I am lucky enough to have been in Germany’s capital, Berlin for the second year in a row to celebrate the Tag der Deutschen Einheit – the day of German Unity.
Preceded by the poignant “fall” of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Tag der Deutschen Einheit commemorates the reunification of Germany. On the 3rd of October 1990 the communist government of East Germany (German Democratic Republic) was dissolved and the states of Germany moved forward in political unity towards the democratic government of West Germany.
23 years later and here I am – able to experience the diversity of Berlin and very grateful for the freedom I have to learn and explore Berlin’s (and Germany’s) rich history.
In my opinion, Berlin is a beautiful city. It is rich in history, culture, people and landmarks. It is lively, gutsy and both elegant and rough at the same time. But Berlin can be overwhelming at times, as reminders of the past confront you on every street corner. With such a vibrant present, I can only imagine the future leading to something even more amazing.
The face of the city is constantly changing – undergoing improvements to infrastructure, the gentrification of suburbs and rebuilding the areas destroyed throughout the past. Despite the political reunification, architecture and culture exemplify the divide that existed between East and West Berlin. Where the West sees parisian-inspired boulevards (Kufurstendamm), classic stone architecture and prestige, the East makes its own rules – where concrete-slab apartments blocks with multi-coloured facades and endless street art form a playground for youth, for individual expression and for contemporary design.
After speaking to locals I understand that a divide between the east and west cultures still remains, affecting the ultimate coherence of the people and communities. Without more experience of this I cannot comment any further.
For me, the diversity of Berlin also enables an array of amazing restaurants, fashion boutiques, bars, theatres and art galleries. The experiences are endless.
Commemorating the day of German Unity here in Berlin for the last two years has not only been a time of reflection for me, but also a time to be reunited with my family and parents. After long periods of separation, my parents have flown from Australia to visit Alex and I, experience a taste of my life here and take in the wonders of Germany’s beautiful cities. This year we are even lucky enough to have Alex’s parents with us – a true uniting of the families.
The tourist portion of this year’s itinerary included a trip to the DDR Museum, a boat tour along the river Spree, a twilight view from the Reichstag and an awesome adventure through Berlin’s underground. And of course, I did not miss a visit to Europe’s largest and most amazing department store, the KaDeWe.
Until next time Berlin – keep rocking!