DDR Museum, Pergamon Museum and camera trouble


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December 2nd 2013
Published: December 4th 2013
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When we got back to our room last night Bernie fiddled with his camera a bit more. Each time he turned it on he could snap about four or five shots and then it would display Err 01. He tried his other lenses and had no trouble with those. Then he tried his lens on my camera and the same error message was displayed. OK, that narrowed it down to a lens problem rather than a camera problem. On line forums that he checked discussed the pros and cons of using an eraser or pure alcohol to clean the contacts between the lens and the camera.

At breakfast we asked Agnes if she knew of a good camera store. The only stores that she was able to suggest were more suitable if we wanted to buy a camera rather than have a lens fixed. Good old Google was able to provide the details for an authorised Canon repairer out in the Berlin suburbs somewhere so then we asked Agnes about how we would get there. Agnes showed us on the map a couple of different options to get there using the trains and buses but, either way, it was going to be quite an expedition!!

As we left Pension Gallerie Bernie was still thinking about trying to buy some pure alcohol from an Apotheke (Chemist) to try to fix the problem himself. By this stage we were outside the shop that Agnes had mentioned, but it was still 20 minutes before it opened at 10.00am plus we had come around to the decision that it would be better to have the problem looked at by a professional. Thinking ahead, I said something about whether we should take a taxi or use public transport to travel to the airport on Wednesday and next thing you know Bernie decided we would take a taxi out to the camera shop in the 'burbs.

It cost us less than €20 for the taxi ride to the camera store. Bernie took out his camera and explained the problem and whether that would be easily fixed by cleaning the contacts. The lady on the counter looked very doubtful and said it was more likely to be a problem with the diaphragm. She took the camera out the back to ask a technician and came back with the bad news that Bernie's 24-105mm lens did indeed need a new diaphragm. O-kay ... we're only in Berlin until early Wednesday morning, how quickly can it be fixed and how much will it cost?? Back out to check with the technician and the the deal was - the part is in stock, the lens can be fixed for €230 by 4.00pm this afternoon. Yay, for German efficiency. Considering it took two weeks earlier this year just to have the lens cleaned, this was excellent news.

Minus one camera lens we decided to try out the trains to get back to the city. There was an underground station about 10 minutes walk from the camera shop which wasn't too bad. That train took us to Alexanderplatz Station where we changed to the line that would take us to the preserved section of the Berlin Wall down by the river. These days the wall is covered in graffiti. We're not sure if it is authorised street art or just random graffiti, but the messages blazoned on the wall range from colourful and optimistic to monochrome and sombre. From what we have read about the wall and the exclusion zone that existed between East and West Berlin, what we saw today is a far cry from the danger and desolation that used to exist in this area that is now a green parkland with a colourful graffiti backdrop.

Back to the train station and after a couple of train changes and a short walk we were at the DDR Museum. We are finding it a little bit difficult to get the hang of how the S-bahn and the U-bahn interconnect. Most of the time you have to head up for the surface trains and down for the underground trains and then, just when you think you have the hang of it, you can find yourself heading in the wrong direction. Fortunately that mistake was quickly picked up and we were able to disembark at the next station to catch a train that would take us towards Museum Island rather than the end of the line!

The DDR Museum has lots of displays that capture what life was like in the Deutches Democratic Republic. The museum is quite interactive and you have to open doors and cupboards to reveal displays of every day items from domestic, professional and educational spheres of life in the DDR.

And finally, to the Pergamon Museum. This was pretty much on the top of our list for our visit to Germany and in particular, Berlin. Since we visited Turkey last year we been keen to visit the Pergamon Museum to see the antiquities that the Germans removed from Turkey, in particular the Temple of Zeus from Pergamon. The Pergamon Museum was pretty much purpose built to house the Temple of Zeus and the Ishtar Gate from Babylon. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! I knew that the Temple was going to be fairly monumental in size, but it was at least four times bigger than I expected - it is really huge. The Ishtar gate was also awesome.

From the Pergamon Museum we re-traced out steps back to the camera store. We collected the lens and then train-hopped back to the Gendarmenmarkt. Somehow it was dinner time and we hadn't even had lunch!! On top of which we had been way off the tourist track and we were both tired and very hungry. Not a good combination. Let is just be said that we were both a bit grumpy about deciding what to eat.

After we had eaten (Italian again) we felt much better so we wandered around the market a bit more in a better frame of mind. It was so cold we even decided to have some glühwein to warm us up. I think we both thought that this mug of glühwein was better than the one that we sampled in Munich. This stall had a note up saying you could get a three euro refund when you returned your glühwein mug or you could keep it as a souvenir. Bernie returned his mug, but I decided that I would keep mine as a souvenir.

Tonight as we walked back past Checkpoint Charlie we read the information boards that summarise the geopolitical aspects of the divided Berlin. It is so hard to imaging now how it must have been. For East Berliners to be living so close to West Berliners, but living such completely different lives must have been really frustrating. To have relatives living only blocks away, but behind the iron curtain in East Berlin must have been heartbreaking.

As we approached Pension Gallerie we realised that we had been out and about for 11 hours!!

Talking about being out and about - we have walked 83 kilometres over the last week.


Additional photos below
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5th December 2013

Ummmm, minituiae on the lens ;)
5th December 2013

awe inspiring displays
It takes me back to younger days (1984 for us - are we really that old now?) seeing the images from the Pergamon Museum. Awe inspiring installations! Must have been fun reassembling them at the museum. No doubt Berlin is very different to our experience when it was East and West.

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