Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eurotrip 2011, Day 4 Part 2: Trudging 'round Berlin

For our last afternoon in Berlin I really really wanted to check out the Pergamon Museum. Both my guidebook and Kiwi Katie had highly recommended it, and as much as I love history as a whole I really love ancient history. Which meant that the Pergamonmuseum - known for its large collection of antiquities and the monumental ancient buildings reconstructed inside of it - was right up my alley.
Pergamon Museum
The thing is, our trip to the Pergamon Museum didn't really start out all that great. I mentioned that on our first full day in Berlin, we had to skip it because the line was too long - well, there was basically no line on this particular day (it was a Monday). But though they were letting people with giant purses in, I had to leave my backpack (and bottled water) behind. And yes, I was a little hungover and dehydrated (still) from our night out. So traipsing around this gigantic museum without water - especially considering there's not really any air conditioning to speak of - was a whole new level of hell for us that afternoon.
Pergamon Museum
To be honest, I have to understand why all of the labels and descriptions for the displays were in German. I mean...we were in Germany. And it was great that the museum offers audio guides free with admission. But unfortunately, the audio guides didn't have stories for every exhibit - and the ones that did have audio bits weren't labeled very well and included such long explanations that we didn't have time to listen to even half of each story.
Steve listening to the story of the Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum
In hindsight, I think I would have better enjoyed the German History Museum - and hopefully I'll get back to Berlin and have a chance to check it out!

At this point we were hot, tired, and thirsty - and ready for dinner. We had decided on another guidebook-recommended restaurant...that happened to be located nowhere near anything. In fact, in trying to find it we were wandering around residential streets wondering what we'd gotten ourselves into! But when we finally arrived at the restaurant - which was sort of situated at the end of a little alley in a very old building - we knew it had probably been worth the search.
Zur Letzten Instanz
I do have to say that I was disappointed in my guidebook for not properly recommending this restaurant. Price-point wise, it was a little on the expensive side compared to what the guidebook claimed (though not OVERpriced) - and though my guidebook also specified that reservations aren't required, they clearly are. Considering we walked in and they asked us if we had one, and when we said no - they laughed at us. Thankfully they took pity on us as well and sat us right away, with the only stipulation being that we had to finish by 8 PM. As it was not quite 6:30 at that point, we agreed. Enthusiastically.

The food at Zur Letzten Instanz is very traditional. And when I say traditional, I'm talking - they bring you lard with your bread rather than butter. That's right - lard. They have a slightly better beer selection than most restaurants/bars we encountered in Berlin, as well!
Who said you can't drink beer with a straw?
We did wait a little while for our food, but it was so. very. worth it. I can't even describe how much. I think the setting - a house built in 1621, and one of the oldest buildings still standing in Berlin - was a big part of it. But the food was also delicious and it was nice to try such traditional dishes.
So we relaxes over a long, yummy meal and when it was over took the U-Bahn back to our hotel for an early night. Though we didn't get to do everything I wanted to do in Berlin, this was still the perfect end to our time there. At this point I was actually very ready to move on to our next stop - Prague - but looking back I have to say that Berlin was one of the best cities of the trip, despite my questioning its attributes while we were there. I'd definitely go back, given the chance :)

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