We actually awoke this morning to the sound of the alarm and not the sound of various other girls making too much racket as they packed up. And now you can all have a look at Miranda’s daily ritual – grooming... I saw this every morning for sixteen days so I figured I’d better take a picture... I was bored okay? Plus now you can understand why Miranda looks so good in every photo – because she actually put some effort into her appearance whereas I rolled out of bed, onto the floor, wiggled into some clothes and crawled out the door.
Cold meats, cheese and chocolate for all! For free – again! Whoopee! Then we set out to the underground and went to go and see the Pergamon Museum which we thought would be packed as we were running a bit late that morning. But no. Apparently, no one goes to museums or Berlin... not sure. Anyway this was pretty cool but very small as we were done in less than two hours or so. It houses some pretty cool stuff despite its size and one part that I enjoyed most was this exhibition of Greek sculptures and their mythological stories... Mmm I love all that stuff – it’s so interesting. The guards in this place were pretty weird though – I mean we were just wandering between rooms and suddenly a guard would run in and watch our every move – what did they think? That I came to a museum to kick all the sculptures over? Who goes to a museum to do that? If you didn’t like museums and their artefacts then why would you pay money to go inside?. It was very weird. Here is a lovely statue of Aphrodite that I liked.
Also in the museum was the gate of Ishtar which is the eight gate to the inner city of Babylon and built about 575BC. So it’s real old. The gate is beautiful and was excavated and rebuilt in this museum and it took yonks because there were so many little pieces of brick. One hell of a puzzle. The other amazing thing was this huge altar that Berlin, I guess, had managed to pinch from the Acropolis in Greece... It’s strange because everywhere we’ve been has been sort of leading up to our second arch when we go to Athens! Even though we were in Europe at that time we were still having bouts of excitement thinking about our Greek cruise (you heard correct). Anyway this is a huge altar all reassembled and amazing. I was listening to the audio guide and it goes “press the green button to hear why this altar was created” after pressing the green button I hear “no one knows why this altar was built but there are many theories” pfff I don’t want theories! Skip. There was also this room in the museum that is a room from a Syrian house in about the... 16th century? It’s perfectly intact despite its age and is all painted and lovely. You have to be thinking what an eclectic mix this place had and, yes, it really did. Finally, there was one room that had all these little statues behind glass who were all doing – what I thought looked like – a thrusting motion... so I joined in.
By this time we had seen basically everything so we moved on and went to the Berliner Dome. WOW. This thing is incredible. It was one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen – which is really saying something. It was more beautiful (in my opinion) than the chapel in Versailles which is really saying something. We just sat on the top gallery in silence and in awe of the whole place. A service started and the only this I understood was “amen” because the rest was in German. They played the organ which reverberated around the place and just sitting there in this huge space... I always feel so insignificant – which I guess is the idea. We then headed up to the top of the tower up what I call the creepiest tourist route in the world. There were about a million doors, few signs and no one around so we had to guess where the heck we were going to get to the top. The view was very nice from the top (and this is going to sound snobbish) but once you have seen a view of one town they all start looking alike. Breath taking as they may be I bet if I lined up all my view photos you couldn’t really tell the difference... except for the big landmarks but whatever. On the way back down Miranda and I felt the need to sing the score from “Phantom of the Opera” which seemed appropriate given the creepiness of this passageway.
To continue with creepy with headed downstairs to the crypt which was really freaky. I mean crypts usually have elaborate tombs surrounding by fences and statues and so on right? Well this crypt had all these very real coffins and loads of children’s coffins. Bleh it was really weird. I mean I guess in England and everything there was a huge infant death rate but there aren’t so many child tombs. This place, however, had heaps. There was one that was really beautiful. That sounds weird but it was in its own room and must have been fairly recent (last 100 years or so) because there was a painting of some more modern type figures crying over the tomb and the tomb itself was white and had all these flowers carved into it and woven all over. It was very pretty but very sad. We also saw the tomb of Sophie Charlotte who we will learn more about tomorrow... Getting out of there we decided to guy some yummy ice-creams and so began my addiction to Neapolitan ice-cream sandwiches.
Next up was Checkpoint Charlie. Again this is related to the wall and everyone should understand what I’m talking about. We were walking up to the sign which says “you are leaving the American sector” which I felt Miranda needed a photo in front of when this guy in an army uniform poked me in the arm and went “peace!” I chuckled and moved in, slightly weirded out... it wasn’t until we walked back past him that he poked Miranda but when we looked at her arm he had stamped her with a stamp that said “Checkpoint Charlie”. I wanted one too! He only poked me! So I went back and demanded one by pointing at the stamp and pointing at my arm. Him being hilarious started poking my arm again. So I made a disgruntled noise and pointed at my arm again – he made the same noise and poked arm – eventually I got my stamp and here they are. Then this really nice man asked if we wanted a photo of the two of us and started going all fashion photographer on us being like “just move back... oh no the light wasn’t right – how about in front of the sign this time?” Miranda said “thank you that’s fine” a lot and we managed to get away. He was a very friendly chap though. I didn’t really have any expectation of the German population but they really are very, very nice people. They really made Berlin for me... because there weren’t a huge lot of sights to see as by this time we had walked to the Reichstag and had run out of things to do. It was only 4pm. We felt that we had stayed in Berlin too long as we had another day there tomorrow and really wanted to just move on to Prague but oh well. It was nice and warm at least.
We had lunch at this little side vendor and he was selling wieners and an ice-cream called a “bum-bum”. What a world. Bum-bums are now a running joke between the two of us being like “excuse me, kind shop keep, do you have a bum-bum I might enjoy this fine afternoon?” Hee hee hee. You can also buy beer everywhere. Including in Disneyland which weirded Miranda out.
We also went and saw the Brandenburg gate which was quite impressive. There was a man there who was stamping peoples’ passports! You would pay a Euro and get any type of stamp you wanted. We both chose the Checkpoint Charlie stamp which he put today’s date on which was pretty neat – hooray a stamp after all! I really want to know if it is the same stamp which my Mum and Dad got when they went to Berlin. I rang my Mum when I was sitting on the grass (in the sunshine!) in front of the Reichstag and she said the last time she was in Berlin the wall was still up which is MIND BLOWING. I mean that wall has been down as long as I’ve been alive so it’s all pretty crazy. Looking at Berlin you wouldn’t really know the historical stuff that’s gone down.
We took a stroll to a lovely park and ended up getting some dinner (delicious sushi) and going to see a movie! That’s right! We had so little to do we went and saw a film. And, no, the film was not in German it was all in English with no subtitles or anything – the whole cinema was in English I think. I guess the Berlin tourist people figured people could get down with the sights of Berlin in one day and they needed a back-up plan to keep people around – thus the cinema. They started showing the commercials before the film started and they played this ad for this type of ice-cream. So the add plays and then the lights come up and this usher walked in, with the ice-creams that were in the ad, and goes “who wants one?” It was so random! Eventually, they started rolling the commercials again and they played an ad for beer and Miranda and I just waited for the lights to dim again and that guy to come back with some beer. It was weird coming out of the film because I had to stop and remember... oh right I’m in Germany...
Back to the hostel for some sleepy time.
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