Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt covers me with confusion. It’s well known for its architectural ensemble, but it is strangely small a spot – and in Berlin, almost everything is big. When I last visited Gendarmenmarkt, it reminded me of a little town’s square, maybe a pompous little town’s one, but still, a place rather situated in the provinces than in the very middle of Berlin. It didn’t feel urban at all. Maybe it was the missing traffic, I love traffic in a town, it delivers pace and movement and life, maybe it was because of all those people walking so very slowly and if they weren’t walking, they were having coffee and cake, taking an afternoon off, calmly, stress free, no one was in a hurry, everybody was at ease, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being at ease and having coffee and walking slowly, but I love being the only who’s at ease, who’s having lots of time on his hands while enjoying a cup of coffee some place nice while everybody else is coping with time frames, traffic and stress, the hustle and bustle of a metropolis like Paris, New York, London or, well, Berlin. Anyway, this little place called Gendarmenmarkt offers two domes, a French and a German, and a concert hall in the middle, the latter being constructed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. All of it speaks of old Prussian splendour. Classicism of the purest sort. It offers everything one could possibly wish for. Except pace.