| Part 4: Berlin, Wittenberg, Dessau, Bayreuth
6.6: Munich -> Hamburg
8.6: Hamburg -> Lübeck -> Puttgarden -> Copenhagen
14.6: Copenhagen -> Malmö -> Trelleborg -> Binz (Rügen island, Germany)
15.6: Binz, Sellin (Rügen island)
16.6: Königsstuhl and Stralsund
18.6: Binz -> Stralsund -> Berlin
20.6: Berlin -> Potsdam -> Berlin
21.6: Berlin -> Wittenberg -> Dessau -> Bayreuth -> Munich
Smarthostel Berlin: upon second sight
we note that the kitchen stuff is dirty and rusty. Also the toilet bowl
is not so clean.
Weather: overcast almost the whole
day, even a little bit of rain. Some sunshine in the evening. Quite
Because of the poor weather we rest the whole morning in the hotel. At
2pm we go to the Italian restaurant close to the hotel and have lunch.
Pretty good food and the prices are decent.
Then we drive to the Pergamon museum, parking the car at 3:45pm in a
side street about 300m from the museum. Some civil works are ongoing at
the museum island where the Pergamon museum and other museums are
A few minutes later we reach the museum and check the ticketing
options. One counter is selling tickets for several museums except the
Pergamon one or a combined ticket for all museums of the museum island
for 18€. Otherwise you can purchase the ticket at the Pergamon
museum for 12€ (kids don't pay).
Long queue at the Pergamon museum, In fact we'll wait one hour and 20
minutes in the queue. They only let in people once in a while,
probably to avoid having too many people in the museum. Every now and
then priority groups and visitors are let in (for instance those who
booked a ticket online for a specific timeslot).
At 5:15pm we are finally allowed into the museum. Great view of the
gate, followed by other very interesting artefacts of the
ancient Euphrates civilisations (Uruk, Babylon etc.). Other artefacts
of the Greek and Roman periods, very nicely restored and set up.
Islamic civilisation section on the upper level, with interesting
A museum definitely worth visiting. The only issue are the long waiting
times. They could in my opinion tolerate a few more visitors to
substantially reduce the waiting time. No fun to queue up for one or
two hours. We are lucky today because it is fresh and it doesn't rain,
but imagine waiting in the queue in the rain or in the strong sun. And
it's tiring for the legs to stand for one or two hours in a line.
Anyway, after 1:20 hours we are done with the museum and actually a bit
tired. We have also the problem that the car parking will soon run out
(bought three hours at 3:45pm for 6€) so we must go back to the car.
Didn't know that there is so much waiting time at the Pergamon museum.
So we walk back to the car and key in the next destination into the
navigation system, the Gendarmen square.
We arrive there shortly after 7pm. At the moment some function is
ongoing with a crowd of people gathered next to a stage where some
people are singing religious songs. The square itself has a few
imposing neoclassical buildings and is sort of interesting, although
perhaps not too much. I've probably seen too much neoclassical
buildings in my life.
After 15 minutes we drive to the Kurfürstendamm. On the way we spot the
holocaust memorial and stop briefly there. The kids play hiding games
between the stone pillars. The place is ideal for these kind of games,
as it is very easy to hide between the columns.
Finally we reach the Kurfürstendamm shortly before 8pm. This street
resembles a bit the Champs Eliseés in Paris, because it's long and
there are so many high end shops.
We have a quick look, then find a Chinese take away restaurant where we
have a meal. Shortly before 9pm we drive back to the hotel.
At night as usual the kids don't want to sleep and keep chatting until
well after midnight. Explaining them that they are kids and need many
hours of sleep delivers no results - impossible to discuss things on a
rational basis. The only solution would be to put the kids into
separate rooms, but there are just two sleeping rooms in this hotel
-> Potsdam ->
Weather: overcast in the morning. The
sky opens up partially in the afternoon and is mostly free of clouds in
the late evening. Fresh (around 20°C)
We leave the hotel after 1pm and drive to Potsdam (mostly motorway,
some traffic jam). There we have a lunch in a Thai restaurant in the
city centre. Then, after 3pm, we drive to the Sanssouci castle and park
the car in the adjacent parking (4€ for 2 hours).
