Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Museum Day in Berlin

By Claire
Is there anyone who hasn't seen the German film, Run Lola Run? We decided to see the German Film Museum together today, then split up. Chuck went on to see two more museums while I headed home for some alone time and some time off.

The Film Museum at the Berlin Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz was fun and interesting and different. How many cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, ancient ruins and architecture can you really see before you need a break?

We walked into a surreal experience with mirrors making it look like we were everywhere, up and down the walls. There were also multiple TV monitors going with various German movie clips playing. It certainly gets you in the mood.

There was a Marlene Deitrich room with lots of photos, film, and even some screen tests. I loved some of her clothes, especially a black feathered thing that trailed along behind.

The Metropolis room came next. More clips, and a very futuristic way of showing multiple screens at a time. I guess the future is now.

There was a special exhibit on Romy Schneider. That was fun too, especially since she made three movies playing Sisi, Empress Elizabeth from Vienna.

We spent over 2 hours here before deciding it was time for lunch and our parting. The Sony Center is fantastic but has expensive restaurants. Instead, we walked back through a corridor of shops and eats and found "Juice and Noodles--Sushi Express." It was just what we were looking for, light and delicious. I was surprised to sit and watch the woman stir fry the noodles, chicken and veggies right in front of us.

Sony Center--looking down from the elevator

Open air ceiling

Imax theatre, restaurants, and shops

A kiss goodbye and we each went our own way.


I am so glad I decided to go back to Museum Island. I wanted to see two things: The Pergamon Altar and the bust of Queen Nefertiti, wife of King Ankhenaton. As a bonus, I got to see the Gate of Ishtar. Wow! All three were spectacular.

I first went to the Altes (Old) Museum to see Nefertiti, only to discover that the Egyptian collection, including her Majesty, had been moved to the Neues (New) Museum. Due to construction and my general lack of navigational skills, finding the front doors of these buildings and determining how to get from one to the next, was a frustrating process. But worth it. I got the combo (one day) ticket that permitted me access to all five museums, fortunately.

I had to get a time-stamped pass to be able to enter the Neues Museum--this is their way of controlling the crowds: You cannot go in until your appointment time. Walking into the New Museum, putting on the included audio headset, I immediately asked the guard, "Nefertiti?" He spoke and pointed and I was off at a fast pace. Nefertiti has an entire room to herself; she probably needs it--even on a slow afternoon, she had lots of admirers. I simply cannot say enough about her. The colors were brilliant, the details clear. I can see why some refer to her as "the most beautiful woman in Berlin." She looks down the entire wing towards a statue of Zeus at the other end.

I pretty much repeated myself in the Pergamonmuseum: Immediately asking, "Ishtar?" I was directed "Left, right, right, right." But, before I got there, I entered the very large room with a partial reconstruction of the Pergamon Altar. I decided to view this when we were at the original site in Bergama, Turkey. It was dedicated to the gods with gratitude--but, which ones are unknown; however, Zeus and Athena are likely suspects. It took fifteen years to build and has remarkable sculptured friezes depicting the battle between the gods and the Giants. A speculative model places the altar in relation to other elements of the original site.

Section of the Telephos Frieze on the Pergamon Alter

Next, I arrived at the room holding the reconstruction of the Babylonian Ishtar Gate from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II (6th century BC). What is here is the smaller gate, since it had to fit into a building that already existed in Germany and the larger gate would not fit. There is a model that suggests what the original site looked like. I was impressed with the glazed brick, both original and new, and the fact that the animals were portrayed in realistic relief.

Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart. ~ Kay Knudsen

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