Crossing The Border

Despite my best intentions, all of my walking this year so far has been in the East.

Plans to get cracking in the West were just always scuppered for some reason: meetings or visits cancelled or curtailed, sudden limitations due to illness and work, unplanned detours in the East – all prevented me crossing the Invisible Border.

I was starting to think I would never make it – and then it happened. A long stroll through Friedrichshain took me through the mini-wastelands around Berghain, and eventually down to the Oberbaumbrücke.

I couldn’t stop now. Over the bridge I plunged, emerging on the Other Side with a completely irrational sense of achievement. It was a gloriously sunny day so I stuck to the Spree as far as I could along May-Ayim-Ufer before weaving my way through to Mitte, stopping along the way at the Markthalle IX for a delicious Street Food snack.

Along the way, I walked, took notes, observed and chatted to folk, trying to work out the more nuanced differences between inner-city East and West Berlin. Not just the obvious things (demographics, architecture, urban layout), but also the way people look or interact; the way the sunlight flared off the windows; the less visible vestiges of the historical past.

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