February 1983 - I graduated from my trade training in the Royal Air Force, and I flew to my new camp of RAF Gatow in what was then West Berlin.
I was young, enjoying my life, about to start a new adventure, living in an amazing city, doing a wonderful job... I was on top of the world! Woohoo!
I found life in this world to be amazing - I had two lives, really: one, the job - living and working (RAF Gatow and up the 'hill' as we Brits called it, or to give it its proper name: 'Teufelsberg' - 'Devil's Mountain') as a linguist - and two, Berlin, the city... an island of freedom in a sea of communism. The wall was something to behold. The metropolis was, for this young suburban girl - so very different from anything I'd seen... I mean, at this point in my life, I'd never even been to my own capital city, barring the time Dad had arranged for us to have a flying tour of London when we were on our way to RAF Brize Norton when he was posted to Malta (see my page - I'll hopefully link to it later). Berlin was - in one word - AMAZING!
I remember doing walking around part of the wall, seeing the many crosses in memory of those who died trying to escape the communist regime of East Germany. I recall especially, the cross in memory of Peter Fechter, and reading all about the story of his failed escaped - that story and that memory have remained with me since then!
During my years in Berlin, I learned the language (part of my job), and found I was more confident going into the city, visiting my German friend Marianne and her family and friends, too. I recall going to a function with her family and boyfriend and though it was hard speaking German all day and evening, it was great taking part in something that was part of German culture!
During my time living in the city, I obviously did the normal touristy sight-seeing things, too: I visited the Siegesäule, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, i-Punkt, the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate), Plötzensee Memorial, Schloß Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace) - the city was so very full of all things historical, of course, and I loved my years there.
On looking for images, etc., for this website, I found another website which you might find helps you understand Berlin, the city, the wall, the history, etc.: https://www.gadventures.com/blog/berlin-wall-history-understanding/ - it's nothing to do with me, but I found it interesting, so thought you might like a read of it, too.