Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin

The sun rises earlier in Berlin than in Frankfurt. I was there yesterday to give back the keys to our old apartment, and stayed the night with friends. Early this morning I caught the bus M85 towards the train station. It was a double-decker, and I snagged the front seat on the top. The sun was just rising as the bus wound its way through the haphazard capital streets.

"Nächste Halt: Bülowstrasse." announced the recorded voice. I tried to remember, how do I know Bülowstrasse? As we passed it I saw, of course, the train bridge held up by stony maidens, leading right past my old church. How could I forget so soon the train station we used to take every Sunday to the American Church of Berlin? I saw in the early light the missing turret and the stones black from bomb damage. The Pastor always assured us of its "solid foundations."

We drove on, and on the left passed what looked like a palace flanked by armies of columns. I had never seen it before. That's how Berlin is, I suppose. I heard a story about the last Czar of Russia. After his family was arrested he told his wife and daughters to sew jewels and money into their corsets and undergarments, and then to dress like paupers. I don't know if that's true, but its always reminded me of Berlin.

The sun next reached the fan-like roof of the Sony Center, which reflected its rays over Potsdamer Platz. I thought about the Platz's old glory, the years of destruction and division by the wall, and finally of its rebuilding. It seemed to symbolize resurrection better than the church.

The bus lurched and occasionally tree branches smacked the upper deck. I felt a bit like a Maharajah astride an elephant, surveying my former kingdom. Ahead I saw the Reichstag's cupola and four flags rising out of the trees. To the right was the Brandenburger Tor, with the goddess of Victory charging towards the rising sun. We turned and passed the Kanzleramt, and I told Angie I would see her on TV.

We made a final turn east, and before me was the whole skyline, the Reichstag and Fernsehturm gray against the brilliant sun. At last the bus stopped before the Hauptbahnhof and I left Berlin.

"Sehnsucht" means longing or craving, but to me it always takes another meaning from its sound; sounding like the words "sehen" and "suchen" which mean to see and to search. Its like searching after something you can only see in your mind. Marlene Dietrich sings about her Sehnsucht for Berlin, and I couldn't agree more.


Regine Wosnitza said...

Hi Katie,
I just stumbled over your blog.
I live just round the corner of American Church. and the M85 surely is a great ride.
The palace-like building is the Kammergericht. The Colons do not really "belong" to it, but were put there in 1913 because they do match, in a way.
Lot's of stories here in the area. If you want to visit
cheers, Regine

strangekaty said...

Hallo Regine,

Thanks for the tip. Schöneberg is an interesting neighborhood, one that I unfortunately haven't had the chance to explore much.
How long have you lived on Potsdamerstrasse? I'll definitely check out your blog.
Take care,