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View Full Version : The Economic Crisis and your holiday plans for 2009



Emil Miller
03-23-2009, 02:04 PM
I have read newspaper reports on the number of people who will not be travelling abroad this year due to the economic situation, how does the problem affect members plans regarding travel ?

Niamh
03-23-2009, 02:38 PM
It doesnt really affect my travel plans...but it affects my job as i work in the airport and less passengers = less sales = job losses.

alestar89
03-23-2009, 03:00 PM
I'm not traveling anytime soon due to school, but my parents, for example, are planning a trip to central Mexico to visit relatives sometime soon. They say the money is tight but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes :P

Niamh
03-23-2009, 03:25 PM
They are right. I've been saying for a long time that part of the economic crisis and the increase in job losses is down to our ourselves. Over here when the word resession started going around people tightened their purse strings and stopped spending. By doing this they in turn ended up causing economic problems, businesses to shut and thousands to lose jobs.

subterranean
03-23-2009, 03:32 PM
I'm going to Paris this Easter holiday. In May we'll have another holiday and I'm thinking of another travel (e.g. London or Berlin). But I'm feeling very hard to make decision whether I should go or not.

Niamh
03-23-2009, 03:35 PM
I've at least three more trips to England, one to Scotland and one to Belgium planned. And if I can, i might travel somewhere else. I'm not afraid to travel right now. Someone has to keep employment going! :D

pussnboots
03-23-2009, 04:06 PM
My husband and I have 2 trips in the works this year. Our first trip is to Texas for my nephew's wedding in September. Our second trip is to go overseas and adopt our forever child.

Annamariah
03-23-2009, 04:26 PM
I never travel anywhere anyway, so the economic crisis doesn't affect me in that way. Though probably with the current situation it's even less likely that I'd go anywhere...

papayahed
03-23-2009, 05:39 PM
erm, so far my plans are to go home for Easter, a Jimmy Buffett concert in June, at least one more summer trip somewhere (haven't decided yet), then for car trips I need to go to Dallas before the end of may for a museum exhibit and houston after may for the same reason.

Virgil
03-23-2009, 08:10 PM
Let me say that I bet the deals out there this year will be very good. If you have a job and therefore no loss of income (the economy effects you negatively only if you lose your job; if not you have bargining power), then I think it's an ideal time to travel. I bet there will lots of enticements for you to travel. And I bet the crowds will be smaller.

Emil Miller
03-23-2009, 08:16 PM
I'm going to Paris this Easter holiday. In May we'll have another holiday and I'm thinking of another travel (e.g. London or Berlin). But I'm feeling very hard to make decision whether I should go or not.

It is a pity for Danes travelling in Europe that Denmark opted out of the Euro, because now, like the UK, the currency is out in the cold. It looks as though London would be a better option than Berlin as the Euro zone is now very expensive for those countries who are not in it. Certainly, the pound has been falling dramatically against the Euro and that makes travel to most European countries much more expensive. I hope you enjoy Paris and you will get some idea of how the relative strength of the Euro affects holidays in the Euro zone.

Janine
03-23-2009, 08:20 PM
I have been in economic crisis for years now; so this year is not much different really. I won't be traveling anywhere, unless it is pretty much within my state or the neighboring one. I guess I will catch up on my reading instead. Exploring local areas can be fun in the summer months. Guess I will have to mind travel to exotic locales.

Emil Miller
03-23-2009, 08:38 PM
Let me say that I bet the deals out there this year will be very good. If you have a job and therefore no loss of income (the economy effects you negatively only if you lose your job; if not you have bargining power), then I think it's an ideal time to travel. I bet there will lots of enticements for you to travel. And I bet the crowds will be smaller.

Not necessarily Virg, there are large numbers of people here in the UK who are way above their heads in debt who are still working but cannot get credit and have to pay off their debts which the banks are now pressing for. In the past, they could take a holiday on a loan but that is no longer an option and with increasing numbers of people fearful of losing their jobs, a holiday is for many something they are not able to contemplate.

