Berlin, Germany

I went on a quick trip to Germany and Austria for work at the end of June. First stop: Berlin, Germany.

The last time I was in Germany was the summer before The Wall came down. The city was divided with the few border crossings guarded by scary-looking guys in heavy wool trench coats, carrying machine guns and flanked by German Shepherds.

We spent a few hours in East Berlin and I’ve said for years that it was the most depressing place I’ve ever been. The city looked and felt as if the color had been completely sucked out of the world. Every thing was brown or gray, from buildings to clothes to even the people.

My what a change a few decades of democracy and capitalism make!

Nearly nothing remains of the miles long concrete barrier that separated East from West. The “death strip” of vacant buildings, mine fields and barbed wire was gone, replaced with gleaming glass apartments and huge office towers. I couldn’t believe the transformation.

We arrived near the tail end of the World Cup, with Berlin being one of the host cities. There were games in the city before and after our visit but none while we were there. The fans remained, though, and, despite my general distaste for soccer, I really was sucked in by their enthusiasm and enjoyed the games we watched.

The photos here are from my wandering around the city with David “crt” Wright the evening before our meetings started. It’s amazing what you can see in just a few hours of wandering.

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