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Prelude No.4 in E Minor


This journey despite great expectation at the beginning, did not start with pleasure. It was the summer of 2015, where I landed in Shanghai’s airport. As its transportation terminal, Pudong airport had and will continue to be a place of termination, where one story drowses and another one rises from horizon. The voice of fair-well was not rare here.

For me personally, I could not wait to begin my new page, dreadful two years had it been. Barely had anytime for the fortune of being alive, instead millions of lines read and written. Not exactly the kind of life within my anticipation, not to mention the failure of the last final exam which caused sever consequences. The way I saw it, Germany was a temporary escape from reality, far from the fogs of war.

I planned my journey to be non-sophisticated and at leisure. Before a fellow schoolmate’s call it was even supposed to be lonely. For the views I had no desire, all I ever wanted was a change of pace. But on the other hand, it could be nice to be accompanied. It didn’t start well for my poor fellow, his flight was canceled so I had to wait for him in Hamburg. I was exhausted, surrounded by loneliness and haunted by the ghosts of pressure. What good could amid thee? When good things of day begin to droop and drowse?

The first stop was Frankfurt am Main. I got off the airplane at 4:40am in Sunday, which was just not a good time for business. Whole country remained snoozing and the intruder found himself swallowed by emptiness. The streets contained evidence of a exciting night at the clubs and still the sun rises against all.

When the first stroke of liveliness casted away the shadows of the drunk, Frankfurt displayed its true face: it was a precious morning. Bangs of Church bells, smell of fresh bread at street café, birdies vanished on the roof tops and rang Guten Morgen. Soon the streets were filled with people fully dressed up heading to Church, human existence were perfectly in harmony with the rest, you could hardly tell if it’s truly a big international city for it was just so quiet.

Willkommen zurück, I said to myself. My soul swooned slowly as I heard the morning prayers falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of the past end, upon all the living and the dead.

Also Sprach Zarathustra


Hamburg was not a popular city for Chinese tourists, it was in the northeast end of Germany. Yet for me this was a sanctuary. Hundreds of years history, Hamburg remained the beauty of Europe

as it were in the Middle Ages.

Standing in front of the ocean against the historical Hamburger Rathaus, I felt for the first time since Zhejiang University alive. School was out, there were no lousy students and professors here, everyone was equally at ease, wondering their own business, yet not interfering their surroundings. Huge churches and statues stormed away never-ending egos of man, remained the tiny creatures admiring their ancestor’s teaching – love of the people, love of the nature.

I had not accomplished my objective. At the edge of the historical district lied the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Was it really so stupid to travel hundreds of miles for an artwork? My first visit did go well, the museum did not accept me for it was Monday. Feeling disappointed I returned for a change of clothes and went for a jog. It was nice. Everyday without a dance is a waste of life. In Hamburg, I jogged as if I was dancing with the great city.

The second day I woke up early, had a full continental breakfast at the hotel and got dressed up. I specifically wore my formal suit. The museum wasn’t exactly the kind that I was expecting, despite its classical decoration in the outside, it was fairly modern in the inside. The museum was so unexpectedly big and crowded with paintings and photographs, from the brith of civilisation to contemporary.

I made a mistake of going the wrong direction, transforming the tour to a time traveling. 21st century modern art, 20th century post-war art, Die Aufklärung, Renaissance. Going through the gallery is like going though history. Different from your everyday textbook history, art is not always the fairy tale of politics and warlords, but also the sparkling daily life of ordinary men and women. I am merely an ordinary folk myself, not wise enough to appreciate like an artist, but only myself. I don’t usually applaud to 21st century art, which was rather open-minded and chaotic if I may say so.

Through the long passage of future and past came the one, the one that I’d came to admire. Stood all alone against the reality, all those people and their sayings. Werde, der du bist. Nietzsche was no doubt a lonely man, but yet so fascinating a man’s word could become, that startled all who seek wisdom. The gentleman did no other but facing the ocean of fog, of the known and unknown destiny of himself. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one’s worst enemy shall be thyself, and so wondered the wonderer, the ultimate question of life and universe. It is a book, a painting, an orchestra, it is a man. Und bist du erst wach, sollst du mir ewig wach bleiben, also sprach Zarathustra.

