The signal sent to my consciousness was a slight prickling of the skin at the back of my neck as the baby-fine hairs raised and brushed against my silk scarf. “We’re walking around in history. Can you feel it?”
“Yes,” Mark answered — “and those are bullet holes all over that building!”
A sunny Sunday in Berlin — Easter Sunday in fact — and there were throngs of people in the public squares. But the side streets were quiet and I was able to take quite a lot of photos without being jostled by crowds.
The buildings around us were a mix of old and new and some of them still retained their stunning late-19th or early-20th century facades. Although I am a huge fan of modernism and contemporary architecture, these handsome structures made me wish that all new construction still had such attention paid to the small details and bits of ornamentation.
On either side of that visually arresting entry were the bullet holes — intentionally left unrepaired so memories of the tumultuous past of this city do not entirely fade.
Further down the street, we had a chance to have a laugh and then do a double-take. Here’s why.
Four weeks ago we were in London and we passed by the short street leading to 10 Downing Street where the British Prime Minister resides. The amount of security personnel and high tech security gear all around that area was rather interesting to see. Apparently, much like the President of the USA, both heads of state believe that they are in a constant state of threat.
Now contrast that with the pictures of the residence below. And this is where the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel lives. Not only are there only two guards out front, but there is a man with two red shopping bags having a casual conversation with the guards while a young dark-haired woman sits on the edge of the sidewalk. You can even see the cones and bit of construction items including a site caravan from the ongoing construction all up and down that street. There are no high tech gates or fences or any such ‘necessary’ items of security outside. Even the windows are quite open to the front of the very accessible street. She may live quite high up in the building and the inside may be fortified, but the very fact that she lives on a normal street instead of behind locked gates shows an amazing sense of trust. And I find all of that quite refreshing!
Come back soon for another post from beautiful and fascinating Berlin!
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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