25.3.13

Relentlessly snowy Berlin









I'm just back from a relentlessly snowy Berlin. 10 times the size of Paris with an ever growing and developing creative community. Iconic monuments, grungy clubs and cafes, graffiti on everything, and always reminders of the Cold War.

They may have tried to kill off diversity in the 1930's but today Berlin is one of most multi-cultural and open cities in Europe. It is also a city that can never afford to forget.

The young artists who make it their home don't carry the baggage of the past. They eat Lamb Koftas and African Yams on alternate nights. They dance in the snow. They weave their way through the streets without a consciousness of the gaping holes left by the absent wall.

In the 1970s I went through Checkpoint Charlie from west to east, barely understanding it's significance. Another country another border. The Guard checked under the van with a torch on mirrored wheels. He glared at my passport thinking I might be an imperialist American. Irischen!!! Gut! Smiles and relief all round. We spent a day in East Berlin trying to fritter away the 10 dollars they insisted we exchange. No matter how many beers with sausages and potatoes we tried to consume, it was an impossible task.

Then we were staying in the Western sector near Tiergarten, in the home of exiled Chilean diplomats. Today I stood in that same spot, a winter wonderland and remembered the grim grey streets and confusion of those days. A brown legged man in an orange singlet and little more jogged past me on the snowy path. Running with a cold breeze in his face and the warm sensation of a free man in his heart and I felt like cheering for Berlin, for the Germans and for all of those who lived to tell the tale.........some things do change.....




See a connected piece about the bright city lights calling, today on Vision and Verb









18 comments:

  1. Красиво показали Берлин.

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  2. Great post - such a diverse and creative city - just hope the powers that be don't start sanitizing it. Love those brown legs!

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  3. Thank you for this lovely post! The pictures are amazing.

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  4. I very much enjoyed your reflecting thoughts and photographs.

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  5. Lovely photos - especially like the reflectionsin the first. Is that jogger mad?
    June

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  6. Relentlessly snowy - maybe. But colorful..cheery..bright!

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  7. An effervescent post! From the winter images to the thoughtful narrative, well done!

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  8. All that snow and those reflections are just gorgeous though it looks utterly bitter...but beautiful.

    Nina x

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  9. Gorgeous shots. I love your feel for this historic city and your heartfelt perspective of such positive change over the past decades. Thank you.
    Mairead

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  10. Wonderful pictures - I can feel the cold from here. I would love to go there one day but doubt I ever shall. My son was born the day the Wall came down - memorable day. Philippa xx

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  11. How very German for jogging bare legged in the snow.

    What with all the flak Germany is getting at the moment from various countries who want an easy ride it is refreshing to see a positive picture painted of my homeland’s capital city.

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  12. How amazing to have experienced it then and now...I never thought I would see that wall fall and when it did my heart sang too....some things do change!!!

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  13. Amazing photos and a narrative. My sister-in-law is from Berlin - I hope to go someday.

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  16. Beautiful pictures. I really like your own really feel with this historical town as well as your sincere viewpoint associated with this kind of good alter in the last years. Thanks.




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