Virgil
03-23-2009, 08:47 PM
Not necessarily Virg, there are large numbers of people here in the UK who are way above their heads in debt who are still working but cannot get credit and have to pay off their debts which the banks are now pressing for. In the past, they could take a holiday on a loan but that is no longer an option and with increasing numbers of people fearful of losing their jobs, a holiday is for many something they are not able to contemplate.

Yes, that's true. But if they've taken on such debt they shouldn't be taking on any more anyway. That's part of the problem, everyone living on debt.

crisaor
03-23-2009, 11:00 PM
I have read newspaper reports on the number of people who will not be travelling abroad this year due to the economic situation, how does the problem affect members plans regarding travel ?
Funny, I read a note the other day telling how many united states citizens came here (to South America) to stay for longs periods of time in order to get away from the crisis. The dolar is worth many times the national currencies and prices are much cheaper relatively, even with the exchange rate.

JBI
03-23-2009, 11:18 PM
I've got 2 courses this summer - if they raise tuition, then I will be burned, but as it is, nothing really changed, except my family's investments have taken a bit of a beating (a minor one, relative to most people, as the bulk the wealth is in cash).

Emil Miller
03-24-2009, 05:36 AM
Funny, I read a note the other day telling how many united states citizens came here (to South America) to stay for longs periods of time in order to get away from the crisis. The dolar is worth many times the national currencies and prices are much cheaper relatively, even with the exchange rate.

The newspapers I read were talking about travel within the European context but even in the USA I should imagine that those people who have already lost their jobs will not be holidaying abroad this year. Although the US is at the centre of the economic storm, the dollar, so far, has retained its position as the most favoured currency because it is believed that no US administration would ever default on its debt; which cannot be said of countries whose currencies have been seriously damaged by the collapse in world banking.

MissScarlett
03-24-2009, 06:57 AM
I have been in economic crisis for years now; so this year is not much different really. I won't be traveling anywhere, unless it is pretty much within my state or the neighboring one. I guess I will catch up on my reading instead. Exploring local areas can be fun in the summer months. Guess I will have to mind travel to exotic locales.

I've been sort of in economic crisis for years now, too, so this only feels "a little worse" to me. I like to travel to my state parks to enjoy nature - the lakes, the flowers, the hills, etc. I'm really very content to stay home. I've traveled in the past and it's such a hassle - living out of a suitcase, wanting a book or DVD that's at home, sleeping in a strange bed, etc. I've found most places really look pretty much like most other places.

My husband and I are trying to keep afloat during the economic crises with his work and by using some of our savings to start our own business. I hope it works otherwise we'll just have to muddle along, budgeting carefully like we've always done in order to stay alive.

When I drive past the restaurants here, though, they are packed! I guess that's just people who haven't lost their jobs yet. I know we eat out far less often than we used to and at less expensive places.

motherhubbard
03-24-2009, 09:42 AM
(the economy effects you negatively only if you lose your job; if not you have bargining power)

There are millions of working poor who were struggling to buy the gas it takes to get to work. They are affected by the crisis even if they haven't lost their minimum wage jobs.


Yes, that's true. But if they've taken on such debt they shouldn't be taking on any more anyway. That's part of the problem, everyone living on debt.

AMEN!!! I'm so glad that someone said that. The idea that we can borrow ourselves out of debt is crazy. Borrowing for luxury items, like using a credit card to by coffee and not paying it off in full at the end of the month or going to the bank to fund a vacation, is a slippery slope. I donít know how people became so comfortable spending money they donít have. Having credit is vastly different than having money.

Virgil
03-24-2009, 12:51 PM
There are millions of working poor who were struggling to buy the gas it takes to get to work. They are affected by the crisis even if they haven't lost their minimum wage jobs.
.
Yeah, but that's no different than any other time.


AMEN!!! I'm so glad that someone said that. The idea that we can borrow ourselves out of debt is crazy. Borrowing for luxury items, like using a credit card to by coffee and not paying it off in full at the end of the month or going to the bank to fund a vacation, is a slippery slope. I donít know how people became so comfortable spending money they donít have. Having credit is vastly different than having money
Completely agree with you there. I have never run a credit card balance other than by accident of missing a payment due date. I use my credit card but I pay it off at the end of the month every time.

