We begin the day at the Polish flea market in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate where huge pieces of the Wall remain. For the moment my love of crystal takes over and I’m absorbed looking at the exquisite pieces I find laid out on the peddler’s blanket. I choose a delicately etched water pitcher after difficult deliberation. The boys are jazzed with a couple of old Russian watches. Happy for now with our purchases we hit the street to see old East Berlin. The Wall has down for only six months. The mystique of what life was like before the Wall fell hangs thick in the air. It is an exciting day to be in Berlin. The Wall panels that have yet to be dismantled fascinate us. They are covered with years of graffiti from the hands of artists and poets alike. Only the West side of the Wall was ever painted by all of the unknown artists over the course of time it stood. The East side is blank. As we walk the Wall’s footprint, we are in awe and uplifted by the messages found in the grafitti. The contrast of the life of East Berliners and their separation from freedom to the the free spirit of West Berliners lives contained in the their writings and paintings is apparent. Now the barriers that separate us have come down. On this day in Berlin we feel the sense of victory of the many lives that had cried out for peace and love. The boys have fun hammering for their own personal pieces of the Wall. We are joyful as we talk and excitedly share what we see. The former divisive Wall is now art work that brings our family together. Our next stop is Checkpoint Charley. The museum is in a state of flux, attempting to reflect the recent historic event. East Berlin soldiers in their stovepipe boots march their sentry steps, then hang around smoking and look abit uncertain of their mission. We have our passports stamped and look around the museum, reading stories of those who attempted and sometimes succeeded escape to the West. Many of the shops in old East Berlin are now shuttered. We find a Russian shop still open, although the shelves are very sparse of merchandise. What remains is primarily pottery and those ornate Russian dolls. We buy souvenirs using a combination of German marks and East Berlin currency. The day has its strange yet magical moments. We stop for dinner at the elegant Oranian Cafe, a famous Jewish eatery which was once frequented by the many local university students. We feel oh so hip that we are here to frequent it as well. Oranian’s is now part of the Berlin of bygone days. I know for us the day will end with memories of a wonderful time together in a magnificent city facing and adapting to rapid change. Like this great place, my boys and I will all too soon find our lives rapidly changing. We will take with us the messages of the Wall to light our way. Peace and Love.