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Istanbul is possibly the most historic living city in the world. But other cities have extraordinary histories, too.
25 years ago, the Berlin Wall came down. I was living in London at the time, and was as surprised as anyone. I thought: “should I travel to Berlin? This looks like history.” But I made a mistake, and decided I was too busy at work. I’ve been regretting that decision ever since.
Later on, however, I was lucky enough to live and work in Berlin for seven years, from 1999 to 2006. During that time I came to know and love this terrific city, with all its confusion, vibrancy and troubling, sometimes dark, history – it’s one of my favourite places on earth.
Getting to know Berlin included walking the entire 166km length of the “anti-fascist protection wall” with some friends, in ten instalments. I wrote a newspaper article about walking the wall, for the Financial Times, in 2003. It’s a lyrical piece, focusing on “my three favourite spots where you can best appreciate the wall that isn’t there“. It includes the following:
Tourist: Where’s the wall?
Guide: Here. (more…)