Ich habe meinen eigenen DDR Führerschein

Don´t panic I´ve not suddenly progressed into writing my Blog in German!  Translated it means I have my own GDR Driving Licence which I proudly earned yesterday.  My husband and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary (still nursing the hangover today) and in honour of the fabulous day we had a year ago I organised a trip round Berlin drving my husbands most talked about car, a Trabant, affectionately known as a Trabi.

Where do I find the cruise control button?

The Trabi started production in 1959 and was the most commonly used vehicle in the former East Germany.  It had an inefficient two stroke engine, noxious fumes and production shortages.  The waiting list could be up to 10 years for a new car. On the other hand, it was and still is regarded with deep affection as a symbol of the failed former East Germany.  In 1989 at the opening of the Berlin wall many East Germans streamed into West Berlin and West Germany in their wee Trabis.   The East Germans treasured their Trabis and were very skillful in maintaining and repairing them with the average  life span of a Trabi being 28 years.  Not something you would get from a car these days.

In our convoy of 8 Trabis spluttering our way round Berlin City Centre we immediately became the centre of attention.  The backs of the hundreds of Tourists admiring  the Brandenburg Gate swiftly turned round to gawp and laugh at our little group weaving it´s way along the route of the old Berlin Wall.  We tooted our horns gladly as people stopped to take photos of us. Half way round our sightseeing tour our group stopped to change drivers and I reluctantly took to the wheel and I am so glad that I did.  I´m nervous at the best of times driving a normal car round the City Centre never mind a dinky wee car with less than nothing in the way of safety protection.  This was the first time I had driven a car where the gear stick was on the column.  However, after a few grinding crunches away wee sped.  What I also failed to notice was the indicator does not go off when you turn a corner which meant I drove for the next 30 minutes permanently indicating left! Another modern day gadget we take for granted.  An hour later we sadly finished our tour and after being presented with our new driving licence we handed the keys back to our wee Trabi.

Back safe and sound

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2 Responses

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