Posted on September 3, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
“Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul … “
Sunrise over the Danube.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Danube River weaves together a rich and diverse tapestry of culture and scenery, and it’s also an important thread in my life. Both my parents grew up along its banks; my mom in Linz, Austria and my dad in Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic. As a young boy, I spent many weeks near the river at my grandmother’s home and since then, I’ve returned to visit as often as possible.
As they easily transcend national boundaries, great rivers hold a fascination for travelers. This summer, I gathered once again with family and loved ones to complete a very special trip started by my dad long ago in another era.
Kayaking the Danube.
Rivers can connect cultures, but they often also form the borders between countries, or, in the case of the Cold War, between two completely irreconcilable ideologies. As a young man, my dad was on the wrong side of that boundary, trapped behind the Iron Curtain while his spirit longed to fly free. Eventually, he was faced with a tough choice; stay and give in to the ideology of fear, hate and cynicism, or flee, leaving behind his family and loved ones, knowing that it would quite a while, if ever, before they knew his fate. (more…)
Filed under: Austria, Europe, rivers, Travel | Tagged: Austria, Bratislava, Cold War, Danube, Donau, Europe, Iron Curtain, Linz, Travel | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 16, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Fidel Castro and members of the East German Politburo view the border between East Germany and West Germany in this 1972 image from the German Federal Archive. (PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA).
Absurd U.S. policies echo totalitarian East German Cold War travel rules
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —News about the U.S. easing travel restrictions to Cuba made me think back to when I was growing up on U.S. Army bases in Germany.
The Cold War and the Iron Curtain around eastern Europe manifested in very tangible ways. West Berlin, technically part of West Germany, was completely surrounded by Communist East Germany, and we couldn’t just hop into a car or on to a train and go there at will.
Instead, traveling to Berlin involved making special reservations on a so-called duty train, intended mainly for U.S. soldiers and their families stationed in Berlin. The train left Frankfurt late at night and traveled through East Germany in the dark, to prevent Americans from “spying” on East Germany during daylight hours. (more…)
Filed under: Travel, world news | Tagged: Barack Obama, Cold War, Cuba, East Germany, Fidel Castro, ideology, Latin America, Summit County News, Travel | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 17, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Still some confusion about global warming science ...
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —A lively mix of stories in our most-viewed sidebar today, including a contribution from Matt Krane on visiting with Taos author John Nichols, a winter weather forecast from Grand Junction-based climatologist Joe Ramey and a look at a new Yale study that assesses the state of climate science knowledge of the American public. Click on the headlines below to see what other people are reading at Summit Voice, and don’t forget to use the buttons at the bottom of the post to share the stories on your social networks.
A few more of the weekend headlines …
Filed under: Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Caribbean, Cold War, Colorado, Coral reef, Danube, Environment, John Nichols, Summit County News, Summit Voice top stories, Summit Voice weekend headlines, Taos, Travel | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 16, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
John Berwyn stands near a monument on the banks of the Danube built to memorialize thousands who escaped, or died try to escape from the Cold War prison of Eastern Europe.
Don’t ever take the freedom to travel for granted
By Bob Berwyn
With last year’s focus on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it’s important to remember that the Wall was just the most visible manifestation of the Iron Curtain, a much larger enclosure that kept millions imprisoned in eastern Europe.
We take our freedom to travel very much for granted; it wasn’t so long that people died trying to earn that right by tunneling under walls and fences, swimming through icy waters or even making homemade hot air balloons to try and soar to freedom.
I grew up in Germany during the Cold War. My parents met as a direct result of that era’s geopolitical upheaval. My dad worked for the American government in Germany and my mom lived in Linz, a city that, at the time, was cut in half by the ideological divide, with the Danube River forming the border between the American and Soviet sectors.
So a few years ago, when my dad suggested that we visit a Cold War memorial site near his hometown in Slovakia, my son and I jumped at the chance to join him and explore the banks of the Danube, near Bratislava. And we weren’t just there to look at a statue. My dad wanted to find the exact spot where made his own escape more than 50 years ago by dodging border guards and swimming across the chilly river. (more…)
Filed under: Summit County Colorado, Travel | Tagged: Berlin Wall, Cold War, Danube, history, Iron Curtain, Summit County News, Summit Voice, Travel | 4 Comments »