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Published: December 3rd 2013
Oh no! There's no hairdryer in the room. What the heck, I have a hat on most of the time anyway so it doesn't really matter if my hair starts off flat I will have hat hair in no time at all anyway!! With naturally dried hair we ventured over to the communal area of the pension to have breakfast. With the pension fully booked this weekend it was a very busy Sunday morning for breakfast. Angelika and her niece, Agnes, put on a lovely buffet spread for breakfast which we really enjoyed. We were seated with a German couple who stay at Pension Gallerie when they come to visit their son in Berlin.
We started out for the day looking for the Route 100 bus which the German man had told us does a circuit of the city and it a good way to get oriented without paying for the tourist-oriented 'Hop On, Hop Off' bus. Well, we couldn't work out how the buses work so we walked around to Checkpoint Charlie which is only 400 metres from the Pension, but twice as far when you go on a wild goose chase for an elusive bus!! Even Checkpoint Charlie
is in the festive spirit with a Christmas tree set up beside it in the middle of the road.
From Checkpoint Charlie we continued north along Friedrichstraße where we encountered a hat stall set up on the street. In an 'if in doubt, leave it out' moment while packing I didn't pack the fur-trimmed hat that I bought in Istanbul earlier this year. Dumb move because the Merino beanie that I do have with me really isn't quite warm enough. But, seeing as the Turkish hat is still in Melbourne it meant that I could buy another quite like it, but in my favourite colour purple!
We eventually walked all the way to the Bode-Museum only to go in and find that our three day Berlin Welcome Card pass can only be validated at a train station! Since we had not travelled by train to reach the museum that meant that we had to go to the nearest train station to have the passes validated. We only discovered this AFTER we had taken of our coats and hats and checked all our stuff into the cloakroom! So we had to collect all our stuff and put all our
layers back on to venture back out into the cold. We decided that Bernie would be quicker without me so I browsed the stalls in the trash and treasure market while he went to the train station.
OK, now with validated passes in hand, we went back into the Bode-Museum and returned our stuff to the lady in the cloakroom so that could start admiring sculptures from the Early Middle Ages to the late 18th century, Byzantine art from the 3rd to 15th century and an impressive numismatic collection. The overwhelming theme of the Bode-Museum collections is religion. So many different depictions of the Virgin and Child, John the Baptist and numerous Saints.
There was a sausage stall out in the trash and treasure market so we had sausages for lunch again today before visiting the Alte Nationalgalerie. The Old National Gallery features 19th century art by a number of German artists we weren't familiar with along with pieces by French Impressionists such at Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne and French sculpture Auguste Rodin.
While we were exploring the Alte Nationalgalerie Bernie's camera started to play up. Oh no, maybe there is a
good reason to travel with four cameras after all??! Bernie thought that it might be a problem with the contacts between the camera and the lens that would be easy to fix by cleaning the contacts ... more on that later!
From the museums on Museum Island we started working our way back towards our accommodation via the Christmas markets. The markets don't seem quite as prolific here as in Dresden and Munich, but there are still plenty of Christmas stalls to explore!!
After resting in our room for an hour or so we headed out again to find some dinner. We had Thai food tonight at a restaurant called Cha Cha. After our meal we went around the corner to yet another Christmas market. Unlike any of the other markets this one had a doorman who told us we would need to purchase tickets to get in. What the ...? Anyway it turns out that it is only a token entry fee of one euro per person and I think the signs said that the money collected was for charity.
We couldn't quite put our fingers on it, but this market lacked the charm of all
the others that we have been to. The stalls were very regimented in uniform rows of white tents. Even though the stalls were all decked out with Christmas trimming they just didn't have the same appeal as the more random, mostly timber huts that we have encountered at other markets. Still lots of food and handicrafts and the aroma of glühwein in the air though!
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