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Returning to the hotel to eat and renew my energy, I decided afterward to get out my SLR and make good use of what time remained--beginning by taking photographs in the immediate neighbourhood of the Binnenamstel and Amstel and then, while the evening light lingered, proceeding back to the city centre.

First, I walked east along Binnenamstel, past Stopera, the combination Staadhuis (Town Hall) and Opera House in Waterlooplein. 




















I crossed over the the adjacent Blauwbrug and proceeded south along the east bank of the Amstel River to Magere Brug, seen below between two of the 2,500 houseboats that line Amsterdam's grachts (canals).




















Returning along the west bank, I took the opportunity for an upward shot at some of the hoisting-beams, used for raising furniture, etc. to the upper floors of
of Amsterdam's slender (and narrow-staired) houses.




















Turning west on Amstelstraat, I was fortunate to catch sight of a garden that seemed to typify Dutch orderliness; so I poked my lens through the wrought-iron fence for this shot.




























Continuing along Amstelstraat, I reached Muntplein (Mint Square) and the Mint Tower, part of the old city walls, which were destroyed in the great fire of 1818.
The name dates from 1672, when for two years Amsterdam became the site of the mint, while French forces were occupying Utrecht.




























Leaving Muntplein I headed back along Binnenamstel to Rembrandtplein
in order to catch tram 20, which took me on a great southern circuit via Waterlooplein, the Botanical Gardens, Concertgebouw and Rijksmuseum
and thence along Marnixstraat and Rozengracht to Westermarkt.





















Leaving the tram at Westermarkt, I  looked up and down Prinsengracht and then duly admired Westerkerk's Lang Jan (Tall John), at 297 ft. Amsterdam's highest church tower and a well-known symbol of the city.  One inevitably recalls when visiting West Church that this is where probably the city's most famous son, Rembrandt, was buried.















































Finally, walking along Raadhuisstraat (below), I approached the Royal Palace and Dam Square, site of the original dam built in 1270 at the spot where the Amstel used to empty into the IJ.   There, at the tail end of the evening rush-hour, my last frame was used to photograph the National Monument.














































Then it was back to the Eden Hotel to pack--with very tired feet but a glad sense of having accomplished a great deal on my last day in Amsterdam.

On Thursday, October 4, we left Amsterdam at 7:40 a.m., headed east across flat terrain and stopping briefly en route at Hannover to exchange money and  eat lunch.  By 6 p.m. we had reached our hotel, the Steglitz International on Albrechtstrasse.   Entering Berlin revealed a city that prides itself on its modernity and seems to be constantly under construction.  This is not surprising when one remembers that 70% of the buildings were destroyed by Allied bombing; but it does make the city less appealing to lovers of the past to discover the Bandenburg Gate under scaffolding and the Reichstag surrounded by a construction site.

On Friday, October 5 at 8:30 a.m. we set out on our half-day orientation tour.   This involved a great deal of sightseeing through the bus window, but a very limited number of stops.  First we travelled through the former West Berlin in
a wide clockwise half-circle, passing through Wilmersdorf, along the Kurfurstendam, around the Tiergarten and by Potsdamer Platz, to stop finally
at the Martin Gropius Building on Niederkichenerstrasse (below), where we
saw an unimpressive remaining fragment of the Berlin Wall. 






































Next we went a short distance into what used to be East Berlin, stopping at Bebelplatz (formerly Opernplatz), which lies on the south side of Unter den Linden, facing Humboldt University on the opposite side of the avenue.
Under a transparent panel let into the centre of the square is a subterranean room wth empty shelving, in memorial of the Nazi book-burning which took
place here on May 10, 1933.




















The square is surrounded by important buildings, among them the Old Library below (whose curved front earned it the nickname "Kommode" or "Chest of Drawers") and the State Opera House, also below, with the green dome of St. Hedwig's Cathedral in the background.






































