Thursday, June 28, 2012

DBSB '12: Museum Island, Day 1

This is the first look we got of the Museum Island (that's the Bode on the left and the Pergamon on the right), though we first had to go all the way back to the Brandenburg Gate, seeing as we were misinformed. Or maybe we weren't? It's not exactly clear.

The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor in German) was constructed in 1789-91 to plans by Carl Gotthard Langhans, and was one out of 14 all along the former city walls. It is modeled after the Propylaea of the Acropolis and Athens, and it is crowned with a statue of a quadriga, a four-horse Roman chariot, designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow.

In 1806, Napoleon marched through the gate after his victory over the Prussian army and took the quadriga with him to Paris, though it was brought back in 1814 after he had been defeated. The gate was then further damaged by artillery fire in 1945, the statue being completely destroyed with the exception of one of the horses' heads. The monument was repaired in the 1950s, and a new quadriga was cast from the original molds and mounted atop the gate in 1958. In 1961, construction on the Berlin Wall began, and along with it, a period of 28 years during which the gate was inaccessible until 1989, when the wall came down and citizens could visit it once more.

Yes, that is Darth Vader in the streets of Berlin.

While in Berlin, we purchased Museum Passes, which cost €19,00 (€9,50 if you're a student!), and allow entry at 55 different museums/attractions all throughout Berlin, including the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral, pictured below) and all the museums on Museum Island.

Sea centaurs: half man, half fish, half horse.

Onto Museum Island!

The Museum Island (Museumsinsel), added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1999, is located on the Spree River in the Mitte district of Berlin. Its name comes from the five museums that call the island home: the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Bode Museum, and the Pergamon Museum, as well as the Berlin Cathedral.

My original intention was to make one post for the first MI day, but I think that may be too many pictures! Instead, I'm going to break it down into the different museums, so the next post will be on the Altes Museum. For now, I leave you with this:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DBSB '12: Vienna > Berlin

On the (very early) morning of the 14th (it feels like years ago already!) we made the transition from Vienna to Berlin.

This is how you know you've left Vienna. You go from this ^ to this:

The flight was really short and Sarah spent the whole time taking turns between sleeping and studying. After riding a cab with Metallica blasting out of the speakers, we got to our hotel and decided to take a nap before exploring, seeing as we'd barely gotten any sleep the night before, with packing and talking to Kevin, etc., etc.

But then it was time to go out and explore.

Galeries Lafayette

We had dinner at this Italian restaurant by Checkpoint Charlie and it wasn't until after we were done eating that we were told that they didn't accept credit cards. We barely had enough cash to cover the meal, and so we were only able to leave something like twenty cents for a tip, but somehow the host wasn't upset about this at all. Probably because this wasn't his tip. Also, a lady tried to talk to us about a disco or something in German. She left without much explanation after Sarah told her we didn't really speak the language. Berlin made a great first impression.