Berlin. I was introduced through a forest of thin trees, behind the industrial ghost towns and graffiti. Though it was not until the train tracks were raised above the city streets, giving me my first true introduction of the diversity and history Berlin had to offer. With the Zoo and Tiergarten below, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church appeared from behind the modern hotels, a reminder of her troubled past. It set the mood for my time in the capital of Germany.
Throughout the next 5 days, Berlin slowly showed me her world. Her history, her nature, her good sides, and her bad. I wandered through the Museumsinsel, becoming more educated on the many forms of art that she had collected, discovered, created and displayed to the public. The beautiful sculptures and large paintings sent me reeling in creative inspiration and it was also on Museumsinsel that I was introduced to Nefertiti. The simple but graceful bust that still has left an emotional impression on me.
In the centre of Berlin, I walked slowly through the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe." The rectangular columns surrounding me, allowing glimpses down the rows but also leaving a world hidden behind the next corner. The memorial encompassed a feeling of loss and of memory, enveloping all my senses as I wandered through the rows. It was when I heard distant laughter, discovering children running through the rows, playing hide and seek... Their smiling faces disappearing behind the cold grey steles, that was when the full effect of the memorial hit me.
In the evening light, I walked back to the hotel through the Tiergarten, remembering the day, the joy, education, the troubled past, the story Berlin showed-- it was just an introduction. An introduction of the city but also of an idea.
I have an idea, I hinted at it a few weeks ago but now, seeing all this art, the history and stories... It has stirred something in me. The glimpse of memories and emotions, the past thick in the air, the hidden stories behind the doors of the crypts. Moments forgotten or lost, those moments are something that intrigue me. Not the moment itself, but the feeling they illicit within.
More posts to come and the photographs of my trip will appear in September when I return from my long trip through this amazing continent.
All the best,