Berlin, June 2014.

The Neues Museum in Berlin is famous for its ancient Egyptian treasures. I had arrived early. So early that it wasn’t open yet. I stood by the door, waiting. Another woman was there too. She was American, from New York. We got talking about everything from ancient history to the history of this city where we found ourselves and the Second World War, about the strange and awful paths humanity can take when tolerance gives way to fanaticism and hatred.

When the doors opened she told me she wanted to go straight upstairs to see the famous bust of Nefertiti, uninterrupted by the crowds that would soon flood the museum. As we walked through the doors she turned to me and said, “Do you want to come with me?”

We hurried up staircases and through galleries, talking, talking all the way.

Suddenly, there she was in front of us. In a round darkened chamber she stood, serene, untouchable, whispering the secrets of ages.

We drew closer in awe, the woman from New York and I, and we looked at her in silent appreciation, together.

We didn’t speak anymore.

It was just us, and Nefertiti.

And in those moments, time seemed inconsequential. Looking at her, cat-like beautiful and so regal, the millennia of human history seemed so real, and so close.

Afterwards, we walked back downstairs to get maps and audioguides and make our way through the rest of the museum. We hugged each other from the heart as we said goodbye and went our separate ways. I couldn’t help thinking how amazing it was that even though we came from opposite ends of the earth, even though we had never met before and would probably never meet again, we had shared a profound moment together, and our souls had connected with something ancient but still so alive in those short minutes we’d been in each other’s company.

It was then that I remembered anew why I had so passionately wanted to travel the world.

Want to know more about the Bust of Queen Nefertiti?

La Reine Nefertiti (Musée égyptien, Berl by dalbera, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  dalbera