Another day of history, memorials, museums and architecture, and my last set of photos from Berlin last year. These are things I like to explore and photograph in any city, and Berlin has probably the best collection anywhere I've been so far. History in particular, as the key events are quite recent compared to more ancient cities, and the effects are still visible in spots all around the city, down to bullet holes in walls. Any corner you walk around could reveal another memorial or plaque and memories of an impressive/terrifying history.
I started the day with an early morning trip via the Brandenburger Tor to the Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten. Early enough that the people dressed in historical uniforms or cartoon characters hadn't even shown up yet to start scamming tourists. The Soviet Memorial is particularly interesting/crazy once you see the photo at the bottom of this post - the Soviets had captured German soldiers start building it in the ruins of the city pretty much as soon as the war ended, before any sort of reconstruction, almost a penal exercise. The old rumour (supposedly disproven) was that it was built from stone from the destroyed Reich Chancellery. They even built it right in the middle of the street which was to be the 'Avenue of Splendours' in Albert Speer's grand plan for 'World Capital Germania'.
The memorial is still in use and regularly visited by Russians, who appear to leave spanners, hammers and coins behind in addition to the usual flowers. After visiting the memorial I made my way back to the Musuem Island to tick the Bode Museum and Altes Nationalgalerie off my list and finish the Island. The Bode musuem is another one focussed on both old and ancient sculptures - still not my favourite, but interesting enough and free to view since I cunningly bought the weekly pass! The building itself was fantastic though, very grand foyers and a dome at the far end. And I even found the sculptures more interesting than I expected and spent quite a while there.
After the Bode it was time for a quick Bratwurst mit Brötchen (sausage inna bun) behind the Berliner Dom, dodge the pigeons flying around, and off to the Altes Nationalgalerie to finish my seventh and final Museuminsel museum. Apart from a couple impressive sculptures in the foyer it is mostly a painting collection, and much more enjoyable than I expected since it was hardly mentioned in my tourist guide. Some really nice historical paintings from the German Imperial era... supposedly from the 'neoclassical' and 'romantic' movements, although I'm just an amateur art appreciator and haven't figured those terms out very well yet. Either way, I really enjoyed it, one of my favourites on the island.
With half an hour to closing time, there was time enough to quickly sneak back into the Pergamon Museum, which I saw on my previous trip but not this time. Might as well, with nothing else planned, and quickly look at the massive and impressive altar, and try get a better picture of the famous Ishtar Gate of Babylon. I took plenty of photos to try and stitch together, but I'm still struggling with the software! Stitching hasn't really been my thing so far, but maybe I'll figure it out one day. But that's it for my second trip to Berlin. Really love this city, and I would come back anytime - although I've persuaded myself that next trip I will check out Munich for the first time instead! Hope they still have Currywurst there :)