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October 11, 2004

Leipzig / Torgau – Post Communist Resistance 5–8 Nov 04

A marvellous Ryanair deal, 0.48 £ each way plus taxes, all around 24£.
Now I have been several times in Leipzig, is a town best known for its music since many famous composers lived or were born here.
The old town centre is a great place to shop, and a very beautiful area, with gothic and baroque churches, lovely civil bourgeois architecture, mostly of the XIX century, but gothic, baroque, belle époque, art noveux, functionalism can also be found in perfect harmony.
We probably have heard several times about neo-Nazis in East Germany, but that is definitely not the case of Leipzig (and Berlin). There is a great deal of left wing conscious as part of Leipzig's historic identity. Unfortunately that's not the case of Leipzig's surroundings, but once again the good thing on it is that citizens of Leipzig won't accept it easily.
All this makes for it self Leipzig an unique place on the pan-Germanic world imagination. There is probably no other place in Germany where people are so open-minded (in ex equo with Cologne) or so friendly (in ex quo with Hamburg or Luebeck). And on the other side, though we are on manly protestant ground, people’s happiness for living is not far from the one of the Rhine Area.

*Leipzig is a great place to visit and have fun!!! *
The reason why I'm going this weekend to Leipzig is because my sister is on Hospital. She is pregnant and she has got some complication, nothing to be really afraid, but the doctors said it would be better to stay on the hospital the next five weeks, she needs to rest and there is a risk of premature birth.
My sister Luisa is a lovely person, she is very intelligent, but sometimes gets on my nerves because she is so hyper-active. She is married with André, a nice guy, he is from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, but he is half German. They all live in Torgau.
Torgau is a little renaissance town, which was on the XVI the capital of Saxony. We can still find on the centre of the old town the enormous towers of the previous rulers of Saxony. Now Torgau is also known for Luther's teaching, and for his wife who also lived here. Last but not least, though a terrible event in the all human history, it was here that the soviet and the American armies meet, west and east, after such a desespering war who just lead to distrotion. Torgau seems untouched, both by the Nazi madness and by the soviet mega construction hysteria. Quite charming, but go first to Wittenberg, and if you have some two hours left than visit Torgau, and by the way go eat in the Ratskeller, wonderful food, not expensive in the beautiful Town Hall on the Markt Platz.
Accommodations are very cheap here. If you really have loads of time than pay us a visit. Napoleao Weinhandle is a Portuguese wine enterprise. Feel free to come and taste wine, Port or even old Brandies. We are lodged in an old soviet huge cultural centre, a wonderful building. Just ask for the "Haus der Metallarbeiter" everybody knows where it is (Sueptitzer weg 49).

Köln – Back Home / A fake World Centre Imagination 13–15 Nov 04

The best deal that a student living in The Warwick University Campus may ever get 13,98 £ return!!!! Direct from Coventry to Cologne.

*"Die Metropolis" *
Köln is such an auto centric city that its inhabitants do believe that they are on the centre of the world.
Cologne's name comes from the Latin colonia the Romans had here and advance settlement. If you are interested on this visit the Archaeological Museum near the great Cologne's cathedral.
Cologne's Cathedral is considered the highest gothic cathedral on world (?) is really huge and it worth to take more than a half hour to go to the top. The view is just stupendous!!!! Cologne citizens are really proud of their cathedral. During the II big war almost all Cologne was destroyed and the cathedral was the only building standing up, it was just very little damage, contrasting with the deep devastation cause by the British Air Force. It tells the legend that Emperor Williams the II statue defended with its sword a bomb that was intended to destroy the cathedral. Kölners really believe it so doesn’t even dare to question it.
Cologne is and means so many things that's difficult to define it.
Its one of the gayest cities on the world, they are proud for its tolerance and its musty cultural identity.
It’s the German Media and Press capital; all main German popular news papers (not tabloids) are being edited here. RTL group is based in Cologne so as other entertainment industries.
Cologne is the city of the "Eau de Cologne"
Cologne is the City of the famous "Kolsch"
Cologne is the city of the most famous Carnival
All this things make the Koelners believe that they are in a kind of unrecognised world’s centre. This strong magnetic obviously contrast with the fact that cologne is not a financial or industrial centre, but even so its one of the richest German cities.
Düsseldorf it’s the eternal rival of Cologne, so if you feel like provoking the Koelners than just joke about it, I assure you it works and you will get an answer soon (or later!!)
It's wonderful to *show off *in Cologne. Shopping, dress funky, drink bear in the most popular coffees and be always with a smile on their mouth, because that's all Cologne is about!

Gdansk – German frontier of a lost northern imagination 22–25 Oct 04

"Danzig, Preslau und Stettin deutsche Städte wie Berlin"
There is something very painful on this right wing sentence. Painful on the meaning that it expose the historic disaster that the II World War was. First of all it calls the fact that after the recapitulation of the German III Reich Germany lost more than 1/3 of its previous territory. And this of course brings out all the most regretful and negative feelings about Germany and Germans on a kind of water falls of degust and dishonour.
Danzig was probably founded by the Teutonic knights. It was latter a healthy Hansa state Town, and was some time under Swedish rule, I believe. Fredrick the I after acquiring the city with the East Prussian Territory nowadays Kaliningrad (Köningsberg), use it to become King of Prussia and get free of the hierarchy of the Roman German Empire.
One can easily comprehend that Danzig is a strong part of the German unification process a part of German integrity as a construction state. Emmanuel Kant the most celebrated Philosopher was born and lived all his live in Köningsberg.
On the XIX century Danzig was no longer just an important port on the Baltic see it was a beach station for the healthy German bourgeoisie. Some of the most beautiful buildings are summer residences and belle époque hotels on the calm waters of long white sand beaches.
The First World War gave Danzig to Poland, opening Poland to the see on the expectation to give economical viability to the new country supported by the victorious nations. This brook the connection between west and East Prussia. Such facts were used by the Nazis for propaganda issues, and probably this was on the base of the nature of the Hitlers-Stallin's Pact.
On the end of the II world war, Russia didn't gave back polish the territories it got from the Soviet-German Pact, and Poland and other countries used territory annexation as war compensations. Germany lost Schlesiger, East Brandenburg, and many other east provinces to Poland. East Prussia was divided between Lithuania, Russia and Poland. The main heart of that territory is nowadays the problematic enclave of Kaliningrad. But Kaliningrad shouldn't be seen as just a problematic tumor, its potential as a powerful link between what most probably will be the gap between Far East agonising states and the progressive Europe. Kaliningrad means exactly that that it can not happens and needs to be avoid, very much could be said from the Leningrad oblast, Carelian Republic, the Murmansk Oblast or the big Russian communities in the Baltic countries.
Danzig/Gdansk are evocation of my German proximity and from my almost forced existence as a European citizen (much could be told about how an Atlantic Portuguese from one day to another turns European, in rights and duties!)

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