{Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin.} You know that one ? {Berlin ist eine Reise wert.} I left my suitcase in Berlin. Berlin is worth a voyage. 

I was several times in Berlin, even when it was still divided up into four Sectors. Long ago. That had been 1961. When my good friend and I traveled from my hometown Braunschweig, NW Germany, to visit her family in Berlin. Train travel is only one hour and a half, thereabouts. No stops, because of the VoPo’s, the notorious police squads responsible for security in the Communist Sector. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkspolizei ], the DDR – Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Stop at the border check (between the West and the East). At that time I was employed as IT specialist by the European Space Technology Centre, Netherlands. I had left all my ID’s pertaining to my work at home. I traveled as a simple office assistant. Main thing then was, not to make eye contact. That was serious scary stuff. Special trains also, which had grates underneath each wagon to prevent East Germans to flee the DDR.

Back in Berlin much later, the year 2005 and then 2007. All had changed. Still the atmosphere lingers. Friedrich Strasse goes through the West and former East Sector, you can feel the difference as soon as you walk along that Street. Our time again traveling back 2007 and spending days with my son (from Holland). We stayed in one Hotel near the old Anhalter Bahnhof (now a ruin). Near the Center and Brandenburger Gate. So interesting.   With Europe, the unbelievable thing always is: the moment I am back (and it took me 31 years) it feels like I never left. Language ? I can speak “berlinisch”, can fit in, nobody knows I come from (the moon ?). But crossing borders is different. I lost my citizenship and over there are now a foreigner. To be in Berlin itself is always a good thing, because that is where the main government is. You can get a lot more done here. Huge city – made many trips to outlying areas, parks, lakes, Potsdam – DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik). Potsdam famous for its history prior to the big wars and during and 1945. [ http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdamer_Konferenz ] Potsdam is pretty. Nice old streets, the castle. There is still some stores selling special DDR paraphernalia. Berlin in summer turns into a hotspot of actions bringing in large numbers of Roma/Romani, which hang out around the Alex (Alexanderplatz). Accosting tourists. They usually carry slips of paper (in english) asking for money or other. Following tourists into stores. Ignore them! I love the Ku-Damm – Kurfürstendamm, where we always stop at Cafe Kranzler. [ http://www.cafekranzler.de/ ] Top floor restaurant. Do not miss! Unter den Linden – I love it. Promenading, a large boulevard in mid-Berlin. And of course Humboldt University (founded 1810) with its many little sidewalk book sellers, always bought myself (or re-sold) some books. Also found many little (cellar) used book stores even in Kreuzberg. Best of all I like the old quarter – the Nikolai Viertel. I could live there, but is now all tourists and seems to be getting smaller and smaller in size. More images of Berlin.

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