vrijdag 12 augustus 2011
'Berliner Luft Tut Gut'
'Berlin was just great! Berlin got under my skin! Berlin took my breath away! Berlin was just what the doctor prescribed!', were a few of the sentences that I used when people asked me about my trip to Berlin. City trips are always kind of tiring because the moment you put down your feet on the unknown ground of a place that still hides many treasures time starts ticking.
Alexander Platz, Friederichstrasse, Sony Center, Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Neue National Galerie, Hackesche Höfe, Monbijoupark, Fernsehturm, Brandenburger Tor, Holocaust Denkmal, many red and green 'Ampelmännchen', Unter den Linden, Schloss Charlotttenburg, Kurfürstendamm, Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche,..... I can go on for ever to just tell were we all passed by or checked out. We broke our personal record on that trip of miles in one day.
It just happened to be a coincidence that my mum and I happened to chose Berlin as our holiday destination in the year that Germany is commemorating the building of that one monument that broke up the place in a 'light' side and a rather 'dark' side. For many people it must have been also wall that kind of split up their minds.
My mum seemed also a bit obsessed with that wall and she was always searching all over the place for hidden differences. It is not that simple anymore to find the exact line where you can cross over and feel what people must have felt like at the time. Travelling with a parent at an adult age is for sure different then when you are a kid. My mum and I were not on a maiden voyage but it is still always a bit daring to board a plane and fly of an unknown destination with the one person who taught you so many things about life.
Highlights of our Berliner trip were numerous and the list is to long and distinguished. Because I do not wish to take to much time up from you just a few ones that will be linger around in my mind when the word Berlin will pop up.
- Flying high in the sky and seeing a blue sky after having to face grey and wet weather for over three weeks. My mum was impressed with the smooth touch down that the pilot managed and the temperatures at the ground made her even smile more.
- Having an amazing breakfast buffet to chose from in the morning after having slept in a very nice design room. Most surprising corner of our comfortable room was the toilet. 'Do you know that book 'room with a view'?, my mum asked me after she had checked out the room. 'I think in this case we are dealing with this when we are in there!', while the pointed at the toilet.
- Getting lost in Berlin. Stallie can not read a map and the more she tries the harder it gets to get back on the right track. Even the metro system of Berlin did take a while to get used to. My mum had to calm me down once in a while when we once again ended up in the wrong direction. Roadworks even made it only worse.
- Meeting up with the locals and speaking lots of German. We both speak quite well German to get around in Berlin without making a fool of ourselves. But when I ordered 'Senfeier', thinking I ordered those typical german sausages but got eggs in a creamy mustard sauce I can tell you that I started to head bang and felt that all those years of German did not pay of.
- Standing, walking, sitting, dreaming away and zooming into places that I had seen so many times in all these German movies and series that I know from television. It was so strange to stand there on Potsdamer Platz or Alexander Platz and suddenly link it to so many images that you once saw on television. My mum had a very hard time trying to picture the wall or at least the left overs. One time she even pointed at one of these threshold for cables and said:'Look S, that is where the wall stood!' LOL
- Coping with gigantic pieces of 'Kuchen'. At KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens, the Harrods of the mainland) the unthinkable happened: Stallie did not finish her cake. I just sat there and felt beaten by a piece of cake. How low can you go? Berlin was winning the battle of cakes with Stallie. They must have been thinking:'Stallie eat that and you will know what cake is all about.' I wonder if Kennedy knew that he was safe to pick out a Berliner when he was speeching. Those are rather tiny compared to the size I had to face and digest. And then I have not mentioned the notorious Curry Wurst that I had to face. Size does matter when it comes down to German sausages.
- Dreaming away in front of modern and older art. Yes, the Germans kind of managed to collect quite some nice pieces of art during (war-)time. My favorite you can see here above. Casper David Friederich manages to let me dive into a moment that he so delicately tried to depict with well chosen colors and the right brush movements. Still there were so many statues, paintings and pictures that I encountered on this trip that made me feel so much more alive. And this in their rather frozen status made me travel along to an other world that must have been cut of the world that they called the 'West'.
