On Wednesday, October 15, at 11am ET / 3pm GMT, we will be joining +germanytourism
on a #germany25reunified
Twitter chat commemorating "Germany 25 Reunified," a chance to explore how Germany has changed over the past 25 years.
I stepped foot in Germany for the first time (of consequence) in Berlin In 1987. It was a cold, wet and dark late-afternoon in November and I had a healthy handful of hours during which to explore a bewildering divided city, to examine the Wall I had read so much about. I had arrived from the west by train along the rail causeway - an umbilical from West Germany connecting to the "free" half of Berlin, an island hemmed in by barbed wire and defiance. (Late at night, I would leave - headed east into Poland, the Ukraine and the distinct smell of coal coke - also by train, after transiting through the split-between-nations Friedrichstrasse train station.)
Since 1987, I've been to Germany many times. Leading bike tours in the Mosel and along the Rhine; repeatedly passing through Munich on the way to Austria, or Hamburg on the way to Denmark, also as part of bike tours; visiting with friends wherever they lured me; and just taking in the sights.
I have also returned to Berlin relatively often. (Both of my brothers have lived there, and one still does, as do numerous friends.) In the early 1990s, when I was present for at least one early anniversary of the fall of the Wall, I got caught in tear gas on Alexanderplatz after Western louts had jeered at the East-trained guards a little too loudly. And now many times since then, watching the change, the gentrification.
What a journey it's been for a nation reunited (or just united, as many people claim). It has involved the rehabilitation of more than just infrastructure, too, with new generations shaking loose the weight of dark times.
If you have been anywhere in Germany in the last 40 years (even if only just once in the recent present), please come and share your recollections. Of the people, the places, the food, the beer, the wine, the history. If you have pictures, share them. (I wish I had taken some!)
It's all taking place this Wednesday, October 15, at 11am ET / 3pm GMT. Look for the "Germany 25 Reunified" Twitter chat by following #germany25reunified