Eastern Germany

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
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138
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Trip End Ongoing


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Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Since I have been working at BT for the last 2.5 years, Lucy and myself, have had loads of cheap weekends using RyanAir. Everytime I have booked one of these flights, I always say to my Colleague John, you must come with us, so, when we booked some flights, finally, John and his girl, Krista decided to come with us.

So, we flew RyanAir, landed at Erfurt, and as there were 4 of us, we picked up the family station wagon and headed to Leipzig, as this was going to be our base for the long weekend in Germany. Our colleague at work, Gabby the German, had booked us an apartment, so when we arrived there, the owner could not speak any English, but somehow, she did explain that Goth Fest was on in town, and was expecting us to be Goths !!!!! It was getting late, and as we were 15 minutes away from town by tram, we hopped on the tram and went into town. Now, normally in Germany, as it is an honesty system and Aussies don't tend to be very honest, we did not buy a ticket. John questioned this, and I explained that if I said get up, get off now, it means there are ticket inspectors boarding and we are to leave now, but in all of the times we had been in Germany, we had never seen an inspector. Amused by this, we made our way into the city, had a walk around and then had dinner

In the morning, we headed off, and we were going in the direction of Colditz. Now if you haven't seen the movie, I won't explain about that part, but we drove into the town, it was very pretty, with the old castle looming over it. We drove up to the carpark and paid to go in. Being on the tour, gave us the advantage of going places that you normally can't. We saw the barracks and the places where the prisoners slept and then we visited the wine cellar. Once it had been full of wine, but these French officers, thought they could tunnel out through the cellar, but first they had to drink the wine. Once done, they needed to refill the bottles. This was simple, piss in them !!!!! According to a German soldiers diary at the time, he was guarding the wine cellar, and he decided to try some, and his notes stated that the French wine tasted of piss, but as it was French, he would be all sophisticated and continue to drink it !!!!! It was quite amazing to see all of the things they found there, the lights for the tunnels, the radios and the original designs of the glider. It was never used by the way, unlike the movie. It was an awesome experience and one I will never forget. It was nearly lunchtime, so we left and drove over to Dresden. It was a nice place, but you couldn't help feel that they were trying to hide their communist past. There was an amazing communist mural, but it was covered in a see through like material !!!!! We also saw a church, which they were rebuilding. It had been destroyed in the war. It will be amazing when finished. As we walked away, a boy with a perfect Stasi accent started questioning us. Where are you from? Where have you come from? How long will you stay here? As we left him, John started taking the piss out of the way he spoke, then he walked straight into a sign. Even funnier in my opinion !!!!! We had seen it all, so we drove back to the flat, jumped on a tram and went into the city. Then it happened. For the first time in my German experiences, I saw a woman, dressed officially, as she went to get on the tram, she put an armband on. This was a dreaded inspector. I looked at John, and said quite normally, "I think we should leave now " John asked why, but by this stage, Lucy and me were walking down the road quite inconspicuously. We had dinner, and by this stage, Leipzig was thick with Goths. Having been a bit of a Glam freak when I was younger, it was quite funny to see them all dressed up. Now the guys were freaks, but there were some very attractive girls around and I nearly imagined myself turning Goth !!!!!

The next morning, we jumped in the car early as we had a long drive to get to Buchenwald. A death camp. We followed the road up to it, and then it stated that it was closed, but being the non-believing type of signs like these, we drove up the road, and there it was. Were the locals trying to keep this place a secret ????? We will never know, but we grabbed a tape/guide and walked around. Lucy and me, have been to other death camps before, so it wasn't knew to us, and just like all the camps, it was very quiet. Hard to believe that there had ever been a camp here, but I guess that was why they were so successful and it was hidden well. The worst aspect of this was that for 5 years after the war, the Soviets continued using this as a death camp for Germans after the war had finished and only stopped in 1950 !!!!! It was grim, but for all the gremlins in my head, I needed to see it. We finished by taking a look at the huge memorial, then it was time to go back into Leipzig, but not before a brief visit to the Stasi museum. Here were all the old workings from the spies in Leipzig. It was very interesting to see, and highly recommendable. We dropped the car back, jumped back into the tram and went Goth spotting again. We even managed to find a boy who looked like the Statue of Liberty, but he would not hold a lighter for us !!!!!

The last day was spent driving to Weimar, as this was the old home to the Government. Lucy had always come here, so we had a quick walk around, and then it happened, we found the home of Goethe. All through Germany, streets are named after him, so it was slightly exciting for us to see this important piece of German history. Last but not least, we even managed to find the odd Trabant to knock, and then it was on to Erfurt. We had another walk around the town, it was a nice place. There was not much more to do, so we went back to the airport as it was time to go home
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