The year I spent vagabonding around Europe and the Middle East after college was one of the most educational experiences of my life.
The train ride from West Germany into West Berlin was very different. Once we crossed into East Germany, the East German rail crew took over. Attendants came through each rail car and pulled down the shades on all the windows. We were give strict instructions NOT to lift them during our transit to West Berlin.
Upon arrival, I found my way to Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing into East Berlin. This part of the city still had massive damage from WWII. I cruelly joked to myself that it had more ruins than Rome.
And when the Wall finally came down in 1989, I made a commitment to go back and revisit Berlin. And so in November 1990, I came to Berlin, walked past the rapidly disappearing Wall, and rejoiced that the city and country were healing.
Growing up during the cold war, I never thought I'd see this day. I am so glad I did.