Achtung Baby

25 Years Ago. I’m not a tourist, I’m not a real traveller. I prefer to stay at home. Surely I’m missing something, right? But I don’t care. Do what you love and enjoyment will follow.

25 years ago, we drove to West Berlin, crossed the East German border and went to Magdeburg. People in Berlin began taking hammers and chisels to the Berlin wall, tearing it down piece by piece. It was cool being part of that scene.

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Many people believe the iconic Trabant was one of the biggest mistakes in automobile history. Actually, I think it was a real cool car.

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We bumped into Russian soldiers in the Magdeburg area and followed them to their base. My friend took some photographs before we were chased away by armed soldiers. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life as I was at that moment. Thank goodness my friend drove a fast Audi 100. For a few minutes we felt like we were real spies.

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79 responses

      • You and your friend were an important part of an important time in history! I’m sure that escape from the Russians was scary!

        A long time ago, I worked with an engineer who escaped Viet Nam during the war. Came here as a refugee, went to school, and started a new life.

    • Dit was mijn mooiste reis tot nu toe, dankzij Geert. Nou ja, ik moet nog steeds naar New Mexico in de U.S. of A. vliegen uiteraard… 😉

      PS: Er ligt nog steeds een origineel stuk steen van de Berlijnse Muur in mijn kast onder de iMac.

  1. Now that is way too cool. I remember when people started taking down “The Wall”! And just think that you were part of it and have photos to boot! For so, so long everyone assumed The Wall would be there forever. That’s mighty brave of you and your friend to follow Russian soldiers to their base and your friend take photos — another example of the benefits of fast cars. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Thank you, Timothy! This was by far, the most exciting (and scary) time of my life. So glad we had a fast German car… The Russian army vehicle was way too slow! 🙂

  2. WOW super, onze Tom is net terug van Berlijn en was daar al voor de 2de keer en wil er terug naar toe. Wel beangstigend wat daar allemaal ooit gebeurd is maar naar het schijnt een hele mooie stad om te verblijven. Misschien toch is tijd om er nog een keertje terug naar toe te gaan!? 😉

    • Berlijn was echt (toen) heel indrukwekkend. Vooral de verschillen tussen Oost en West waren enorm. Eenmaal over de grens leek je in een zwart-wit film uit de jaren 40′ rond te lopen. Alles was grijs, oud en versleten. Naar ‘t schijnt is er nog weinig van het oude Oost-Berlijn terug te vinden… Jammer.

      PS: Ja, misschien eens terug gaan. Hier kan ik tenminste met de auto naar toe… 😉

  3. I was one of the people you heard cheering way over here. The Berlin Wall was just about the first piece of greater-world reality that I became aware of as a small thing. (They explained it to me after the whole family went to see Jimmy cagney in “1-2-3”.) When my ex-husband, who had been listening to a ball game on the radio, lifted up his earphone and said “The news just broke in. The Berlin Wall has fallen,” I thought I had dropped into an alternate time stream.

    • We spent the night in East Berlin with a guy who was separated from his family (on the West) because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He told us stories you wouldn’t believe…

  4. Wow Herman! My university degree was in history, which my grandfather taught me to love. The real history is about regular people and this was a treat to see. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Angela. I still cherish my days in Berlin and East Germany. It felt like walking in a movie. The people of East Germany were so friendly and kind, they gave us free food and drinks… We felt a bit uneasy about it.

  5. Wow, Herman, this is a wonderful post. What vivid memories I have of this time, too. But I was listening on the radio. You were there! And it’s wonderful to see a picture of you. Shouting that wall down!

    • Thank you, Bugs. I thought this would be a good post because it was 25 years ago and it’s all over the news again. We had a great time over there…

  6. That is really cool to have tangible pieces of history and memories…scary to hear about being chased but such a great time of change. Glad you made it through. Thanks for sharing. I remember watching the news and thinking how surreal it all was … and is still. 🙂

    • Thank you! It’s all over the news again and I was having a flashback. I found the photographs and scanned them for this post. We had a great time in Berlin.

  7. Herman, thank you for sharing your great story. I remember the day the wall came down, it was my last year living in Germany, in Munich, before I came over to the USA. It was one of the greatest moment in history and people were so excited and happy. I do remember the Trabants.

    • Glad you liked this post, Cornelia! If I had to pick one great moment in my life it would be this one, I guess. I remember you could buy a Trabant for a few Deutsche Mark. We almost bought one… 😉

  8. Hello, Herman! Broke chips off the Berlin wall, photographed and got chased by E German soldiery, escaped successfully, and You say You are Not a Traveller! Haha! 🙂

  9. Mooie foto’s…voor de moment is er een reeks van 4 bezig op Vlaanderen Vakantieland over Berlijn en die is echt super!

    • Ik verkies Berlijn boven Parijs, Amsterdam en Brussel (hahaha). Londen was wel ok, maar waarschijnlijk ook door de taal en de muziek-scene.

    • Thank you, pinayfoodtographer! Welcome on HoB. Thanks for visiting and following the blog. Much appreciated! Mr. Bowie says “Meow!”

  10. Great share of photos H. What a momentous time to be there . I remember following it on the news a friend happened to be visiting Berlin .. she too came home with a little bit of the wall 🙂

  11. That is very cool!! I had a roommate once that had went through Checkpoint Charlie and told me stories of how they escorted them to a certain restaurant right on the other side so they could experience “real” Berlin. Yeah right! But wait….what does Mr. Bowie think of all this???

  12. How cool to have been part of this historic experience- the photos are great! I remember watching the wall come down on tv and I had a small piece of the wall that someone gave me. Thanks for sharing this with us, really cool.

    • I’m so glad I was there at that moment. But following Russian soldiers in a foreign country… No thank you, I would pass this time… 😉

  13. Holy Belgium Chocolate Herman! You were brave to go there in that uncertain climate. I guess we have little fears when we’re young. Looking like a pretty cool dude there.

    Actually, the Berlin Wall was built the year I was born. I can’t imagine the shock of becoming a hostage there basically over night.

    Those Trabants are super cool. I’d drive one in a heartbeat. Look at this little darling….the two tone one fourth pic down…..sigh.

    http://www.buzzybeeforum.nl/viewtopic.php?f=120&t=28943

    Dream on Boomdee Dream on

  14. Wow… my brother was in Magdeburg he was a russian soldier just that time… it was so long time ago … i even forgot about this time… but i didnt understand why u were scared by russian soldiers ? what was scaring in that ?

  15. Happy anniversary! It’s fun to have one of those scary-at-the-time stories turn into something you can laugh about later. The closest my humans ever got to the wall was through Pink Floyd. Thanks for sharing! =^,,^=

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