Breaking The Wall
It was a cold and gray November evening in 1989 when Politburo member Gunter Schabowski announced at an East Berlin press conference that the ruling Communist Party had declared East Germans were free to travel West “sofort,
unverzüglich,” or "immediately, without delay." Within an hour, dozens of excited East Germans converged at the border crossing of Bornholmer Straße, demanding to be let into West Berlin. With just these two words, Schabowski did what was then unimaginable: he opened the first breach in the Wall that separated two entire worlds, changing the destinies of millions of people. Less than two hours later, the Wall was “down,” if not physically, at least officially. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this event, and being here, where it all happened, is extremely exciting. On the night of the 9th, make sure to be somewhere on the Mauerweg at dusk, when the city of Berlin will release hundreds of lit-up helium balloons into the sky to celebrate freedom. To bring you closer to the Wall's history, this month Hilda and I immersed ourselves in the stories of this barrier, discovering the lesser-known places and facts about its rise and fall (p. 10-12). Thinking of the gourmands out there, I also spent weeks stopping Italians on the street (and on Facebook) to ask them for their favorite Italian restaurants (p. 14-15), while Annabelle went undercover to find out more about Berlin’s spy scene (p. 36), with a few well-deserved stops at some of the city's best spas (p. 16-18).