“Travels to a Different Time ” : August 16, 1971: West Berlin, East Berlin; East Berlin Glum and Drab

A late breakfast of hamburger and off to East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie. We arrive at the checkpoint and yes Mom forgot the passport so back we went to pick them up. We had to register and check out with the staff at Checkpoint Charlie and then we walked into East Berlin and into a control building where they stamped our passport and returned them to us. We then had to go to a bank and change a minimum of five deutschmarks each which we had to spend in East Berlin. Once we gave the money conversion slip we were free to walk into East Berlin. Compared to the vibrant and modern West Berlin it was drab and dark and quite depressing. There were very few people on the streets and virtually no stores. There was little to see so we headed back to West Berlin by checking out with the East German border guards. We stopped at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum which explained the history of the Wall and showed so many desperate East Germans trying to escape over barbed wire they quickly laid before constructing the Wall. Frightening. They also had a display showing how people smuggled themselves out including a car with secret compartments.

August 19, 1971: East Berlin: Back to East Berlin

I returned to East Berlin on my own. I walked around like crazy and again there was really nothing to see.

August 21, 1971: West Berlin: At The British Officer’s Club

This afternoon it was off to the British Officer’s Club to use the pool. As Michael, Heidi’s boyfriend, is in the diplomatic core he knows many important people in Berlin. We stayed until 7. The pool was great but the Adriatic it was not. There were lots of very pasty white British people sort of like me when I started this trip. They seemed to be drinking lots of gin and tonic!

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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