From Bebelplatz we proceeded to Museum Island, Berlin's oldest and greatest exhibition centre, situated beween the River Spree and the Kupfergraben.  Here we had time only for what is probably the most famous museum in the city: the Pergamon Museum, named after the splendid 180-160 B.C. Altar to Zeus and Athena, brought stone by stone by German archaeologists from Pergamon in Turkey.  On the altar frieze, in larger than life-size marble figures, is carved the Gigantomachy or struggle between the gods and  the giants.  Note  in particular below Athena subduing a giant.













































Tearing ourselves away from the altar in order to look at some of the other priceless treasures excavated by German archaeologists, we entered a room
containing the remains of Miletus, including the gate of the Roman market
(165 B.C.) and a 3rd century B.C. mosaic floor.















































Most spectacular of all, from my point of view, were the fourteen rooms of the Near East Museum immediately adjoining, and in particular the incredible remains of Nebuchadnezzar's Palace in Babylon, with its Processional Way 
leading to the stunning Ishtar Gate.  Below are, in the order in which they appear: a small model of the palace in a glass case; the glazed-brick lions of
the Processional Way; the great arch of the Ishtar Gate; the gate's right pillar; detail of one of the glazed-brick bulls on the gate; the right side-wall; and,
in front of the right side-wall, a stele showing the king enthroned.































































































































































In the short time allowed, I also managed to snatch a brief look at some of the other marvellous finds by German archaeologists, for example, the brick facade of the Babylonian sanctuary of Enna at Uruk (c. 1415 B.C.).   All too soon, however, we were called away to resume our whirlwind tour of Berlin.

From Museuminsel we passed by Alexanderplatz, then along Unter den Linden
to the Brandenburg Gate, seeing en route near Bebelplatz the Neue Wache, the Arsenal, the German National  Library and the statue of Frederick the Great.






































Continuing west, we passed the Reichstag with its new dome and the Mercedes-
Benz Carillon and proceeded along the Strasse des 17 Juni as far as Ernst Reuter Platz, then north-west on Otto Suhr Allee to Charlottenburg.  At this point our half-day sightseeing was at an end, and the tour bus was turning
around to return to the hotel, when I requested to be let off opposite Charlottenburg Palace, the impressive structure below (begun in 1695
as a country house for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick III), whose
165 ft. dome makes it an unmistakable landmark.





















Interesting as the palace might be, it was not there that I wanted to spend the remainder of my one day in Berlin, but instead in the two Neo-Classical
buildings directly across the Spandauer Damm from its main entrance; that is, the Eastern Stulerbau where the Egyptian collection is currently housed and
the identical Western Stulerbau (shown below) which is now the home of the Berggruen Collection known as "Picasso and his Time".




















There are so many splendid Egyptian artifacts in the Eastern Stulerbau that
they are impossible to enumerate, from the huge Kalabsha temple gate to tiny
scarabs; but I suppose the most intriguing are the remnants of Akhenaten's
experiment in monotheism at Amarna--foremost among them the limestone and plaster bust of his consort and fellow Aten-worshipper Nefertiti (c. 1340 B.C.).   Apparently this bust never left the workshop but served as an approved sculptors' model of the queen's ideal image.














  













Another female image I found interesting was that on the Mummy Mask
below (painted stucco on linen, c. 20 B.C.).




















Reluctantly leaving the Egyptian collection after a couple of hours, I crossed over to look at the astonishing 60 works by Picasso (as well as works by his
contemporaries), all collected by Heinz Berggruen, a Berliner who fled from
the Nazis in 1936 and whose collection was previously on display in London's National Gallery but now will remain in the Stulerbau for a decade.  Among
various Picassos I enjoyed was this typical charcoal and pastel Cock, 1938.

























Unfortunately, my viewing of "Picasso and his Time" was cut short by the need
to rush back by bus and subway to the Steglitz International in order to join an outing for dinner at a downtown restaurant, followed by what was described as "typical cabaret": the Berlin Revue at Friedrichspalatz.  Touted as a history of Berlin, the show proved to offer anything but the acerbic kind of commentary  anticipated.  It turned out to be more like a Radio City Music Hall production with a troupe of second-string Rockettes.   I found it mildly amusing to observe how the production glossed over the events of two World Wars and even turned divided Berlin into something out of an operetta.   The acrobatic acts were good, however--if not quite what I had been expecting of the evening's entertainment.



































