After we settled in our Flat in Berlin, The days were often the same. Jack went off to fly Charter Flights, and I went off to explore. It was such an exciting time, and living in the heart of Berlin was the place to be back in the summer of 1989.
I went out to Steinstücken and peered through the wire fence at the manned East German Tower. I remember staring at the guard, who stared right back at me!
Jack looked into taking a trip through Check Point Charlie and into Alexander Platz, East Berlin. We found out that we could ride on a Military Bus, as they went I believe it was, twice a week, in order to maintain equal access to the Eastern part of Berlin.
We were told to change our Deutch Marks on the West side of the Wall, into East Marks in order to get the best exchange rate. So, we did this.
I remember being terrified of going through the Wall. Because we were on the Army Bus, when we crossed the Check Point, all we had to do was hold up our Passports showing that we were Americans. No one boarded the bus, and no one stamped our passports. It was very strange indeed!
The first few times, Jack was with me, and we did things like walk through the department store in the center of Alexander Platz, go into a music store where they sold wonderful cassette tapes of classical music, and walked about two blocks from the center to a little restaurant that served a good meal and really cheap but good beer! We also found a Toy Shop and liked to visit that store a great deal. The saleswoman always had something she had saved for Jack. I can still see her bright smile when she saw him enter the store!
Maribeth at Alexander Platz 1989
I enjoyed shopping in East Berlin. I bought a few china pieces, some glasses, but my most prized possession was two beautiful cotton comforters. I have used them every day since 1989 and they are currently in tatters. I really need to retire them, but they are just right, weight wise, and warmth wise.
I made eleven trips into East Berlin during this time. I went over to see how the East Berliners lived, and to soak it all up. I would sit in this small cafe, having lunch and a cold beer and just watch. Children would be playing, people would be talking, and surprisingly the roads were pretty quiet.
When the Wall finally did come down later that year, we flew back. We went down to the center of Berlin, near the Brandenberg Gate and stood on top of the Wall!
We also walked along the Wall with our friends and saw this opening. Staring back was a young, and somewhat surprised, East German Guard. We all smiled at each other!
There is more to write about that summer. We had our daughters over for a month and it was quite an experience for them. I want to scan in some of their pictures so you can see how they did during the month they were there, living as Germans do. At least food wise.
But that is for another post!
2 thoughts on “Germany Part 3, The Summer of 1989”
I am really enjoying your Berlin visit. It has not occurred to me before, but what must have been going through the minds of East Berliners in their ‘little island’. Joy? Uncertainty? Fear? Relief? Perhaps all of those and most certainly a feeling of the loss of security. They were such interesting times and I did follow it all quite closely at the time.
I forgot about “Check Point Charlie”
Coffee is on