Cello Suite No.1 in G major


The answer, that you are here. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Finally arrived at Titisee Neustadt, I was tremendously excited, and calm. 10 years ago on my first visited here with my mom, I was astound by the beauty of Schwarzwald. It was so tempting that even the true evil would lavishly bow.

What makes Titisee Neustadt so famous was the Titisee lake, but I first enjoyed a few days in the town. It was a small town lying between two hillsides of the mountain, which is basically inside the mountain. Every morning I awake from the bottom of the town and go for a walk up one side of the hill, and in the afternoon a little detour to the other side for a cup of tea or what ever, away from the ashes and yelling in the big cities where men could embrace the grace of mother nature. I was finally at ease, at peace with myself.

The road to Titisee didn’t went smoothly as I expected, taken the wrong bus-line wasn’t the best way to travel in the countryside. Me and my roommate were left half way to our destination. August in Schwarzwald was generally cool, as the temperature hardly reached 20 degree Celsius. Walking on a country road with barely enough clothes, it took us a while to find the right bus station. There weren’t any people here, nor cars, instead of farms and cornfields made up most of the artificial landscape. Only through the faint sense of existence of modern commercial posters could you realise that you were not really lost in time.

It took us nearly half an hour to get to Titisee, crowded with tourists as usual, not around the lake but at the town. Titisee town was a paradise for Chinese tourists shopping for souvenirs, but that was not why I was there. What stole my heart was the lake, peaceful as in memory, barely any movements but so alive, as if you can see the fishes.

I took the boat to the centre of the lake just like I did last time. A lake, a sanctuary well shielded by the surrounding mountains. Blue skies, white clouds with the shape of a giant rabbit. We were alone in the lake, and this was the one time I thanked god for those people missing these views, they left the best of all for me. No I didn’t took a selfie there, such view could not be captured by digital thingy but could only be processed and treasured by heart. I reached for my book and put on my favourite album. From 1717, with love.

After a few “happy hour”, we encountered a minor turbulence due to the sudden change of climate. For the sake of not-so-peasant laundry duty we had to leave early. But it was good to be back, at least some things never change.

倍加马斯克组曲,Clair de lune


Titisee Neustadt是黑森林里面非常小的小镇,坐落在左右两座大山中间的小缝隙里。小镇被最低处的一条小溪分成两部分,居民区在这头,商业区在那头。总是看到每天都有清早起床的人们从小镇的一边飞速下山,然后呼咻呼咻地爬上另一边去赶8:30开往Freiburg的火车。呜呜的汽笛声响起,伴随着教堂的钟声整座小镇又恢复了宁静,仿佛不曾有人经过。

下山的路上时不时有一两道铁门,大概是以前的房屋主人,觉着地窖有个出口会比较方便吧。自然地,也就有一些店家把自己的小店开在那里。布里希塔先生的铺子便是其中一家。铁门的一边是商店的橱窗,透过玻璃可以看见里面陈列的各式珠宝首饰。玻璃上是烫金的花体子,“金匠铺,安德烈亚.布里希塔”。小店大约20平米左右,看似狭小的空间里面却别有洞天。玻璃橱窗后是一排小柜子,里面摆着各种成品。左右的墙上都有陈列的架子。柜子后面便是布里希塔先生的工作台,那是一个月牙形的桌子,中间略略向里伸出来一个小槽,当布里希塔先生准备好要将切割好的钻石镶嵌在戒指或项链上时,便是将部件放置在小槽里以便加工。布里希塔先生手里拿着一颗闪亮的钻石,另一只手里拿着打磨好的戒指正在比对槽孔的大小。布里希塔先生身后摆放着各种机器,有用来调整戒指大小的冲压机器,还有用来抛光的机器,最右边是用来清洗的小池子,每一件首饰做好了布里希塔先生都会放进去洗个几分钟。

