The adventures continue with a long weekend trip to Berlin, Germany. My husband and I wanted to go and visit some friends there. I had been to Berlin only once before during the FIFA World Cup in 2006. I was hoping to see a bit more of Berlin than I was able to the last visit, and I was not disappointed.
After arriving and checking into our hotel the first evening, we were greeted by fireworks as we walked toward the Reichstag, which is the German Parliament building. I always see fireworks as sign that you are exactly where you are meant to be. We had advance tickets to walk inside the dome of the Reichstag. It was gorgeous. We could not go into the meeting rooms, but we could see inside them. From there we went to grab food and beer at Potsdamer Platz. I was secretly wishing that we had had more time, so I could see Gravity at the IMAX theater there. We don’t have an IMAX theater where we live in Lucca, Italy. Alas, that was not part of our plan, but we enjoyed dinner and drinks with our friends just as much. German beer continues to be as delicious as ever!
Before I mention what we saw on our second day in Berlin, let me tell you how bitterly cold it was. We were so unfortunate with the timing of this trip. Temperatures definitely dipped below 0 degrees every day we were there. We just could not do a lot of the walking outside, so our second day was spent mostly inside. We went to Museum Island and visited the Pergamon Museum. The Ishtar Gate and the Pergamon Altar are a couple of main highlights of this museum and well worth seeing. We took a museum break to appease my addiction for literature by visiting a large bookstore that had books in all different languages including English. I could have spent the whole day in there. After lunch we went to the DDR Museum. It is a unique museum. If you have ever been to the Spy Museum in Washington, DC, this museum is very similar with lots of interactive instruments to help you learn a bit of what life was like living in the GDR. It felt a little too romanticized for our taste. We braved the cold to walk the East Side Gallery before dark. It is very impressive with all the artwork, but the negative temperatures forced us inside quickly where we consumed more delicious food and drinks.
Our final full day in Berlin was another cold one. We started by going to the Gemäldegalerie. I have learned to love art like never before and truly enjoyed this art gallery. We spent many hours there. I enjoyed seeing so many paintings by German artists. I haven’t seen much by German artists before. My favorite German paintings were done by Albrecht Altdorfer and Lucas Cranach. I also enjoyed work by Aert van der Neer and the paintings of Rome by Giovanni Paolo Panini. Three main highlights would be Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Nederlandse Spreekwoorden (Netherlandish Proverbs), Johannes Vermeer’s Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace, and Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s Self-Portrait with Velvet Beret. I enjoyed many other works as well, but I will let you go experience them for yourself. We then spent the afternoon braving the negative temperatures again to see the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, the site of Hitler’s Bunker, and Checkpoint Charlie. It took a while to dethaw after that adventure.
The next morning it was snowing as we left Berlin. We haven’t had much of a winter in Italy, so it was a little nice to see snow, but one weekend of it was enough. The cold was too much. Hopefully we will see Berlin again when it is warmer.