Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: berlin

Grüne Papeterie

Shortly after NYE in Bordeaux, Thomas and I rejoined in Berlin. He was traveling from the South-West of Europe all the way up North to Copenhagen. We spent three days around Kreuzberg together with Anna and Felix (Jonas also made an impromptu appearance). It was grey and rainy, but we had a jolly good time.

If you are in the area between Kottbusser Tor and Schesisches, then go to Kvartira 62 for some vodka with pickles before dinner; Gong Gan for Korean bowls with Lego or Schwiliko for Georgian sources made with herbal roots; then head to die Kommune for Turbo Mate and finally visit the Hotel, where you can play team-chess until 2:30AM.  From there, we suggest you move to Tresor: apparently the bouncers have a very loose policy and let everybody in (Alas, we were not). Also, buy some drawing material at die Grüne Papeterie before they close it down and then go for a walk around the Landwehr Canal: you might bump into something that strikes you as beautiful. If you have only one museum to pick, then my informed choice would be die Berlinische Galerie – Anna and I were lucky and found a Bauhaus exhibition there.

On one of the pages of my paper I scribbled a little poem: “Silenzio / Improvviso battito d’ali / Uno stormo si leva nel cielo azzurro / Sferragliamento su rotaia“. Then I wrote down a list of ‘Things that make me feel I am in Berlin‘: candles, the s-bahn passing above your head, sneakers, musicians in the street, graffiti, bars that are more like apartments with open doors, a lot of queer and postcolonial books, smell of roasted meat when walking on the street.

Landwehr Canal

Prima luce del mattino che esce dalle nuvole, riflessa sulle finestre delle case, che sono gialle, eleganti ma semplici. Si direbbe un primo, fragile squarcio di azzurro. Sopra alle case uno stormo di circa cinquanta uccelli volano in circolo salendo dal basso verso l’alto. Davanti alle case c’e’ un ampio marciapiede in terra battuta con tante pozzanghere. Il marciapiede è affacciato su un piccolo fiume, forse un canale. Salici piangenti marroni e senza foglie, un ragazzo che fa jogging, una ragazza che scatta una foto al canale. Nel canale si vedono delle increspature: l’acqua scorre lenta ma costante. Sull’altra riva ci sono circa venti cigni che riposano placidi, una barca semplicissima (un guscio di noce) abbandonata sulla riva; dietro, un grande prato e un monumentale palazzo ocra in stile classico con torri circolari e una serie di finestroni.

Trains that I have lost

Post written on Friday, the 2nd of June.


The moment I write this post I am leaving Berlin. I flew here two days ago to teach a master’s class on the multilevel governance of immigration in Europe. The campus and the hotel where I was staying are situated in a stunning neighborhood outside the city: Wannsee. This morning I went for a short walk in the forest and I swam in the lake. There were many joggers around, most of them aged 60 or 70, some younger at around 30 or 40. Ah, beauty.


But the problem is that in the last few months I started suffering from insomnia. The disease is getting worse day by day. I can now count the hours of sleep I have had in the last week on the fingers of two hands. This makes it very hard for me to enjoy all the beauty that I have around, even when I walk around Florence or Berlin at 4AM in the night.

Yet, there were a few moments I could still appreciate: the class, the meeting with Felix on the Klunkerkranich (the improvised bar on the roof of the shopping centre Neukölln Arcaden with the special charme of Berlin imperfection) and the two evenings out with Jonas whom, by the way, successfully defended his Ph.D. the day I arrived.

Erwitt in Berlin


Clean Lorenzo

Home again after ten days in Slovakia completely disconnected from the world. Good to find on my desktop the pictures of the OCEANS Annual General Meeting I attended in Berlin at the beginning of July. All these pictures are made by and belong to Enrico.

Warschauer Platz

Alcune note scritte di fretta dopo il mio fine settimana tedesco sulla strada tra Bruxelles e Trento.

Berlino. Di giorno ho visto molto poco: Friedrichstrasse, la Hertie School of Governance e il ristorante panoramico in cima all’Alexanderplatz Tower – gran lusso e interni posh, ma cibo mediocre. Pur frettolosamente, mi sono tornate davanti le immagini della capitale tedesca vista la scorsa estate assieme ad Iris. Piuttosto nuove, invece, e mi rimarranno impresse nella mente, le immagini notturne di Warschauer Platz, l’area appena fuori il nostro hotel. Prima d’ora difficilmente avrei potuto figurarmi uno scenario del genere. Migliaia di freak, concerti improvvisati in ogni angolo della stazione, sotto i ponti, nelle gallerie, amache per strada e musica elettronica fino alle 11 di mattina: una cosa che neppure Ciccio-Bobac e l’altro coinquilino di Giulia di cui non riuscirò mai a ricordare il nome. Raramente, forse mai prima d’ora, avevo assistito a una simile conquista degli spazi urbani.

