I couldn't have hoped for a better opening Iron curtain "interview" than the first person I spoke to off the train at Travemünde.
Hans Prieur's life story and ancestral history have shuttled across the divide. He was born in upper Silesia, now in Poland, then part of Germany, but, like many other ethnic Germans, had to leave in 1945, aged 24. He trained as a steel foundry engineer in the Ruhr and then ended up at a factory near here, on the western side of the Curtain.
He went back to Silesia for the first time only three years ago but made friends quickly with the locals because his great-great-grandfather had been a legendary forester in the area. His elder brother has refused to go back, because he "had some bad experiences" with Poles.
Further back his family had been from Brandenburg (the area around Berlin) and before that his ancestors were Huguenot refugees from France.
For pleasure he used to sail a 28-foot yacht from Lübeck to various Baltic ports. After 1989 he was suddenly able to visit a whole new set of destinations that had been closed behind the curtain. But despite my promptings he was reticent to talk about how life has changed in other ways since then. Perhaps because by that time, he had lived most of his life and the changes just didn't affect him.
I caught him trying out a new toy - his first ever model yacht.