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July 19, 1983

* Berlin *

Today, didn't even make it to breakfast. Was going to do laundry, but didn't quite make it. Stayed up in the room, flopped on the bed until 11:30.

11:30 boarded the bus and onto the Reichstag. It is a museum that was once the Parliament for Germany. We saw displays on Hitler, how he came to power, what were the other influences, etc. Our tour guide, Dorothea, had never given a tour in English before. Usually, the station manager translates. She did pretty well over all. We were served lunch in the museum cafeteria - pot roast and potatoes and carrots. After lunch we saw half an hour's worth of Hitler propaganda news reels.

After that, a bunch of us decided to go to East Berlin. About 20 of us. We arrived at Checkpoint Charlie. A big black sergeant, who reminded me of T.J. on Magnum, PI, gave us a lecture on the dos and don'ts. Talk about being psyched out! Don't talk to them, don't bring any money back, behave yourselves, don't drink Coke there - a certain chemical in there will give you a horrible case of the runs. He was really nice. He also gave us telephone numbers - American Embassy and the guys at Checkpoint Charlie - just in case something happened. Thank goodness nothing did.

It took us over an hour to process through. It was so strange. The first thing I saw once I got on the other side was a TV camera on top of a building. Saw a bunch of those as we toured.

We walked down Unter den Linden, the main street. We stopped at the café next to the opera house. We all had ice cream sundaes - not bad. It was so quiet - for a city that size and the amount of people out - too quiet.

We wondered all around - looked at churches, Humboldt University and did go up to the sky (tv) tower. Great view of the city - the wall, Brandenburg Tor, the avenue (like France's Champs de Elysees).

We finally ended up at the Ratskeller in the old town hall for din-din. We were too late for early dinner, so we had to come back at 7. Had chicken - a huge baked piece and vegetables. Everyone else had steak in a weird tomato sauce. Ended up giving most of my bird to Dan and John - there was just too much!

After dinner, we walked back to the border. Since we had to get rid of our East German marks, we searched all over for a place to spend it. Ended up at the railway station - bought out an old lady's supply of cookies and candies - 30 marks worth. We met up with Yale and Larry at the border. It only took 10 minutes to get through. It was funny - we had been warned about the border - the hassles we would have getting out. The East German guards were polite - one cute blond one even smiled at us. Took the bus (a double decker) back to the hotel - fun!

There was a note from Georg & Peter on the hotel door saying 'come to the corner bar and tell us you're back from East Berlin" - so we went. Nice quiet bar - just one pool table. Sharon & I split a red beer and had an orange juice each



Notes:
  • I think we had to each buy $25 American worth of East German money
  • One of our members started ranting about the Communists, and Sharon told her to be quiet

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