Long ago, I lived and worked in Berlin, shortly after the wall came down. When I decided to start a family, we left the city, as I couldn’t imagine to raise children there. In those days, playgrounds and sidewalks in Berlin were too often toilets for dogs and garbage cans for heroin needles (unless you were rich enough to live in the “better” suburbs), traffic was horrendous (still is), air quality poor and green areas overcrowded (still are).
Every now and then I re-visit Berlin, see friends or attend ITB. The city is today a magnet for tourists and rightly so. It has changed a lot, since “then”.
Many visitors are still fascinated by the past of this formerly divided city and search for clues for the wall, the “death zone” and the vanished “Eastern part”. As the two halves of the city merge, traces become increasingly subtle, but there are clear signs how to differentiate the two parts:
If you spot or ride a tram, this is a clear sign that you are in the formerly Eastern part of Berlin, because in the Western part, there never were trams, and still aren’t. They almost abandoned the tram in the Eastern part as well, after the wall came down, but fortunately, they are still running! On the map, the Western part is a large, white empty space. With respect to trams…life still starts at the divide towards the East.