E a corredo dei miei scarabocchi aggiungo anche un commento di critica letteraria gentilmente inviatomi da Old Tom.

A proposito di Berlino, ho appena finito di leggere “Violette di Marzo”, di Kerr, ambientato lì nel 1936. Battuta di clou di un testimone al detective privato protagonista: “Mi fa piacere vederLa quanto a Goebbels essere inculato da un ebreo”.

Spero di poter tornare a Berlino, almeno per qualche settimana, prima di sfondare i 30 anni.

Summer plans

When this post will be published I will hopefully be travelling to Berlin. I am going to be there for a few days and then I am flying back to Milan and going to be back in Trento for a couple of weeks and one wedding. On the 22nd of July I am flying to Bratislava, from where I will take a bus to the middle of nowhere-Slovakia to do volunteering work with a local NGO. That experience will take about ten days. Afterwards I will go on holidays with Stefania and we still have to figure out where. We only know we want to do something on the road. I will have to be in Florence at the end of August. See you around, my friends.

Three keywords from my pilgrimage

Willy Brandt. When one goes to Berlin, it is more likely to see terror than hope in the city’s recent history. I mean: the Nazi headquarters, the devastation brought by the war, the Stasi and the Wall; the whole story of the city in the last century is made of cruelty and shame. Obviously there are good things too. The years that followed the fall of the Wall were impressive; and there are some stories that are worth remembering. One of these is that of Willy Brandt: I was quite impressed by the small museum hosted by its foundation and I think it is definitely wiser to pay a visit to it rather than to the fake Soviet soldiers posing at Checkpoint Charlie or to the small pieces of the Wall that lie as souvenirs in the city centre.

Wisers. Sometimes Thursday calls for a night in with buddies and whisky. These ten words were a post I have my drafts for five or six months for no specific reasons, I just knew it had to be there. Then I decided to go to Fanø; and Thomas changed his mind too and flew there all of a sudden; and he had bought this bottle of Wisers from Canada because he knew; and when we all got there we drank it while playing cards and smoking cigars. What can I say: it was just meant to happen there and then, and it felt right, and we were all together one year later.

Skitača (in Italian: Schitazza). I remember it was a warm, terribly warm day on August 15th. We had been cycling for about three hours always going up for a tough peak in the middle of nowhere. There was no trace of civilization around us. We had no food, but we were determined to reach the small town on the top of the peak. When we saw these old houses appearing far away they looked desolately abandoned. We checked on the map and we came to the realization that only four people (literally: four people) nowadays live in that town, so obviously we supposed there was no trace of supermarkets, bars, restaurants, or anything of that kind. I remember in that moment I thought I could have died, or at least fainted lying under the sun for days while eaten by  vultures and consumed by the hunger. We reached the town centre guided by desperation more than by hope, and it was then that we heared music. I thought it was a vision and we were going to collapse there. Then we came to the discovery there was a local festival there and it was the only day in the year when all the people from the seaside towns hike up to that abandoned place and share music, beer, beans and sausages. We were in the cyclists’ heaven.

I will become what I deserve

There were times I was psychologically crashed for several different reasons. Pain is good, though, as it is always followed by redemption. Perhaps this why I enjoy so much sports like hiking and biking on mountain passes. Whatever. No wonder, anyway, that on the long run I find much worse than these times, those periods when I am bored and unsatisfied, as it was last year when working full time. It was not about the job itself. Staying in my hometown and seeing always the very same people I grew resigned. My life, back then, was flat and, well, quite boring.

After midnight of January 1st 2012 someone I did not really know asked me what was my wish for the year. I found myself wordless and the only thing that came to my mind was that I wanted to start travelling again. That wish sounded a bit lame to me – and it still does – but after all it is coming through. In April 2012 I knew it was time for a change, and since then I travelled through several countries, meeting the most fantastic peoples and doing fun stuff. I had very few moments I was feeling done, and several others I was feeling completely at peace with myself just going with the flow. It has worked out greatly, so far.