Jared Ning




Berlin has a small island where there are a bunch of different museums fittingly called "Museum Island". We went to 3 of them. The most famous is the Pergamon. The centerpiece is the Pergamon altar that takes up the entire space of a very large room. And they built stairs to let you climb it and see everything up close. There's also a really impressive Babylon collection including the Ishtar gate. I don't know if it's very well preserved or very well restored, but it's a huge wall of deep blue which is a nice contrast to the usual colorless artifacts you're used to seeing in museums. It felt very alive.

We also went to the Neues museum where the jewel is the bust of Nefertiti, the world's first supermodel.

Nefertiti bust (front)

The 3rd museum we went to was the Bode. The most interesting thing I saw was this piece of stone that looks like a water fixture.


But it's actually a gambling machine. People used to drop colored balls at the top and they would race to the bottom.

Even though the Berlin Wall is mostly gone, there is a stretch that is still there. It is now covered in fresh graffiti, even though there is a sign that clearly states that it is illegal. But it's probably a good thing, don't you think?


The Berlin Philharmonic is a famous orchestra. We didn't have time to attend a performance by the entire philharmonic, but we did catch the lunch concert series. They have a small group of about 4-5 musicians perform in the lobby of the auditorium for about an hour. It's very casual. People sit on the floor and on the stairs. They also have lunch available. It's a fun experience and a nice change of pace from sitting in a concert hall.

We visited the memorial of the murdered Jews of Europe and the Jewish museum. The memorial is a large field of concrete rectangular blocks of differing heights. It looks like a modern artist's sculpture of a cemetery. The Jewish museum is in the shape of a what looks like a lightning bolt. The architect wanted to leave the design open to interpretation. But there's little room for interpretation at the fallen leaves installation. It's in one of the bends in the lightning bolt building and tall and hollow. On the floor are thousands of metal disks in the shape of sad faces. It's a really somber place.


We took a day trip to nearby Potsdam where a royal family made their home out in the country. The palaces were built far apart from each other, maybe to make it seem like they were on vacation when they were in a different palace. There was even a bath house designed to look like an ancient Roman bath house, also located far apart from each palace.