Urban sketch #3

On today’s walk I go further than ever before: all the way to the Sky Park and the Sunset Park, two wonders of urban development right next to the neighborhood I live in since March. The Parks were formerly the world’s largest mound of municipal waste, spreading an unbearable stench and belching forth methane, which gave it the infernal qualities rendering the surrounding residential area rather unappealing. All this changed when, simultaneously with the World Cup, the city reconstructed the entire site and inaugurated the Parks, boasting incredible biodiversity (butterflies, grasses, sedges).
I am fasting today. The walk through the parks, that are separated by Seoul’s ubiquitous concrete veins but connected by pedestrian bridges, refreshes my soul. A different location, a different self. I walk on wooden steps and gaze at the big orange ball that is our sun; I walk on a platform that leads through high vegetation where the fireflies hide; I walk through a tunnel with industrial lights and large spiders: Nephila clavata had spun webs in front of almost every floodlight and the webs were full of insect cadavers suspended sullenly in the harsh light. I look at the venomous spiders and smile. Now I know where you live, my little friend. I’ll come visit you in your tunnel again one day.

Urban sketch #3 was originally published on Meandering home

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Kiev #2. A walk through the city.

Another day spent writing in a kitchen, drinking cinnamon tea and concentrating on the narrative of my book. Life’s good. In the evening we went to the center (the apartment I stayed in was half an hour by maschrutka or minibus from the historical Kiev) for a walk. We saw the churches and buildings of the Lavra-complex, and crossed huge park areas, that form a semicircle around the old town. We passed the home of Dynamo Kiev, and a bridge of love, full of keylocks loving couples had put there. All of this year, since the bridge had to be freed of its weight from earlier times.
Under an artificial rainbow, Brian joined us and we had some bread and fish we bought in a supermarket, and we drank beer. Just like in Berlin. We took the maschrutka home and said goodnight.

The next morning I helped moving piano parts for another guy who was repairing on old piano just the time I stayed there. Making myself useful felt great. After breakfast I took the maschrutka to the center again, and went inside the beautiful Lavra. It was possible to visit the tombs of some orthodox saints, and I went down with a curious mind and a thin candlelight between my fingers. Most visitors take the holyness of the remains resting there very seriously, and press tender kisses upon the glass covers of the sarcophagus. I respected their behaviour very much, and did not make a sound. The atmosphere was a bit strange down there. The various saints were lying in different parts of a maze-like complex of corridors and halls, and people passed them slowly, crossing themselves and kissing the glass covers. It remained in my memory for one reason or another.
The view from the Lavra was amazing. On the other side of the Dnjepr I could see rows of apartment buildings, standing grey and very ugly. But what a view the must have – the Lavra with its merrily curved golden domes.

Then I walked some more, alongside the river and then into town. I visited a market where apples, honey, fish, nuts were abundant. I managed to bought five times 100 grams of different nuts and fruits, by using some common phrases and pointing at it. So apricots, walnuts, peanuts and dates relieved my immediate hunger, and I continued walking some less touristic streets of old Kiev (did I mention the city is older than Moscow. It has a moving history, too).
Until the evening I wrote in the same place I did the other day, and met Helena. We visited a modern Art Gallery with some interesting works of photography and some weird film installations. Then we walked on and sat down for a while on one of the seven hills Kiev has been built on. After what I’d seen, I reckon it deserves the nickname “Rome of the east” indeed. In a self-service restaurant we had a good and healthy meal.

The next days were even more lazy. We went for a short walk through the forest behind the house one time, and bought some color for the piano on another occasion. There was a party where some friend musicians played guitar, drums. We saw the “Ten Minutes Older” short movie series, which I can recommend to everybody. I made some pie with potatoes and cabbage. I don’t remember any more daunting stories; sorry.

But there are a few funny Russian rhymes I picked up and I publish them here for my Russian speaking friends:

Kiev #2. A walk through the city.

Another day spent writing in a kitchen, drinking cinnamon tea and concentrating on the narrative of my book. Life’s good. In the evening we went to the center (the apartment I stayed in was half an hour by maschrutka or minibus from the historical Kiev) for a walk. We saw the churches and buildings of the Lavra-complex, and crossed huge park areas, that form a semicircle around the old town. We passed the home of Dynamo Kiev, and a bridge of love, full of keylocks loving couples had put there. All of this year, since the bridge had to be freed of its weight from earlier times.
Under an artificial rainbow, Brian joined us and we had some bread and fish we bought in a supermarket, and we drank beer. Just like in Berlin. We took the maschrutka home and said goodnight.

