Country number: 3
Territory number: 4
When? March 1990 – After the Wall Came Down backpacking tour of Eastern Europe. Flying into Tegel Berlin. Next stop Warsaw.
How? Train pass, walking, boats and buses
Who? With friend Jenny
We went out to Berlin, backpacking, as soon as we could after the wall came down and used it as a stepping stone to post Gorbachov Eastern Europe. We stayed in East Berlin with a family in their flat. They were still terrified of the stasi, who they said were very much still operating. We visited the big museums gaping at the doors to Babylon. And we had an ice cream in the revolving cafe at the top of the Tower. The Reichstag was very moving. My clearest and most poignant memory is of reading the numbers of dead from the war posted inside what remained of the ruined hulk. There were chunks of The Wall for sale on the streets – I’m not convinced they were all genuine.
When? March 2016 – weekend visit
How? Walking and buses
Who? With friend Barbara and solo
My return is for a Yoga of Relationships mini retreat. The most obvious change is the Reichstag, which has been imposingly rebuilt by Norman Foster to house the National Parliament. Otherwise, the city does not feel hugely different in the centre, though many of the old Soviet style blocks have disappeared. However, the iconic Unter den Linden is a building site. I feel it will soon look very different.