Emil Miller
03-24-2009, 01:25 PM
. I donít know how people became so comfortable spending money they donít have. Having credit is vastly different than having money.

The answer lies in the irresponsiblity of banks. For years there was a check on borrowers credit worthiness which kept personal and company debt within reasonable bounds. When bankers discovered that they could massively increase their business, and their personal earnings in consequence, by throwing caution to the winds, they started throwing money at people. Obviously, in this scenario, many people just took the money and ran. A certain amount of credit is necessary, after all how many people can buy a home on their basic earnings, but when banks started giving out loans at five times borrowers average earnings, they were sewing the seeds of their own destruction. Formerly, in the UK, it wasn't possible to borrow more than two and a half times average earnings. This wave of hot money started a boom in house prices which in turn led to people borrowing against the rise in the value of their properties and once again the banks were guilty because they encouraged personal debt by bombarding people with credit cards. I don't know how many I have thrown away as junk mail. Now, those people who were so comfortable spending money they didn't have, are feeling a lot less comfortable.

Dori
03-24-2009, 01:33 PM
Well, last year we wen't to Myrtle Beach.
This year---still Myrtle Beach. Though a little less spending money, no doubt.

I'm actually doing more travelling this year than I've done in any other year of my life. I'm going to NYC twice (Art Club field trip & Senior trip), then to Myrtle Beach with my family, and then, perhaps, up to the Adirondacks with other first-years from SUNY Geneseo (I get 1 credit our for going, keeping a journal, and writing a 5 page paper afterwards).

1n50mn14
03-24-2009, 01:53 PM
My personal motto has been 'Money come, money go' for years. If I have money, I'll spend it on what I enjoy doing, including traveling. I don't see the point in having the money squirreled away and not using it- don't we accumulate money in order to do things with it that we enjoy? I don't have a mortgage to worry about, or a car, or anything. I pay for my dog food, I pay for my own food, I help out my mum with rent and what have you... but I'm going to travel as much as possible, still. Experiences make life rich, not money.

1n50mn14
03-24-2009, 01:54 PM
Just to add to the credit card bit: I have a pre-paid credit card, simply so that I can do a little online shopping, and buy my airline tickets. So I never have to worry about spending money I don't have, because I've already paid for it.

motherhubbard
03-24-2009, 02:20 PM
The answer lies in the irresponsiblity of banks. For years there was a check on borrowers credit worthiness which kept personal and company debt within reasonable bounds. When bankers discovered that they could massively increase their business, and their personal earnings in consequence, by throwing caution to the winds, they started throwing money at people. Obviously, in this scenario, many people just took the money and ran. A certain amount of credit is necessary, after all how many people can buy a home on their basic earnings, but when banks started giving out loans at five times borrowers average earnings, they were sewing the seeds of their own destruction. Formerly, in the UK, it wasn't possible to borrow more than two and a half times average earnings. This wave of hot money started a boom in house prices which in turn led to people borrowing against the rise in the value of their properties and once again the banks were guilty because they encouraged personal debt by bombarding people with credit cards. I don't know how many I have thrown away as junk mail. Now, those people who were so comfortable spending money they didn't have, are feeling a lot less comfortable.

Is anyone surprised that the banks are out to make money? I doubt it. In the past one would borrow from the bank and the bank would make an ďinvestmentĒ in the borrower. Just like the tortoise in The Tortoise and The Hare taught, slow and steady wins the race. Sound investments meant money in the bank. That is still true. Somehow banks, and people, decided to opt for riskier options because of higher returns. When individuals invest in the market they must be prepared to take a loss, every stock comes with risk. When banks lend irresponsibly they must also be prepared to take a loss. As individuals it is our responsibility to borrow responsibly regardless of how banks or creditors are willing to lend. Who can know better what we can afford than ourselves? Not the bank. Itís for us to think about and manage. I think that the bank shareholders should be blaming bank practices and policies. Everyone else can only blame themselves.


