10 April 1980

Exploring West Berlin

Early in the morning we are ejected from our guesthouse and start looking for another place to spend the night. We found a couple of rooms for rent in the house of a friendly eighty-year-old woman in Charlottenburg. It's a beautiful home if a bit tired in terms of furniture and decorations.

Our hostess in Berlin

As soon as we arrive, and she hears we are studying in Poland, she starts telling us stories about the war. She lived in Gdansk (then Danzig) and saw the first Stukas dive bomb Poland on 1 September 1939. She also saw German battleships shell Polish territory but not a shot coming from the other direction. She is not nostalgic of pre-war Germany, but quite a bit worried about living in divided contemporary Germany, especially in isolated West Berlin.

In the afternoon we visit Charlottenburg and the big radio tower. We walk for many kilometers, I am quite exhausted by the end of the day.

Dinner at a simple Italian restaurant, San Giorgio, OK quality and cheap, what we need. Italian food abroad is rarely as good as at home in Italy, but it is usually inexpensive and filling, excellent for three students on the go!

We then walk around the city, aimlessly, hopping from one Bierstube to the next without any particular goal or target in mind. We are impressed by the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, left as a reminder the way it was after an Allied air raid in 1943.


This is what life in Berlin looked like at the end of five years of Allied bombing.

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