On Saturday, October 6 we headed off for Prague, stopping to eat lunch in Dresden, where I chose to feast my eyes instead of my belly by spending the lunch hour in the Old Masters Picture Gallery at the Zwinger Palace: a world- class collection of paintings from 1400-1800, including several fascinating Cranachs.   Prominently on display was Raphael's Sixtine Madonna below.























At the border with the Czech Republic, we had our first experience of non-EU officialdom in (in)action.  I proved to be the only tour member with a visa-- recently required of Canadians in reprisal for the alleged ill-treatment of Czech would-be immigrants; but that was not the problem.  The processing of our Globus bus itself, as well as all the other vehicles crossing, was painfully slow, though not as bad as it would prove later when crossing into Slovakia.   In both instances, according to our  tour guide, the hold-up (in every sense of that word) was the direct result of not paying a sufficient bribe to the border guard, or else not doing so in the correct manner: both obsequiously enough to please and surreptitiously enough to escape the eye of security cameras.  

At last, however, after over an hour's wait, we were allowed through and were
on our way along the Elbe River valley through the Erzgebirge mountains to Prague.  By 6 p.m. we arrived at the Movenpick Praha Hotel, which proved commodious but isolated: way out on Mozartova by Smichov Hill and smack
in the middle of a redevelopment project.


Note: This account of my 2001 trip to five European cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Vienna continues in TRIP TO EUROPE - Part Two at

  MY TRIP TO EUROPE -  Part One

                                                              by Maureen Halsall


On Sunday, September 30, 2001, I arrived at Toronto's Pearson International
Airport three hours early, on account of the stringent new security instituted
subsequent to the September 11 terrorist attacks.  The airport was quite busy
but orderly and, although the check-in lines were long, I was through them and security within an hour.  Once inside, I noticed little difference from normal, except that the passengers in the waiting lounges seemed unusually subdued.
KLM 962 was called in good time and, to our pleased surprise, we took off ten minutes before the scheduled departure time of 6:20 p.m.  From that point on the surprises proved less agreeable.  Our 747 was sorely in need of refurbishment; and without doubt the food was the worst I have ever been served on a passenger plane.

On Monday, October 1, strong tail-winds brought us in 35 minutes early, to touch down at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by 7:05 a.m.   Unfortunately, no gate was free; so we could not deboard until 7:30 a.m.  Customs and immigration did not delay us unduly, however, with the result that I reached the assigned meeting-point for Globus Tour RU 1001 passengers  by 8:10 a.m., and twenty minutes later (along with two other tour members from California who had arrived on an earlier flight) was being transferred by bus to the Eden Hotel on Amstel.  There it was our bad luck to discover that the hotel was fully booked and therefore none of our rooms would be available until at least 1 p.m.

Shaking off my jet-lag and observing that by this time the morning rain had pretty well dissipated, I decided to make good use of the day.  So I took a coat, a scarf and a shoulder bag out of my suitcase, left it and my carry-on in the hotel's luggage room, and set off on foot for Museumplein, arriving at the Van Gogh Museum shortly after its 10 a.m. opening.  This museum was purpose-built in 1972 to house the world's largest collection of the works of Vincent van Gogh:
200 paintings and 600 drawings, plus a collection of 700 letters exchanged between the painter and his brother Theo (who, along with Vincent's nephew
V. W. van Gogh, donated this treasure trove of art to the nation).  Examples
include Vincent's 1889 painting of the Garden of St. Paul's Hospital, at Saint-Remy near Arles: a mental health clinic where, between bouts of illness, he created such other masterpieces as his famous Irises, 1890 (below).
After several pleasant hours spent touring theVan Gogh collection, playing with
the interactive catalogue, and lunching in the museum cafeteria, I walked back to the Eden Hotel at 2 p.m., only to find that still there was "no room at the inn".

