An extra benefit to the tour was being able to scout out places that we wanted to come back to, so we decided to head back to Museum Island. We started at the Old National Gallery, which was supposed to contain impressionist and expressionist paintings. There were actually not that many of either, but instead a lot of portraits and landscapes by German painters.
There was one impressionist section which had a few Monet’s and Hanna found one of her new favorite paintings. She found it surprising that it was Renoir, since she doesn’t usually like his stuff, but she gazed at it for quite a while. There was also what we assumed was a copy of Rodin’s famous The Thinker, but after listening to the audioguide we found out it was actually the original. It was much smaller than the famous larger sculpture, which was in reality a copy of the smaller one. We almost walked right by it.
This museum had an attendant in pretty much every room (more than the Louvre), and we were surprised when one of them suddenly burst out in song. She was a tiny blonde woman who sang in an operatic tone. I guess it was supposed to add to the ambience of the room, but after about five minutes she would stop singing and say something quickly in German. She continued to repeat this cycle the entire time we were on the floor. It was very strange.
After that we went to the German Historical Museum, which made me very excited and made Hanna want to hang herself. It featured the permanent collection, basically explaining German history from 500 B.C. to present times (Hanna looked at the old clothes while I read the information, everybody wins), but more interestingly it featured the first exhibition on Hitler ever in Germany.
It may seem surprising, but I guess they’re careful to keep their distance from the Fuhrer. Surprisingly the exhibition wasn’t just about how evil Hitler was. It focused on how the state of Germany after WWI and the German people allowed Hitler to rise to power and carry out his heinous regime. It contained lots of old memorabilia such as uniforms, posters, and buttons, and was incredibly interesting. Once again, Berlin was a much different experience than any of the other cities.
Outside the museum we found a stand selling delicious sausages, potatoes, and mushrooms so we picked some up and headed to Alexanderplatz (kind of like a shopping district). We hung out in the mall, picked up some smoothies, people-watched, and got some food to take home for dinner.
Even though our time there was more of the historical/depressing variety, I’ve heard that Berlin is actually a great city for nightlife. Take for example the advertisement in our discount book for the club, Matrix:
Matrix parties—that’s your life—every day ecstasy—all together—life is the Matrix—you mix it every day, see the flow, feel the flow, flow the flow—right in your heart. Parties on up to 6 floors.
It’s stop #1 on our next trip to Berlin.