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Tuesday, June 25: Day 64 – Today I am a Berliner

There is so much to do in Berlin and we are here during a heat wave. We start by walking to Museum Island, a World Heritage UNESCO site. It is located in the Spree River and consists of five museums: Neues, Altes, Pergamon, Bode, and Old National Gallery. We only had time for the the Neues today.

Neues Museum

The Neues (pronounced like noise in two syllables) is museum is where the famous bust of Nefertiti is housed. She is in her own room and you are not allowed to take pictures in that room, but you ARE able to take a picture from OUTSIDE the room. Hmmm. She is quite elegant with beautiful yet believable features.

The museum building closed in 1939 and sustained much damage in the bombing of Berlin. There were 363 bomb raids with 40% of the population fleeing the city. Most of the museum damage came in 1943 and 1945. The museum was in the Soviet/Communist side and was left to decay. Reconstruction started in 1997 and it reopened in 2009. Each floor and then rooms have a theme. They have manuscripts under glass, climate controlled and away from the light but you can push a button for them to come into view.

We came across this peaceful protest that we think was about climate change. There were a lot of bicycle bells ringing as an organizer was talking over the loud speaker.

Next on to Checkpoint Charlie. We were told that this is not what it looked like and is just there as a photo opp. The real checkpoint Charlie was huge as this was the main east-west traffic. There were 3 other checkpoints: Alpha, Bravo and Delta. We went to the nearby Wall Museum. It mainly discussed different ways that people used to escape. We found out that it is a private museum and has the highest entrance fee of any museum in Berlin. Checkpoint Rob!

Every Tuesday at 1pm, there is a chamber music concert at the Berlin Philharmonic with approximately 1,500 in attendance. This was the last one of the season. The performance does not happen in July and August.
Two violins, two violas and a cello gave a flawless performance of which Mozart himself would have wildly applauded. The building setup is most unusual. We had to sit in the rafters but the sound was beautiful.

After the concert we went to Kaufhaus des Westens, referred to as Ka De We.

It is the largest department store in mainland Europe. It has seven floors. One floor is dedicated to food. All kinds of gourmet pastries were available. We had a “sign” that beckoned us to eat lunch at the high end cafeteria in the Wintergarten.

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