1 in 5 Germans Want The Berlin Wall Back

Here’s an interesting tidbit I heard on the radio today while driving to my favourite sushi place: 1 in 5 Germans want the Berlin Wall back. An iconic symbol of the Cold War and the divide between communism and capitalism, the Berlin Wall was broken down amidst much celebration in 1990.

And perhaps even more surprising? Those who want it back are mostly Eastern Germans. Apparently, breaking down the wall didn’t put an end to differences between the east and west in Germany; Despite the absence of a dividing line, Easterners in Germany still feel like second-class citizens compared to Westerners. And I don’t blame them — salaries in the east are 25% lower than those in the west, and unemployment rates in the west are half of that of the east. Yet despite all that, 73% of Western Germans don’t feel that Eastern Germans are at a disadvantage.

As a side note, if you want to see a movie that depicts the effects of the Berlin Wall falling, rent Goodbye Lenin — it’s excellent.

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of December 10

GadlingReady for another week in review at Gadling? If you missed some of this week’s goodies I won’t keep you waiting a minute longer. Just sit back, chill out and catch up.

5. Driving a Piece of East German History:
In this fine piece, David Luna points us to a tour company called Trabi Safari. The tours are pretty much “do-it-yourself” style, but what’s cool about driving the Trabant around Berlin to Dresden is that the car is a work of art meaning it rides more like a riding lawn mower. What’s cooler than any of that is David Luna being the newest member of the Gadling team. Go over, take a read and send David some love.

4. Traveling with Co-Workers: An Obsession with Steak Tartare:

For those who don’t already know I’m on the road traveling for work and an enormous portion of my time is spent with my one and only co-worker. To keep it short and sweet things ain’t so sweet… They are rather tart or is that tartare, as in steak tartare. I don’t want to hear anymore about steak tartare. Please.

3. No Surf in Cleveland? Sure, There is!:

Here is a plug from Iva that caught me completely off-guard, but then again I don’t surf. Cleveland (yes, Cleveland, Ohio) appears to be a rather gnarly place to hang ten. Don’t listen to me though read what Iva has to say along with the NY Times where the article was originally found.

2. Getting Out of Quicksand:

While it is not too common that you’ll run across quicksand in your travels should you stumble, trip, fall and start sinking away to your untimely death you may wish to know a little something-something on how to escape. Again, it isn’t very likely, but check out some of Erik’s own quicksand musings and then read the tips.

1. Hot Icelandic Blondes?:

Stop the stereotyping people! Not every Icelandic woman is blonde and not all of them are hot and according to Neil who found this awesome culture read in the Iceland Review the author of the piece is both, but still she is annoyed with the stereotype. Hey I OVERstand. Whether it is good or bad, stereotyping isn’t the right thing to do. We’re all different! Now, off my soap box I go and on you go to read the piece.

Driving a Piece of East German History

Trabi CabrioEver wonder what life was like on the east side of the Berlin Wall? Well, you can still experience a remnant of that bygone era behind the wheel of an East German icon: the Trabant. The Trabant’s determined 25HP engine and non-existent electrical system make the car resemble a riding mower more than a modern automobile, but that’s what makes driving one so exciting.

Tour company Trabi Safari maintains fleets of Trabants in Berlin and Dresden. Their tours marry sightseeing with a unique “do it yourself” experience as tourists drive themselves in authentic Trabants on the streets of Germany. Drivers receive a very short operations tutorial before the trip. (Instructions include: “This is the gas. Very important!” and “Don’t touch this button.”) After everyone is briefed, the Trabant convoy follows the tour guide whose voice is piped in over the car’s (aftermarket) radio. The hour and a half journey is really about piloting East Germany’s Ultimate Driving Machine, so the audio tour is fairly light on historical narration.

Tour prices range from 25 to 35 Euros per person and reservations are required. If German isn’t your thing, you will need to request an English language tour guide.