My personal motto has been 'Money come, money go' for years. If I have money, I'll spend it on what I enjoy doing, including traveling. I don't see the point in having the money squirreled away and not using it- don't we accumulate money in order to do things with it that we enjoy? I don't have a mortgage to worry about, or a car, or anything. I pay for my dog food, I pay for my own food, I help out my mum with rent and what have you... but I'm going to travel as much as possible, still. Experiences make life rich, not money.

When I was around your age I was starving to death. My weight got down to 80 lbs; I didnít have the strength to carry myself to the toilet. I just didnít have the money to buy food. Itís rough to not know where your next meal is coming from and worse to know itís not coming. I never want to live with that kind of stress or uncertainty again. There is more to life than living each moment for the pleasure it might hold. I know that the future is all up in the air and that at any moment something could happen that would change our course in an unforeseeable way. We still must take steps toward the building of our futures.

motherhubbard
03-24-2009, 02:22 PM
Just to add to the credit card bit: I have a pre-paid credit card, simply so that I can do a little online shopping, and buy my airline tickets. So I never have to worry about spending money I don't have, because I've already paid for it.

Are you charged for the use of the card in any way or are they just making money off the money on your card that isn't used yet? I have a check card and I don't get charged for using it. Is it the same kind of thing?

TheFifthElement
03-24-2009, 03:04 PM
Well, we will probably have the stay-cation we've been having for the past few years. We haven't been abroad since before my son was born (he's now 9). I love to travel but I don't see the attraction of the 'holiday resort' and the kind of travelling I like to do you can't feasibly do with young children (too stressful). I'm pretty anti-flying anyway, so I'm happy to wait until the kids are a little older and we've got the money to spend and maybe we can do some real travelling through Europe on the very excellent railway networks. So if we do anything we might camp, or maybe spend a few days down in London in a cheap Travel Lodge/Premier Inn or the like and check out the excellent museums, but we can't really afford anything else this year. But there's loads of fun to be had at home just doing things differently to the day to day work/commute/exist lifestyle - we've had 'beach' parties in the back garden with sand and paddling pool, and days out to free and excellent places like the Lake District, which is pretty close, the Peak District, local museums, the seaside and so on. Going for a walk and a picnic is pretty cheap too (the view is free!).

motherhubbard
03-24-2009, 03:18 PM
Fifth, those are great ideas. We've been doing the same kind of thing. I live in a tourist area. It can be easy to take the local attractions for granted sometimes. We have been rediscovering the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. I’m planning a couple of trips to St. Louis with the kids this spring. I have family there that we will stay with. There is so much to do in St. Louis and most of it is free or pretty close.

kasie
03-24-2009, 03:25 PM
I have to have repairs done to my house this year, so I will not be making any major trips abroad, partly because the money will be needed to pay for the work and partly because I don't know when the builder will be starting - it's drainage work, so he needs a spell of dry weather. I have a ticket for the Globe Theatre in London for mid-June, so I may travel to London a few days early and make a short holiday there, visiting exhibitions and museums.

I grew up in post-war UK when everything was still scarce, including money. I saw my parents making economies, allocating money very carefully and thinking twice then one more time before spending anything. When I started working, salaries were still low and I had to budget very carefully to make my money stretch. When I bought my first property, I lay awake at night doing mental arithmetic to make sure I could actually afford it: soon after I moved in, interest rates for mortgages rose to 17.5% - more sleepless nights. But I survived - I didn't have lampshades and I had a second-hand sofa but I had a roof over my head and I could make the mortgage payments each month - just. It seems to me that many young people buying their first homes these days have to have everything looking as if it has come straight out of Homes and Gardens. They do not seem to understand that you can make do with your mum's old sofa until you can really afford that super new one.

