Trier

So recent now are the impressions of Trier, that I look forward anxiously to return to Berlin. Knowing what lasted time, it is as if the objects we know today, the present are easier to recognize in the storms of current events. The sight of classic times, behold, of names that once were claimed by the flesh of living people, but now, detached from their physical temples, have regained their freedom of eternity. Only now can they be observed, can they be distinguished from the masses of millions, as true names, free of their bodily representations, standing free in eternity are the names of ruins and resurrected facades.

The transposement in time, erupts from the ashes of involvement and commitment, the sense of travel within me, again a longing for journey, to wander for ten long years. The ‘porta nigra’ is probably the best known Roman building in Trier that has been preserved. But also there are the remnants of later times, the baroque era, imperial time and modernity, but mostly am I drawn to the Roman and medieval sites.

The ‘porta nigra’ with its solid, blackened façade in the heart of modern Trier, still today feels as if one approached the entrance of the old city. The Nordallee on the northern side is also now only part of the extern surrounding of bushes and wildlife. Passing underneath one of the two arches, the hustle and bustle of the shopping center opens up the city. Shoppers, tourists, visitors recreate the sense of medieval Trier’s busy Simeonstrasse with the chaos of importance. Here it is that gold flows, as outside the gate the dangers lure of the dark forest of metal traffic and coldheartedly is the threat to the unhappy soul having left the protective embrace of the city walls.

The Hauptmarkt also today still bustles and thrives with activity and life, thanks to tourists seeking and finding their ways to the Dom and the Liebefraukirche along the narrow Sternstrasse, the Altestadt or the Basilika. Life still evolves around the market with stands selling flowers and textile, and the steps at the foot of the Petersbrunnen or the Marktkreuz attract the occasional drunkard and teenage hipsters hanging out.
In contrast stand the Dom and the Domfreihof in front of its Westtower. Through its special layout and solid, closed structure you immediately breath in the silence of the square, the murmuring crowd that strolls down Simeonstrasse is left behind in the center. Here an immediate sense of serenity dominates.

The trainride from Trier to Berlin Ostbahnhof took about 7 hours and 15 minutes. In the morning we had Frühstuck at the Hotel Monopol, opposite from the Hauptbahnhof at Trier. Frau Glatzel paraded her professional hospitality by keeping a watchful eye on the guests at their table. The sweeping of the entrance door, the pushing of a chair, the shuffling of a guest along the buffet table, every sound of activity provokes Frau Glatzel to appear in the opening at the sideroom with a obliged smile of helpful readiness. Breakfast is German, a plate of cheese and meats, a basket of rolls and bread, eggs, small packages of preserves and butter, a can of coffee, a can of orange juice and milk, yoghurt and cornflakes. At 9.00 am we pay the hotel bill cash, Bernd Glatzel, the Inhaber, insisted to be paid cash for the bargained price for the room of €55.

At 9.59 am we finally leave for Berlin again, first the regional train to Kölln, from where we take the ICE to Berlin Ostbahnhof. The ICEs are still as a mouse at 200 kilometers per hour. We enjoy the wide German landscape, changing from the picturesque Rheinland, to the flat Westfalen and the Volkswagen factories of Wolfsburg. After a long day travelling, in which I mainly read Baedeker’s guide to Trier and brought back the still shallow waters of my memory of Trier, we arrive in Berlin.

Today, the ruins have returned a deeper longing for intellectual engagement. I feel a drive to pursue the literary and classic tales of history and literature. I am reading Wibke Bruhns’ “Meines Vaters Land, Geschichte einer deutschen Familie” about Hans Georg Klamroth. The book and its place on the current best-sellers list in Germany is another example of Germany’s ‘Auflosung’ of its role and guilt in the Shoah and the National Socialist generation of Germans, a people, which was its creator and executioner by will. The same ‘Auflosing’ that is absent with regard to the DDR regime, which created a system of paranoia in which that same people participated largely. Now, the mutual and shared guilt is forgotten. What ‘good’ is to be expected from that?! Do Germans look toward Art again to guide the nation’s politics, while the reflection of the nation is instead aimed at the economic reconstruction and unification of Europe?

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