I had just completed reading a book by one of my favourite authors, Douglas Kennedy. The book, The Moment, is a haunting Romance set “amidst the stunningly atmospheric portrait of Berlin in the final dark days before the Wall came down” (extract from book summary)
So it was serendipity when I was invited on a Business trip to Berlin about 5 years ago. I couldn’t wait to walk the streets of this piece of dramatic history, trying to capture all I had imagined while reading my novel . Join me as I walk you through some of the streets of Berlin, my experiences and observations. I must state up front that I loved modern day Berlin and we all had a great time especially since we visited in Summer.
This street leads to Check Point Charlie which was the name given by Western Allies to the main crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991).This was the wall which controlled emigration between East and West Berlin and controlled and separated many families and friends.
Many years later, it’s part of a tourist adventure to pose for a photograph at this entrance which was once the source of pain and hardship for many.
Below is a sample of passports combined in a collage which I discovered in a shop along this street. It symbolises the control and passport to life in those bitter-cold years.
For some, the Berlin Wall was one of the most abominable structures ever built.Over its 28 years of existence, it was decorated with political slogans,paintings, declarations of love and served as a form of protest. Below is a remnant of the wall. Such remnants became a collector’s item after the fall of the Wall in 1989.
The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin and one of the best-known landmarks of Germany. A beautiful sight when lit up at night , the gate was initially designed to showcase freedom and triumph. Though still a great attraction, the Brandenburg Gate became intimately entwined with times of intense turbulence including it’s significance in the cold war and the Berlin Wall.
In place of the old Berlin Wall, a memorial wall was established to depict the history of the wall and what it stood for. I watched on that Saturday afternoon as someone cried uncontrollably while reading the stories on that wall – over 20 years after its fall.
Fortunately, change eventually comes and I like to think that the picture below, on the other side of the memorial wall, represents a picture of the modern day liberty and fun in the sun in Berlin. I stopped here to enjoy a delicious Currywurst roll, soak up the sun and admire this makeshift piece of beach heaven and haven.
Not too far away, I found this colourful block of buildings, though near to Checkpoint Charlie, far removed from the grey hardship and bleak history of what was once East Berlin.
I love stories with good endings. Join me next week for more street walking in Berlin.Thank you for reading and you are welcome to comment.