While I did not get to Berlin on my recent trip to Germany, I did spend some time in Fulda where I lived as a child. Located a little over an hour's drive from Frankfurt, it was home to one of Germany's largest army bases, there to protect the Fulda Gap, a prime invasion route had the Cold War actually erupted into an actual war. With friends in the military and living so close to the border, I was very aware of the divide between East and West.
I was very curious, though, to see what the old border area looked like, so we took the opportunity to visit an area called Point Alpha, a former observation point that overlooked the Fulda Gap, where US soldiers monitored East German activity along the border. Today Point Alpha is a memorial and museum that houses a multimedia exhibition, a sampling of US military vehicles, a former observation tower, small sections of the border fences and an art exhibit made from scrapped border crossing barriers.
Point Alpha is a fascinating place, especially if you are a history buff or served in Europe in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Walking along the border road, seeing the fences, I could really feel the divide and I could imagine the soldiers watching each other. At the dog guard station, even though the German Shepherd was made out of plastic, dogs growled and barked at it - quite funny actually but it did add to this "feeling".
Point Alpha is well worth the time to visit. It makes one appreciate our freedoms (and those who protect these freedoms) so much more.
As an added bonus, the drive is quite picturesque, especially on a cloudless day like we had. Don't miss the opportunity.