Break­ing The Wall

Where Berlin - - Welcome To Berlin - SOLVEIG STEINHARDT ED­I­TOR, WHERE BERLIN

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).

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