Happy birthday, Germany!

It’s almost impossible to imagine now, but it was only 26 years ago that the two Germanys became one again. And let’s face it: it was about time. After 45 years of regarding each other as ‘the other Germany’ or even ‘the enemy’, the two Berlins and the two Germanys were united once more. It’s therefore no surprise that Germany likes to commemorate October 3rd, the day of formal reunification or Tag der Deutschen Einheit – a party you definitely want to join. But did you know that the GDR also had its National Day in the first week of October? It involved a lot of tanks and bike soccer.

P1
On October 3rd1990, German unity was finally a fact. Image courtesy of Bundesarchiv.

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Volkspark Friedrichshain: The Green Oasis at Strausberger Platz

Concrete, tarmac, grey facades – this is what urban life looks like in all too many cities. Berlin is different. In every district, small parks and green spaces beckon residents to step outside for exercise or relaxation. Steeped in history, Volkspark Friedrichshain is one of the most beloved among them. Only a few hundred yards north of Strausberger Platz, the noise of the city disappears and urban dwellers find themselves succumbing to the soothing influence of nature.

Fairy-Tale Fountain - Central Berlin
Fairy-Tale Fountain at Volkspark Friedrichshain – Rotkäppchen, Quelle: Shutterstock – Sergey Kelin

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The “Other” Cities of the GDR

Leipzig, Dresden, Rostock, Chemnitz, Halle… How much do you know about the “other” cities of the former GDR? We are all so infatuated with Berlin that we tend to forget that there was more to the GDR than just its capital. There were vibrant urban centres all across the country, each with its own charm and sights. And surprise, surprise: they’re still here. Why not visit another (East) German city on your next mini break? Here’s some inspiration!

Messestadt Leipzig
Leipzig then, image courtesy of flickrhivemind.net

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Checkpoint Charlie – and Alpha and Bravo

Checkpoint Charlie has a name and fame that stretches out way beyond Berlin and even Germany. But did you know that it was called Charlie because there was also a Checkpoint Alpha and a Checkpoint Bravo? I’m taking you on a journey across the borders between the former West and East Germany – please follow me and don’t forget to bring your passport.

East and West Germany
The Netherlands, West Germany (blue), East Germany (red) and East + West Berlin. Image courtesy of Alexrk2

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