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Before and after the Fall of the Wall (Memories)

23 Jul

 

Sunday, the 16th of September, 2012.

On that day we were travelling by public transport to Borgsdorf visiting Ingrid and Erhard at their summer place. Ingrid is related to Peter’s family. Over the years we were always happy to visit Ingrid and Erhard whenever we happened to be in Berlin. On the phone Ingrid wanted to make sure we would come on Sunday. When I mentioned I still had a bit of a cold she said, not to worry, it was going to be a lovely, sunny day. I could just sit outside in the sun and this would do me good. I didn’t have to do anything. She was going to cook lunch for us, she said.

She did serve us a wonderful lunch. She loves to cook with healthy ingredients and lots of herbs and vegetables from her garden. I really felt all right sitting in the autumn sun for hours and hours, being served a lovely meal and later on coffee and cakes. Before the coffee break we all went for a walk to the close by river. Borgsdorf is a very secluded little village. In people’s gardens we could see fruit trees with hundreds of red apples on them.

This is an extract from a blog I wrote after our visit to Berlin in 2012:

http://auntyuta.com/2013/01/28/visiting-peoples-gardens-on-the-fringes-of-berlin/

 

My brother Peter Uwe had dropped us off at Berlin Tegel Airport. It was already afternoon, so he wanted to drive back straight away to his place in Mecklenburg/Vorpommern, where we had stayed with him and Astrid for the last few days of our holiday.

We checked in and then had plenty of time to have a drink with the six family members  who had come to see us off:
Peter’s cousin Ingrid, Peter’s nephew Daniel, Peter’s sister Ilse, and all their partners, all had come to farewell us.

It turned out, the flight to Amsterdam was delayed. Because of this,  we got into trouble with our connecting flight in Amsterdam. We had in Amsterdam actually less than one hour to get to our connecting flight. When I pointed this out to a cabin crew member he inquired about my age and whether I could walk all right. I told him I couldn’t walk as fast as younger people. Voila, a drive on a buggy was arranged for Peter and me.

Being driven through the immense airport with passengers roaming about and making way for the buggy, we felt like in a movie. It was a long, long drive to the departure point for our connecting flight. I doubt I could have made it in time by walking. We were extremely grateful for the lift and were able to board on time on the long stretch to Kuala Lumpur.

At Kuala Lumpur Airport we had a seven hour rest. From there we took off  on a seven hour flight to Sydney.  The longest non-stop stretch was from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, namely eleven hours! During this long flight Peter got sick. After that he had hardly anything to eat anymore.

I got distracted again. Searching for some pictures of Ingrid and Erhard,  I finally found the departure pictures that Peter took at Berlin Tegel Airport. You can look at them here:

http://auntyuta.com/2012/11/21/resting-at-kuala-lumpur-airport/

 

All the above happened in 2012. The wall had come down already in 1989. We were still thinking about it and all the changes it had brought. Berlin was an undivided city again, East- and West-Germany were one country. But we could still remember what it was like before the Fall of the Wall.

BACK IN AUSTRALIA

I wrote the following on the 19th of November 2012:

Peter and I  landed safely back in Australia. Yesterday morning our daughter Caroline picked us up from Sydney airport and drove us to our home (100 km south of Sydney). So we’ve been back home now for nearly thirty hours and are gradually getting rid of our jet legs. Everything is fine at our place. Our lovely daughter is going to stay with us till tomorrow (Tuesday).

Six people had come to Berlin Tegel airport on Friday to see us off. We found the perfect place to have a drink with them. This was very relaxing for us. We knew already that our plane to Amsterdam was going to leave somewhat later than originally planned. My brother had driven us to the airport from his place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He had only dropped us off,  for he wanted to  be  back home before it got too dark.

In Amsterdam we had scarce time to catch the connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur. We made sure we’d get some help by the airport people. Just as well! It turned out we had to go  right to the other end of the airport. This would have meant a tremendous walk for us. We were very grateful for being driven to our departure point. I doubt that we could have made it on time by walking.

In Kuala Lumpur we had close to seven hours to catch our Malaysian connecting flight to Sydney. This meant we had no problem with being on time for boarding at the departure gate. It also gave us the opportunity to stretch our legs a bit and then take a break in a beautifully furnished cafe with French songs playing in the background. The toilet facilities were also very welcome. We couldn’t take a walk through the airport’s beautiful open air jungle walk since it was closed for renovations. What a pity!

