The simple solution became clear. A little r & r somewhere, fittingly, the opposite of what we had become so accustomed to and tired of, would do us all a big favor. Yes, Berlin had a lot to offer a member of the contemporary world, deprived of that life source that only a big-time city can provide. First, there was the Berlinale, an international film festival in the glamorous spotlight of movie stars, critics, and film lovers the world over. The likes of Scorsese, Banksy, Franco, and Russian snow queens (just to name a few of our favorites) meandered about the film goers. A long break in the Hyatt Hotel Cafe was bound to land us a citing of some high profile celebrity, we were told, but our agenda had other plans.
Like the Berlin architecture. Pulverized to a pulp in many places by the second world war, the city experienced a rebirth, and I'd be damned to say they might be the lucky ones. Project after project we passed proclaimed a new hope and a dream, reigning clearly as the Cathedral bells, for a new life and a new Germany. I gladly joined in song. But it wasn't just an architecture of guilt, no, something else drove these lyrics. Something more profound, more sustainable.
A ride on the underground train proved most enlightening. The Berliners are lovers of life, art, culture, and music, and yet by the look of 'em you would never know. They act like genuine human beings, not the over-tamed yuppies and bourgeoisie one would expect to find in a cultural scene so alive I almost think I could throw a stick in the crowd and expect to hit a painter or a cellist.
Maybe it stems from Germany's pioneering past, with greats such as Walter Gropius and Mies Van der Rohe heading the subversive Bauhaus movement. Revolutionary thinkers who paved the way for all of us nobodies to think what we think now. Walking the displays of the Bauhaus Museum I felt for the first time in my life that I wanted to go back there to the decade of the 30s, just to soak up the atmosphere of the school and learn from the students as well as the faculty. At the same time, it makes me feel like a good for nothing shmuck who hasn't a creative thought in his body. How could their ideology be so relevant today?
No, there's something about Berlin. And with any luck I'll be back there soon, to discover more of it's secrets, it's unsolved puzzles, and find out for myself what really makes the city tick. Why, really, are the people so friendly and a daily stroll there so dignified and comfortable? Why can't I be there now? Well, I'm what they call a idealist...and idealists never get their way. They always have to gaze ahead at their vision never quite disappearing over the horizon. But one day, when I run fast enough you bet I'll catch up. Maybe it's Berlin and maybe another city I have yet to investigate. But one thing is for sure...
I'm gonna get there.