So a short trip up to Kesswil a nice little town on Lake Constance near the German border with no address for Nik, walked around town and then found him unexpectedly on the road home. He is a journeyman stone cutter a system that has been in place since the middle ages. They are trained by a master craftsman and then have to leave their village and not return home for a number of years, travelling by foot working in their speciality. Nik had been away for 4 years and was returning home with other journeymen to ceremoniously shed his clothes and become part of 'normal society' again so it was party time with his lovely family and friends and a night time throwing him in the lake with old songs and much joy.
Spent two days with him and then a long autobahn (11 hours) journey to Berlin to see Rainer and Petra who came to the Egg as customers but have become special friends. Rainer from West Berlin worked in East Berlin before the wall fell as head of Depts at Humboldt University and was involved in the repatriation of prisoners from the Stasi time and Petra from East Berlin works as events manager at the same university. Rainer has a small apartment in the centre of the city and loves to walk the streets so I have had my own personal guide for history and culture and I can see why Petra has a love of travel after being imprisoned for so long in her own country.
Berlin is a city of contradictions with the old and the new the ugly and the beautiful and to me it has a great feeling with wide avenues and many parks. Again if you are in the mood for the city (and have a good guide) it helps so much towards the enjoyment, not to plan to see everything but to discover it like a Chinese scroll, weaving in and out of the past and the present.
Had a wonderful morning with Ruth Tesmar head of the Arts Dept. A great artist herself she has places for students but also studios of her own high in the roof of the Uni full of objects and printing presses and installation projects and has such a passion for art that my mind opened like a flower to her and when I finally stumbled outside it was like into another world.
So maybe a few more walks then who knows, milking cows in the Alps with Magdalena, Denmark to see Jens and Margit, Netherlands to see Marty and Gerben and Mirjam, so many options and only 16 days left.
I've loved the trip so far, no pressure, taking it day by day and reconnecting with good friends.