So I set off again, this time for the Floating Flower Market on Singel.  There I found more tulips, in the form of both real  bulbs and carved wooden flowers, than I have ever seen before.
After touring the Flower Market and making necessary purchases nearby
(guilders, postcards, stamps and the indispensable bottled water), on my return to the Eden I discovered that I had been assigned a typical European single room: a cubbyhole on the first floor back.   "Pay more and get less" seems to be the rule with a  lot of hoteliers.  Or perhaps they simply dislike people who are not travelling in pairs.

At 6 p.m. the members of our Globus Tour assembled for an orientation meeting
in the dining room, where our tour manager disseminated necessary information, while we sampled an Indonesian Rijstafel.  Four of our fellow travellers were missing--stranded in New York on account of flight cancellations.  One couple managed to secure an alternate flight the next day; but the other two never did appear.

On Tuesday, October 2 at 8:15 a.m. (as was to be the pattern on the first morning in each of the five cities visited) we set off by bus for a half-day orientation tour.   Of course, Amsterdam was unique in that the bulk of the orientation tour was by water.  With the rain pelting down, our bus drove us
to a dock on the IJsselmeer near the Central Station, where we boarded
our private glassed-in boat for a Lovers Canal Cruise up Prinsengracht to Leidsegracht, then along first Keisersgracht and then Herengracht to the Amstel River, where we watched the wooden Magere Brug drawbridge open
and close for shipping. 




















Then we proceeded via Binnenamstel (passing our hotel enroute) up Zwanburgwal to the landing stage of Gassan Diamonds, where we learned
not only about diamond cutting, but also about the making of Delftware. 


























In the course of the canal cruise, our local guide began by pointing out near Central Station the "two-million-dollar bicycle rack" and proceeded to impart
a great deal of information about Amsterdam's canals, housing and society. 
For instance, we learned that the canals are about 10 ft. deep ("3 ft. mud, 3 ft. discarded bicycles and 4 ft. water"), that the whole system is flushed from
E. to W. nightly by opening the sluices, and that the bridges were deliberately built low as a defensive measure: to bar the entry of large vessels into the heart of the city.  We also received a capsule history of the development of all the canals and an outline of the distinctive social and architectural character of each. We were introduced to the different types of gables (stepped, beak, neck, bell, classic and last [or "flat facade"]) that distinguish the deep narrow houses-- whose gardens are invisible, being well hidden in the back.  There were glimpses of a few of the gable stones that once served to identify houses before Napoleon instituted the more efficient system of street numbers.  In addition, we learned about the problem of pile rot, which destroys the old-style wooden pilings if the water level falls and which results in the frequently-seen "dancing" houses, whose foundations can be made secure again with modern concrete pilings, but whose crooked walls, doors and windows (as in the example seen behind a vertical lampstandard on Prinsengracht below) can never be perfectly straightened.
After our cruise and visit to the diamond centre were over, we were taken by bus
to the fabulous Rijksmuseum, in particular to view Dutch Baroque master-works, ranging from Rembrandt's enormous Nightwatch to Vermeer's small but exquisite A Maidservant Pouring Milk (1658) below.
At 12:30 the half-day orientation tour was over and various of our number were taken back to the hotel by the Globus bus.  I chose to stay on, touring the collection until 2 p.m.  Then, after a quick lunch in the museum cafeteria,
I headed further up Museumplein to pay a much briefer visit to the Stedelijk Museum.  There the collection is composed mainly of 19th and 20th century Dutch and French paintings, such as Piet Mondrian's Painting III (1914) below.
Other media also are included, however, such as sculpture--not to mention
Bruce Nauman's Seven Figures (1941) below: an electrified display of seven male and female figures apparently moving energetically in orgiastic abandon.
By 4 p.m. the rain had let up again.  So I walked back to the Eden Hotel from 
Museumplein by a different route than on the previous afternoon.

