Berlin: The Walled City Remembered

November 11, 2014

in Destination Updates

  • SumoMe

On August 13, 1961, when as a teenager I was making an epic cross-country trip by train from Seattle to Miami Beach and back, the East Germans began building what became known as the Berlin Wall, dividing the city into West and East.

(Roger Wollstadt Flickr Photo)

(Roger Wollstadt Flickr Photo)

That wall remained in place for nearly thirty years. On November 9, 1989, it was breached and never resealed.

Nearly twenty years later I stood in front murals painted on remnants of The Berlin Wall called The Eastside Gallery.

As usual on the anniversary of significant events, the news media from around the world and other online Websites are commemorating the fall of The Wall, as does this video and accompanying story.

An installation of lighted balloons following an eight mile-plus arc where the Berlin Wall once stood was temporarily erected with a plan to release them into the night sky.

The BBC reported that present day German Chancellor Angela Merkel grew up in East Germany and joined the masses who walked into West Berlin on the day The Wall opened in 1989.

The Wall isn’t the only thing that the East Germans built to make it difficult for its citizens to travel to the West.

(Ben Garrett Flickr Photo)

(Ben Garrett Flickr Photo)

To learn more about “The Palace of Tears,” the railway station where East Germans departed their country, probably forever, listen to this story broadcast by NPR.


The New York Times remarked that the 25th anniversary of that historical event is bittersweet for some Germans. But in an op-ed piece for that paper, author Peter Schneider says that “…Berlin is finding new ways to celebrate, to feel good about ourselves as Berliners, as Germans, no ‘east’ or ‘west’ or ‘foreigners’ allowed.”

One way to celebrate is through music. And when the Berlin Wall came down, it spawned a new genre: Techno. Listen to it, and how it came about, in this story from NPR.


And today, the beat goes on, and on, and on, in both East and West Berlin.

(Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan, visited Berlin in 2009, shortly before the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. His wife had been to the city in the 1960′s when it was still split into West and East. Read more about East Berlin in this story which we published in August of this year.)

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