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Casino Royale

Berlin Game: 3

Sunday was the day I got to indulge my interest in Cold War espionage. At Arakin's suggestion, we broke our tram journey into the city with a stop at Bornholmer Straße, where East Berliners flowed through to the West on the night of 9 November, 1989.



Next we returned to Checkpoint Charlie, because on my first visit I had spotted a café with a James Bond theme. The checkpoint appears in Octopussy, and this particular branch of the Back-Factory chain had put up a nice display of props and ephemera.

Excellent pastries, too.



I had a special request, which was to see the memorial to the Berlin Airlift, located near Tempelhof Airport. I was not disappointed by the massive monument, nor by the abandoned airport buildings with their brooding eagles.



The afternoon had been earmarked for the recently opened Spy Museum. There's a whizz through the espionage timeline, from biblical references and ancient Greek ciphers to the First World War, and some musings on current issues like password security and WikiLeaks, but the bulk of the information and exhibits relate to the Second World War and the Cold War. There are miniature cameras, including one designed to fit in a bra; cigarette packets that spray cyanide gas; a Trabant with infrared photography capabilities; an example of the notorious poison umbrella.



We continued the theme of the day by visiting a friend of Arakin's to play Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and watch Octopussy in German with English subtitles.

Comments

I'm very envious, but I've really enjoyed your photos!
Thank you! There are a few more - I'll post a link when I wrap up.
Berlin! I spent a summer there shortly after the wall fell.
I wish I'd been to the East before then - not that I'd like to go back to that time, because it was horrible for many people, just because it's something that has unexpectedly gone forever.
Sounds like you have had an awesome time. If I ever go to Berlin I will certainly visit Check Point Charlie and the Spy Museum. Your photos give a wonderful air of John le Carré and cold war thrillers....
It really felt like that - the snow helped. I loved the city!
Fantastic. I hope you remembered a grey trench coat and a Billy Hartnell hat to complete the look
I used to have a lovely German army surplus grey trench coat, but I wore it until it pretty much fell apart :( But I did have a Jack Wolfskin rucksack, which helped me blend in with the locals!
Fantastic. I hope you remembered a grey trench coat and a Billy Hartnell hat to complete the look
Dear, there isn't any chance for some photos of Frankfurt or Darmstadt, is there? I was born in Frankfurt and my parents were stationed in Darmstadt when my father served in Vietnam.
Sorry, I only went to Berlin this time! Another time...

I didn't know you were born in Germany. Can you remember much or were you very young when you moved?
Sounds like you have had an awesome time. If I ever go to Berlin I will certainly visit Check Point Charlie and the Spy Museum. Your photos give a wonderful air of John le Carré and cold war thrillers....
Fascinating! Are any portions of the original Wall still standing?
I didn't see any of it, but there are bits still there, including a long section that's been turned into an art gallery: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Side_Gallery

You can also buy chunks of it in snowglobes or attached to postcards. I wasn't sure how I felt about that.
This is all very interesting! Thanks for the photos. I would love to see what Checkpoint Charlie looks like now.

And a Spy Museum! I've been to the one in Washington DC.
I really want to go to the Washington spy museum! Glad you enjoyed the writeup.

The reproduction Checkpoint Charlie has chaps in uniforms; you can pay to have your photo taken with them. I got a snap of one of them walking to McDonald's :)