布里希塔先生长得瘦瘦高高,人很年轻,大概二三十左右,穿着也很是时尚的帽衫和牛仔裤,和人们心目中顶着大肚子的老师傅很不一样。布里希塔先生笑起来非常亲切,就像个青春期的大男孩一样,唯一不同的是那双粗糙的布满了茧的手。别看人年轻,布里希塔先生独自经营这家店也有十多年了。“Freiburg那样的大城市大概会有十家传统的手工金匠铺吧,但是整个黑森林,只有我这一家”,说到这里,布里希塔先生的脸上露出了一丝腼腆的笑容。布里希塔先生养了一只黑色的牧羊犬,名字叫什么我已记不清,姑且叫做小汉斯吧。布里希塔先生工作的时候,小汉斯便乖乖地趴在店门口朝外张望。时不时的,小汉斯会钻进工作台背后属于他的柜子里睡上一觉,享受恬静的午后时光。

橱窗里陈列的首饰都是传统手工工艺制作的,样式也非常精美。不仅有设计时髦的金色宝石戒指,也有传统的纯银戒指。传统的银戒指不加任何修饰,朴素大方也不失美观,透露着幸福却也不张扬。传统中德国人习惯订婚时购买戒指,戴在左手做订婚戒指,正式婚礼后订婚戒指移到右手做结婚戒指。一对简简单单的物件伴随两人度过余生。布里希塔先生便是这一传统的继承者。客人离开时,无论所购置的物件价格,布里希塔先生总是珍重其事地将首饰放在一个专门定制的小黑盒子里,盒子底部是小店的名字和地址。略显笨拙地一笔一画填写好首饰信息编号和购买日期,布里希塔先生将收据、名片和盒子放在一起装进黑色纸袋里交给顾客。又一套宝贝找到了主人,布里希塔先生又回到他的工作台前,继续工作。

布里希塔先生像小镇的所有人一样,周二到周六工作,周一和礼拜日休息。每天早上10点准时开门,中午12点午休两小时,下午两点继续营业到四点,风雨无阻。小镇的生活云淡风轻,安静得可以听到布谷钟里滴滴答答时间流逝的声音。缓缓地抬起手,拿起镊子,再缓缓地放下手,放下戒指,一个下午的时光便不经意间过去了。回头望一眼店里,斜斜的阳光斜斜地照进半山腰的金匠铺里,布里希塔先生还在忙碌着一位女士的订单,仔仔细细地测量着戒指的大小;工作台前小汉斯懒洋洋地抬起了头,回头看了一眼主人,不发出一丝声音地钻进了他的小柜子里。小小的金匠铺承载着多少人年年月月的爱恋和思念,结束了一天的工作。

99 Luftballons


Hast du etwas Zeit für mich?

Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich,

von 99 Luftballons,

auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont.

We stayed in Munich for 4 weeks. Studying in Ludwig-Maximillians Universität is very different from ZJU. To me personally, European Union wasn’t all that unfamiliar, it was the experience of studying here that I craved. The classes were very interesting, I did a lot of work before every session which had proven to be very useful. The teachers were all expecting full participation of students, we often found ourselves discussing explicitly, but not in a bad way. Personally I believed that this was supposed to be the part were we could learn from each other, to see things from different perspectives.

Munich was a bit different from other German cities, despite almost completely destroyed during the World War II, the government beautifully restored a lot of Munich’s historical sites, the plazas and Rathaus, you could hardly recognise the difference expect much more modern than the beginning of the 20th century. Personally, I enjoyed the Deutsches Museum most. They disassembled hundreds of Motor engines and ships to tell audiences how they work, plus you got to see the inside of an actual U-Boot, it was fantastic.

But the most important was people. I met a few groups of high school students on the streets, working for the UN appealing for their volunteering programmes. I had a chat with one of the girls and she was just 17 years old. Frankly most of the 17 year-olds we see on the street back in China were always shopping or going to the movies, hardly anyone engaging with the real world, not to mention volunteering programmes. What opened my eye for real was her optimism, you could see the sparkling fire of hope in her eyes, while Chinese students’ were often gloomy and sleepy.

