02.01.2012 - 02.01.2012
Five hours on a bus got us from Prague to Berlin. The hotel's tourist information was useless so we took the one map they had and marched our way to the Berlin Gate, the closest tourist center to our hotel. Uninspired by the gate itself (in fairness, they were in the midst of taking down Christmas market stuff so it was a bit of a construction site) we grabbed our tourist brochures and, with the realisation that our last meal was 9 hours ago took refuge in a Pizza restaurant. After much consideration and resignation we followed street signs to the Deutches Historiches Museum where there was apparently a good collection of German historical artefacts. Following the natural topography of the museum we accidentally ended up in an exhibition dedicated to the German people's supposed cultural-psychological connection with the forest. Snorting disinterestedly we left the forest exhibition for a photography exhibition detailing Berlin's history over the last 100 years. Two images were especially interesting. The first from 1923 was of police defending the newspaper district of Berlin with rifles behind impromptu barricades made of newspaper reams. The second, was a photo of Dresden from 1945 which showed, quite simply, the complete devastation that city suffered as a result of Allied bombing.
A chance discovery on the way to the toilets confirmed Tom's suspicion that there was in fact more to the Deutches Historiches Museum than trees and photos, and with time running out we found the permanent exhibition after having to fight the incredibly rude cloakroom ladies for our bag. The collection of artefacts was impressive. 15th century two-handed bastard sword with sawfish-tooth blade? Check. Hand-axe with embedded flintlock pistol? Check. Gilded suits of armour, Celtic swords, Reformation literature, Hohenzollern furniture? Oh yes. Unfortunately, the DHM closed on us when we were somewhere around 1750 AD (and we had to rush to get that far). Back at our hotel via the local Halal supermarket and a Turkish takeaway joint and our day was done.