Friday, August 6, 2010

Berlin

I had bought a Eurail pass 6 days in 2 months to allow myself a day in Berlin.
I went by train (1hr) on the day after I arrived in Leipzig. In a way a big mistake as I was jet lagged, and also had very swollen feet from the flight. I ended up with blisters on the side of my ankle from rubbing on the edge of my sneakers It was also 38 degrees. So an Interesting but not comfortable day!!
As mentioned earlier all I had seen before of Berlin was Checkpoint Charlie in the cold and rain, and in retrospect I did not really know what it was!
Top of the Brandenberg gate
But Berlin is now the capital of Germany again and all the big Galleries etc are moving back there. Because I was only there for the day I didn't the hop on hop off bus trip so I didn't have to walk too far.
"Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!" (No one has the intention of erecting a wall!).Is probably one of the most laughable denials of events to come.
Two months later at midnight, the police and units of the East German army began to close the border; and by Sunday morning, August 13, the border with West Berlin was closed. East German troops and workers had begun to tear up streets running alongside the border to make them impassable to most vehicles, and to install barbed wire entanglements and fences along the 156 klm around the three western sectors, and the 43 kklm that divided West and East Berlin.
A few months after the barbed wire was erected, the U.S. government informed the Soviet government that it accepted the Wall as "a fact of international life" and would not challenge it by force.
Between Oberbaum Bridge and the Ostbahnhof, along the former borderline that ended at the Spree and M├╝hlenstrasse, stretches a unique picture gallery. After the Wall came down in 1989, hundreds of artists from all over the world gathered and transformed the east side of the Wall that had been untouchable up to now, with their paintings, giving the Wall a new face in a new time.The Berlin Wall East Side Gallery is a 1.3km-long section of the wall near the center of Berlin. Approximately 106 paintings by artists from all over the world cover this memorial for freedom. Unbelievably (or maybe not, maybe I am an optimist) the paintings have had to be restored as tourists / visitors have taken chunks of them, or carved their names in them.
It is a moving sight.

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