Welcome to Berlin. Yesterday I arrived in Berlin and the first place I absolutely had to go was the “Berlin Wall”. As a teenager in the 70’s, the wall was real to Americans but so far away we didn’t even think about it. It wasn’t until Ronald Reagan spoke the famous words in a speech did it come to light for Americans who had forgotten or never knew. ” Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” For Berliners and Germans it was all too real until they tore it down in 1989. After visiting the museum it became very real for me as well. So far it has been the most poignant part of my European journey. Imagine our government putting up a wall to keep us in, then shooting or imprisoning anyone who attempted to escape. The museum documents the history and the stories of the people of Germany and their struggles throughout the period of the “wall”
“Checkpoint Charlie” was the US border gate “C” crossing into East Berlin, and the most famous crossing. It became the main location to view the “other side” and the location where many attempted to escape the control of Soviet Russia. Many died. The stories are here.
Pieces of the wall have been saved and turned into art. Other parts of the wall have been preserved in their original location as historical sites.
Today I took the bus tour of Berlin to see many locations where the wall had been. Everywhere I looked the was major construction going on. It seems ever since the wall was torn down, Germany has been on a penchant to erase the ugliness that was once their past. Berlin is a very modern city, ( 75% of it was destroyed during WWII), and Berliners seem to want to take their place as a world destination city. By the looks of things they will achieve that and more. Great stop on my tour.