Schloss CharlottenburgDove in the Dome
St. Vitus in the Kettle

Schloss CharlottenburgGropius-Bau

Twice a year, Berlin celebrates the “long night of museums,” during which over 100 of the city’s galleries, churches, memorials and other cultural institutions open their doors for eight hours, from six to two a.m., all for the price of a single ticket. Shuttle buses connect several areas around town, and most venues offer special tours, musical acts, installations, and people in period costumes. I was reminded of Bonnaroo by the festival atmosphere and overwhelming amount of stuff on display — there’s enough there for several long weeks of museums.

We began at the Martin-Gropius-Bau with Scythian mummies and an exhilarating Cindy Sherman retrospective, and stopped by the Abgeordnetenhaus where Prussians played the flute and marched into the state parliament. At Potsdamer Platz, we discovered that the Filmmuseum‘s “lounge” was awfully misnamed, hopped a bus that took a tortured route to Schloss Charlottenburg, and had Weinschorle in the Ehrenhof. The inside of the Schloss contains awesome splendors, including an incredibly garish collection of Chinese porcelain and a glorious chapel. Unfortunately, an ornery Prussian demanded special tickets for access to the gardens, and we passed.

Back at Museumsinsel, the Altes Museum in front of the Dom was dramatically lit while crowds on the lawn blissed out to amplified classical music. Somehow we found ourselves in the catacombs and made our way to the newly reopened Bode- Museum, which impressed us with a spectacular display of medieval sculptures, many of them in wild color. After a quick run through the Pergamon and the Egyptian collection of the Altes Musem, we were ready to wind down with the festival’s 10th anniversary cake at the Podewil’sche Palais afterparty, where Afri-Cola screened short films and the champagne was free. More photos on flickr.