In his book, Travels with Herodotus, Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote about the first time he left Poland in 1958 (3 years after Stalin’s death) for his first journalistic assignment abroad:
“We flew in darkness; even inside the cabin the lights were barely shining. Suddenly, the tension which afflicts all parts of the plane when the engines are at full throttle started to lessen, the sound of the engines grew quieter and less urgent – we were approaching the end of our journey. Mario grabbed me by the arm and pointed out the window: “Look!”
I was dumbstruck.
Below me, the entire length and breadth of the blackness through which we were flying was now filled with light. It was an intense light, blinding, quivering, flickering. One had the impression of a liquid substance, like molten lava, glimmering down below, with a sparkling surface that pulsated with brightness, rising and falling, expanding and contracting. The entire luminous apparition was something alive, full of movement, vibration, energy.
It was the first time in my life I was seeing an illuminated city.”