and small angled dark area depicting Holocaust, narrow angled corriders zigs and zags. We learned that shape represents a broken star of David and also saw the special exhibit, Memory Void( creepy). Well I'm sorry to say this museum was not our favorite. It was too remote and impersonal. I couldn't get it! I preferred the murdered Europeans museum. Just my experience. Maybe it was something we'd needed to start with.
After the museum we went to the BerlinischeGalerie (open 10-6 wed- Monday) this is a converted glass warehouse filled modern art. They were setting up a great special exhibit on Vienna art that looked great. There were several pieces we liked but not many. Caught a cab back to the hotel just to have an hour to rest before going over our 6:30 apt for a tour of the Reichstag dome (www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kupp.html). It was lots of fun and very cool. Great funny guide. Very interesting place. Everything was open. Big on transparently. Kept the Russian graffiti. Once we climbed all over the dome we returned home to the hotel to meet a friend for a light dinner at a nearby cafe. Then crashing walked 9 miles today!!
4-Tuesday- 22nd the sun was spectacular today and we started at the Frank Geary building (the dz bank). It has a huge amazing sculpture inside. We went to see the Charlottenburg palace, and it’s baroque garden by taking bus to the zoo and then catching the u to Sophie-Charlotte-Platz. We are getting the hang of the transportation system. We lucked out with just a lovely warm day. We loved walking by the river and the gardens were beautiful. The palace had several fantastic rooms including one of porcelain. We then went to the two very interesting museums (Open 10-6 Tuesday-Sunday) that are located side by side nearby at the corner where Spandauer Damm meets Schlossstrasse: the Bröhan-Museum (Broehan Museum) and the Sammlung Berggruen (Berggruen Collection). The Bröhan Museum specializes in Nouveau, Art Déco and the Berlin Secession. We saw interior decorations and painting of these stylistic periods. My favorite (maybe ever!!!! ) was The Berggruen Collection which presents classical modern art, e.g. paintings from Picasso, Klee, Giacometti etc. there were two floors of some if the best Picasso's I've ever seen and I've seen a lot!!! Do not miss this one. We ate a snack cause we were just too hungry. Our next stop was the KDW department store cause everyone says you have to see the beautiful floor of food products from all over the world. Ok it's cool but not all that exciting. At least not to me compared to Dora Mar with green nail polish! Took the 100 bus back home and got a bath. Good on the toes. Dinner tonight was at : nearby Cookies and Cream
10117 Berlin, Germany
Tue. - Sat. 7pm
Tel: +(0)30 2749-2940
( it's vegetarian ). It was edgy , very good, unusual and reasonable priced. Walked home to pack up as we leave for Potsdam tomorrow! 7.5 mile day but I'm not at all as tired as we has a good long break. Tomorrow we go to the “Hamburger Bahnhof” Museum of contemporary art (open 10-6 Tuesday –Sunday located at Invalidenstrasse 50-51, a bit north to the Scheunenviertel )(heard there is an excellent café there, called Sarah Weiner) and the Kathe Kollwitz Museum. And the our last stop is the East Side gallery and a walk through Kroeuzberg. Then we catch a ride to Potsdam. Berlin has been very impressive. Alive, vibrant and filled with art. It's a difficult place for a Jew. At least this one. So much history, so many lost and clearly the people here are trying to face their past openly. You got to give them credit for that.