Friday, 25 September 2009

East Meets West

Last night a small group of us went on a walk around the centre of Berlin to see some of the more famous sites. It was a really clever idea as one of the complaints with work meetings is that we never really get the chance to see the places we visit as we are working all day long. We started at Potsdamer Platz which is an important public square and traffic intersection.

It's amazing to think that just 20 years ago I would likely have been shot at had I tried to get anywhere near the spot from which I took this photo last night -- standing with my left foot in East Berlin and my right foot in West Berlin.

Until November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall was the main physical symbol of the Iron Curtain. In Potsdamer Platz (where I took the photo) it wouldn't be until the following weekend that the wall was breached and people could cross the wall at what had originally been a major road junction in Berlin.

As we walked around the centre of Berlin we kept crossing the line of the wall (a double strip of cobble stones to make it obvious where it used to be). Because of the way it moves around it isn't always clear if you are in the old East or West Berlin. We laughed about that at one point and that brought home just how much Europe, and Berlin in particular, started to change for the better 20 years ago.
25 September 2009 at 11:00 , Rob said...

Did you get to the Holocaust Memorial while you were there? Walking through it gives you a really effective feeling of scale and oppression - pretty impressive.

25 September 2009 at 11:02 , Mark said...

Rob, look out for the next blog post!

25 September 2009 at 13:09 , Rob said...

lol - fantastic! Glad you got to experience it first hand.

27 September 2009 at 18:41 , GB said...

Actually before the Wall came down I found East Berlin a wonderful place and although I do have some incredible (or hardly credible) stories from the East of those days I never felt in danger of being shot. Well except for..... But that's for another day over a glass of wine.

27 September 2009 at 18:55 , Mark said...

GB, now you know you'll be guaranteed a glass of good wine next time we see each other!

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