Berlin, May 2013

Berlin, day 1

The first time I came to Berlin I was 22 years old. Looking back, it is overwhelming to realize how much it has changed in the last twenty seven years. Back then, the city was divided by a wall, its eastern part being communist, grey, and severely humiliated. On the contrary, its western part was flourishing, bubbling and fizzling with an extraordinary artistic scene and known for its ultra leftish alternative communities, thriving in between the many ruined houses that were still standing, untouched, contemplating the scars of a terrible war from a 42 years silent distance.

I remember the day I spent in East Berlin, after having paid for a one day visa. I was strolling around the grey streets with Nikki, both of us feeling unsure and not knowing why exactly, passing by the huge crowd at the entrance to the Pergamon museum, eating a lousy meal in one of the local restaurants, which was decorated by someone who had read “1984” once too much, dragging our feet in the evening back to the West and realizing only the day after that the strange feeling that accompanied us had to do with the fact that East Berlin was totally lacking advertisements. This made me appreciate Coca Cola for the first time in my life.

I have returned several times to the German capital ever since. The last time was too short, just a couple of days, spent mostly with my kids, after a two weeks stay in glorious Venice. The impressions from Vivaldi’s church and the Murano-Burano tour didn’t really enable Berlin a chance for a fair fight.

And now, once again, for the seventh time, I believe, I finally have the chance to encounter this great city with no boundaries, obligations, or commitments of any kind. Not bad at all.

The weather’s perfect, the beautiful streets are surprisingly quiet, the people are civilized and calm, the amazing trees are present everywhere, roofing the city with their green shade, soothing the melancholy which I carry with me wherever I go.

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