Wednesday, October 3 was a totally free day, and it turned out to be dry for a change!   Accordingly, I decided to set off without my heavy SLR camera to see as much of Amsterdam as possible while the autumn daylight lasted, walking first via Amstel, Singel, Raadhuisstraat and Nieuwzijdsvoorburgwal to the tourist information centre by Central Station, where I picked up a daycard for all forms of public transport in the city.  From there I took a tram to the Amsterdam Historical Museum, which offers a fascinating survey of the history of the city from its very beginnings.   The museum building itself has an interesting history, being established on the site of the Beguinhof, founded in 1346 as a community of pious Catholic girls devoted to the care of the poor and the sick.  See below  the recessed entrance off the pedestrianized shopping street, Kalverstraat.  
Reluctantly breaking off my visit to the museum. I hopped a tram up past Museumplein to the Concertgebouw (reputed to have among the best acoustics in the world) to attend a free lunchtime concert by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, playing  Alphons Diepenbrock's Elektra Suite under the baton of guest conductor Claus Peter Flor.  It was all very informal, a practice session for the performance of the coming evening, with orchestra and conductor in casual attire.  The old hands in the audience, many of them on their lunch-break, had brought sandwiches in paper bags and chatted companionably before the performance about the orchestra, its regular conductor Riccardo Chailly and what might be expected of the guest conductor.  At the end we were lucky to be favoured with a reprise, as parts of the suite were replayed until the conductor was satisfied.  Great fun!

Starving, I took a tram back to De Visscher restaurant on Kalverstraat for
(of course) a fish dinner, before continuing with my exploration of the Inner City surrounding Dam Square.  

First I visited the so-called Royal Palace, a masterpiece of Dutch Baroque
Neo-Classicism, built in the years 1648-1665 as Amsterdam's City Hall, with
the clear intent of displaying the burghers' wealth and power.   See below the building's facade and also the huge Council Hall (112x55 ft. and 92 ft. high).
Next to the Royal Palace on the Dam is the New Church, actually early 15th century and one of the oldest in the city.  You will note the absence of the high tower originally planned--work was started on one in the 16th century, but the funds were siphoned off in the next century for use in constructing the City Hall.
The interior of Nieuwe Kerk is quite beautiful, however, especially the magnificent wooden pulpit carved in 1649.
Walking to the Old Church (1306, with many later additions) was an interesting experience, as the church is situated in Walletjes--right in the heart of the red-light district.  So, even in the afternoon, I found myself running a gauntlet of narrow old streets, lined with "shop-windows" featuring scantily-clad girls practising the world's oldest profession.

Oude Kerk itself was something of a disappointment, since most of the church's treasures have long since disappeared and both the nave and transept were occupied by an exhibit.
Returning to the hotel to eat and renew my energy, I decided afterward to get out my SLR and make good use of what time remained--beginning by taking photographs in the immediate neighbourhood of the Binnenamstel and Amstel and then, while the evening light lingered, proceeding back to the city centre.

First, I walked east along Binnenamstel, past Stopera, the combination Staadhuis (Town Hall) and Opera House in Waterlooplein. 




















I crossed over the the adjacent Blauwbrug and proceeded south along the east bank of the Amstel River to Magere Brug, seen below between two of the 2,500 houseboats that line Amsterdam's grachts (canals).




















Returning along the west bank, I took the opportunity for an upward shot at some of the hoisting-beams, used for raising furniture, etc. to the upper floors of
of Amsterdam's slender (and narrow-staired) houses.




















Turning west on Amstelstraat, I was fortunate to catch sight of a garden that seemed to typify Dutch orderliness; so I poked my lens through the wrought-iron fence for this shot.




























Continuing along Amstelstraat, I reached Muntplein (Mint Square) and the Mint Tower, part of the old city walls, which were destroyed in the great fire of 1818.
The name dates from 1672, when for two years Amsterdam became the site of the mint, while French forces were occupying Utrecht.




























Leaving Muntplein I headed back along Binnenamstel to Rembrandtplein
in order to catch tram 20, which took me on a great southern circuit via Waterlooplein, the Botanical Gardens, Concertgebouw and Rijksmuseum
and thence along Marnixstraat and Rozengracht to Westermarkt.





















