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My first experience of travelling abroad with Rebif

Morning all…hope it’s a good one. My lovely Dad has organised a week in Berlin, where I was born and raised after I said that one of my bucket list to do’s was to return. All sorted, booked and organised within a month !! Bless him. My Dad worked in Military intelligence during the Cold War, so it will be a fascinating insight into who he was and what he did. I only ever knew that he was an “engineer” until fairly recent times !! I am really excited and can’t wait until Sunday when we fly from Leeds Bradford and with the help of the BUPA homecare nurse, think I am sorted with what is going in the hold and just carrying my rebismart with a capsule in, through security. She says I won’t need the cool packs as the cabin will be no more than average room temperature. Fingers crossed, it all goes well and will let you know when we return. Catherine Xx

Have a good time Catherine. We went to Munich a few years ago and found that security weren’t very interested inmy Rebif at all. They took a little more interest in my travel sharps bin on the way back but it was sealed up and they were happy to let it continue after a cursory look at it.

I would imagine there is a lot of history in Berlin. Do you have many memories of it? How old were you when you left?

Tracey x

Hi Tracey I’m going to keep my sharps in my suitcase just in case !! I don’t have many memories…I remember big metal doors and it just being my Mum and I for long periods. I remember my Dad being away a lot. And I know I’m named Catherine after Catherine’s winter palace in Russia where my Dad did some “work”. But very little else. I also know that until very recently, my Dad was not allowed to go into a lot of the eastern block countries and I had a devil of a job getting a passport !! I guess this will be the week when I find a lot out and finally get a lot of answers to my questions. But I know not to press him because he’s already warned me that he will showing me a lot of things that will make him very emotional. Xx

Hi Catherine,

I travel from Frankfurt quite often to India with my Rebif.

Never had a problem. They have never questioned leaving Germany or India for that fact. Best to have some kind of Doctors note though just in case.

I do use the ice packs though whilst transporting.

Wow, so maybe some answers and possibly a few more questions too that may never be answered. Sometimes some things are best left alone and if that’s how your dad feels, it’s for the best. It could be an emotional week hun. I hope you all manage to do some of the touristy things too just to break the tension a bit.

Will be thinking of you

Tracey x

Oh, yes…we will be hitting the shops !! My shopping habit is inherited from my Dad !! Thanks, shenga…I have letters from the hospital MS nurse and from BUPA homecare. Xx

When we went to Munich, the thing that Jamie loved most was the fact that there were no groups of youths or ‘feral gangs’ (he calls them chavs) roaming the streets. You do see whole families enjoying a beer together but little rowdiness. In fact it seems like stepping back in time to how things used to be here a few decades ago … We loved shopping until late and never felt unsafe. Even on the U-bahn no-one pushes or shoves - it’s all calm and orderly. Bliss.

Awww, now I want to go back to Munich

Tracey x

Have a great time. If you have letters you’ll be fine. Think I’ve travelled 3 times on planes now with my betaferon and last time they didn’t even look inside the bag at all. X

Hope you have a fantastic time Catherine - your Dad’s past sounds very intriguing! Hope everything goes really well! Teresa xx

Hope you have a lovely break away Catherine, your dad sounds like a star.

Leora xx

Hi all We’re safely back. Everything went well and we learned a lot. But I have to say, emotionally, very draining to hear the truth of the horror and terror that people suffered, right up until 1989. And not just Jews. The most awful realisation that under “special treatment” rules, as a disabled person, regardless of my skin colour, religion and sexuality whereby otherwise I would have been an accepted German citizen, I would have been tortured, experimented upon and eventually killed by Hitlers henchmen. Moved to tears at the barbarity of it all several times. My Dad’s story moved me just as much and equally fascinated me. And to see where I was born - the very room - and grew up - the very flat, thanks to letters written by Dad which resulted in guided tours, was just incredible. Very tearful when my Dad said that the last time we were together in the city, he was pushing me in a pushchair, this time in a very different kind of pushchair !! Catherine Xx

Hi Catherine

I’m glad your journey went well and you rediscovered something of your past.

My son is an ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust following a trip to Auschwitz and it really affected him. He and his friend delivered an assembly at school about being tolerant of others regardless of colour, gender, sexuality or anything else that may make them different. We had lost my mum just before his trip and it made him think about how it must have felt to have lost all the members of your family and in such horrific circumstances. He also wrote a couple of emotional newspaper articles and had some very moving letters from members of the public in response to them.

We have sometimes reflected on the fact that neither of us would have been survivors under Nazi rule; me due to the MS and him due to his severe psoriasis which looks unsightly, cracks open and bleeds occasionally when it flares up. Sobering thoughts indeed.

Tracey x

Hi Catherine, Good to have you back and that the trip went well, aside from the harrowing subject matter. I went to the Somme with school years ago, it really was a smack round the face to see the sheer volume of graves. We have a lot to be thankful for. Hope you’re not feeling too tired out from all the traveling? Lx

Goodness, that sound like a very emotionally rich brew - in all sorts of complicated ways. It always feels strange when history is suddenly not safely consigned to the record, but powerful and real and breathing down one’s neck. And then there is all the personal stuff too - your father must have some stories to tell and many more that he would tell if he was allowed to! Dark times, and so recent too. And the being pushed by your dad again bit - well, however matter of fact and realisic and accepting one is, that is seriously tough stuff and takes it out of a girl.

I am glad that you had a memorable time and hope that you can rest up now.

Alison

Yes, there was a lot he couldn’t tell me but he did take me to see “the office” which is nothing more than a flat in West Berlin, right on the wall opposite a watch tower, where they would “watch” and “listen”, gathering intelligence. He also showed me some hiding holes and a street where he evaded capture in the East, There was a section of wall where there is a monument to a mere few informers who were murdered, with their pictures and unfortunately my Dad realised that two people, Elka and Leo whom he had “worked” with and whom had been murdered were on there. He couldn’t speak for several minutes and said a prayer on his knees. We moved away and left him with his thoughts.

Oh Catherine

Every time I read a bit more about your trip, I well up.

I have a feeling that trip will stay with you all for a long time to come …

Tracey xx