Eastern Europe under Communist control? In January? It didn’t seem like the most glamorous of trips, especially when martial law was declared in Poland weeks before we were supposed to visit there. But I was an adventurous college student, so on January 5, 1982, I set off for a month-long trip to East Berlin, Leningrad, Moscow, and Prague with six classmates and a professor. As you can imagine, we had many fascinating experiences.

I made a traditional photo album after our trip, and it was awfully blah for such a momentous trip. Recently, I had Forever scan the pages from that album. I made a new 12 x 12 storybook in Artisan, picked a background paper, and put the scanned pages on top of the background paper with just a little of the paper showing around the edges of the original page.

Part of the reason the traditional book was blah is because it contained so few stories. Most of the writing was simple photograph captions. In the new storybook, I added a lot of journaling to the pages based on my memories. When I found the journal I kept during the trip, I had even more stories to add. Because there were too many stories to fit between photos on the existing pages, I added a journaling-only page for each city we visited and a couple of other pages where needed.

I also added a front page that gave details about the trip and a last page that showed an outline of the three countries we visited. A 48 page “blah” book became a 59 page wow book. I uploaded the first draft of the book to my Forever account and shared the link with a friend who went on the trip with me. She said how fun it was to relive memories and shared some more with me for the book.

If you’re interested in reading the musings of a 21 year old in Eastern Europe and seeing pictures of the places we visited, the link to the book is  HERE.

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28 Responses to Blog: Revisiting Communist Eastern Europe by Guest Blogger Cindy Rold

  1. Marjorie Webb says:

    What an experience for you, Cindy, and I know, now, why you love to travel so much. How exciting and educational. I would have been terrified. You are so brave.
    I love how you re-created your first scrapbook of the experience, they are both nice but the digital one sure has a great look and you did a great job both with your new book and your blog. You sure are an inspiration!

  2. egwor13@gmail.com says:

    Great job Cindy even “back in the day”. Thanks for sharing and it’s good to know what our old fashioned scrapbooks might look like in digital form!!

  3. Viv Mauriri says:

    Thanks for sharing that will us Cindy. What an amazing experience for you back then. Haven’t we come a long way with our photos and scrapbooking from way back then also. It makes me cringe to look back at my old albums now.

    • Cindy Rold says:

      I definitely had some cringe moments when I looked back at this original album, but I love it now. Back then, my scrapbooking “style” was to put photos in a book and maybe identify what the place was or who the people were. I’ve evolved a lot over the years!

  4. Kim O'Leary says:

    What an interesting album Cindy! I love how you kept your old pages and incorporated them into the digital album then enhanced it with your memories. You did a great job with that album back in the day and it is good history to see how our scrapbooking has evolved. Plus, it is interesting to see how our handwriting has evolved over the years too (mine not necessarily for the better). I went on my first trip to Europe in 1983 and have that trip all in an 11 x 15 album. I don’t think we can scan that size, but seeing yours makes me want to do something similar. Great job!!

    • Cindy Rold says:

      Kim, you can scan that size of 12 x 15. I just found out. You order a regular box from Forever, and once you receive your order number, you send an email to Support with that order number and ask them to send you a box to fit 12 x 15. I have a box on the way now for that size. Then others have told me, I can make a digital album of 8 x 11.5 from the pages and it will still look good. I’m going to try it next.

  5. Jean says:

    I enjoyed your album so much since I’ve been to many of these places in the past few years and see the difference of what time can do. I’m sure you value the experience more now than when you made the trip. This is an album to treasure. Not only is it very well done, it has a lot of meaning that you have shared.

  6. Kathleen Eichler says:

    Excellent job both with the blog and the book. *U* Kathleen

  7. Denise says:

    Thank you Cindy for sharing your book and how you updated the original album digitally!

  8. Alison says:

    Oh, Cindy! Your wonderful book brought back so many memories for me. I was in Moscow as a student for 6 weeks in Jan-Feb 1991, and saw many of the places you did. I was staying in an institute for foreign students doing a Russian course after studying Russian for 3 years in Sydney, so we didn’t get the special treatment for western tourists you got. But I saw VDNKh, the circus, Novodevichy Monastery and of course Red Square and the Kremlin at the same time of year as you. We hardly have any snow in my part of the world, so it took some getting used to getting around on buses, trams, Metro and on foot in the snow, and coping with the queues. We cooked for ourselves in the student hostel (or braved the terrible student cafeteria), so we did a lot of queuing for food! Thanks for sharing your album and bringing back so many memories for me.

  9. plisk@email.com says:

    Very nicely done! Like how you presented it. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great blog, Cindy! I never thought of scanning an old traditional album so that it could be added to and printed.

  11. Barbara Startz says:

    Absolutely beautiful job Cindy! Thank you for sharing your entire album with us. What a trip. You brought back many memories for me. My first trip to Europe was also on Sabena Airlines to Brussels. Now it does not exist any more. What an experience for you at age 21!

  12. Janice Phillips says:

    Wow! So very interesting, Cindy! Well done!

  13. Pamela Smith says:

    Very cool Cindy! I love how you combined the original and the digital!

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