Here’s a mass photo dump of what I’ve been up to the past week-and-a-half — mostly visiting museums.
Thursday, 9/13 – Project Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) during school. We only walked through the ground floor, so I can’t speak for the whole museum, but what we saw was very political – lots of old posters and newspapers – and not terribly interesting. No photos, sadly – I left my camera at home that day.
Friday, 9/14 – Pergamon Museum. After class, IES paid for us to have lunch at the 12 Apostles restaurant and go to the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island (a small literally island of museums in the middle of Berlin.) I was here once before in 2009, but had major jet lag then and so enjoyed it much more this time. It was mostly artwork from ancient civilizations, mostly Greek but also some Roman and Egyptian, and there was another huge section of Islamic art.
Saturday, 9/15 – Reichstag Building. We took a tour of the German government building. You had to go through this legit airport-style security screening to get through. Our tour guide was really great – he spoke in very clear slow German so we could understand him, and he was also very funny. A few things I learned: The inside of the building was covered in graffiti written in various dialects of Russian from when the Soviets were there. Some of it has been preserved. And the building has lots of wide open spaces, glass walls, and open-air bridges, so you can see a lot. This is meant to symbolize transparency in government. And – you have to go through another small security check before you can climb up the glass dome, not to make sure you don’t have any weapons, but to make sure you don’t have any rope over 10 meters long or metal caribeners, because once someone rock-climbed up the outside of the dome and the German government was, to say the least, not amused.
Tuesday, 9/18 – Seth and I went to the DDR (German Democratic Republic) museum to learn a little bit about life in socialist East Germany. We also interviewed our hosts, who grew up in that era, and did a small presentation on our findings for school. (This was an actual assignment, not just for fun… I mean, we were assigned to do the presentation, but we got to choose the topic.) It went really well! It was fascinating to hear the differences in opinions, too. For example, I interviewed two people and they both said they were extremely happy when the wall fell (even though both had lived their entire lives in the DDR) and didn’t miss anything about that life, HOWEVER Seth’s host mom said she missed the camaraderie and sense of community the most.
Wednesday, 9/19 – IES bought us tickets to go see a concert at the Konzerthaus. Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, I believe. There was a professional orchestra and a piano soloist. The pianist was supposed to be Mitsuko Uchida, an American pianist who I have on my iPod, but she was unfortunately sick so another guy filled in instead. It was still awesome though! Afterwards there was a random street musician playing really excellent classical guitar sitting outside near the steps, I stopped and listened for a few minutes when I recognized a Bach minuet I’d played on piano. This city is so full of talent!
Note: It takes pictures FOREVER to upload on this site, so I’ll add more later! These are all from the Pergamon museum.
Another thought: I am totally IN LOVE with the street musicians and street artists here. When I get the chance, I love to drop a coin in their instrument case and talk to them and get a picture. I’m considering starting another blog project featuring all the street artists and musicians I meet. Not only would it be a cool experience, it’d be something neat to add to my journalism portfolio while I’m here. Would you read it?