My husband abhorred credit cards and would not have one in the house: I acquired one only two years ago to use on my first overseas trip, one that did not charge for purchases in currencies other than Stirling. I have to use it every month or it expires, so I use it once and have a direct debit arrangement with my bank so that the whole sum is paid off monthly, so I never have any interest to pay. Other payments I make by cheque or with a Debit card; I have no overdraft facility negociated with my bank, so I can spend only what I have or I incur heavy penalties. I have always been used to living within my income so the present restraints are not making any difference to my lifestyle - I grew up knowing you can spend only what you have.

I was alarmed to hear my grand-daughter talking about money just after she started her first job - she clearly had absolutely no idea of the difference between a Credit card and a Debit card. Her parents were equally alarmed - they thought she was aware of the difference - and even her brother's patient and lucid explanation failed to clear her confusion. I believe her Credit card was quietly removed and she was limited to cash until she showed she had grasped the financial implications. She's a bright girl but had a blind spot about finances. Fortunately she had parents patient enough and strong enough to help her understand how the system worked but I was worried for all the other youngsters who do not have this kind of support and guidance.

motherhubbard
03-24-2009, 03:38 PM
Kasie, that was a great post. I love that you were proud of your home with no lampshades. A lot of people think they have to have everything and have it all now. When I think about some of the things my husband and I had to do without in the beginning it makes me smile. I feel like those times were good times. I'm sure that I will look at these times the same way.

pussnboots
03-24-2009, 04:10 PM
M-H: you are so right when you said it is our responsibility to borrow responsibly reagrdless of how banks or creditors are willing to lend.

Unfortunately not all people think this way.

Chava
03-24-2009, 04:31 PM
Hmm as someone who has already travelled once this year, and has 3-4 more trips planned before settling down for winter, (heck, maybe I'll even go skiing for new years) make it 3-5 trips, I suppose I'm not one who lets economic crisis stop my wanderlust.
It's a prioritisation issue. I don't have any kids or family to take into consideration, so I can spend my money just as I want, and I never spend money on clothes, or what not, only books, food, and necessities, meaning everything else goes to my travel savings.

Can't not travel you know! Everyone should go to island, things are pretty cheap there for the moment I hear.

subterranean
03-24-2009, 05:04 PM
It is a pity for Danes travelling in Europe that Denmark opted out of the Euro, because now, like the UK, the currency is out in the cold. It looks as though London would be a better option than Berlin as the Euro zone is now very expensive for those countries who are not in it. Certainly, the pound has been falling dramatically against the Euro and that makes travel to most European countries much more expensive. I hope you enjoy Paris and you will get some idea of how the relative strength of the Euro affects holidays in the Euro zone.

Thanks a bunch for the tip, BB. I don't have details about it, but I heard Danish Kroner is pretty much connected with the Euro, means that when Euro is going up the value of DKK will not be far below and the same thing when Euro gets down. Swedish Kroner now is in a bad situation. Friends went for quite big shopping last Saturday to Malmo (a Swedish city very close to Denmark) because the prices are so cheap.

Chava
03-24-2009, 05:09 PM
The Danish krone is pegged to the Euro. It's Norway and sweden that is in the dump. Sweden is a disaster; a friend of mine gets her state funding from sweden, being a swede, and she recently transfered her citizenship to denmark since living on swedish money in denmark was impossible. We had a celebration party when she was granted permission to vote. :)

motherhubbard
03-24-2009, 06:12 PM
M-H: you are so right when you said it is our responsibility to borrow responsibly reagrdless of how banks or creditors are willing to lend.

Unfortunately not all people think this way.

Thanks. I think that the recession will help make people reconsider their debt. I don't know, maybe not. A depression would, but I'm sure not hoping for one.

Emil Miller
03-24-2009, 07:56 PM
Thanks a bunch for the tip, BB. I don't have details about it, but I heard Danish Kroner is pretty much connected with the Euro, means that when Euro is going up the value of DKK will not be far below and the same thing when Euro gets down. Swedish Kroner now is in a bad situation. Friends went for quite big shopping last Saturday to Malmo (a Swedish city very close to Denmark) because the prices are so cheap.

