A Funny Thought I Had In Berlin


Checkpoint Charlie is one of those can’t miss sites when you visit Berlin. If you’re at least remotely interested in the history of this city or have the basic knowledge that it was split in two by a massive wall, you’ll want to see this location where one could cross from West Berlin to East Berlin.

Now as any tour guide will tell you, the current Checkpoint Charlie, with its hut and the soldiers guarding it, is completely fake: reconstructed in the spot where the actual one stood to please the visitors. According to our guide for the walking tour, the only thing original standing there is the signpost that holds the famous “You are now leaving West Berlin” sign.


There isn’t much to do there unless you want to pose with the actors and get your passport stamped as if you were making the journey across- as the case was up until 25 years ago. So for us, we only stopped there while we were on our walking tour, took a quick picture, heard about the history, and moved onto more authentic yet equally interesting parts in Berlin’s history.

Here’s the thing though (which I had also noticed on my first trip to Berlin in 2012): there’s a McDonald’s there, right across from where the checkpoint stands. I kid you not, you cannot miss those famous golden arches that loom over the site.


I don’t know if other visitors have noticed this, or maybe I overthink things as a consequence of my love for history and funny coincidences. It just feels to me as though the Americans still claim a piece of this land that they controlled for so long.After all, if there’s one thing McDonald’s is, it’s a sign of American culture. And there it is, standing at one of the most significant sites in German and Cold War history.

Maybe they should reconsider?

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