Making Trails

the travel blog of Lauren Nishizaki

East and West Berlin


The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, but there are still reminders of the East-West divide all around the city.

Sections of the Berlin Wall are still standing, most notably the section comprising the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain. Artists decorated the east side of this wall in the several years following the fall of the wall, and that graffiti has been preserved and periodically restored. Because the west side of the wall is not technically part of the East Side Gallery, it has been covered with much more contemporary graffiti.

The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Ministry for State Security), often referred to as the Stasi, was the secret police force of East Germany (also know as the German Democratic Republic, or GDR). The Stasi Museum is located in the old Stasi headquarters in East Berlin. The museum documents the Stasi’s actions, and describes the shear scope of surveillance and manipulation that the Soviet-associated government used to prevent capitalistic influences from corrupting the GDR.

A section of the Berlin wall stands above Mauerpark, dividing the large park from a sports stadium on the other side. Mauerpark is the location of a weekly flea market (Flohmarkt), as we discovered from an advertising postcard in our Airbnb kitchen. The postcard emphasized some of the things for sale here: Kunsthandwerk (arts and crafts), international street-food, and most importantly, Trödel (junk). We tried some fresh-pressed juice and a very tasty hot Ottoman drink call sahlep (ingredient list: milk, honey, orchid buds, vanilla sugar, and cinnamon).