The rest of the days I followed a routine. Start the day with a jog and cock myself breakfast, go to the university for lecture or reading, Mensa for lunch and daily supplied fresh strawberries, another lecture and then head back to the dormitory. Life was so simple and full, without unnecessary stress and endless worries. Back in ZJU I basically had to rush for everything everyday, last semester I couldn’t have lunch for 3 days in a week, too stressful and busy.

At the end of the Journey, I got so used to the life in Munich that I wish I had been a full time student here. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was it that I loathed to part with. Now, I can only conclude that it was myself. At the beginning I was nervous, stressful, lost in the pain of my failure and the misfortune of not being able to live the life I want. But just as it is, life and time goes on, man must move on herewith. After all it is not the life we live that shapes us, it is up to us to shape our own life.

柏林苍穹下(一)


仔细想了想,还是很有必要回忆一下柏林。在德国的日子很愉快,但是柏林对我而言并不是那么单纯的愉快的城市。整个德国从普鲁士统一到现在的历史是那么的曲折和艰辛,如果不能说多于中国近代史那也不会少。而见证这一切的,便是柏林。

我前往柏林的火车是凌晨开的,整个车站除了列车员之外空无一人。上车后发现乘客也是屈指可数,在德国一节车厢只有几位乘客的经历并不少见,来德国后的一路上基本上都是这样。唯一不同的是,今天的乘客都没有带行李,看起来也不是日耳曼人。他们都是褐色皮肤,几乎都穿着单薄的略显破旧的衣服,有些甚至赤脚。

我找了靠边的位置坐下,因为口渴向检票的列车员询问点餐。德国列车中的配餐还是挺价格合理,本想吃点东西填填肚子,结果被告知厨师已经下班。我问列车员是否有水,我有点儿渴了。列车员是个大概30出头的汉子,顶着和年纪不太相符的大啤酒肚,脸上挂着略显苍老但是持久的微笑。他说请等一下,然后转向对面的两个褐色皮肤汉子。

这时我才发现他们甚至连德语都不会说,英语也非常蹩脚。吞吞吐吐大概是身上只有20欧元要去柏林。然而德国的高铁如果没有通票的话价格是国内的近10倍,这点钱是远远不够的。本以为列车员会行使其职责,要求他们在下一站下车。但是列车员只是稍稍犹豫了一下,然后告诉他们将会收他们20欧元然后给他们两张车票,只是要到二等车厢去。(我坐的是一等车厢,因为是1个月通票的关系价格很低,比国内的二等座还便宜。)

我其实也知道7、8月的难民潮,成千上万的来自土耳其等国家的难民涌入德国,希望得到接收。数量过多的难民成为了欧盟的新挑战。列车员也是用自己力所能及的方式来帮助他们吧。想起自己,想起中国,觉得心里不是个滋味。换了我,我会拿自己的薪水帮助他们吗?从什么时候开始我也变得这么卑鄙了呢?

列车依旧按照预定速度行驶在铁轨上。

柏林苍穹下(二)


这是一个美丽的周日早晨。柏林的光景比起慕尼黑来显得更加现代化,却也比法兰克福少了点德国风情。东边千篇一律的克隆楼房,西边也并不那么有特色的楼房,都会让人有一种不知道这是什么国家的错觉。我在中国吗?我在德国吗?有时候会傻傻分不清。

然而清早第一缕阳光照射下来,柏林依旧是美丽的城市,美丽而沉重。

德国国防部新址建在二战时期使用的旧址旁,而旧址被完全改成了二战纪念馆。和中国常见的说教式纪念馆不同,二战纪念馆中一楼是集中营特别展览。一个一个的展牌上面都是密密麻麻的文字,记述着集中营幸存者的故事。每个人都知道纳粹集中营,可是对中国人而言,大概很少有人关注过幸存者的生活吧,即使是南京大屠杀幸存者的生活。展览中没有触目惊心的画面和文字,反倒都是平和的,某某某在战争后进入犹太公司或社区工作学习,而后几乎像个每个街上所能遇见的普通人一样度过余生。大概这才是最最恐怖的,对于目睹和遭受战争虐待的人们要重新回归仿佛不复存在的“文明社会”,并且掩盖着自己的悲痛继续下去。

