Written onboard M/T Ek-Star August 2010
Monday 25th of December 1989 and it was time for me to leave for Skåne for Christmas dinner with my Uncle’s family. Then I would go with my brother to Helsingborg in his car. And tomorrow I would leave for Berlin.
I don't know how I spent Christmas eve, it might have been that I left for Skåne on the 24th. But I'm almost sure it was the 25th. Malin followed me to the train and the last thing she said was that I should be careful with the Christmas food.
I arrived to Båstad a few hours later and I think my Uncle picked me up. Or if I took the train to Helsingborg and went with my brother. I don't remember, but most likely I got a ride with my Uncle from Båstad.
When we were finished with the Christmas dinner I and my brother drove to Ekeby, a few km outside Helsingborg. We were going to have a few Christmas drinks before we took off to Helsingborg. I have heard that there was a party at Röda Kvarn. A cinema that was turned in to a club.
I don't know how we got in to Helsingborg, but judging by the look of the table no one was able to drive so I guess we took a taxi to town.
When looking at my pictures I discover that I meet two class mates at Röda Kvarn. One from Kvarnberget in Göteborg and one from back in high school or senior high school or whatever they call it.
Well, anyway, we stayed at Röda Kvarn for a few beers and I meet another guy outside Röda Kvarn as well. Yes, back then it was nice to go out for a few beers in Helsingborg, I always meet people I knew. Today they are all sitting home with a wife and kids.
Back then there was a club called 69:an in the South of Helsingborg. I don't know if the club still exist, but this was the place we went for after Röda Kvarn. Hell, I don't even think Röda Kvarn exists today. Most likely not.
I don't remember where I slept, but I had to meet my friend early morning for departure to Berlin.
Tuesday 26th of December 1989 and I took a taxi to my friend. He didn't live far away from where I had lived when I was living in Helsingborg. He and his girlfriend was ready to leave when I arrived and we left with his car. Via the Helsingborg - Helsingør ferry and from there to Rødby and ferry to Puttgarden, Germany.
And from there it was Autobahn most of the way to West Berlin. We passed the border to East Germany and the highway was very nice all the way to West Berlin.
I think, well, I'm pretty sure the corridor from West Germany to West Berlin was paid for by West Germany so they had a nice road through East Germany.
We arrived in the evening and of course, we went to drink beer. My friend had booked the hotel so we didn't have to run around looking for a hotel and that's nice.
And of course, we went up early on the 27th of December to go for at look on the wall at Brandenburger Tor. Well, I was not going to Berlin alone and I had to be up early every morning to go see the sights. Yes, that’s a fly in the ointment. It's nice with the company, but not 11 o'clock in the morning after a long night out.
- Hmm, or maybe? Otherwise I might have stayed in bed all day long.
Now I had to go up to see the sights of Berlin and there was a difference this time around. We could hear the hammers hammering on the wall from quite a distance. We did not see the wall but we could hear the hammers.
- What is that sound?
Well, it was clear to us when we came closer to the wall and we saw all the people. My friend had brought his very own chipping hammers so he could return to Sweden with some souvenirs.
We walked all the way to the wall from the hotel, I don't know how long it took us. But I liked to walk already back then so I enjoyed the morning.
OK, it was more like early afternoon, but I enjoyed it even though it had been a late night out. And it was cold, of course, in the middle of the winter.
But we got to see interesting things on our way to Brandenburger Tor. I scrapped TRABI. And it was made out of wool or cotton. It was like putting 4 wheels on a pair of jeans. And now the West Berlin and West Germany was full of TRABIS with East Germans visiting.
I was 22 and I did not suffer from any hangover. But even then it was a wee bit embarrassing when 2 American girls came up and asked if they could have a picture.
Well, a handsome and exotic Swedish guy is nothing they are spoiled with back home in US of A.
It had been about 5 or 6 weeks since I was in Berlin and now the wall was full of scars. And there was even signs that said it were forbidden to hack on the wall close to the new border controls.
As I remember it, the new border crossing through the wall was only for Germans. Not that I
had any desire to cross the border. I have had enough of East Germany to last me for a life time.
"Checkpoint C" was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Germany and West Germany during the Cold War.
The Soviet Union prompted the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stem the flow of Eastern Bloc emigration westward through what had become a "loophole" in the Soviet border system, preventing escape over the city sector border from East Berlin to West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of east and west, and—for some East Germans—a gateway to freedom. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced off at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, the building at Checkpoint Charlie became a tourist attraction. It is now located in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighbourhood of Berlin.
