No. of Recommendations: 1
If you go to Berlin, do me a favor, please. Walk from the west side of the Brandenburg Gate to the east side.

When we were there, the wall was still up and there were what was called "death stakes" posted around it discouraging anyone who knew their significance from getting near it. Death stakes (innocuous-looking white stakes with orange tops) near any potential escape route indicated that East German police would shoot without warning if you got too close. "Too close" being at their discretion, we were told.

We went into East Berlin and it was like walking back into the 1940s/50s. Went into a shopping area on Alexander Platz (where a massive book burning occurred at Hitler's direction) and the stores were full of furniture my parents had when I was a kid. Checkpoint Charlie was still operational and the "show of force" was still the order of the day. It was laughable even then to watch US forces move heavy artillery right up to the border and do the staredown, then move back.

Now I understand that East Berlin is a happening place.

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