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April 26, 2011

Walking what's left of The Wall

I know I haven't been writing nearly as much about Berlin as I did Amsterdam, and that's because it's kind of hard for me to figure this city out. In French cities, you find layers upon layers of tangible history all bunched up on top of each other. A church from 1100 might be standing next to a house from 1650, which is next to a supermarché from 2003. In many cities it doesn't take much of a leap of imagination to picture yourself bustling through the narrow streets with your petticoat a-rustling and the curls of your elaborately coiffed and powdered hair coming loose as you make your way to the ball (which is how I prefer to picture myself, always).

But Berlin was pretty much razed during the WWII bombings. And then, post-war, the GDR erected several concrete, prison-like structures and, you know, a huge WALL, much of which came tumbling down post-1989 as people tried to move on.

Everything feels so new here. The sidewalks are shockingly wide-- so unlike the two-foot pathways back in Diggy that usually have a parked car on them anyway. There's construction everywhere. And there are some neighborhoods we've been in that feel more like California than Europe.

As the Dude and I wander around the city, we often wonder if we are in what was East Berlin or West Berlin, since there are no real indicators either way. Which is why I was so pumped to visit the Eastside Gallery, a 1.3 km section of the wall that people from around the world made into a work of art in 1990. (In 2009 much of the work had to be restored due to erosion and grafitti.)

Finally, as we traversed the wall and I felt so small and powerless against its height, I was able to get a small inkling of what life must have been like in its shadow.

1 comment:

  1. Is that you in that last photo? I can't tell. Please to clarify.