February 7. Adamastor and the human condition.

In Lisbon don’t miss the Miradoura Adamastor. Adamastor, a great Portuguese discoverer, an icon of the empire that has been. His statue looks out over the Tejo now, and there are always young people drinking and laughing in the square of the Miradoura. The sun heated up the scene, a drunk Scottish boy mooched about with a bottle in his hand. I had seen that boy the day before as I sat in a small street café he came leaning on the sunscreen and almost fell on my table. I hid my notebook afraid as I was that he would tear it apart. He made a bad appearance, with a bad smell and bad words. I don’t like that. We waited for him to go away. We that’s me and the Canadian (Quebecians, real Canadians qui parlent les deux langues) woman on the table next to mine. I tried to provoke me but I sat still and thought what I could learn about human nature from this poor lost bastard: nothing I didn’t already know of course, with my bibliotrophic past, but something to be reminded of, like every human being has – even in his lowest phases – the ability to remind us of some truth about our nature. The Scot finally turned his back saying “I am so bored…” He went into the vegetable store at the other side of the street and came out screaming with yet another bottle. Not an easy target for compassion, and frankly I didn’t feel like helping him out of his ennui. I had a strange fantasy though about making him write. Forcing him to write, putting a pen in his dirty fingers and wait until the ideas his ego produces to cope with his boredom just pour out of him. It would be pure writing, writing from within the darkness of a human soul, about the purest truth under the scars of language. But he did not write and I’m afraid he never will.

The rest of that day I just wrote, took notes. I hope it will be intense enough. Like strong coffee. So that the dearest reader says “gee, I’ll think that over again” or “gee, that page just liberated this small bird within me I carry along with me that puny bird called dreaming” or whatever. But it’s a sin to think about your readers too much. If you think about them all the time, you end up writing things they could have written by themselves. And that means they would prefer to write it themselves. Anyway, the writing went on as I intended – that’s it: intention, promise in the morning, achievement in the late afternoon, reflective happiness in the evening and creative dreams at night.
We went out that night in the Barrio Alto, had a beer in a small bar for only one Euro, and some Portuguese yellow beans that they serve like peanuts. It took me a while to get used to them. You bite the skin off and let the core pop out into your mouth. I spoiled a lot of beans on the floor, and made some people laugh.

February 7. Adamastor and the human condition.

In Lisbon don’t miss the Miradoura Adamastor. Adamastor, a great Portuguese discoverer, an icon of the empire that has been. His statue looks out over the Tejo now, and there are always young people drinking and laughing in the square of the Miradoura. The sun heated up the scene, a drunk Scottish boy mooched about with a bottle in his hand. I had seen that boy the day before as I sat in a small street café he came leaning on the sunscreen and almost fell on my table. I hid my notebook afraid as I was that he would tear it apart. He made a bad appearance, with a bad smell and bad words. I don’t like that. We waited for him to go away. We that’s me and the Canadian (Quebecians, real Canadians qui parlent les deux langues) woman on the table next to mine. I tried to provoke me but I sat still and thought what I could learn about human nature from this poor lost bastard: nothing I didn’t already know of course, with my bibliotrophic past, but something to be reminded of, like every human being has – even in his lowest phases – the ability to remind us of some truth about our nature. The Scot finally turned his back saying “I am so bored…” He went into the vegetable store at the other side of the street and came out screaming with yet another bottle. Not an easy target for compassion, and frankly I didn’t feel like helping him out of his ennui. I had a strange fantasy though about making him write. Forcing him to write, putting a pen in his dirty fingers and wait until the ideas his ego produces to cope with his boredom just pour out of him. It would be pure writing, writing from within the darkness of a human soul, about the purest truth under the scars of language. But he did not write and I’m afraid he never will.

The rest of that day I just wrote, took notes. I hope it will be intense enough. Like strong coffee. So that the dearest reader says “gee, I’ll think that over again” or “gee, that page just liberated this small bird within me I carry along with me that puny bird called dreaming” or whatever. But it’s a sin to think about your readers too much. If you think about them all the time, you end up writing things they could have written by themselves. And that means they would prefer to write it themselves. Anyway, the writing went on as I intended – that’s it: intention, promise in the morning, achievement in the late afternoon, reflective happiness in the evening and creative dreams at night.
We went out that night in the Barrio Alto, had a beer in a small bar for only one Euro, and some Portuguese yellow beans that they serve like peanuts. It took me a while to get used to them. You bite the skin off and let the core pop out into your mouth. I spoiled a lot of beans on the floor, and made some people laugh.

February 7. Adamastor and the human condition.

In Lisbon don’t miss the Miradoura Adamastor. Adamastor, a great Portuguese discoverer, an icon of the empire that has been. His statue looks out over the Tejo now, and there are always young people drinking and laughing in the square of the Miradoura. The sun heated up the scene, a drunk Scottish boy mooched about with a bottle in his hand. I had seen that boy the day before as I sat in a small street café he came leaning on the sunscreen and almost fell on my table. I hid my notebook afraid as I was that he would tear it apart. He made a bad appearance, with a bad smell and bad words. I don’t like that. We waited for him to go away. We that’s me and the Canadian (Quebecians, real Canadians qui parlent les deux langues) woman on the table next to mine. I tried to provoke me but I sat still and thought what I could learn about human nature from this poor lost bastard: nothing I didn’t already know of course, with my bibliotrophic past, but something to be reminded of, like every human being has – even in his lowest phases – the ability to remind us of some truth about our nature. The Scot finally turned his back saying “I am so bored…” He went into the vegetable store at the other side of the street and came out screaming with yet another bottle. Not an easy target for compassion, and frankly I didn’t feel like helping him out of his ennui. I had a strange fantasy though about making him write. Forcing him to write, putting a pen in his dirty fingers and wait until the ideas his ego produces to cope with his boredom just pour out of him. It would be pure writing, writing from within the darkness of a human soul, about the purest truth under the scars of language. But he did not write and I’m afraid he never will.

The rest of that day I just wrote, took notes. I hope it will be intense enough. Like strong coffee. So that the dearest reader says “gee, I’ll think that over again” or “gee, that page just liberated this small bird within me I carry along with me that puny bird called dreaming” or whatever. But it’s a sin to think about your readers too much. If you think about them all the time, you end up writing things they could have written by themselves. And that means they would prefer to write it themselves. Anyway, the writing went on as I intended – that’s it: intention, promise in the morning, achievement in the late afternoon, reflective happiness in the evening and creative dreams at night.
We went out that night in the Barrio Alto, had a beer in a small bar for only one Euro, and some Portuguese yellow beans that they serve like peanuts. It took me a while to get used to them. You bite the skin off and let the core pop out into your mouth. I spoiled a lot of beans on the floor, and made some people laugh.

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.