Near our departure gate we found some stretch-out chairs.  To be able to stretch out on these chairs we welcomed very much.

Some pictures of these stretch out chairs you can actually find in this blog:

http://auntyuta.com/2012/11/21/resting-at-kuala-lumpur-airport/

I wrote in this blog further on:

We were grateful for the long break at Kuala Lumpur Airport. It gave us ample time to recover a bit from the previous eleven hour non-stop flight. In Kuala Lumpur Peter even enjoyed the coffee and cake we had at one of the airport’s coffee-shops. At some other establishment we had a large glass of iced Chi tea. This tasted very good and was very refreshing. On the next seven hour stretch  to Sydney Peter refused food again. However he had lots of drinks all the time: Mainly water, but also some juice and coffee. He just didn’t feel like eating.

 

My main purpose of looking up all these posts was actually that I wanted to be reminded what experiences we had on previous visits to Berlin when the city was divided by that Wall. There was a lot of confusion going on about currencies in East and West, lifestyle changes dividing East and West, crippling shortages in the East. a lot of spying going on in the East, West-Berliners making nasty remarks about the “poor” East-Berliners and so on.

And after the Fall of the Wall? To this day these parts of Germany that had previously been GDR territory are still a bit less prosperous than their cousins in the other parts of Germany. Yes, it is one country again, but you do find differences. People in the East seem to be somewhat different from people in the West. The unemployment rate is much higher in the eastern parts of Germany. West-German companies seem to prefer to go to a neighbouring Eastern country where they can pay lower wages.

For some time low cost housing was available in East-Germany. In areas where there is work or tourism, housing prices are on the up. In some remote areas, where there is no work, low cost housing is of no use to the people. It is unbelievable, but people who cannot afford any more to pay for housing and live on the streets for most of the year, these people are on the increase, while other people gentrify their places, and they invest in places they can let for more and more rent. How about this attitude that “the Market” regulates all?

 

 

 

 

 

Memories: A Job at last

22 Jul

I started my first job on the 2nd of January 1953.  I very much dreaded the upcoming exams at Commercial College (Höhere Wirtschaftsschule). This is why I was overjoyed when I managed to land a job. It gave me the opportunity to leave school without having to do any exams. I wrote about it in November 2009 and copy it here:

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Meeting with Granddaughters in Melbourne Two Years ago

20 Jun

I copy here a blog that I published two years ago. At the time we had spent a lovely evening with Justine and Lauren. Both their birthdays are in June. They are six years apart. Justine lives in Melbourne and Lauren lives in Newcastle. Because it is their birthday this month, I thought I republish this blog which has a few lovely pictures with the birthday girls.

http://auntyuta.com/2013/04/22/out-and-about-in-melbourne/

Famous sculpture at the Yarra River in Melbourne.

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Peter, granddaughter Lauren and I had been waiting at Flinders Street Station for granddaughter Justine who was going to meet us there after work. It was a happy meeting after not having seen each other for sooo long!

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Uta and granddaughters at the Yarra River

Uta and granddaughters at the Yarra River

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Dinner at Il PRIMO POSTO, Italian Restaurant

Dinner at Il PRIMO POSTO, Italian Restaurant

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After dinner we strolled to a Gelato shop that was still open. We each had a little tub of this delicious gelato and sat down at a large table with a terrific view of the Yarra.

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This was a lovely night out with the granddaughters. Justine caught the train back home from Flinders Street Station. Peter and I went with Lauren by train back to Essendon where our son Martin was waiting with the car to take us home.

A visit to Australia’s Wonderland in Sept. 1988 and another Visit to Canberra in Jan1989

12 Jun
Caroline with friend Amy in Australia's Wonderland, Sept.1988

Caroline with friend Amy in Australia’s Wonderland, Sept.1988

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In January 1989, during the summer school holidays, we went with Caroline, Troy and Ryan to Canberra. Previously we had stayed in Canberra only for the day, driving back home on the same day. During the kids’ summer holidays and Peter having a few days rostered off, we took the chance to book into a Canberra motel to stay there for a couple of nights.

This is a park in Goulbourn, where we stopped for some refreshments on the way to Canberra.

This is a park in Goulbourn, where we stopped for some refreshments on the way to Canberra.

Let's do a city tour here in Canberra.

Let’s do a city tour here in Canberra.

