In June of 1990 I made my first trip to Germany and visited my brother who was in the military, his wife and their daughter. My sister-in-law (Taffy) drove me to Prague which was in the midst of the Velvet Revolution at the time. We had to go through a Soviet border checkpoint, but once we were in Czechoslovakia we had no problem driving straight to Prague, a beautiful old medieval city. There was the hope of democracy everywhere, and it was an exciting time to be there. In the evenings people would gather to discuss political issues, and a crowd outside our open hotel window became quite loud. The sound of breaking glass ended the discussion and the people must have fled.
The hotel we stayed in was very old but comfortable - certainly nothing fancy. They took our passports on check-in, which bothered me tremendously. I didn't know at the time that it was once a common occurrence in many countries of the world, and they are returned on checking out. This is one photo I couldn't get into the blog in the correct rotation. Although it shows ok on my screen it uploads sideways. Sorry about that.
I had some of my pictures scanned, but instead of giving me my flash drive back with each individual picture in jpeg format, the photos were all contained in a pdf file. I had to do a screen shot on each picture I wanted to insert into my blog, and save it in the documents folder. I don't think the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them, but you can try and please let me know how it goes.
Statue of King Wenceslas, in Wenceslas Square. This is the area where the Soviet tanks mowed down the unarmed demonstrators.
This is a memorial circle which is made up of candle wax from all the memorial candles burned since the uprising. There are still lit candles there.
Here are some pictures of street scenes:
On our way out of Prague. This could be the town of Pilsen.
When we left Prague the following afternoon everything was fine until we were within about a mile of the border crossing, and signs informed us that the crossing was closed! That required us to locate another crossing further south, and it was already late afternoon. I was pretty frantic (though I tried not to show it), but wondered what would happen if we couldn't get out of the country! I was a US government employee and Taffy the wife of a US Army Lt. Colonel, and all sorts of bizarre things went through my head. We made it to the border and were transitioned back to Germany with no problems. Germany looked absolutely beautiful to us, with the painted houses and every window box filled with red geraniums and white petunias.
I'm not sure when the border crossings were all closed, but it wasn't too long after we were there. The country eventually split into the Czech Republic with Vaclav Havel at its head, and Slovakia.
The little sweetie on a couple of the photos is my niece Jessica (Jessie) who is now a gorgeous young woman and planning to be married this coming March. My brother Phil has finally retired from the Army, and they live part of the year in Florida and part in a villa they purchased in Italy.
I went to Germany at this time to be present at the change of command ceremony, where Phil took command of the Black Lions Engr. group, which eventually was deployed to Iraq in the first Gulf War. I returned to Germany during the time of his deployment, accompanied by my youngest son (Joe) who was very happy to get an unexpected holiday from school in February. That trip was full of a few surprises, and I might cover it next if I can gather my photos and figure out how to scan them so as to get them imported into iPhoto.
I also attended the change of command ceremony at Ft. Carson, Colorado, when as a full bird Colonel Phil took command of an engineer brigade. That story and pictures are also for another time.
Again, I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. The originals are excellent, but in the scanning process plus the necessity to take screen shots and save them in yet another format, make them less than I hoped.