Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going on a Bear Hunt (Beim Lesen der Zeichen)

Mr. Signs and I are going to Berlin for a week. Though I have been to other parts of Germany and Austria, I haven’t been back to Berlin since I was about six going on seven, when I came back to England. My father had been an actor with the Berliner Ensemble and we lived for some years in a village nearby, close to what was soon to be the border between east and west. On my return to England, I spoke with a German accent.

Going back to somewhere that was home a long time ago is always strange. I remember the place where I lived exactly as it was and although I will be going back as a foreigner, I carry it as inner landscape, along with the songs and stories I learned there (Rotkäppchen and Aschenputtel come to mind, the full unexpurgated versions).

I am looking forward to eating Gummibärchen. I know that Haribo make them now, but they are not the same as the ones I used to buy in small white paper cones for zehn pfennig. If Proust can recreate an entire personal histoire from the taste of a Madeleine dipped in tea, I mean to say, then so can I by chewing a quantity of Gummibärchen.

Auf Wiedersehen – literal translation: until we meet again or, as Number Six would say, “be seeing you.”


Zhoen said...

I love the photo, which makes my dear D drool.

Kahless said...

Have a wonderful time my friend. Take lots of photo's and post them when you get back please!

fluttertongue said...

Berlin is such a wonderful place. Just the right number of people and a plethora of children's playgrounds and water. Have a wonderful time!

Nicola said...

My father was stationed in northern Germany when I was 10- 13. We went to Berlin once and I still treasure the documentation from when we crossed the border at Checkpoint Charlie. I also have a postcard of the bombed church with the then new stained glass column bedside it. I haven't been back though I visited Wurzburg when my daughter was at university there two years ago. The sound of the language brought back so many memories. I never learned to write it and my spoken German amounted to little more than zehn Brurtchen (rolls? spelling?) bitte. Last weekend same daughter brought a friend home - she comes from Dresden and I was shocked at how little I knew of the deprivation of even her generation - she is twenty-six - compared with our children's.
I hope your visit brings back affectionate memories.
Oh, and I still have a book of German folksongs called 'Wanderlust'. Good wandering, Signs x

Nicola said...

ps I, too, would love to see photos. I guess one can buy books of photos of Berlin, but to see Berlin through your eyes would not be unlike being there myself (if that doesn't sound too presumptuous).
(Something odd going on here. I feel I have the whole word order muddled up above, and I in English spelling correctly stopped - I had to go to the dictionary for presumptuous!) (The brackets are just to show Anna that I am in allegiance.)

cusp said...

Have a great time. I bet this trip will be a catalyst for all sorts of meanderings, both emotional, creative and physical (the latter mit Gottes Willen)

I wish I could go back to visit my grandmother's house in Leipzig but I dare say everything she knew was smashed to smithereens in WW2

Looking forward to hearing all about it

Take care


Reading the Signs said...

Hey Zhoen, it sounds as though D must have had the real German ones then. They are delicious bears altogether.

Kahless, it's going to be either my phone camera or Mr. S's camcorder camera. But anyway, there will be some pics, yes.

Hi Flutter, we've bought the Lonely Planet guide and have a long list of places and things. But main thing for me is to see the place where I lived.

Nicola, zehn Brötchen, war es? I had a couple of German folk song books - back in England I used to read them to remind myself of the songs so I wouldn't forget, and it worked! They are all still there (here, inside me, I mean).

Gael said...

Sounds like it will be an emotional trip.
I'm currently struggling with Berlin Aleanderplatz. It is so strange to think of all the upheaval that has taken place since then.
Have a good trip and take care

Reading the Signs said...

Hey Cusp,

Wanna put a link to that YouTube thing here while I'm gone?

Mit Gottes Willen I will get my stuff packed tonight.

Hi Gael,

Not sure how emotional it will be. The past, as they say, is another country and I feel curiously disconnected. But still, all agog. And, somehow, involved. Am I making sense?

cusp said...

Right u r then. Just for you and your readers, dear:

Have a look see at this: Signs on 'er 'olidees ;0)

Gael said...

Cusp - thanks for that : )
The Gummibears appear to be taking on Eurovision. I am particularly amused by Gummi'bjorn'

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

So long as you don't get there and say, "Ich bin ein Berliner..." ;-)
Have a fabulous time - I believe Berlin is very hip and thriving and cool, looking forward to hearing all about it on your return. Max out on those Gummibarchen (sorry, no umlaut to apply to the a!) and enjoy!

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

Have a great time.



But Why? said...

Ahh, Gummibears! I am jealous, and also (having seen that there picture of yours) drooling.

Rabbit said...

Love the picture. Have a great time! I look forward to reading all about it when you get back.