Today is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.
I remember watching the news when the wall came down (I was eleven!) About a year later my parents decided that we ought to go to Berlin for a visit in order to get a chance to experience history for ourselves. I would have been twelve. Uncle Dave was ten. Auntie Janice was three. My friend Catherine came along, which was the best part as far as I was concerned!
We stayed in East Berlin. I remember being surprised by how shabby everything was, although the hotel was supposed to be a nice hotel. Even the toothpaste was super gross. By the time we were there, we were able to visit some hastily erected museum displays. I was most interested by some of the contraptions people used to try to cross from one side of the wall to another (well, technically there were actually two walls with a no-man's land in between them)
We visited Checkpoint Charlie - broken glass everywhere - people had busted up the windows. We ate at the Fernsehturm Television tower. We admired the East side of the wall and spent a bit of time chipping our own pieces off the wall. All the paint on the side was added by tourists post-fall. I gave my pieces away to friends when I got back and they all LOST them and asked for another piece. I still remember how disgusted I was! We also bought some pieces near the Brandenburg gate (I still have mine) I had a "certificate of authenticity" but I think that was sadly lost in the move from Belgium to Canada.
And that's the story of how I ended up with my own pieces of Berlin wall!