|Amazing art on the walls of buildings all over Berlin. This mural was across the street from our B&B.|
As a person who grew up during the years of the cold war, I was fascinated with the story of the division of Germany into East and West Germany. Berlin, located behind the border of East Germany also was divided into three western controlled sectors and one Soviet controlled sector, East Berlin, with West Berlin accessible via road and rail corridors and by air. Berlin was also the place where Hitler and Eva Braun spent their last days in the Fuhrerbunker, and of course it is one of the great cities of the world. Although I have travelled to Europe several times, I had never made it to Berlin.
So when Erica and I discussed where to travel after the film festival in Hanover, it was obvious to both of us that we must go to Berlin. She has exhibited her work there before, and knows some people in the online art world and film industry in Berlin. Whereas I was especially interested in the history, the art galleries, and also the chance to connect with my niece, who is currently living in Poland.
My first morning in Berlin, I went on a Cold War Berlin walking tour. Our guide, Pip, a historian, was wonderful. The Berlin Wall (das Mauer) stood from 1961-1989, dividing East and West Berlin. During those 28 years, people were not allowed to pass from East to West, and access for West Berliners to the eastern part of the city was limited. The Berlin Wall began to be spontaneously dismantled by residents of East and West Berlin on November 9, 1989, following an announcement (possibly erroneous) by an East German official that people were now permitted to to cross from East to West freely. Reunification of Germany took place in 1990, after the Wall fell.
|A small section of the Berlin Wall remains standing at Bernauer Strasse|
|Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) was in the neutral zone along the Wall.|
|A memorial to 57 of the people who died trying to cross into West Berlin, including children and a baby.|
We visited the Tranenpalast (Palace of Tears) at Friedrichstrasse. This border crossing at a rail station was where West Berliners who had applied for a visitor's visa passed through for 24 hour visits to East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse was the only border crossing that foreigners were allowed to use to enter East Berlin.
|This famous photo of an East Berlin border guard escaping by leaping over the barbed wire Wall (before the concrete wall had been erected) appears on the side of a building near the Berlin Wall Memorial.|
|Hackescher Markt S-Bahn (train station)|
|Out to dinner for Wurst und Bier with Laura, Marcin, Erica, and a Berlin friend.|
|A Christmas Market|
I spent a happy half a day in the Alte Nationalgalerie, one of five art museums on Museum Island, a UNESCO Heritage site. I spent most of my time looking at the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, as well as the Rodin special exhibition. (I love the Impressionists.) My photos are not adequate to capture what I saw.
|A beautiful blue dome|
|The Thinker, by Rodin|
|Looking out the main entry door of the Alte Nationalgalerie|
|Catching ZZZ's in the airport|
*Caption in English posted beside the Reconciliation Sculpture