“Travels to a Different Time” :August 25, 1971: East and West Germany: Heidi Has a Sobbing Fest: My Escape From East Germany

Summing up today it was a bit of excitement and disappointment. Heidi, Mom and I had an early breakfast then Heidi’s boyfriend called and for some reason Heidi broke out in sobs. Such a nice person must endure tears and sadness. What did Michael do wrong? With dry eyes we were out the door and in Heidi’s Beetle to Frankfurt to catch a flight back to the United States. It was a pain to get into East Germany which calls itself the German Democratic Republic (DDR). What a joke that name is. A country that imprisons its own citizens with a wall is not democratic. Finally we got our visa to enter the DDR to get to Frankfurt. The roads in the DDR were atrocious. Heidi pointed out a few cars with their hoods open on the road. Often it is the only way East Germans and West Germans can meet with fake car breakdowns. Again I say the DDR is far from democratic. Finally at the West German border more DDR bureaucracy to deal with. I am sure there is much to see in the DDR but travel for tourists is rigidly controlled like it is in the USSR. It was good to be back in West Germany and the autobahn is a beautiful, well constructed and maintained road. We stopped for petrol and phoned the Overseas National Airways (ONA) office in Frankfurt and found out there was a flight to Oakland leaving early next morning. New York would be better but why not California? Another destination to explore for a few days. We had a picnic at 6 p.m. and then the long drive to Frankfurt. I had to speak to Heidi who was driving so she didn’t doze off. We arrived at the airport at 10 p.m. and said sad farewells to our good friend Heidi. The ONA counter said there were seats to Oakland leaving at 1 a.m. Hello California! Good-bye Europe!

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. 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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