Angela Spindler-Brown and the joy of hassle-free travel

Angela Spindler-Brown

Angela Spindler-Brown is one of the hundreds of thousands of people who left Czechoslovakia in 1968, as Soviet tanks rolled into the country. She had been a student at Prague's Charles University, editing the main student magazine. In exile in London she remained a journalist, writing and working in television. She is married to an Englishman, hence her rather un-Czech sounding name, and currently edits the bi-monthly magazine of the British Czech and Slovak Association. Here she talks about one change that has affected her life enormously since the fall of communism.

"I left Czechoslovakia, as it was then, in 1968 and as I was married to an Englishman I was able to visit Czechoslovakia, to visit my ageing parents and my two sisters. But it was always such a palava to organize that trip. Fortunately I lived in London, but I had to apply to the Czech embassy for permission to travel to the Czech Republic, and I had to wait, to fill in all the forms, pay for the permission to travel and then wait for the form to arrive. It was always very frightening going through the passport control, being measured and being watched before we were let through. Since November '89 it's a real pleasure. One just takes one's passport and goes, and it's just a pleasure, walking free through Ruzyne [Airport] and being in Prague in no time at all. So that is my very positive memory - or happening, that has happened between '89 and today."