But they told us that we had to go to Checkpoint Charlie 500 meters away if we wanted to cross over to DDR.
We walked from Brandenburger Tor and suddenly we found ourselves at Checkpoint Charlie. Millions of people waiting in line to get over to the East German side. So even if we had wanted to get over to East Berlin we would have skipped our plans with all that people in line.
But I remember that there was a pub and it was about beer time. Walking around new cities, I like it. You get to see a lot and you can always stop for a beer whenever you feel like it.
Of course, at the end of the day you're tipsy so you must take a taxi back to the hotel.
OK, Checkpoint Charlie wasn't all that exciting. There was a museum we never went to. A few beers at the pub, or Kneipe as they say in Berlin.
I remember one morning, a friend of my friend was coming down to Berlin in her car. I don't remember if it was the day before New Year's Eve or on New Year’s Eve. But she arrived very early and I was sleeping when she was knocking on the door.
I thought it was a bomb that went off until I realised that it was knocking on the door. So I get out of bed to open the door.
Of course, I was not in the best off moods so she looked angry when she entered the room like a whirlwind.
- Why are you so grumpy?
- What?? Me??
Well, I admit. I'm a little GOOD MORNING grumpy.
New Year's Eve and there was supposed to be a big party at Brandenburger Tor. Of course, where else.
What I remember most from West Berlin December 1990 was that I drank Tequila, and I did it with a slice of orange instead of the lemon. Much better. And I also drank hot chocolate with rum, pretty good in the cold weather.
Well, we had a few drinks around Ku'Dam and obviously they were setting of fire crackers all around Ku'Dam.
But the plan was to be at Brandenburger Tor at midnight for the big celebration so we worked our way towards Brandenburger Tor with stop for beer and Tequila.
I remember that I came to Brandenburger Tor, I also remember that I was running out of film and that I was going around Berlin in a taxi looking for film.
And of course, I woke up in my bed with film all over the bed. Obviously I had managed to find film but I never managed to load my camera.
I don't know what date we returned to Sweden, 1st or 2nd of January 1990. But I remember that I was waiting for the train in Helsingborg. I saw a guy I knew and we went to Källarkrogen to have a chat about the good ol' times.
When we stepped in the owner asked if I had been doing time.
- I have not seen you in a long time!
Thursday 4th of January 1990 and I remember that we went to meet an old class mate of me from back when I went in school in Helsingborg. He was now living in Gothenburg while studying on Sjöbefälsskolan on Kvarnberget.
Well, he had cooked some food that we were going to eat. And after that we were going to town. So where are the drinks? OK, give me the darn meatball so we get this darn eating over with and we can get the vodka onthe table already!
It was my friend, his girl friend and some friend of theirs. I and my other friend arrived and there wasn't really that much space in the kitchen. Well, it didn't got fun until we moved in to the living room where we finished a bottle of vodka before we went to Murveln at Femman.
I remember this evening very well. I remember that we were at my friend's place and that we went to Murveln. I remember that we left for Daily’s.
But I don't remember Columbus, but I have pictures from Columbus and they are marked 4th of January 1990. But these pictures can of course have been labelled with the wrong date.
My friend's girl friend grew tired at us already at Murveln so she went home.
Well, anyway, maybe we took a taxi to Columbus before we left for Daily’s. What I remember from back in those days was that I was always wearing my walkman. Yes, can you remember any good music from back in the 80's, honestly?
I can't, at least anything I liked back then so I had to bring my own music.
Later on the walkman was changed for cassette tapes and now a day it's CD's. I remember when the bars swapped to CD players. I usually brought my cassette and now they were only gaping at me when I asked them to play a cassette.
- Your cassette motherf@cker!
- Yeah, what about some good music?
- We only have CD!
I was worried, no more good music. But when the computer and MP3 came problem was solved. Easy to make a MIX CD and now I only buy shirts with pockets big enough for CD's. So I can always carry a few CD's with me where ever I go.
I don't remember how long we stayed at Daily’s, most likely until they closed. And back then everything closed at 2 or 3 o'clock in Gothenburg. There were a few after hour clubs. But as this was a Thursday I think they were all closed.
So most likely it was a taxi back home to the student home, and I think it was about time. At least after looking at the pictures from back then. Well, we were only 20 and we didn't know better.
Well, my Christmas holiday had come to an end and it's time to go back to school again
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