Saturday, August 1, 2015

The final day in Berlin was beautiful.  The city shook its week-long chill and warmed my walk to Museum Island.  

Bode Museum crossing the Spree onto Museum Island

Which museum would have top priority?  How many can I squeeze into one day?  I chose to visit the Pergamon Museum first and I wandered among exhibits that took me from Ishtar’s Gate down the Processional Way in the exhibit rooms housing the Ancient Near East collection.   A few areas of this museum are under renovation but there is still plenty to see among the Classical Antiquities Collection (Greeks and Romans) and the Museum of Islamic Arts. 

Reconstruction of the Processional Way
7th Century BC Basalt Water Basin

Artifacts from an Uruk period room

Neues Museum was the next stop.  The lower floor holds the Egyptian collection going back to 3000 BC.  The next floor took me back even further in time with its Stone Age exhibits. 

There are two pieces featured in this museum. First there is the bust of Queen Nefertiti.  No photographs allowed near this eternal beauty, so I lingered by her display case enjoying her symmetry and her details.  It’s true that from a distance she looks perfect, but at a closer range she really does have small age lines around her eyes, even the missing eye. 

The second piece is The Golden Hate of Berlin.  This is an astonishing astronomical and mathematical treasure from the Bronze Age that was used to predict lunar and solar cycles as well as agricultural cycles.

Two museums were all I could fit into one day.  I hope that one day life will present another opportunity for me to return to Berlin and view more of the treasures its museums hold.

Remnants of a Bronze Age Sacrificial Well (Neues Museum)
Prayer Niche (Pergamon Museum)

Several of the group took advantage of the evening City Boat Cruise, the final outing offered by the Great European Capitals program.  The river view of Berlin was a enjoyable way to revisit several of the historic sights our group experienced this week.
German Chancellery (aka The Washing Machine)

House of World Cultures (aka The Pregnant Oyster or Jimmy Carter's Smile)


Berliner Dom

This has been a memorable three weeks – truly a trip of a lifetime – with cultural and educational opportunities that a classroom setting cannot match. 

The question circulating among the group is “which city did you like best?”  That is like being asked which flower in a bouquet is the most beautiful.  I am taking away special memories of each city’s rich history, accepting cultures and welcoming residents.  I CAN tell you what I’ll miss the most:  the outstanding public transportation!