December 17, 2009

3 museums in 1 day. I think that's a new record.

I started with a run in the chilly morning temperatures. I went up along Charlottenstrasse to one of the canals that flows through Berlin - there seems to be quite a few. I ran along the canal for a while. Running along the canal was an excellent place for running. I had planned to go around the TierGarten, but I got a little lost around the Bundestag, and all of a sudden I found myself next to the Brandenburger Tor. I knew the way back to the hotel from there, so no worries.

The breakfast at the hotel was pretty awesome; really crisp bacon, good eggs, good bread, good meats, and awesome cereal. I ate like I was never gonna eat again, so I got my monies worth on that one.

After breakfast I ventured out in the cold. It had started snowing a little and the white fluff was staying put on the sidewalks. I went down Friedrichsstrasse past Checkpoint Charlie and down to another canal, along which the Teknik Museum was located. In the various brochures this particular museum had gotten some good reviews.

It turned out to be an excellent museum, with the largest collection of train engines covering 130 years of development. Pretty impressive. There was an equally large maritime section, which I wasn't that interested in. The airplane section was OK. There were some really neat displays of airplane engines, including one that was disassembled. It was very impressively done. Last but not least there was a huge collection of Zuse computers. Konrad Zuse, was a german computer pioneer, way ahead of his time. He named his computers Z1, Z2, etc. The highest numbered one I saw was Z60. An advanced plotter type machine. He seemed to be extremely productive. Z1 was a mechanical computer, which was produced sometime in the 30'ies. How anyone could figure out how to make a thing like that is beyond me. Of course, Charles Babbage was much earlier with his difference and analytical machines, but they never really worked.

Unfortunately, my camera ran dry on battery, so I didn't get any pictures of the Zuse computers, which was too bad. I would like to go back, but probably won't. There's gotta be some on the internet, I would imagine. I had extra batteries, but didn't bring them.

After the Teknik museum, I went back to the Wall museum, right by Checkpoint Charlie. It was mostly posters with information and old newspaper clippings, but it represents an important time in history. I was weird to think how people got divided like that more or less at random. There were descriptions of couples that were separated and was smuggling themselves back and forth, but eventually got caught because the were spotted by informers.

After the Wall museum, I went into the Kommunikation Museum. I didn't really know what to expect here, but the building was very impressive, especially on the inside. There was a huge Rotunda like thing in the middle, with a couple of robots driving around. It was a combination of art and artifacts. The art was pretty weird. Most of it was interactive, so you could shake an artifical hand and a hat would tip, or push a button and smoke would come out of somewhere. The artifacts, were telefones through the ages, televisions, radios, a gigantic stamp collection, coins. Surprisingly, the place had a corner called the red light district. Naturally I went in there. There were peepholes, with various facts about prostitution and a couple of naked boobs here and there.

I'm done with museums now.

I walked up Wilhelmsstrasse to Unter den Linden to find a place to eat. I went into something that looked mostly like a cafe, but there was a Schweinesnitzel on the menu, and that's what I wanted. I got a little disappointed though, especially after I found a piece of plastic and a hair in the meal. Yuk. No tips for that!

When I got back to the hotel, I asked about the sauna, and the nice receptionist ran into the back and came back with a nice white robe and slippers and some aromatic oil shit to pour on the hot stones. This was pretty awesome. Among the various hotels, I've stayed at so far, this is by far the best bang for the buck. Only thing that's missing is the tea and coffee in the room and the fact that I must go down to the lobby to access the internet.