If what you say is true, then I would suggest that you forget London and opt for Berlin, Berliners are much more civilised than what constitutes present day Londoners.

Niamh
03-25-2009, 06:28 AM
Hmm as someone who has already travelled once this year, and has 3-4 more trips planned before settling down for winter, (heck, maybe I'll even go skiing for new years) make it 3-5 trips, I suppose I'm not one who lets economic crisis stop my wanderlust.
It's a prioritisation issue. I don't have any kids or family to take into consideration, so I can spend my money just as I want, and I never spend money on clothes, or what not, only books, food, and necessities, meaning everything else goes to my travel savings.

Can't not travel you know! Everyone should go to island, things are pretty cheap there for the moment I hear.

And you are right to keep on going as normal. As i said on the first page, those that have stopped their travelling or their regular spending are part of the economic problem.

MissScarlett
03-25-2009, 06:46 AM
AMEN!!! I'm so glad that someone said that. The idea that we can borrow ourselves out of debt is crazy. Borrowing for luxury items, like using a credit card to by coffee and not paying it off in full at the end of the month or going to the bank to fund a vacation, is a slippery slope. I donít know how people became so comfortable spending money they donít have. Having credit is vastly different than having money.

Here's what bothers me - the mortgage bailout. Now, my family and I have struggled for years now to pay our mortgage on time, every month, and we always have. Never been late with a payment. We live in a very modest home, and we've had to give up some things to pay for it. We don't even have draperies on the upstairs windows yet! But there are people here, who have consistently lived way beyond their means, on credit (we have one credit card and pay it off every month in full) and who are going to get bailout money, going to have their house refinanced so they can afford to live beyond their means and stay in the house that put them in debt. Meantime, our mortgage was just raised $100/month. We are going to try to refinance, but don't expect much. Now, that is not fair. We should just tell the bank to stick it, but we're not irresponsible people, though sometimes I feel the irresponsible ones get the best deal in life.

motherhubbard
03-25-2009, 09:02 AM
Here's what bothers me - the mortgage bailout. Now, my family and I have struggled for years now to pay our mortgage on time, every month, and we always have. Never been late with a payment. We live in a very modest home, and we've had to give up some things to pay for it. We don't even have draperies on the upstairs windows yet! But there are people here, who have consistently lived way beyond their means, on credit (we have one credit card and pay it off every month in full) and who are going to get bailout money, going to have their house refinanced so they can afford to live beyond their means and stay in the house that put them in debt. Meantime, our mortgage was just raised $100/month. We are going to try to refinance, but don't expect much. Now, that is not fair. We should just tell the bank to stick it, but we're not irresponsible people, though sometimes I feel the irresponsible ones get the best deal in life.


You're right. I hope that the refinance works out.

SleepyWitch
03-26-2009, 05:03 PM
what happened to the other thread about the economic crisis? there were some posts I meant to read...

Emil Miller
03-26-2009, 07:34 PM
what happened to the other thread about the economic crisis? there were some posts I meant to read...

Hi Sleepy,

If you go into the General Chat forum and click on page 3 you will see where the economic crisis left off before being incorporated into this thread.

Shalot
03-29-2009, 08:16 PM
Are you charged for the use of the card in any way or are they just making money off the money on your card that isn't used yet? I have a check card and I don't get charged for using it. Is it the same kind of thing?

I think they get their money on the activation fees on those. At least, that's how it was with the Prepaid American Express I had last year. For some people, those kind of cards make sense and the activation fees are just part of it. People who are just starting out or starting over or who just don't want to have a revolving credit card do well with preparid cards.

Mr Endon
06-08-2009, 07:18 AM
In response to the OP: I won't be having those this year, but if I had my way I'd go for a cycling trip in my own country, for at least a week. It's very cheap (we bring our own tent and we only pay like 4€ per night) and arguably the best holiday experience I've ever had. So the crisis wouldn't affect me at all.

As for the holiday destination: I'd surely take Berlin over London, but then again, I'd probably take Berlin over any other city any day of the week. And trust me, Berlin is not expensive, especially if you live there - you can share a flat in the centre from 200€ a month.

