Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
The mysterious and indomitable Travelling Gourmet TM travels to Germany to look at the…
MUCH visited Glienicke Bridge or in German, die Glienicke Bruecke. This bridge that has a history of over 300 years was the scene of tense exchanges of spies, secret agents and Intelligence officers. The bridge connects Berlin to Potsdam. Here the United States and the Soviet Union stood directly opposite each other…so top secret “deals” could be made here, without any of their allies having any say in the matter. In the Spy business, people make a lot of deals in the back alleys of the world…
The mysterious Travelling Gourmet TM on the Bridge of Spies…
At the height of the COLD War…on 10 February 1962, the captured CIA U2 Spy plane pilot was swapped for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti or KGB Intelligence officer Colonel Rudolf Ivanevich Abel. One former OSS (Office of Strategic Services) officer was instrumental in the spy swap. He was Donovan, James B. Donovan who was a lawyer. This story is being dramatized by Hollywood in a Steven Spielberg movie starring none other than Tom Hanks. The movie was filmed on location in Potsdam where the Bridge of Spies is. The movie is soon to be released. The movie is aptly but not originally titled, “Bridge of Spies”!
Twenty three years later on 12th June 1985, secret agents from East and West were exchanged a second time. At very short notice – a large number of Spooks was exchanged in the largest swap since the end of the Second World War – a total of 27 agents were freed. Four “scouts” from Eastern European countries who had been imprisoned in the West were exchanged for 23 agents of the CIA and American secret services who had been held in Eastern Europe.
Sharansky is FREED!
The third and final exchange of agents on Glienicke Bridge on 11th February 1986. The media were excited and came in force, because the famed human-rights campaigner Anatoly Sharansky, who had been behind bars in the Soviet Union until then was one of those exchanged. He had been in pentitentiary after having been accused of spying. If the Soviet Union wanted to save its face under new leader Mikhail “Glasnost” Gorbachev, it had to free Sharansky by making him part of a spy exchange deal. In the world of spooks, a lot of deals are made in the back alleys of the world…
It was a fine, cool and sunny summer’s day in Potsdam with fluffy white clouds and blue skies when I arrived at the Gleinicke Bridge. A chillling breeze ruffled my Saccor shirt. It was rather majestic and had an eerie mystique. The river looked huge and very wide from the bridge, and I could see several opulent mansions on the banks of the river. As I strolled along the bridge taking in the sights, sounds and atmosphere, I saw in my minds eye the two groups of Spooks getting ready to do the exchange with some holding their weapons, safety catches off…in case something went wrong.
View from the Bridge…do you see any spies?
It was lunchtime and I felt a rumbly in my tumbly as Winnie the Pooh would say…I decided to go to the Brewery Inn called Meierei im Neuen Garten! When I walked in I felt like I had gone inside a scene in the classic movie “The Assassination Bureau”. It also reminded me of my favourite Hietzinger Weinstuberl in Wien (Vienna). I and my friends were the only non locals in the place. The restaurant was packed so I was lucky to get a table. I ordered in German, “Ich moechte bitte…” After several reminders and some time later, the food and beer (what else?) arrived…
What the Hell!
I really like the Meierei Hell Bier! Hell means bright in German…the other good on eis Meierei Weisse. The Meierei beers are light and very refreshing n a warm summer’s day with a pleasing slightly sweety aftertaste. Unlike some beers there is NO bitterness! Delicious!
Have you ever tried Lardo in Italy? It is very tasty Pork Fat very thinly sliced like salami. In Germany the equivalent is SCHMALZ spiked with little crunchy bits of tasty bacon or Speck. You spread it like butter on Roggenbrot which is made with Rye and is super healthy. When the bread is warm, the pork fat melts int the bread and is very tasty indeed. Just don’t have too much because it is fattening…So very yummie! I enjoyed the German style Tapas with 6 different dishes including Meatballs! The food went down a treat with the cold Beer!