"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move" Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
I endorse this entirely and last weekend, on a whim, I decided to visit Berlin. Just under 6 hours, each way, on a train and you arrive at the throbbing heart of Germany. The train journeys were fine, much better than on the previous Saturday travelling from Scotland to England courtesy of that nice Mr Branson and sitting on the floor for part of the journey. It's lucky I had a first-class ticket otherwise I could imagine myself travelling on the roof.
Berlin is an old stamping-ground for me, having lived there for two years in the mid-eighties. In those days there was West Berlin and East Berlin and the contrast between them was stark. Arriving by train on Saturday evening and travelling East to West I was struck how much Alexander Platz had changed in the years since the wall came down. A different world. A different me too. Cold War Warrior no longer. No more checking out through Checkpoint Charlie and checking in again when I went back to the decadent West. Now there is a mock-up Checkpoint Charlie with 2 guys dressed as American soldiers and offering to part you with some money in exchange for having your photo taken with them. There's Capitalism for you.
On Sunday I went to the Brandenburg Gate and walked from there to the site of the old Checkpoint Charlie. On the way I walked past the Trabi museum and a place where tours of Berlin by Trabi are organised. A convoy of them was just leaving as I passed and the smell of cheap petrol was heavy in the air.
Finally, sad to read of the death of David Bowie. This song takes me back to the late 60s.