I like riding subways. I don’t know where it comes from, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience in London in 1981, and have sought out subways where available when playing tourist. People like to ride the double-decker buses in London, but I found that being stuck in traffic annoyed me. I’d rather ride to my sightseeing destinations quickly in mysterious tunnels, my brain furiously working out how many stops to go or did I just miss it? No, wait, it’s after the station we just passed – or walk.
I carefully counted out the change I would need to buy two subway tickets – Potsdamer Platz and back – only to be fooled by a ticket machine that would not take copper coins (the smallest cent coins). A nice young Berliner took pity on me and gave me the 10 cent coin I needed, wanting nothing in return. Berlin is a nice city to be a tourist in.
Potsdamer Platz. No sign anywhere of it being bombed to smithereens during World War II, or intersected by the wall during the cold war. Except for all the very large and shiny and new commercial buildings, of course.
According to my map, the outdoor museum of what is left of the wall (except for a graffitied stretch along Karl Marx Street) was south of the subway station. I came across this helpful sign:
That’s what they call it, the outdoor museum: Topography of terror. The street that runs along it, Niederkirchnerstrasse, contained the headquarters of both the Gestapo and the SS, and is the birth place of the German communist party. A modest street, flanked by a modest wall. Looks can be so deceiving.
Once again, you had to wait in line to see or do anything, so I didn’t. Wait in line, I mean. I wanted to see the wall.
Note that there is no getting close to the wall itself.
The irony is not lost on the locals. Who ever thought that they would need to protect the Berlin wall?
Several of the Norwegians I travelled with had been to Berlin during the cold war years. Some had even taken a quick trip to the DDR side, ever mindful that a wrong comment could mean not getting back to the other side, to freedom, to safety. Here you see the western face of the wall, followed by its eastern face.
A plaque showing the wall and its checkpoints.
There were some stunning buildings on the little, modest street. I found out one was the restored exhibition hall, the Martin Gropius building. Here are a few details:
It was time to head for home, to change for dinner. This fancy building is actually my subway station!