Berlin Day 5

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

BERLIN - Day 5

Date: 26th August 2011

BERLIN - Day 5

Only had the morning as my flight was mid afternoon. We decided to try again and visit the Allied Museum which was almost on the doorstep.

Words fail me - I had thought it would be mildly interesting but it was fascinating and extremely well laid out. There are two buildings - one enters and faces the old American cinema in true Art Deco style and this is filled with mementoes of the second World War and the Berlin Air Lift. (I have to admit that although I’d heard of the Airlift, I had no idea what it was all about) It was a really remarkable feat keeping the West Germans provided with food and fuel for the 11 months between June 1948 and May 1949 when the Soviets blocked all access for the Western Allies to West Germany. You can hardly credit it but there were four layers of supply planes going in to Templehof and Tegel every minute - by layers I mean four different levels of Air Corridors. Sadly with the proximity of the take offs and landings and the narrow strip separating the air routes there were many fatalities.

There were sad reminders of the war but also some pleasant mementoes of Romances which had crossed the dividing line between nationalities.

It would take an essay for me to tell you all that was in the first Building which was separated by a Hastings TG503 (one of the original supply planes) from the building on the left which had an extensive display of various moments in the history of Berlin during the Cold War.

Outside and next to the Hastings (open to clamber over on Sundays for the exorbitant sum of €1 !!!) exhibits ranged from the original Check Point Charlie, a small part of the Berlin Wall (dire concrete on the Eastern side and decorated with rather fine graffiti on the Western side - rather Banksy-ish) and a Control Tower.

We spent hours in the museum and I can’t speak highly enough of the visit - a must for anyone visiting Berlin and needing to understand about the Cold War and the division of the City.

Along with many I've often asked the question 'Who Won the War' when one sees what Germany has become and to a lesser extent France.  I can do no better than point you in the direction of the Internet and the Marshall Aid Plan - particularly look at the BBC programme comment - apparently we got more than any other country and our Governments wasted it in thinking we were still going to be a world power with Sterling at its centre.  Matters didn't work out that way and look at us now - our Governments still punching above our weight whilst we see our living standards and care of the elderly going ever further down the drain.  I will either be plucking a harp or roasting sausages but in time, little Old Britain will be a nothing on the World Stage.  Just like the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, we've had our day.  Just look to the other side of the world to see the emerging nations.  Sorry to sound so much of a Jonah but the Great is fast moving out of Britain.

I consider myself so very lucky to have been born when I was.  We'd come through an horrific war and the only way was up.  Of course, there were far more jobs in those days apart from the rebuilding of our damaged country we had a vibrant manufacturing arm.  There were jobs for all and a massive work ethic.  As children we didn't have very much in the way of toys but we made our own fun.

Have just been reading extracts from the latest book by Joan Collins and agree with every word she's written.  But Joannie is a big star and can get away with saying what so many of us feel but don't dare utter.  I shall buy her book.

Auf Weidersehn,  Jan

In the Courtyard of the Allied Museum - Checkpoint Charlie (the genuine thing transplanted here)

BERLIN - Day 5

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