A cellist in Pariser Platz

Berlin - Under den Linden
Berlin - Under den Linden
Berlin - Under den Linden

After we arrived in Berlin, we headed straight for Brandenburg Gate. As we entered busy Pariser Platz, the Gate in sight, we heard this cellist playing.

Berlin - Brandenburger Tor at Pariserplatz

It was wonderful to see Pariser Platz alive and full of people. The last time I saw it, in 1984, it was in the no-man’s land on the border between West and East Berlin. If you climbed over the fence, border guards might just have shot you.

Here’s Brandenburg Gate in 1984 from the other side.

And here it is in 2023, people walking around and through it as it was meant to be.

Berlin - Brandenburger Tor

Margaret and I got separated at the Gate so I wandered around alone photographing it. A few young women asked if I’d take their picture with the Gate in the background, so I took their phone and did. One of the young women returned the favor.

I thought I would experience strong emotions as I walked through the Gate, but I didn’t. I was just happy that this place was full of people and life.

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8 responses to “A cellist in Pariser Platz”

  1. Shirley B. Avatar
    Shirley B.

    We saw the Brandenburg Gate, like you did, in 1983. Also, in the classroom where we were taught German, there was a poster with the Brandenburg Gate, with the exact image. We felt so sad, when we stood at the gates in East-Berlin and saw it for ourselves.

    Unlike you, we were moved to tears when we walked under the Gate a couple of years ago. To us it was the ultimare experience that the devision of East and West Germany has ended and it’s one country again.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I felt a great deal of excitement as we approached the Gate. But the overwhelming strong emotion I expected while walking through the Gate just didn’t come. I can’t figure out why.

  2. Shirley B. Avatar
    Shirley B.

    I think it doesn’t really matter why the overwhelming emotions you expected didn’t happen.
    You did react to being there: you were happy.

    Had this been your first visit, you might have considered this to be another tourist attraction. But you were there before. And you knew what it used to be like.
    And you were happy. Maybe because there is this big difference between then and now. And maybe because how it is now, is how it was supposed to be. Also: Berlin has such a happy and uplifting atmosphere these days. That may also have been an influence when you were there.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      What a great point about my emotion simply being happiness. I was so sure I’d be overcome that I wasn’t even looking for happiness!

  3. Szilvia Virag Avatar

    Nice shot.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you!

  4. Juna Avatar

    Don’t worry, I didn’t feel too much, when I walked through the first time either – and I was from East-Berlin. But that was probably, because the gate was not open right away and other borders open were much more important and closer. Nevertheless, it was the biggest wish of my grandmother to walk through on her last visit to us. Making this possible, was much more important and moving.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m sure your emotions were stronger when you made your first crossings then, wherever they were! But how wonderful that you got to do that for your grandmother.

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