So, so much for my ruminations over the plundering of the ancient world by the Enlightened Western World.
Now onto my Berlin Experiences.
Part of what made this trip to Berlin so exciting was the prospect of meeting up with my friend Olivier who just happened to be visiting Berlin for the first time as well. We met up at my new friend Annette’s place in the afternoon of monday the 24th after a morning spent walking through the Palace grounds of San Soucci with Kevin in Potsdam. San Soucci was an interesting mixture of Versailles with its topiaries and classic sculpture with a wild growth of trees filling in the spaces between the meandering pathways. The funniest parts was seeing how they had erected temporary wooden structures to protect the sculptures from the harshness of winter. So like how Christo wrapped the Reistag with the feeling of its original shape except a bit more boxy, so this is how these covered classic sculptures and fountains felt.
I stayed with Kevin for one night, then spent the second two nights with Annette who I met through Doug in New York. She had just come back from visiting NY the first time and had described having a wonderful time and felt so disoriented coming back to Berlin where there are still many ruins left from the War and time of the Wall. She recalled seeing no open space left in Manhattan that was not built up and used, while in Berlin there is still the empty shell of a train depot near her surrounding by a vast empty space of tracks and field grass. She described feeling the potential of being able to start up fresh in New York while in Berlin there is the heaviness of the history and culture keeping one back from exploration beyond one’s limited abilities. She could not wait to go back again to hopefully work the next time.
She was another wonderful hostess. And this is what has made my trip and previous trips so enlightening and fulfilling. Instead of traveling to these new places and staying in hotels as a guest, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be welcomed into people’s homes and treated like a new member of the family. Instead of just learning about a new place through books and guided tours I have been able to discuss with my hosts their personal stories and be shown their favorite parts of their home cities and environment. This is what feeds my experiences of the World and in turn it is all translated into my work.