View Full Version : Berlin in the day.
07-08-2009, 01:26 PM
Someone referenced Checkpoint Charlie in another thread and it got me thinking about Berlin back in the day.
Any old-time Berlin Brigade cats here? Or Embassy guards? Or D.S.S.? We have had reminiscences of life in Saigon before, but did anybody pull any tours in Berlin during the '60's or 70's?
What was it like? Was it a good posting or was it a P.I.T.A.? Tell us a story.
07-08-2009, 03:17 PM
I used to visit Berlin occasionally prior to Nov. 1989 when "the wall came down". Check point Charlie was tedious and slow and you had to pay some hard currency but I can't remember how much. I haven't been to Berlin for a few years now. When I last drove there, about 10 yrs ago navigation was hard because the roads developed independently for almost 30 years and were then grafted together. The result was about as far from a grid iron as you can get.
07-08-2009, 04:07 PM
Many years ago I went to the Granada TV studios in Manchester and they had the "Checkpoint Charlie" used in some spy film. You walked through it and you were in the Baker Street set used for Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes!
My week in Berlin was in the early 70's when I was just a teen. The weather there the whole time was overcast, cool, and often rainy, which seemed fitting when we viewed Checkpoint Charlie and toured the nearby museum about the checkpoint and the Berlin Wall. I never made it to the other side of the wall because the trip I was on was a Boy Scout troop, with the leaders being U.S. Army officers. The DDR (East Germany) simply did not let those guys in.
At that period in time there was still the high tensions and possible reality that the Soviet tanks would roll across the East German border at any time. If that happened Dad would go to war while Mom gathered up us kids and evacuated through France. It was simply something that we lived with but didn't think about, like the gas mask that Dad was required to keep at home which he kept out of sight in the back of a closet.
The train ride to Berlin was a kind of spooky experience. We had to stop at the border and the East German soldiers came through the train while the locomotives were traded. Then the whole thing repeated when we got to Berlin before we could cross into the free zone. The whole train ride happened at night, which made it even more ominous.
Fast forward to last November when I was in Washington DC. It was really odd to see Checkpoint Charlie in a museum there.
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