Berlin: putting pieces together

Steinkamp_BerlinBLOG_20140715 (1 of 1)When last February I drove across the Bösebrücke from Wedding to Prenzlauer Berg – two adjacent Berlin neighborhoods, one ‘West’, the other one ‘East’ – I was surprised that still now, almost 25 years after the Berlin Wall came down, it touched me in some strange way.

Bornholmer Straße, which crosses a bundle of railway tracks on a bridge named after resistance fighter Wilhelm Böse, was the very place where for the first time in more than 28 years the Iron Curtain opened up for GDR citizens to visit Berlin’s Western neighborhoods. Nowadays almost everything seems normal again, except for the memorial site on the Eastern side of the bridge, at a location called ‘9 November 1989 Square’.

What caused driving across the bridge to be so emotionally laden for me? I presume it was the very experience of mentally reconnecting two halfs of a city very familiar to me, which up until that moment I had always experienced as separate parts.

Berlin has become a very diverse place now, kind of like in the 1920s except that it’s 2014ish all over the place. The tourist group in the photograph is French; I do not know about the nationality of the diversity enhancing cyclist in the lower right corner. Chances are that, if you ask him what time it is, he’ll answer in Berlinish dialect: Weess ik ooch nich …

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