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Report 1316: European Travel Back When - 1964

By Marian from New Jersey, Summer 1995

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Page 18 of 20: Berlin, East and West

We find rooms at a hostel, which is far from the center but very nice. In the afternoon, we walk all over Berlin, and along the Wall, which is very depressing construction, topped with barbed wire. It's like a barrier in the middle of Central Park. Along the wall are viewing stands, where you can look over into East Berlin. And we see souvenir sellers at Checkpoint Charlie.

In the evening we walk along the broad, elegant streets of West Berlin. Not too many people are out, but those we do see look prosperous. In the store windows, the merchandise appears to be of good quality, but not much style. (Of course, I have just spent five weeks in France and Italy, so my standards are pretty high.)

I try to call Buddy today as planned, but can't reach him. So I send him a telegram. My trip is nearly over, and I still haven't been able to see my cousin! And tomorrow we will go to East Berlin.

My last weekend in Europe has come! We cross through Checkpoint Charlie; leaving my passport with the Volkspolizei was scary. East Berlin is deserted. The famous avenue Unter den Linden has few people, and the ones we do see look much poorer than in the West. We order ice cream, which is watery and served in a cracked glass. Some new housing has been built, but it is drab, not like the beautiful housing we have seen in West Berlin. So back to West Berlin we go.

The weather is too hot today, Sunday, to do anything strenuous. So we go out to the (1936) Olympic Stadium Pool to swim. My companion appears to be either ignorant of or oblivious to recent history, and this is really beginning to annoy me. Well, only one more day, and I will be back on my own.

It turns out that I will NOT be able to fly back to Brussels from Hanover, as the flights only run once a week; somehow the Pan Am clerk in Hanover had neglected to mention this. So I will have yet another long overnight train ride.

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