Sanssouci is a beautiful palace built in the 18th century by Prussian
king Friedrich II in Potsdam to sort of rival the Versailles palace. It
consists of a main building which oversees gardens spread over a slope
of terraces with a fountain at the bottom and extending beyond that.
The compound includes an orangerie building (kind of a glass house for
plants requiring warmer temperatures) and a new palace currently under
restoration. The entrance to the compound is free, a ticket is only
needed to visit the interior of the palaces.
We stay until 5:25pm in the area, with the sun in the meantime showing
up every now and then. Then we drive to the Charlottenburg castle in
Berlin, arriving shortly after 6:30pm.
Charlottenburg is again a baroque era castle with adjacent park, built
between 1695 and 1712 by the Prussian kings in the Charlottenburg area
of Berlin. The castle is less impressive than Sanssouci, but the park
is very nice. In front of the castle there is an open air event, some
kind of food and culture festival.
While Shirley and the kids enjoy the food and the shows, I walk a bit
around the castle. Nicely set up park along the Spree river.
Shortly before 8pm we drive back to the hotel. In the late evening,
around 10pm I'm in town again for some blue hour shots. Lots of streets
around the museum island are blocked due to road works.
-> Wittenberg ->
Dessau -> Bayreuth -> Munich
Home, sweet home
overcast in the morning and for most of the day. Quite fresh, even if
today summer is starting (temperatures well below 20°C). The sun
briefly shows up around 4pm and then again in the evening after 7pm.
After checking out of the hotel around 11:30am we initially drive to
Wittenberg, a city south of Berlin, the place where Martin Luther lived
and started the church reformation movement.
Wittenberg is a UNESCO world heritage site and in fact a very pretty
city. Most of the historic buildings have been restored and the entire
city could be very photogenic. The only problems are the bad weather
today (dark overcast sky, never mind) and the ongoing restoration works
on the town church and the castle church (sigh!).
Both these churches (which probably are very pretty) are completely
up with scaffolding and plastics sheets. Reminds me of when the artist
wrapped up the Reichstag. The restoration works should be
completed in 2015.
We have a lunch in an Indian restaurant which Shirley spotted. Bad food
which is also a bit pricey. Then we do some shopping, and at 3pm we
drive to nearby Dessau, arriving there at 3:30pm.
In Dessau there are even two UNESCO sites. One is the Bauhaus buildings
and the other is the garden kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz. Both may be in
the UNESCO list, but are rather unspectacular from a tourist
I have a quick look at the Bauhaus building in
the Gropiusallee. Later I find out that this building, originally from
the 1920s, has been reconsructed and restored a couple of times since
then. That is why it looks so modern.
After a brief stop we have a look at the gardens/parks described in the
UNESCO list, more specifically tp the one near Pushkinallee. Nice, well
laid out park, but again nothing that you would not see elsewhere.
Perhaps this is in the UNESCO list because it was the first or one of
the first of such parks.
There is a small zoo in the park and a (small scale) open air event.
The kids spend some time there. Shortly before 5pm we drive to a
Kaufhaus supermarket, where we buy some food. At 5:30pm we leave for
Bayreuth, arriving there two hours later at 7:30pm.
Bayreuth is a city in northern Bavaria, famous for its music festival
in which opera performances of Wagner are held in the
Richard-Wagner-Festspielhaus. The actual site listed by UNESCO is the
Margravial Opera House. This is, well, cute but relatively small and
far less impressive than other opera houses in other cities. The
historic core of Bayreuth however is quite pleasant.
Lots of life in the streets. A public classical music concert is for
instance going on in a square near the opera house before the football
Between 8 and 9pm we have a dinner in an Italian restaurant, then walk
on the streets. Crowds of people are assembling for the world cup
football match Germany-Ghana.
Between 9:30pm and 11:30pm we drive back to Munich. The motorways are
almost empty, which shouldn't come as a surprise because most people
are somewhere watching the football match.