We arrived at our BNB about 8 PM yesterday. If you remember, we had eaten in the middle of Poland so didn’t need to get supper. However, we thought that we should get a few groceries so that we would have some breakfast for the morning. As it turns out, our BNB is in former East Berlin and as we walked to the store one of the first things we noticed was the Ampelmann – the crosswalk symbol which is unique to East Berlin. In fact, you will always know when you are in former East Berlin by this crosswalk symbol!
This morning we spent some time doing laundry and planning the next leg of our journey. We headed out for lunch and then wandered off to Mauerpark, just a few hundred meters from our apartment. The name translates to “Wall Park”, referring to its status as a former part of the Berlin Wall and its Death Strip. There is still an 800 meter remnant of the wall running through the middle of this park that is heavily covered in graffiti. In fact, there was a group of school kids spray painting there when we walked along it. Seeing the wall started us thinking about the lives that Berliners led for for over forty years – separated from family and friends. How strange (and sad) it must have been to not be able to spend Christmases and Easters and other holidays with your family because of The Wall. Another one of those things that we cannot even begin to imagine or understand.
Over the next few days we plan on visiting many other sites within Berlin that pertain to the wall and these separations. I am sure that our heart will break everytime. However, Berlin is also a city of rejuvenation and hope and I know that we will see this as well. Such an interesting city. Can’t wait to take it all in!!