My family’s going to be coming here near the end of my trip. With them, I’m going to go to Schwangau (a very small town bordering Austria that is located near the famous castles of Ludwig II), Hamburg, and then back to Berlin. I predict that I’ll be able to notice a shift from artist-in-resident to tourist as I go through this last leg of my time here. After this trip, I think I’ll feel like I never want to be ‘just’ a tourist again. The idea of spending a couple days in a big city with lots of history and culture, only going to the places on the postcards and speeding through museums, taking pictures of everything without really connecting to it, is super unappealing to me. The last time I came to Europe (2012), I went to five countries in ten days. A Europe trip as seen through the windows of a tour bus. I mean, I saw some amazing things, such as the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, but in general, it was a very hands-off experience. I got just enough of each city to get a vague feel for it, before we left to the next place. I spent two days in Berlin that time. Now I can say I’ve spent two solid months there. At the end of this trip, with my parents, I’ll be repeating the briefness of 2012—we’ll only be in Berlin for three days. In a way, I think that a brief return to Berlin will almost feel like going home. And then it’s off to Canada again. I can now confirm—Halifax is so boring it hurts, compared to the places I’ve seen here.
I got here without much trouble, for once. Got a little lost after getting out of the U-Bahn, but found everything alright before long. I notice I’ve taken things a lot slower here than in, say Nuremberg, where each day was end-to-end sketching. Though, like in Nuremberg, I’ve gravitated towards all the same types of sites, mostly the stuff relating to the Third Reich, and sketched them. It was really nice, considering the weather’s now in the mid 20s and most days are quite sunny. I almost forgot what it was like to walk around in a t-shirt! Anyway, as I’ve said before, it’s so interesting to see the ghosts of this Nazi terror lingering so harmlessly at various sites. Unlike Nuremberg, though, a lot of what I found here is actually not high-profile at all. For example, I found three locations where a swastika motif is still plainly seen, in some cases more blatant than others:
Later, when walking around Munich with some people I had spontaneously bumped into at Odeonsplatz, I pointed at the Haus der Kunst and mentioned that the swastikas were right there, under the columns that line the front of the building. They were completely surprised, and though the building was probably familiar to them, they’d never thought to look up.
and another much shorter one: http://mediendienst-integration.de/artikel/fact-check-for-pegida-and-anti-immigration-arguments.html
And to quote from the first article I linked:
“I am an atheist, a secularist, and an anti-fascist. I have no interest in defending Islamic religious beliefs, nor the Qur’an (quite the opposite, in fact). I also have no time for those who seek to ‘understand’ Islamism or downplay the abhorrent nature of religious fascism. That said, I am also committed to a rational and just approach to my fellow human beings, seeking to treat them in the same way, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and so on.The ‘Islamisation’ myth is a myth precisely because it is simply isn’t based on credible evidence. The idea that Britain is being ‘Islamised’ is the latest in a long line of Western narratives of cultural decline. It is a dangerous myth (…) that must be repudiated if we are to develop as a nation and articulate a positive vision for the future."