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Experiences in The East (Edit - Not the East Stand / East Terrace....)

On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, did any lifers travel or live on the other side before 1989?


  • I went to East Berlin on the underground train from West Berlin, after a train journey through what was East Germany.
    Also hitch hiked through what was Yugoslavia from South to North.
  • (I'd change the title, mate. People think it's a thread about a stand-off with coffee flasks in the East Stand :-) )

    Sure. I'd got the "bug" in 1986, and made friends especially in Bulgaria, which meant I lived through the whole thing, and of course eventually made my home here in Prague. One of my Bulgarian friends helped us get Kishi, as I've mentioned a few times before. In summer of 89 at the end of my holiday on the coast I said to him "mate, i really think things will change". He said "maybe, but it will take at least 10 years". Just 4 months later we met up in Sofia for New Year's Eve, and the whole stinking edifice of Communist repression had come crashing down.

    My wife and I were in Berlin this week on Thurs and Friday. Happy coincidence as we were there for a concert but we took it all in. My wife after all is one of the 000's of Czech students who gathered in Narodni street in Prague on November 17, and she got beaten with a truncheon for her troubles. The atmosphere was pretty special, even though they are very aware that it hasn't been "happy ever after" for everyone. We managed to stream the concert live via ZDF (if you are interested, try Googling "Mauerfall konzert")

    I hope people will take some interest, because whatever the issues we have to day, it sure as hell is better than having that sodding wall and the Iron Curtain, and that's worth celebrating. Changed my life, big time, of course.

  • I'm in this picture.
    middle row, 98th from the left?
  • Always been a regret of mine that I never visited West Berlin or Eastern Europe before the wall came down

    I visited Prague in October 1990 though, so less than a year after the velvet revolution and I imagine little had changed, especially as I went there by train. I had been invited to the student arm of a management conference a year earlier (when the communists were still in power) so the itinerary would have changed massively! The best bit was staying with a local family, they lived at the end of a Metro line in one of the horrible Soviet style estates. Beer in the local drinking den out there was dirt cheap of course

    I stayed with them every summer for the next few years, the city changed very quickly. 
  • edited November 2019
    Went to Moscow in 73. Four days. Food was appalling. Frumpy attendants by lift on every floor. Zywiec (Polish) beer was great. One (married) guy met a girl after about 30 minutes on 1st night, didn't see him again until airport on way home. Was it you Golfie?

    Sold a hippie shirt that nearly paid for whole trip although hotel and flight paid for by Pa's trade union.

    1st snow of year on way home, so change of plane could only take 80% of party. We volunteered to stay and were treated to decent food and as much Russian champagne as we could drink. And we got back before earlier flyers.

    All with two days sickies. Hey ho. 
  • After the wall had fallen but we got a train from Poznan in Poland to Berlin after the '91 Euro Qualifier that went through the old East Germany.

    Word had obviously got out that a train containing England fans was on it's way as it kicked off at every station along the way and various objects were lobbed at the windows as we passed through towns.

    We got to Berlin around 11pm and all we wanted to do was find an all night bar as we were getting train to Amsterdam first thing in the morning. There were 5 of us as and as we got off the train, we were clocked by a mob of big lumps with batons who made a beeline for us. I was shitting myself but it turned out they were undercover old bill who were looking for trouble makers. Luckily, we convinced them we weren't.

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Roland Out!