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A Trainride around the Cockington Greens

A Trainride around the Cockington Greens

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A Toytrain at Cockington Green

A Toytrain at Cockington Green

Having some Fun at the Motel's Swimming Pool.

Having some Fun at the Motel’s Swimming Pool.

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Our Visit to Canberra towards the End of June 1988

12 Jun

Towards the end of May 1988 we had been in Queensland. Some time later we went for a visit to Canberra. Caroline was nine and a half.

The New Parliament House, June 1988

The New Parliament House, June 1988

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This is the Old Parliament Building

This is the Old Parliament Building

On the steps of the Old Parliament

On the steps of the Old Parliament

In the Pine Forest near Canberra,  June 1988

In the Pine Forest near Canberra, June 1988

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Visiting Queensland in 1988

10 Jun
This is our new car: A Nissan Pulsar GL

This is our new car: A Nissan Pulsar GL

After Peter’s birthday in May 1988 we went by train to Murwillumbah. We had a sleeper compartment on the overnight train. Our new car, the Nissan Pulsar GL, went with us on the train!

Caroline took this picture of us after we had arrived in Muwillumbah.

Caroline took this picture of us after we had arrived in Muwillumbah.

Caroline liked that our train had had a dining car!

Caroline liked that our train had had a dining car!

From Muwillumbah it was not far to Queensland. Our destination was Brisbane. At the time there was the 1988 EXPO in Brisbane. We had booked accommodation very close to the EXPO. There was heaps to see for us at this EXPO. A few days later our car took us to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Here we stopped our car to have a look at the Glasshouse Mountains.

Here we stopped our car to have a look at the Glasshouse Mountains.

We stayed in a cabin on the Sunshine Coast. There was a swimming pool. The water was rather cool. But Caroline dared to go into it for a bit.

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We visited the Big Pineapple Farm. There was a Bamboo Forest close by.

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Caroline seems to enjoy farm life.

Caroline seems to enjoy farm life.

This “Castle” is at the Sunshine Coast. We stopped there for some pictures.

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This is near the border to New South Wales on our way back.

This is near the border to New South Wales on our way back.

Martin, Liz and Tristan lived in this house in Tamworth at the time.

Martin, Liz and Tristan lived in this house in Tamworth at the time.

We stopped there to say Hello.

It looks like both Caroline and Tristan love to help in the kitchen.

It looks like both Caroline and Tristan love to help in the kitchen.

From August 1987 to May 1988

10 Jun

Half Marathon finishing at Stuart Park, Wollongong, 23-8-1987

Peter is still in full flight after 1hr27:33, which is his best time so far.

Peter is still in full flight after 1hr27:33, which is his best time so far.

Martin goes across the finishing line.

Martin goes across the finishing line.

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This is a school portrait of Caroline that she sent to her grandmother in Berlin.

This is a school portrait of Caroline from 1987 that she sent to her grandmother in Berlin.

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On a Sunday in 1987 this picture was taken at Albion Park Station by an enthusiastic  passenger: Peter with Caroline and the Twins.

On a Sunday in 1987 this picture was taken at Albion Park Station by an enthusiastic passenger: Peter with Caroline and the Twins.

Tristan is two and a half years old riding his bike at Ashfield, Dec. 1987

Tristan is two and a half years old riding his bike at Ashfield, Dec. 1987

Christmas Eve 1987 at David's Parents Place.

Christmas Eve 1987 at David’s Parents Place.

Caroline tries to take a picture of Tristan playing, Peter looking on. Grandma Uta enjoys watching Tristan.

Peter with Caroline and the twins at Belmore Park in Sydney. Dec.1987

Peter with Caroline and the twins at Belmore Park in Sydney. Dec.1987

This is already May 1988. It is Peter's Birthday!

This is already May 1988.
It is Peter’s Birthday!

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We have Lunch at Chinatown in Sydney for Peter's Birthday.

We have Lunch at Chinatown in Sydney for Peter’s Birthday.

Caroline, Tristan and also Troy and Ryan enjoy a ride at Darling Harbour.

Caroline, Tristan and also Troy and Ryan enjoy a ride at Darling Harbour.

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Another photo from Peter's Birthday. Tristan is already very tired.

Another photo from Peter’s Birthday. Tristan is already very tired.

Gaby and David go back to Merrylands West in a Wheelchair Taxi.

Gaby and David go back to Merrylands West in a Wheelchair Taxi.

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