Woke this morning when Bob got up at 7:30 without sleeping (I went to bed at 3:30) and went for a breakfast buffet at the hotel. The Hilton serves an excellent buffet--eggs scrambled or fried, croissants, rolls with sunflower seeds and various kinds including muffins and other sweets, fresh fruit--apples, pineapple, banana, mixed fruit, all sorts of dairy such as yogurt, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, sandwich meets, salads. Very enjoyable with tea and coffee and orange juice served at the table. We both left feeling more settled.
Our day's agenda involved a walk over to the island where four major museums sat, to see them all we hoped, ha ha. It turned out the only one opened today was the Pergamon Museum and there was a line we could join to get in. After a wait of a half-hour, heaven--the Ishtar Gate from Babylon, artifacts from Pergamon, Urhu, and many parts of the Middle East and Turkey. Huge wall reliefs in either the original or plaster casts.
Museuminsel Garden, Berlin, Germany
Our headphones gave us much of the background in English on each of the sites as well as some of the many treasures. Two-and-a-half hours later we finally couldn't stand any longer and were through.
On the wait for entry we talked with a nice couple from 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City; they were pleased that my uncle came from slightly north of the town. They told us some of their travels by van in Washington, DC. Then we parted and went our own way.
Along the way to the museum, I had chance to take photos of the town and much of the construction work underweigh to repair the Museums in the Museuminsel including an oddball gas pipe that ran through the streets.
When Engineers are Utilitarian, Berlin, Germany
Afterwards we went through the Berlin Dom, although we skipped the highest hundred steps, having seen plenty.
Berlin Dom, Berlin, Germany
Much reconstruction work has been done including the replaced dome, and much of the interior was spotlessly vivid. The last part of the tour took us into the crypt of the Hohenzollern family.
We returned to the hotel from drinks--me Coca Cola light and Bob Konig beer and received some tasty nuts and chips. Bob managed to get in a nap, I drifted off now and then while reading.
Much refreshed it was time to take on the Tiergarten. We decided our best approach was from the Brandenburg Gate.
It turned out to have a mini-music festival cum political rally about running the money rates ragged. I thought the music fun but the rant was annoying, politics in my world prefers more civility--a thoughtful look at the issues and a vote. It's clear their are tensions about the merger of the city, including posted signs saying this is what merging meant.
The Tiergarten is woods, with controlled areas with statues and hedges and plantings and a creek and some ponds, quite a variety and we only walked through a small part. It seemed a favorite commute path, place to sit and think or converse with friends. There were also play areas for children and trails so overall the Tiergarten is a public treasure. The woods were more alive with birds then anywhere else we have been (hardly anything so no surprise). Some wildflowers were in bloom, naturalized daffodils were all bloomed out. We didn't get to the rosegarten. Still we saw bunnies and a creature that looked like a nutria and half a dozen birds. The grey heron and the coot we spotted along the Spree River which looks quite dark and filmy, but we saw many cruise boats operating from the Museuminsel area.
When we came through, the police had completely surrounded the rally, I saw someone holding American and Israeli flags which I'm not sure what that was about. Apparently the police were very clear that no violence would break out at this point.
Political rally at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
Dinner was at the Lutter and Wegner, a cozy little joint lined with wines with plenty of outdoor tables found in the Potsdamer Platz area that has been in the Berlin area since 1811.
Birds: Grey Heron, Eurasian Coot, Common Woodpigeon, House Sparrow, Rock Dove, Common Starling, Common Blackbird, Common Chaffinch, Great Tit, European Robin