Before flying back to Portugal, I went to Berlin, a city I didn’t know that well. The last time I was there was in 2007 (if I’m not mistaken), but it was an evening trip and I didn’t really get the time to see the city. I’ve always heard wonderful things about Berlin and, obviously, it’s an History impregnated place which interests me deeply.
I remember being younger and my grandfather telling me stories about World War II, where he fought as a soldier. It was just like witnessing a living piece of History which, after all, existed not only in books. Maybe that’s the reason why I find this place and this subject so fascinating!
So about Berlin… This time I really had the time to tour the city more thoroughly. On the day I arrived there, I walked through one of the main avenues, where I stopped to eat an amazing Chinese meal! In fact, Berlin is an amazing cultural melting pot and we can see people from different nationalities walking around everywhere!
The time is never enough for us to see everything we want in the city. To get to deeply know the culture one must get into its daily routines, go to the places where the locals go and get to know details about that culture that are not on any travel guide in the world! I did, however, walked both through the East and the West side of the city. Curiously, I saw something I only knew through the stories my grandfather used to tell me: Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point located at the Berlin Wall. It was a wonderful thing to be able to actually see it.
The whole concept of having a wall separating two ideologies, and more so, separating people and cultures is very strong and both dreadful and dangerous. I don’t know if much people are aware that there are still many a similar wall standing in the World. One of those stands in Cyprus, separating the Turkish and the Greek side. Whilst the south side of that island invested in tourism, the northern side appears as if they’ve been left stuck in time and not a part of the same country altogether.
There are many more walls besides this one, and new walls seem to be emerging in Europe in the context of the refugee crisis. It is very important to be fully aware of what’s going on and, above all, to reflect on what distinguishes us (or brings us closer) from other people and cultures. I, for one, feel it’s a shame that we still have wall separating people anywhere in the World.