A trip Berlin in April with my daughter was a revelation. When I last visited the city in 1989, the Wall defined West Berlin. This time I saw a sprawling, completely different city! Construction cranes were everywhere and the casual, anything-goes atmosphere reminded me of New York. Yet the no-so-distant past is everywhere. Our Kreuzberg apartment had been a wartime bomb shelter and its iron bedroom door looked like a bank vault !

The city is extremely flat. One day we walked 15 kilometers from the Berlin Wall Memorial to the Brandenburg Gate before looping back to our base. Another day we biked along a bucolic canal. Details on modern Berlin walls include Vienna-inspired color blocks, psychedelic transformations, fantastic figures and even a 3-D allegory : wooden figurines “scrambling” out a wall over a door lintel. Walls are still a ground for expression in this vibrant city.
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