Berlin and beyond: From Russia with love

Time was, the closest I’d ever been to Russia was through the words of Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn and Dostoyevsky. But that was before I made Berlin my home. In the early days of my being here, back when the Wall, though five years gone, still visibly divided the city, I moved into a flat in the former East.

It was on a cobbled street across from a newsstand that sold Russian papers, and above a cafe whose modest menu gave pride of place to the meaty flavors of solyanka and borscht. I ate them enthusiastically and became accustomed, whenever questioned about where I came from, to hearing people tell me they spoke no English because they had Russian at school.

The cafe, cobbles and the newsstand have all been removed or replaced by the ever-shifting sands of time, but even now, those who grew up in the East sometimes reference their language classes as a means of giving context to their heritage. Which is not to say they unanimously embraced them. Far from it. Read on or listen

Category: Writing

2 comments on “Berlin and beyond: From Russia with love

  1. I am an AMerican who was stationed in Berlin in the early 80s. I hope to return for a visit in the not too distant future. I enjoy your writing.

    • Hi Michael, thank you for your comments. Berlin is always an interesting place to be with plenty to write and think about.

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