[028+] shangri-la, addendum

in addition to the verbose chronicle of the sólfar anecdote, i decided to provide a little information about the other spots as well that are mentioned in the article – and to explain why exactly they became symbolic landmarks in my biography and that valuable for me personally.

1. barbican estate (london)

my father is an architect and architects usually have books on architecture. those with less text and more pictures radiate a very early attractivity to architect sons. at least in my case. and yeah, of course there was this one book. i deeply enjoyed the very unique kind of hypnotic effect those photographies had on me and, all in all, spent weeks looking at them. what amazed me the most was barbican estate – take that, sydney opera, lomonosov university and lincoln center! yeah, i soon started intense daydreaming of walking around there and the more i dreamed the more became obvious that i had to go there one day. happened late 90s.

2. bargfeld

bargfeld is a small village in the vast german tundra called “lüneburger heide”. it’s known for hardly anything but being an escapist’s hideout and the place that my alltime favourite german writer, mr. arno schmidt, chose for spending his last 20 years, together with his wife alice and some cats. the house he bought and lived in and the entire property are a pure myth, so it became obvious that i had to go there one day. happened a few years ago.

3. absinthe route (france / switzerland)

not much explanation needed here. absinthe is the thing for me since my late 10s and of course a true loyalist, disciple and believer has to visit the sainted birthplace. thats why it soon became obvious that i had to go there one day. happened only recently and i wrote an article about it.

4. former kling klang studio (düsseldorf)

a family saga says, that my mother used to listen to “kometenmelodie” when she was pregnant with tiny me. my conscious connection with the music was established by a tape my father gave me as a kid. it contained “autobahn” in full length amongst other shy and poppy electronic music pieces. and queen. kraftwerk are the pioneers and godfathers of electronic music and most of the opus was created in their own “kling klang” studio. never felt that much admiration for a band again – you’re not a band, björk! alongside the urgent wish for attending a concert it became obvious that i had to go there one day. happened some years ago.

5. gellért thermal bath (budapest)

when i came back from my first budapest visit, i found out that hadn’t been at gellért thermal bath. in the following i almost bit my hand off due to furious(est) anger and since there was no alternative sedation it became obvious that i had to go there one day. i grew up in a city with thermal bath tradition and even though i always denied my rootedness of any kind, my origin most probably played a role here. never in my life i visited a place again without solid preparation beforehand. second visit happened soon after the first.

6. old tresor (berlin)

“old” means leipziger straße. i’ve never been to any other address with a “tresor” label above the entry door. not much explanation needed again. tresor berlin was the center of my techno universe, the mekka of the underground movement. heard it the first time mid 90s from the beloved frontpage magazine. it’s one of those rare places you feel not only overwhelmed but seriously honoured when entering for the first time. dunno if anyone knows what i am talking about. anyway. it soon became obvious that i had to go there one day. happened soon after my 18th birthday and several times afterwards until it was closed down.

7. people’s friendship arch (kyiv)

in early 2009 it occured that i found myself wondering whether or not to book a flight to kyiv. the problem was neither the fact that i had never been there before nor the well-meaning safety advices by the health insurance dude. the crux was that the entire plan based solely on promises of two persons i never met before in real life. in case of one of these persons it even wasnt completely sure that this person really was, what she claimed to be – and not a fat, hairy, tourists eating dude. but on the whole, the kyiv idea was just too promising and exotic in the perfect way. at some point, curiosity and bravery finally took the lead over scepsis and doubts and i started imagining how i stood on that hill unter the arch and everything had turned out just fine so far. i simply had to give it a try and so it became obvious that i had to go there one day. happened in late 2009. and yeah, everything turned out fine in the end! more than that.

to be continued…

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[028+] shangri-la, addendum

[025] val de travers

a cute and tiny swiss valley next to the french border – with sleepy villages, a picturesque river, beautiful restaurants and museums, mystic trails, delicious sausages and cheeses, pure and adorable creeks and fountains in deep forests and everything surrounded by steep mountains. far away from ski- or any other form of mass tourism it lies cozy and quiet, famous for clock manufactory even though time apparently stands still. escapist’s paradise and, almost as a sideline, the birthplace of absinthe. the perfect little spot to disappear from the face of the planet for a little while, to come to a complete stop and to recharge the inner batteries. shangri-la for walking meditation and a mental reboot.

absinthe is the thing for me for almost two decades now. introduced to history, myth and rituals in my late 10s, i meanwhile drank lots of different brands and versions all over europe but never an original one; until my visit at val de travers a couple of days ago. act of long awaited completion. you cant miss the absinthe thing there when spending your time with eyes opened but all happens in an unobtrusive and all too pleasing way. outlying farmhouses, growing the holy wormwood (artemisia absinthium), smaller and bigger distilleries, some modern, new and always legal, some older, rich in history and with owners who were proud resistance fighters during prohibition with great stories to tell.

highly recommended for these kind of slow-paced interludes that are needed from time to time to pause for a moment and to make sure you’re still alive and moving forward into the right direction. to feel real again… the blue color filter in absinthe context is intentional by the way. for those who know.

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[025] val de travers