议会大厦,也是见证德国历史的建筑,在二战前被烧毁,在二战中又被毁得差不多了。德国的政府换了一批又一批,第二帝国,魏玛共和国,第三帝国,东西德,联邦德国,唯独不变的是议会大厦的名字,依旧是“帝国议会”。皇帝早就没有了,议会也不再是以前的议会。重建的议会大厦里完整地保留下来了苏联红军留下的签名和标记,仅仅只有脏话被涂掉。仿佛这也是在告诉所有参观的人们,德国没有忘记那段历史。

议会大厦一角中还有密密麻麻很多柜子,每个柜子都长得一模一样,上面写着每一个民主选举出来的德国议员。其中有一个柜子上写着阿道夫希特勒,柜子被常年击打显得很显眼,柜门甚至都被踢坏掉。民主不是绝对完美的制度,这排柜子便是在提醒德国人,不是暴君选择人民,而是人民选择了暴君。

柏林苍穹下(三)


星期天的早上我去了一所住处附近小小的教堂。教堂外表很传统,然而内部却俨然一副艺术展馆的感觉。我来的时间很早,礼拜还没有开始,于是准备去吃点早饭再回来,路上遇到了一个老爷爷跟我打招呼。他向我问好,我用我蹩脚的德语向他问好。他说欢迎我10点来做礼拜,我用我蹩脚的德语说谢谢。

教堂四壁都是白花花的,挂着后现代风格的画作,稍稍有些压抑。画里是废墟中的柏林,烟雾缭绕着,使这些画作不同的是每幅画中都有穿着和服的日本女人在街上走着。女人的身躯非常苗条几乎有点不自然,永远背对着不让别人看见她们的脸。鲜艳干净的和服和灰蒙蒙脏兮兮的街道形成鲜明对比,有种说不出的压抑感觉。

牧师大人走到前面,他就是之前在教堂门口遇到的老爷爷,换上牧师的制服显得更加精神了,七八十岁白发苍苍的老人声音依旧洪亮。

来教堂礼拜的人并不多,有一对来自美国的游客,几个看起来像路人的中年男女,但也都算整洁。唯独我身边的一位看起来像是乞丐的干瘦老人和在场所有人气场都不一样。几个月没挂过的络腮胡子,破破烂烂的衣服和鞋子打满了布丁却也还算干净。

礼拜开始了。牧师大人的话我只能听得懂一部分还不能完全理解,有点儿让我想起了第一次去教堂做礼拜时的感觉。放轻松,认真听,感受便是。乞丐模样的老人先是弯着腰捂着脸,仿佛经受着无法比拟的痛苦一般,顿时不由得让人心疼。看样子老人也不年轻了,他身上究竟发生了什么,为何如此痛苦?

话音刚落,音乐响起。礼拜时我们没有唱歌,而是静静地听着。这座教堂演奏的音乐非常好听,能让人看见圣光一般的优雅。每一个音符仿佛都是一个古老的故事,悠悠的述说着自己的一切。过去的慢慢远去,未来的不曾来到,活在现在的人们不曾知道,是否世界只是一个幻影。悄悄回头,乞丐模样的老人张开双臂仿佛沐浴着上帝的恩惠一般坐在他的位子上。斜斜的阳光透过窗户照来,仿佛能洗去一切罪恶。他身上究竟发生了什么,我越发地好奇。也许老人是一名老兵,在废墟中回到“社会”?人总有一些无法忘怀的东西,这些东西成就了现在,也埋葬了过去。老人的过去,大概不是我一个外人好去问的,也只好忍着好奇心,闭上眼,享受清早平静的时光。