In 2014, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Mauerfall, Slow Travel Berlin editor/founder Paul Sullivan decided to walk the entire 155km length of the Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Trail). He has recorded his experience in a brand new book, “Mauerweg: Stories From The Berlin Wall Trail”, co-authored with his friend and colleague Paul Scraton (Traces Of A Border), who also walked the trail this year. The book comprises two separate but interlocking essays and 18 colour photos. Here, Sullivan reveals some of the points along the way where he came across some of the last physical vestiges of one of the world’s most notorious structures.
After starting my walk at one of the longest remaining stretches of the Wall along Bernauer Straße, the Mauerweg makes a sharp right from the Memorial along Gartenstrasse. Walking through the adjacent Park am Nordbahnhof, I notice how the wild meadows and forests of birch trees – planted after the demise of the Wall - have never quite been able to displace the area’s ‘no-man’s-land’ atmosphere. On the other side is the old St. Hedwig cemetery, resting place of notable German writer Theodor Fontane. A large section of the original Wall remains embedded into the cemetery wall, a reminder of how the dead were callously stripped of their resting places so the GDR could build – irony of ironies – a ‘death strip’.