"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


Crossing the Border

This past weekend the generous Fulbright people took us on another journey, this time to an important border crossing station between the old East and West Germany and to the Museum of the Inner German Border. We didn’t really know what to expect from the trip other than that we would end up in the old East Germany and that it would be a long bus ride (about 2 hours).

As is her custom, Penelope spent most of the bus ride through the magnificent German countryside sleeping, nestled cozily against her mother’s sternum (a soon bruised sternum!).

Our education about divided Germany and the wall began soon upon arrival. The story of the wall and the division between East and West is fascinating and complex, but almost always told from the perspective of the "winners" (or the West). One needs to keep this quirk of history in mind.

Here is a picture of the famous newspaper headline from 1961 in which the DDR chairman Walter Ulbricht declares that no one in the East "has the intent to erect a wall." Well, two months later, during the night of August 13, the border was closed and constuction of the Wall began.

This is an old DDR border marker, with the symbol of East Germany.

Here is Penelope testing out the effectiveness of one of the electric fences.

This is some of the remaining infrastructure of the road-blocking devices at the border crossing. This machine could secure the entire road crossing in about three seconds.

This is Penelope pausing for a snack in the shade of one of the old border bunkers.

This is the little one and the father playing around outside of the old bunker. I couldn't help but wonder what one of the little men huddled in this thing so many decades ago would think of its use today--a source of shade for tourists and a curious plaything for a little girl.

This is us just wandering around on the eastern side of the border. The West is in the distance. Sooooooooomebody forgot a hat to protect the little one's head. A burpcloth will have to do.

This is a leftover frangement of the Wall.

Even this little piece was hard to climb. I think we'd be stuck.

All in all, we had a great trip, and we are quite thankful for a unified Germany in which we can enjoy the beauty of both east and west.

1 comment:

  1. tramps, I just discovered the blog. I'm sure I will enjoy your adventure. You look like th eanimals stuck to car windows. If that was your intent I got it. Karen