Leaving the tram at Westermarkt, I  looked up and down Prinsengracht and then duly admired Westerkerk's Lang Jan (Tall John), at 297 ft. Amsterdam's highest church tower and a well-known symbol of the city.  One inevitably recalls when visiting West Church that this is where probably the city's most famous son, Rembrandt, was buried.















































Finally, walking along Raadhuisstraat (below), I approached the Royal Palace and Dam Square, site of the original dam built in 1270 at the spot where the Amstel used to empty into the IJ.   There, at the tail end of the evening rush-hour, my last frame was used to photograph the National Monument.














































Then it was back to the Eden Hotel to pack--with very tired feet but a glad sense of having accomplished a great deal on my last day in Amsterdam.

On Thursday, October 4, we left Amsterdam at 7:40 a.m., headed east across flat terrain and stopping briefly en route at Hannover to exchange money and  eat lunch.  By 6 p.m. we had reached our hotel, the Steglitz International on Albrechtstrasse.   Entering Berlin revealed a city that prides itself on its modernity and seems to be constantly under construction.  This is not surprising when one remembers that 70% of the buildings were destroyed by Allied bombing; but it does make the city less appealing to lovers of the past to discover the Bandenburg Gate under scaffolding and the Reichstag surrounded by a construction site.

On Friday, October 5 at 8:30 a.m. we set out on our half-day orientation tour.   This involved a great deal of sightseeing through the bus window, but a very limited number of stops.  First we travelled through the former West Berlin in
a wide clockwise half-circle, passing through Wilmersdorf, along the Kurfurstendam, around the Tiergarten and by Potsdamer Platz, to stop finally
at the Martin Gropius Building on Niederkichenerstrasse (below), where we
saw an unimpressive remaining fragment of the Berlin Wall. 






































Next we went a short distance into what used to be East Berlin, stopping at Bebelplatz (formerly Opernplatz), which lies on the south side of Unter den Linden, facing Humboldt University on the opposite side of the avenue.
Under a transparent panel let into the centre of the square is a subterranean room wth empty shelving, in memorial of the Nazi book-burning which took
place here on May 10, 1933.




















The square is surrounded by important buildings, among them the Old Library below (whose curved front earned it the nickname "Kommode" or "Chest of Drawers") and the State Opera House, also below, with the green dome of St. Hedwig's Cathedral in the background.






































From Bebelplatz we proceeded to Museum Island, Berlin's oldest and greatest exhibition centre, situated beween the River Spree and the Kupfergraben.  Here we had time only for what is probably the most famous museum in the city: the Pergamon Museum, named after the splendid 180-160 B.C. Altar to Zeus and Athena, brought stone by stone by German archaeologists from Pergamon in Turkey.  On the altar frieze, in larger than life-size marble figures, is carved the Gigantomachy or struggle between the gods and  the giants.  Note  in particular below Athena subduing a giant.













































Tearing ourselves away from the altar in order to look at some of the other priceless treasures excavated by German archaeologists, we entered a room
containing the remains of Miletus, including the gate of the Roman market
(165 B.C.) and a 3rd century B.C. mosaic floor.















































Most spectacular of all, from my point of view, were the fourteen rooms of the Near East Museum immediately adjoining, and in particular the incredible remains of Nebuchadnezzar's Palace in Babylon, with its Processional Way 
leading to the stunning Ishtar Gate.  Below are, in the order in which they appear: a small model of the palace in a glass case; the glazed-brick lions of
the Processional Way; the great arch of the Ishtar Gate; the gate's right pillar; detail of one of the glazed-brick bulls on the gate; the right side-wall; and,
in front of the right side-wall, a stele showing the king enthroned.































































































































































In the short time allowed, I also managed to snatch a brief look at some of the other marvellous finds by German archaeologists, for example, the brick facade of the Babylonian sanctuary of Enna at Uruk (c. 1415 B.C.).   All too soon, however, we were called away to resume our whirlwind tour of Berlin.

From Museuminsel we passed by Alexanderplatz, then along Unter den Linden
to the Brandenburg Gate, seeing en route near Bebelplatz the Neue Wache, the Arsenal, the German National  Library and the statue of Frederick the Great.






































