Subject: Re: Border stories
Hi Paolo,

I didnīt grow up so near the frontier as you, but France was only 1 hour and a half away from home. I have seen it changing from the time when the frontier was closed after midnight and they checked you thoroughly (I wonder what they thought that us kids were going to smuggle into France) to these days, when you drive across and it takes you a little while to realize that you have arrived to another country.

Frontiers were always something different, almost dangerous sometimes or highly desired ... In 1984 we went to West Berlin. We had to wait at the frontier for hours in order to get the visa for Berlin, and the VoPos looked at us and wrote down exactly our physical descriptions, just in case on our way there my parents decided to smuggle some german dissident. Berlin was strange, dark, divided, quite the opposite to the actual, vibrating city. When we crossed the frontier back into West Germany, my mum rewarded us with all ice-cream we wanted. Then, 6 years later, the border disappeared, and we spent a couple of days driving back and forth, from northern Germany to Bavaria. It was strange, watching those abandoned watchtowers and those freedom feelings (I donīt think the feelings are the same right now).

If someone is interested on that former frontier, there is a good book called "Along the Wall and watchtowers", by Oliver August.

Frontiers mark lives the same as rivers. Having someone different so near you can open your eyes to other ways of understanding the world in a much better way that any book you could read. I wouldnīt dismiss them in a trivial manner, and somehow I guess I will miss them. I have been lucky enough to go across a few ones in my life and in my continent, and I wonīt regret it.

Regards,

Covadonga Bilbao - Spain