One of my reader is going to Berlin soon. This totally transported me back to my own visit to the German capital in 2011. Every October, on our anniversary, the bf and I try to go on a city break to celebrate our love for each other. (!!) I loved all of our trips of course, but Berlin had to be the best adventure I had. I still think about it a lot and hope to go back in the future!
A lot of the Berliner Mauer has disappeared so I got a more real sense of it when we went to the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer and saw the actual death strip. It was breathtaking for me because really I never imagined it like it really was. The site is very impressive and makes the Germany division totally comprehensible. Every aspect of the historical site and memorial was perfect for me. It’s so well thought for visitors, I enjoyed it immensely as an educational site.
When traveling (or spending my weekends), I enjoy visiting a good museum. It’s my favourite thing to do on my free time, even tough I don’t do it enough. I kind of think museums are the best thing entertainment speaking because nowadays the exhibitions (either temporary or not) are so beautifully executed, you get everything in one package. You have the audioguide, a few videos, the presentation of the pieces with written explanations. The toilets are always free, well designed. Everything is clean and spacious with beautiful benches or wooden floor… The shops seem to always stock a lot of awesome, but expensive, books and original gifts. There is also the café where you can enjoy a hot drink or have lunch.
I was not disappointed by the museums in Berlin. Oh no. I found my #2 favourite museum of the whole world yet. Understand: I haven’t been around the whole world already, but from the museums I have visited, I declared that the V&A in London was my #1 favourite institution of all times. The second one on my love list is the DDR-museum, Berlin.
Interactivity at its best, mix of all medias available on earth (I think, I’m not an expert), beautiful exhibition that gives you a taste of the real life in the former East Germany. You can touch, try, smell, open, close, watch, feel, read, hear … pretty much everything! I loved, loved, loved, loved, this museum.
We also went to the Pergamon Museum, more for the bf than for me, but it was still pretty impressive. Only because it houses the original reconstructions of the Pergamon Altar and some other well known building that were situated in Turkey and date back to the 2nd century BC!!! The Altar is enormous. You can find original fragments of the friezes that belonged to the real acropolis. There is an Antiquity collection, Islamic Art and Middle East museum inside the same complex. I quite liked the Ishtar Gate which is also a reconstruction using some of the original bricks.
We didn’t leave without checking out the Jewish Museum that documents the German-Jewish history in its collections and exhibitions. The site houses the Libenskind Building which I think represent the “Void” caused by the Holocaust. Or something like that.
We walked some more to see CheckPoint Charlie, the Brandenburger Tor and the Memorial to the Murdered Jewish of Europe. We also spent hours in the icy weather reading and gasping at the exhibition of The Topography of Terror, an indoor and outdoor museum dedicated to the history of the institutions of SS and Gestapo during the Third Reich. The site is actually an historic one because it stands on the former grounds of the headquarters of the Nazi repressing institutions. There is also a preserved part of the Berlin Wall on the site. Quite a funny anecdote, we found a picture of our street in Belgium in the exhibition! It wasn’t a happy one, on the other hand, as it depicted prisoners being brought to the Ixelles caserne.