Who woulda thunk it?

“Seven Days in May meets Baywatch”
The New York Times, July 26, 2009

Remembering Cold WarAlong comes another of those post-Cold War stories that leave a small sense of wonderment with some who lived that period of history up close and personal.
As an American correspondent in Moscow in the early 1970s, during some of the most frigid days of the Cold War, I could hardly imagine such monumental events as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
So a story like the one that appeared in the Travel section of Sunday’s New York Times still is a bit jarring. The story, “Biking the Iron Curtain Trail,” was about a 4,225-mile network of bicycle paths that extends along the former Warsaw Pact-NATO border, from northern Finland to the Black Sea.
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent,” Winston Churchill said in a speech in Fulton, Mo., in 1946, when the Soviet Union was consolidating its empire in Eastern Europe.

An old guard tower on the Iron Curtain Trail

An old guard tower on the Iron Curtain Trail

Now, said the Times story, “most traces of the cold war era have vanished,” but “military roads and observation towers still dot the idyllic countryside, imbuing pastoral Western European landscapes with a touch of Dr. Strangelove.”
A brochure with maps in German and English covering the entire route has just been published, the story said. And bicyclists now pedal along the Fulda Gap, admiring the scenery where mighty armies once faced off for Armageddon.
Who woulda thunk it?


1 Comment

Filed under Journeys

One response to “Who woulda thunk it?

  1. ToddBS

    Hmm.. that looks like a very interesting ride to me. The chances of me ever touring outside the US are pretty slim, but I’d like to see that. I love to see the contrast of things.

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