a familiar face
When I was in Berlin on a study trip several years ago, most of our time was planned for us. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing - our chaperones took us to the Jewish Museum, to the Schloss Sans-Souci in Potsdam, and a lot of other famous attractions. However, it was nice when one afternoon we were told that our time was our own for the rest of the day. The only caveats were that we had to travel in groups of at least two, and we each had to visit at least one museum, the ticket stub of which we had to retain as proof. (We were also to be reimbursed our admission costs when we presented our ticket stubs).
My friends and I poured over our map of the city, trying to settle on a museum. According to our information, there was some sort of art exhibit (I don't remember the details) in a palace called the Schloss Charlottenburg, so we set out on the subway. However, when we got to the palace we found that the art exhibit hadn't actually been there for some time. We toured the palace itself, which was gorgeous, but none of us was quite sure whether that counted as a museum. There were a couple museums across the street, though, so we went to check them out. There were four of us all together, and two girls were enticed by signs promising Picassos inside the little art museum, but the third girl and I decided to try the "Aegyptisches," or Egyptian, Museum.
When I was in sixth grade my friends and I read the book The Egypt Game, and for the rest of the year we'd been obsessed with ancient Egypt, constantly passing each other notes written in hieroglyphics. Prominently featured in the book had been the famous bust of Nefertiti, the image of which had become symbolic, to my mind, of the entire culture. I'd always assumed the original must be in Egypt somewhere and never expected to actually see it.
Imagine my surprise when, after paying our admission to the unassuming-looking museum and going inside, this was the first thing we saw:
To my sixteen-year-old self, it was like a miracle. It was liking finding a civilization of fairies in the back of my closet. I will never forget that day.