Friday, September 27, 2013

Running through Potsdamer Platz - where East met West

Bringing your running gear on a business trip is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you get a workout while traveling, and it's easy to do since basically all you need is a bit of room in your luggage for a pair of running shoes. But the real upside is the chance to get to see a bit of the city you are visiting. (How often do people travel somewhere for work and only see the inside of the hotel where they are staying?)

Yesterday, I managed to find time between the end of my work day and a planned dinner to run through the center of Berlin...specifically through Potsdamer Square which nearly 25 years ago was a wasteland of concrete divided in two by the Berlin Wall, separating the East from the West. In 25 years, a lot has happened in the Square, which is now a bustling intersection of several large streets, but what really surprised me was the stark contrast that remains even today between the former West and East. It is a literary a binary change, on the Western side modern buildings, bustling shops and people everywhere, while the Eastern side is occupied by monolithic concrete buildings erected during the Soviet era--one feels the change immediately, and it is an impactful reminder of a time that for my children will only be something they learn about in textbooks.

Here's a link to the route I followed, in case anyone finds themselves traveling to Berlin. It takes you through the Square, but also past the Holocaust memorial, which is moving in itself.

The holocaust memorial

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