It’s Christmas, the sky was grey and the air was cold. The bold buildings and the wide road. It seems there are never enough people to fill the space.
The Christmas market lights twinkle like little stars, sparkling from every street corner. The sweet scent of food and wine flows through the cheerful chit-chatting, and the children’s laughter. Filling every inch of the air in Berlin city.
This is my third visit to Berlin.
是聖誕節，天空是灰色的，空氣是冷的。 建築很結實，道路很寬闊，似乎是永遠都找不到足夠的人來填滿補這空間，但聖誕市場的燈光就像那些閃爍的小星星，照亮了街道每一個角落。食物和暖酒的芳郁 ，人群歡快的閒聊，孩子們的笑聲填滿了柏林城市的每一寸空氣。
My first trip to Berlin was as an exchange student. With my vague memory, there were very obvious differences between West and East Berlin. Most of the West Berlin’s residential buildings were modern and simple, with lifts inside, and were quite a contrast to their classical architectures in the commercial avenues.
On the other side, East Berlin was still very much clouded with the shadow of communism. Old-fashioned houses with only five storeys, high-rise ceilings, wide wooden stairs, and crafted handrails. No matter how hot the weather outside was, when you enter the lobby you felt cool. The distance between the houses was relatively close and the streets were narrower and rather quiet compared to West Berlin. But for me, an outlander, it was kind of romanctic.
I loved the place so much that I revisited Berlin, the following year, with friends for our second trip. Every scene was pretty much the same as my first visit.
This time, however, returning to Berlin for my third visit after twenty years, with my family, to feel the atmosphere of their Christmas market.
Berlin has changed. I found that many impressive and newly renovated or built architectures had risen: The Reichstag is a marriage of the classical and modern period; The Hauptbahnhof, is a modern building with a classical matrix growing within; Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Cathedral are classically magnificent; The Velodrome and Marie-Elisabeth-Luders Haus are of modern elegance. The sharp cutting appearance of The Jewish Museum which seems to express the sentiment of its historical scars. The TV tower, with it’s matching shape, echo the dome poles by Berlin Cathedral and reflect the designer’s delicate intentions. Making Berlin a city intertwined in ancient and modern eras.
今次，我和家人再訪柏林，來這裡過聖誕節。柏林有了改變，多了不少翻新維舊，或我新們建的新成的經典建築；The Reichstag是古典和現正代的結合；Hauptbahnhof卻是現代外形和原素，內藏古貌；Brandenburg Gate和Berlin Cahtedral的威儀典雅依昔，對比著Velodrome和Marie-Elisabeth-Luders Haus新落成的新穎；The Jewish Museum的砌割外表，不知是否用以表達對歷史傷痕的感覺。TV tower和Berlin Catheral拱頂上尖柱外形的吻合，在在反映著設計者的細膩用心。令柏林的建築，形成了古今交錯的局面。
My only regret is that I could not find the places I used to frequent with my college-mates; those graffiti ruined bars and buildings have long since been demolished. The Tacheles art centre has gone… Berlin’s ruins can only survive in our memories and photographs.
But there were some good surprises. The exhibitions featured more interactive displays in their various museums, and no longer only beautiful pictures displayed on flat-panel boards. In many cases, there was an activity or game that helps lead the viewer. Let the monotonous theme become a play school with no cold spots.
Berlin is a city I will revisit again and again…