There are two sides to every wall.
The most famous wall in the world, Berliner Mauer, was and is no different.
On the way to Kreuzberg from Friedrichshain is the East Side Gallery, which occupies a 1300 metre section of the Berlin Wall. One side hosts an official gallery style art of various artists' work displayed with small plaques relaying small details; many of the works of art are now very well known and instantly recognisable. On the other side is a free for all melange of graffiti, brightly coloured swollen font tags, dripping spray paint, overlapping murals and all.
You can probably guess which side I preferred. In fact, I didn't really photograph the "official" side. Now I have spent time in Berlin, albeit too brief, I have a little confidence in saying that you can't fully appreciate the impact and significance of the Berlin Wall until you have been there and gone on a short personal journey to understand more about one of the most divisive periods of European history.
As harsh as the history may seem, the hope and humanity and humility of what has happened since makes the experience much more sweet than bitter. The East Side Gallery left a lasting impression on me - not just because of what it stands for - but for the colour that it brings to a city that I wrongly assumed was a little grey and dull before I arrived there.
I found the same bright colours in the people of Berlin too. Adopted Berliners are amongst the most city-proud people I've ever met - and I hope to return to the unexpected colour soon.
Frances M. Thompson
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