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Stepping out into the steady downpour of rain this afternoon after a weekend of mostly errands and recovering from the first week of school, we nearly turned back before boarding the train.  We were getting soaked and not sure that we would enjoy the experience at our intended destination: the East Side Gallery, a 1.3 km-long section that still remains of the Berlin Wall. But after a little flea market shopping in Friedrichshain and the best cappuccino and cake we’ve had since our arrival, the sun was shining, the air was crisp, and we headed over to the largest open air gallery in the world.

The effect of the more than 100 paintings by artists from all over the world was breathtaking.  As an American living in Berlin I’ve felt a sense of liberation from the routine that my life had taken on as a working parent for the past 12 years.  But my liberation of course pales in comparison to those who were liberated by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It was exhilarating to walk among the quietly smiling crowd of tourists who lined the wall and to see locals peacefully strolling along the Spree River that runs adjacent to the wall. The only note of sadness was the knowledge that this grand international memorial to freedom has stood for 20 years while many people around the world still live under conditions of oppression. Still, the powerful images that stand as a testament to the universal desire for freedom gave all of us a feeling of inspiration that will stay with us for a long time.

Here is a link to some additional photos from the East Side Gallery: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2070544&id=1521139881&l=0a372a1206