Berlin Part Three: Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall

Checkpoint Charlie is the closest tourist spot to where I was staying. It is largely a reconstruction of the east/west border crossing in Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie (or Checkpoint C) was the name used by the Western Allies at this particular site between 1947-91. It was also the location for the stand-off between Soviet and US tanks in 1961, the dispute over a US diplomat crossing the border. It ended peacefully almost a week later after both armies agreed to slowly move their tanks back.

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This banner was up at Checkpoint Charlie when I visited, asking Putin to abandon his geopolitical ambitions.

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As you can see above, a replica of the guardhouse sits before a picture of a soldier. A sign to the right of it informs you that ‘You are leaving the American sector’.

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After the Berlin Wall was taken down, some sections of wall remained standing. These sections are a reminder of what life would have been like with the wall dividing the country, and many parts of the wall are decorated with paintings, messages, padlocks and at this section, chewing gum.

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Some information about the nearby Checkpoint Charlie.

What I didn’t know which I found pretty fascinating was that there is a line that runs through the city to show where the Berlin Wall once stood. You can see the brickwork below leaving the actual wall and heading into the distance.

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Larger sections of wall were found close to the German finance building talked about in Part One. From here I learned that the wall wasn’t just one wall but two, separated by a ‘death strip’ filled with trenches, barbed wire fencing, landmines and armed guards. Sand was used in the strip to detect footprints that would lead to those looking to cross the border illegally. This is why despite the wall being pretty small, the chances of crossing it were very low and incredibly dangerous.

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The wall was incredibly long, over 140km in length.

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What it looked like between the walls.
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Pictures from both sides of the Brandenburg Gate. What is now Pariser Platz (picture on the right) was a no-go area at the time. 

The left hand picture above is the location of President Ronald Reagan’s famous speech, declaring “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!”

The brick trail showing where the Berlin Wall once stood can be seen here.

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Before and after restorations of the Brandenburg Gate following bombings.

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This is the section of wall that I talked about in Part One, full of artwork and the longest stretch of wall I had found. I am glad I found this before I left Berlin, I love how such an oppressive structure can be used to display messages of love, as well as a reminder for us to not repeat history.

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This is all from my Berlin trip, it was only a few days and one of them involved a gig, so time was limited. But I would certainly visit again to see what I have missed, and would love to see more of Germany.

Where else would people recommend I visit in this great country? Let me know, and thank you for reading.

Dankeschön!

 

Part One: Wandering around Berlin

Part Two: A powerful memorial, the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building


 

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Berlin, I am coming for you September 10th!

So, I have made my first actual plan after my Working Holiday Visa expires in September. I will only be in the UK for a short while before catching a flight to Berlin to see Muse live at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. This will be the 6th time I’ve see them perform and I am just as excited as ever.

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I have seen fan footage of the gigs whilst they are in the States and it looks incredible. They always seem to put on an amazing show with new surprises each and every time. For this reason getting a ticket was a no brainer for me. I don’t want to regret not seeing this tour at all.

I have posted before about my obsession with them. You can read about my last Muse gigs here, they span from 2006- 2017, and soon to be 2019. 13 years of Muse gigs!!! Time can be a very scary thing. And I would have went to a hell of a lot more if I could, they are a band I cannot get bored of and I am really grateful for them being such an inspiration in my life.

If any readers from Germany are reading this, hello to you! Any advice as to what to do whilst I am there would be greatly appreciated. I have to limit myself to Berlin though as I am unsure how long I will be there, probably a weekend. I cannot wait though as it is a country and city I have wanted to visit for a long time, hence why I chose this destination on the European tour.

Have you ever been to Berlin? What were your thoughts? I would love to hear from anyone about your experience and just posting about it is getting me hyped up.

I’m ready to rock!!

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Sam