Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mahlow and the Butterfly Effect

About 15 miles south from Berlin's geographical center, taking the S2 until its second last stop, you'll be  in Mahlow: a little town of what had been the former East Germany. Last week we took a short trip with the S-Bahn train to have a BBQ in one of the farms that are - as it often happens here - open to the public.

As soon as you reach the S-Bahn Mahlow, you immediately know you have left Berlin, but the first thing you notice is that there are airplanes starting and landing in sight.
In 2012, when the Airport Schönefeld will open, Mahlow will be full time on its flight path, facing the annoying problem of noise pollution. For a start.

This seems to be a case of "butterfly effect" (i.e. in a complex system, initial small interventions cause relevant effects as time unfolds); the interesting project I am linking to, tries to respond to two problems: "what to do with the existing buildings under noise threat? Where and how to design new expansions?" and proposes a "strategy in five steps that turns problems into a potential".  from (New) Babylon Reloaded

Of course it is a pity that such a pretty place, with beautiful old buildings, might become a suburban noisy hell. 

Anyway, Mahlow remains a nice spot to be biking, horse riding and...why not, barbequing in the farm.

Having been raised in the country I don't have a big fascination with farms, nor animals, but I must admit that - since the owner has quite a foible for India - I found something for myself too.

And for some meditation

Monday, July 25, 2011


Have you ever had a collection?
Like in the picture above, I think a own a discrete number of tea-pots and teas, but not as many as "papers" (in the form of letters, envelopes, postcards, maps, love-messages from chocolates...)
I used to collect pebbles and shells when I was a child. And still do, if I have a chance.

Why am I collecting all of that?I think it's just to "admire" these objects: I have some moments of high affection but I can also live without them (ok, not without maps!).
Sometimes it is just fun to concentrate on shapes and colors and to sort things or just to favorite one according to a special mood. 
Talking about teas: today I think I am going to drink "Ridiculously Raspberry Tea". 
It's the perfect tea for a "ridiculous" summer day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mel Gibson and My New Job

via Archiv Für Filmposter

You might say I save the good ones for the rainy days, but last night I dreamed I had a job interview with Mel Gibson (as seen in Braveheart but with more casual clothing) as my boss.
It was about a teaching job - which would be great - in a little school in the woods. The woods? Am I Little Red Riding Hood?

I do understand the job thing. But...MEL GIBSON?
What the hell is this guy doing in my dreams?The thought of him doesn't touch me remotely. I haven't seen movies with him, talked about him nor read about him in ages.

The best part, though, is that I got the job: Mel was testing my competitiveness by letting me pick fruits from a tree (I really hope there was no biblical symbolism here) and, since I was climbing the tree instead of picking the lower fruits, he decided I was perfect for the assignment.
In the little school. In the woods. Mmmhhh....

Maybe it's a lucky dream. And if I manage to find the job I like I'll probably owe it to Mel Gibson.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain - Travel Plans

My suitcase feels abandoned and lonely in the basement.
With its non aggressive in-line skates' rubber wheels, silvery case, elegant and tech look, it can surely claim to be right one for me.
It's a posh suitcase. And a little vain.

So, suitcase, be merry!You are going to be out soon. Excited already?

This time there is no intercontinental adventure, which feels odd and unusual.
I haven't been traveling in Europe in a while and the destinations aren't particularly far, because both Switzerland and southern France are about an hour away from Berlin, by airplane.

I shouldn't be concerned and still, because both destinations are mountainous, I can' t help but wondering how it will be.

Let' s face it: I am not a mountain person. Whatever that means.
Maybe a mixture of fear of height, thin air and curves (all things that make me feel dizzy)?
It seems unbelievable to me, but - in fact - I have been on the mountains before.

"As I die I can't remember
Where I saw the rain:
Could it be that her laughter
Drove me down again?
Charming dancer will you stop,
Stop and talk to me?
Is there someone else you feel
In your dreams? you will, you see:
In midnight gazes
I've found you far from me:
If you lead me on"

Tim Buckeley, I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Heart of Glass

...In between what I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine...

Venetian Glass Chandelier and amazing carved ceiling at Palazzo Zenobio, Venice

Venetian Glass Chandelier at Alice's Bakery, New York City

Gedächtniskirche - Memorial Church

I promise I try not to talk about churches for the times being....But, I think this deserved at least a mention!
Probably you'd be as shocked as I was, seeing the "Memorial Church" only in its ugly wrapping and not like

See what happens when you stay away for a while: everything can change in Berlin.
Well, the good news is that you'll be able to see the original by the end of 2012.
Until then, maybe a bit of disappointment?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fish Church

Summer in Berlin! That doesn't necessarily mean three months of gorgeous weather: some days are rainy and cold as if it was still early spring.  To prevent myself from complaining too much about it (which I do on a regular basis), I found a place where me and the kids are always having a good time: the Aquarium.
I enjoy the quiet: except for those odds moments when a brood of school kids walks by, the only sound you'd hear is the "shhwshsss" of water being pumped into the tanks.

The Berlin Aquarium is not only a place of peace, it is also a place of beauty 

Above the tanks, on the first floor, you find stained glass windows which remind so much of Jugendstil (the German version of Art Nouveau)

I like joking about the fact that it feels a bit like being in a church, but if you think about the fish as a traditional symbol of Christianity, it is not so inappropriate

The Greek letters which make the word for fish are IXTHUS, and they form an acronym that has also been associated with this symbol.  "Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter", which is translated as Jesus (I) Christ (X), God's (TH) Son (U), Savior (S)

But religious symbols aside, maybe you're interested in reading more about  glass windows' history

Note: the Aquarium I am referring to, is the one inside the Zoologischer Garten.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Angel Soldier - Illusion vs Reality

After staring for a while at these blossoming flowers

you will realize there are soldiers creeping in the background...

                       quite an impressive illusory experience created by Korean media artist Lee Yong Baek

(Korea Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale)

Be Back in Berlin!

I had to let her go again.
Tonight there's nothing else I can think about. Two hours together went just too fast.

There is too much to say to someone you haven't seen in two full years, someone who used to be there anytime you needed.
We talked as if we had said goodbye only a few days ago: about things we've been doing, about the point in time when we both left Berlin and about the future, when we' ll be living close to each other again. One year, or maybe longer than that.

I was glad to see her, unchanged: stubborn, warm, generous and caring. 
She is doing well and it means so much to me.
So we hugged. But if I had been able to speak, I would have said "Just don't go again, don't leave me!Stay here, you've been too far". Words died halfway in my throat.
And I let her go, because there was nothing else to do. 

(the next post is dedicated to this friend, who is currently living in South Korea)