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On New Year’s Day Berlin was covered in fog and cold so we headed to Museum island. We caught the U-Bahn to Alexander Platz and watched people enjoying ice skating. The more that we watched the greater the temptation and when we discovered that the only cost was 3€ each for skate hire we happily paid. It was the first time for my husband and both of our children. The ice was in poor condition but we had a great time! Our daughter quickly became confident enough to skate alone and didn’t seem bothered when she fell over. My husband improved quickly and was soon skating faster and more confidently than me. I was timid because I hate falling on ice. We’ll definitely go skating again and hopefully soon!
We stood and admired the revolving sculpture of the solar system and our children tried to figure out which planet is Earth. I don’t think it’s accurate because the inner rocky planets all look the same size and distance from the sun. I kept a watchful eye around us because there were some untrustworthy looking people around the square. As we walked towards museum island we passed a row of 5 homeless people sleeping on the ground. It was below 0C and they were not dressed warmly enough and one of them had wet himself. We tried not to stare as we walked on and discussed how awful it would be to be homeless in Berlin winter and about the perils of alcohol abuse.
This bronze relief of Karl Marx and fighters is interesting. The writing doesn’t mean much in literal translation but according to Google Translate the meaning is ” Long live the Social Revolution – long live the peace of nations”.
We tried to queue for tickets at the Pergamon museum but the queue was more than 2 hours long so we went straight into the Altes Museum instead without queuing. The woman collecting coats was cheerful and joked with our children. When we left a couple of hours later she was still just as cheerful. It’s amazing how significant it is to have a cheerful person in a customer facing role.
We went to see the temporary exhibition of marble sculptures of the battle of Troy. Our children looked and learnt and after a while asked why they are all naked. I didn’t really answer because I suppose it’s because of aesthetics but I’m not really sure.
The sculptures are amazing and have been carefully restored. Each sculpture has a sign showing which portion has been freshly made to replace lost and damage parts, sometimes more than 1/3. They have done an amazing job to match the colour of the marble and the style of carving.
Unfortunately the curation of the Evi has been from the perspective of the restoration and to give information about the owner rather than explain the legend behind the sculpture.
The permanent exhibitions are very impressive and the English language, free, audio guide is very good. I’ve never used an audio guide before but I thought it would help to extend the interest of our children. Our daughter diligently listened to every word while looking at the features being discussed. Our son is 6 and has an attention span that is intense and lasts for about 1 hour in a museum and then he becomes very irritable and needs to leave.
The permanent exhibitions focus on ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman art. They are excellent collections. It’s amazing that so much remains in such good condition considering the bombing during WWII and the looting by Soviets.
We went to the Pergamon museum despite our son being well past his tolerance point. It was selfish of us but sometimes there has to be something interesting for the adults too!
The Pergamon museum is not like any other museum I’ve ever been to. They have wholesale transplanted entire, massive structures from the Mediterranean and Middle East into a museum in Berlin, for example the huge entrance to a Roman market place shown above.
I wish I could visit the museum many more times so that I can properly enjoy the amazing exhibitions!
I was quite shocked to see part of the Alhambra palace in the museum and in great condition. I couldn’t help thinking that the museum has looted significant sites. Well, anyway, it’s an amazing collection that needs plenty of visits to properly explore. It was packed with people, like Alhambra palace itself was when I visited in June.
The section of the museum dedicated to the Assyrian civilization was fascinating. I stood with my mouth open gazing in awe at a giant stone engraved with writing that’s more than 4,000 years old! The Assyrians were very impressive and I’d like to learn more about them.
Finally we left the museum because our children couldn’t take another minute. They quickly cheered up again on the walk home to our very comfortable and spacious apartment in Prenzlauer Berg.