Continuing west, we passed the Reichstag with its new dome and the Mercedes-
Benz Carillon and proceeded along the Strasse des 17 Juni as far as Ernst Reuter Platz, then north-west on Otto Suhr Allee to Charlottenburg.  At this point our half-day sightseeing was at an end, and the tour bus was turning
around to return to the hotel, when I requested to be let off opposite Charlottenburg Palace, the impressive structure below (begun in 1695
as a country house for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick III), whose
165 ft. dome makes it an unmistakable landmark.





















Interesting as the palace might be, it was not there that I wanted to spend the remainder of my one day in Berlin, but instead in the two Neo-Classical
buildings directly across the Spandauer Damm from its main entrance; that is, the Eastern Stulerbau where the Egyptian collection is currently housed and
the identical Western Stulerbau (shown below) which is now the home of the Berggruen Collection known as "Picasso and his Time".




















There are so many splendid Egyptian artifacts in the Eastern Stulerbau that
they are impossible to enumerate, from the huge Kalabsha temple gate to tiny
scarabs; but I suppose the most intriguing are the remnants of Akhenaten's
experiment in monotheism at Amarna--foremost among them the limestone and plaster bust of his consort and fellow Aten-worshipper Nefertiti (c. 1340 B.C.).   Apparently this bust never left the workshop but served as an approved sculptors' model of the queen's ideal image.














  













Another female image I found interesting was that on the Mummy Mask
below (painted stucco on linen, c. 20 B.C.).




















Reluctantly leaving the Egyptian collection after a couple of hours, I crossed over to look at the astonishing 60 works by Picasso (as well as works by his
contemporaries), all collected by Heinz Berggruen, a Berliner who fled from
the Nazis in 1936 and whose collection was previously on display in London's National Gallery but now will remain in the Stulerbau for a decade.  Among
various Picassos I enjoyed was this typical charcoal and pastel Cock, 1938.

























Unfortunately, my viewing of "Picasso and his Time" was cut short by the need
to rush back by bus and subway to the Steglitz International in order to join an outing for dinner at a downtown restaurant, followed by what was described as "typical cabaret": the Berlin Revue at Friedrichspalatz.  Touted as a history of Berlin, the show proved to offer anything but the acerbic kind of commentary  anticipated.  It turned out to be more like a Radio City Music Hall production with a troupe of second-string Rockettes.   I found it mildly amusing to observe how the production glossed over the events of two World Wars and even turned divided Berlin into something out of an operetta.   The acrobatic acts were good, however--if not quite what I had been expecting of the evening's entertainment.



































On Saturday, October 6 we headed off for Prague, stopping to eat lunch in Dresden, where I chose to feast my eyes instead of my belly by spending the lunch hour in the Old Masters Picture Gallery at the Zwinger Palace: a world- class collection of paintings from 1400-1800, including several fascinating Cranachs.   Prominently on display was Raphael's Sixtine Madonna below.























At the border with the Czech Republic, we had our first experience of non-EU officialdom in (in)action.  I proved to be the only tour member with a visa-- recently required of Canadians in reprisal for the alleged ill-treatment of Czech would-be immigrants; but that was not the problem.  The processing of our Globus bus itself, as well as all the other vehicles crossing, was painfully slow, though not as bad as it would prove later when crossing into Slovakia.   In both instances, according to our  tour guide, the hold-up (in every sense of that word) was the direct result of not paying a sufficient bribe to the border guard, or else not doing so in the correct manner: both obsequiously enough to please and surreptitiously enough to escape the eye of security cameras.  

At last, however, after over an hour's wait, we were allowed through and were
on our way along the Elbe River valley through the Erzgebirge mountains to Prague.  By 6 p.m. we arrived at the Movenpick Praha Hotel, which proved commodious but isolated: way out on Mozartova by Smichov Hill and smack
in the middle of a redevelopment project.


Note: This account of my 2001 trip to five European cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Vienna continues in TRIP TO EUROPE - Part Two at