We had three days in Berlin, our first holiday as a couple in more than a decade (we were accompanied by teenage children even on our honeymoon). We spent a lot of time walking and eating. We passed on Mustapha’s, a renowned street stall with a half kilometre queue for kebabs, but gorged instead on pork knuckle and sauerkraut. Here are brief sketches of the dome of the Reichstag seen through trees, segments of the Berlin wall abandoned outside a publishing house, the statue atop the memorial to Soviet soldiers slain in that last brutal battle for the capital and the view from the former American sector, looking up Friedrichstrasse into the what was the Soviet zone. A double row of cobbles now marks the line of the wall, and otherwise it is hard to see a difference between the sectors. The longest remaining section, on the East Side of the river Spree, is covered in murals. We also spent time on reflection and drawing at the Holocaust Memorial.
I realise I crossed Berlin first by steam train when I was eight. We passed through the closed and barricaded stations without stopping on a 2-day journey from Ostende to Warsaw. Outside the train windows, I saw transports carrying tanks and the ticket inspectors were armed.