Emil Miller
06-08-2009, 08:12 AM
In response to the OP: I won't be having those this year, but if I had my way I'd go for a cycling trip in my own country, for at least a week. It's very cheap (we bring our own tent and we only pay like 4Ä per night) and arguably the best holiday experience I've ever had. So the crisis wouldn't affect me at all.

As for the holiday destination: I'd surely take Berlin over London, but then again, I'd probably take Berlin over any other city any day of the week. And trust me, Berlin is not expensive, especially if you live there - you can share a flat in the centre from 200Ä a month.

The last time I was in Berlin was before the wall came down. East Berlin was incredibly cheap except that there was nothing to buy.

Mr Endon
06-08-2009, 08:30 AM
Oh, wow! Well, some thing has changed since then, some things haven't. The buildings in Potsdamer Platz, for example, have been rebuilt, so that part look very modern indeed. The GDR times are still felt all throughout, though, not only in the architecture but also in the typical Berliner lifestyle. You should go if you have the chance, it'd be particularly interesting to you to see how things have changed - and haven't.

Emil Miller
06-08-2009, 10:07 AM
Oh, wow! Well, some thing has changed since then, some things haven't. The buildings in Potsdamer Platz, for example, have been rebuilt, so that part look very modern indeed. The GDR times are still felt all throughout, though, not only in the architecture but also in the typical Berliner lifestyle. You should go if you have the chance, it'd be particularly interesting to you to see how things have changed - and haven't.

In my younger days I had a German girlfriend from Munster and we stayed in Berlin on one occasion. I had to leave her in W.Berlin while I went over to the East to have a look around as she was persona non grata there. Obviously things have changed for the better since the wall came down and I always promised myself that one day I would walk through the Brandenburg Gate which, when I was last there was actually in no-mans land on the eastern side of the wall; anyone trying to do so then would have been shot by troops who patrolled the area. At least the Unter den Linden doesn't have all the little manned police boxes lining it as they used to.

Mr Endon
06-08-2009, 10:36 AM
In my younger days I had a German girlfriend from Munster and we stayed in Berlin on one occasion. I had to leave her in W.Berlin while I went over to the East to have a look around as she was persona non grata there. Obviously things have changed for the better since the wall came down and I always promised myself that one day I would walk through the Brandenburg Gate which, when I was last there was actually in no-mans land on the eastern side of the wall; anyone trying to do so then would have been shot by troops who patrolled the area. At least the Unter den Linden doesn't have all the little manned police boxes lining it as they used to.

Ha, no, there's only one of those in Checkpoint Charlie now, for obvious historical and turistic interests. You've lived in very interesting times. I had no idea the wall was close to the Brandenburg Gate. I'm surprised it was so easy for you, a UK citizen, to cross the border, I understand that sometimes it was a bureaurocratic nightmare.

Emil Miller
06-08-2009, 01:23 PM
Ha, no, there's only one of those in Checkpoint Charlie now, for obvious historical and turistic interests. You've lived in very interesting times. I had no idea the wall was close to the Brandenburg Gate. I'm surprised it was so easy for you, a UK citizen, to cross the border, I understand that sometimes it was a bureaurocratic nightmare.

It was relatively easy to go through the checkpoint but the E.Germans took away my passport for examination and returned it after about ten minutes while I sat in a waiting room with others waiting to go through. It was also necessary to purchase a token amount of Ost Marks to spend there, although apart from run down restaurants and beer cellars there wasn't anything to spend them on as most shops seemed to be closed or virtually empty of goods.
My German girlfriend couldn't go as most West Germans were banned from entering the eastern half of the city unless they had special permission. There didn't seem to be many people about and I got some strange looks from those I did see because they were poorly dressed and I was wearing relatively new clothing which drew their attention. In all fairness, I went there some years later and people did look better dressed but it was Christmas day so perhaps they were wearing their holiday best.
Anyone who thinks communism is a good idea would have done well to visit East Berlin in those days.