- Having tons of goosebumps moments with top of the bill passing under the Brandenburger Tor and not hitting a wall. The sun was setting and Berlin was still going strong but I felt my skin turning cold. That day we also did find out that you can not always freely walk into a building. We were denied access to German Parliament because we had not registered three days ahead. My mum made kind of a scene in front of the security staff. 'Sicherheitsgrunden! Dass machen wir seit die Anschlägen', was the answer of a very friendly police man that was guarding a smaller door of Parliament.
- Shopping therapy in the many secret alleys we got lost in. Most special buy/gift of this trip was my mum getting me dressed in this awesome dance store. It was a very tensed moment to slip into a very colorful dance atire and leather ballet shoes after that many years. I do not have any excuses anymore when it comes down to signing up for ballet classes. Stallie crossed in Berlin a line that she kept away from for such a long time. Berlin was the perfect place to take one of the last hurdles. Like I was mentaly crossing from the West to East during this trip.
- Taking care of my feet while my walking shoes made me cross this very exceptional city all over was not that simple. So that made me then end up in a place of ultimate bliss where that my two feet got the royal treatment. Thanks to the expertise of a woman by the name of Susanne Kaufmann and her staff my feet are ready for an other run around the globe. In case you are looking for the perfect wellness address in Berlin. This is the spot to go into hiding and come back out reborn!
- Trying to act like the locals. I am a big fail on that part. My camera and guidebook give me away in a split second. My mum at other hand can easily fool you. Again she gave freely away her opinion about how people were dressed, talked and acted. Nicest moment I was able to witness is when she sat out there in the garden of the impressive Jewish museum in a red beach chair wearing her sun hat and glasses and enjoyed tremendously the sun. And this among some of the locals who seemed to agree with here that this was the perfect place to enjoy the free air and blue sky.
- Flying back home in the company of some nice English guys who just returned from a stag night. Before I knew we were the most loudest people on board. P who turned out to be quite good with numbers payed me some very nice compliments on my language knowledge. When then his friend M forced him out of his seat we started to LOL:
M:'Is that your mum?'
M:'Well, you are such a stylish and smart lady!'
My mum then LOL and her cheeks turned as red as a glass of Kriek beer
By the time we landed back on Belgian soil we had made some new friends and were invited for a beer. We of course declined but my mum suggested they should drink 'La Chouffe'. 'They might then end up seeing dwarfs!', my mum whispered to me before they were heading for the bar.
While wandering through Berlin I managed to take a very good look at my mum and me. We are for sure not identical if it comes down to many things. In many ways she can still surprise me. While I was zooming into many places and also once in a while into the face of my mum it sometimes hit what a 'special' person my mum is. I am very grateful to her in many ways. That she once more managed to travel with me and helped to create new memories that I will cherish for a very long time I do for sure appreciate. Going on a voyage with my mum means that I take my conscience along and that is sometimes very confrontating but at the same time it makes me reconnect.
On top of that I have been contemplating a great deal about many things that kind of split me up in two sides. I am a thinker and I do need sometimes to be alone to come back to my senses. Stallie is constantly on the run and knows that she can run out of breath when she just forgets to take deep breaths. While standing under Brandenburger Tor I met up with me, myself and I. So yes, Berlin was this summer the perfect city to hang out at in state I am.
When I was in the Jewish museum I was given the chance to put down in words what equal rights mean to me as a woman. Because until the year of 1953 German women lost citizenship if they married a foreigner. This is what I wrote down on that little card: 'That when a woman makes a certain choice she does not have to fight in order to keep up her pride and can stay true to herself without prejudice of 'man'-kind.'
So now I am back home but the big difference is that Berlin now stands for much more then a 'Berliner' that I can by at my bakery. I was told by many that Berlin is a very fascinating place and that you need more then one trip to get your head around. Well, they were right.
P.S.: Every day I met this very fascinating performer by the name Max Raabe. Well, do you know the feeling when you hear a song for the very first in a different language and just love it and link it for ever with a city you fell in love with. Well that is what Max did with me! Yes, kissing is one of these things you can only when you are with two!!! Stallie saw many kissing people while wandering through Berlin.
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester - Küssen Kann Man Nicht Alleine (2011) - Muziek & Entertainment - 123video
P.S.2: And for those wellness princesses out there who wish to know where Susanne is hiding out in Berlin, just copy and paste this: http://berlin.unlike.net/locations/303095-Susanne-Kaufmann-Spa