Monday, January 12, 2015

Plane-iversary in Windy Berlin

In between two doctor's appointments, we went to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin's Mitte. While we were looking at the thousands-year-old artifacts of Babylon, we suddenly realized that today marks one year since we got on a plane and left the US. We lifted off at 1:45 pm on January 12, 2014 from San Francisco - 10:45 pm Berlin time. We watched a couple of movies, anxiously checked on Flash every two minutes (he was stowed beneath the seat in front of Shannon), and tried to sleep on our direct flight to Frankfurt. Flash definitely slept more than we did. Eleven hours later, we landed on German soil and walked through the arrival gates into a new chapter of our lives.

Today, we walked through the 2600-year-old Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon. The massive and unusual portal was reconstructed from the original bricks uncovered in modern day Iraq. As you can see in our photos, the 14 meter high gate is made of bright blue bricks and decorated with bulls, lions, and dragons - one of the sacred animals of their patron god, Marduk. Bonus: we were able to witness a preservationist in action.

After walking through the beautiful passageway, we turned around and were surprised to see another magnificent artifice. This was an entry to a market in ancient Rome. It was without color, but still grandiose, with statues, giant pillars, and ornate carvings. Seeing these almost-intimidatingly colossal reconstructions in person was much more impressive and immersive than looking at the usual isolated fragments. We felt transported to another time... and it was hard to leave ancient Rome and Babylon!

100 A.D.

However, leaving the museum meant returning back to our modern-day adventure in 2015 Berlin.

Humidity-controlled banquet hall of a Christian merchant in Aleppo. The decor is more in the style of Islamic art, however it contained Christian imagery. Aleppo was known for its rich and ancient history, before the recent devastation of Syrian's civil war.

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