The next morning I helped moving piano parts for another guy who was repairing on old piano just the time I stayed there. Making myself useful felt great. After breakfast I took the maschrutka to the center again, and went inside the beautiful Lavra. It was possible to visit the tombs of some orthodox saints, and I went down with a curious mind and a thin candlelight between my fingers. Most visitors take the holyness of the remains resting there very seriously, and press tender kisses upon the glass covers of the sarcophagus. I respected their behaviour very much, and did not make a sound. The atmosphere was a bit strange down there. The various saints were lying in different parts of a maze-like complex of corridors and halls, and people passed them slowly, crossing themselves and kissing the glass covers. It remained in my memory for one reason or another.
The view from the Lavra was amazing. On the other side of the Dnjepr I could see rows of apartment buildings, standing grey and very ugly. But what a view the must have – the Lavra with its merrily curved golden domes.

Then I walked some more, alongside the river and then into town. I visited a market where apples, honey, fish, nuts were abundant. I managed to bought five times 100 grams of different nuts and fruits, by using some common phrases and pointing at it. So apricots, walnuts, peanuts and dates relieved my immediate hunger, and I continued walking some less touristic streets of old Kiev (did I mention the city is older than Moscow. It has a moving history, too).
Until the evening I wrote in the same place I did the other day, and met Helena. We visited a modern Art Gallery with some interesting works of photography and some weird film installations. Then we walked on and sat down for a while on one of the seven hills Kiev has been built on. After what I’d seen, I reckon it deserves the nickname “Rome of the east” indeed. In a self-service restaurant we had a good and healthy meal.

The next days were even more lazy. We went for a short walk through the forest behind the house one time, and bought some color for the piano on another occasion. There was a party where some friend musicians played guitar, drums. We saw the “Ten Minutes Older” short movie series, which I can recommend to everybody. I made some pie with potatoes and cabbage. I don’t remember any more daunting stories; sorry.

But there are a few funny Russian rhymes I picked up and I publish them here for my Russian speaking friends:

Kiev #2. A walk through the city.

Another day spent writing in a kitchen, drinking cinnamon tea and concentrating on the narrative of my book. Life’s good. In the evening we went to the center (the apartment I stayed in was half an hour by maschrutka or minibus from the historical Kiev) for a walk. We saw the churches and buildings of the Lavra-complex, and crossed huge park areas, that form a semicircle around the old town. We passed the home of Dynamo Kiev, and a bridge of love, full of keylocks loving couples had put there. All of this year, since the bridge had to be freed of its weight from earlier times.
Under an artificial rainbow, Brian joined us and we had some bread and fish we bought in a supermarket, and we drank beer. Just like in Berlin. We took the maschrutka home and said goodnight.

The next morning I helped moving piano parts for another guy who was repairing on old piano just the time I stayed there. Making myself useful felt great. After breakfast I took the maschrutka to the center again, and went inside the beautiful Lavra. It was possible to visit the tombs of some orthodox saints, and I went down with a curious mind and a thin candlelight between my fingers. Most visitors take the holyness of the remains resting there very seriously, and press tender kisses upon the glass covers of the sarcophagus. I respected their behaviour very much, and did not make a sound. The atmosphere was a bit strange down there. The various saints were lying in different parts of a maze-like complex of corridors and halls, and people passed them slowly, crossing themselves and kissing the glass covers. It remained in my memory for one reason or another.
The view from the Lavra was amazing. On the other side of the Dnjepr I could see rows of apartment buildings, standing grey and very ugly. But what a view the must have – the Lavra with its merrily curved golden domes.

Then I walked some more, alongside the river and then into town. I visited a market where apples, honey, fish, nuts were abundant. I managed to bought five times 100 grams of different nuts and fruits, by using some common phrases and pointing at it. So apricots, walnuts, peanuts and dates relieved my immediate hunger, and I continued walking some less touristic streets of old Kiev (did I mention the city is older than Moscow. It has a moving history, too).
Until the evening I wrote in the same place I did the other day, and met Helena. We visited a modern Art Gallery with some interesting works of photography and some weird film installations. Then we walked on and sat down for a while on one of the seven hills Kiev has been built on. After what I’d seen, I reckon it deserves the nickname “Rome of the east” indeed. In a self-service restaurant we had a good and healthy meal.

The next days were even more lazy. We went for a short walk through the forest behind the house one time, and bought some color for the piano on another occasion. There was a party where some friend musicians played guitar, drums. We saw the “Ten Minutes Older” short movie series, which I can recommend to everybody. I made some pie with potatoes and cabbage. I don’t remember any more daunting stories; sorry.

But there are a few funny Russian rhymes I picked up and I publish them here for my Russian speaking friends:

Tallinn #2

The next day I had a lot of coffee and I managed to write a lot. I also began to take this blog seriously. Then I walked through the Old Town, which is really impressive. Enclosed in medieval city walls, there are a few square kilometers of cobble stone roads with beautiful houses. I walked town to the Town Hall Square, which is depicted here.

Tallinn #2

The next day I had a lot of coffee and I managed to write a lot. I also began to take this blog seriously. Then I walked through the Old Town, which is really impressive. Enclosed in medieval city walls, there are a few square kilometers of cobble stone roads with beautiful houses. I walked town to the Town Hall Square, which is depicted here.