A town by a river, full of salt and music.

The old GDR, and I’m giving my age away by saying so, has so many beautiful spots to visit. East Germany is full of historic places yet to be discovered and I’m way behind. I haven’t really used these last 29 years since the Wiedervereinigung all too wisely for a German who considers himself into art, history and architecture, I must say. Please don’t tell anybody. Anyway, Halle on Saale in Saxony-Anhalt, much more known for being Georg Friedrich Händel’s place of birth than its history as a salt-harvesting city since at least the Bronze Age, has a lot to offer. I visited only for a day, but hell, it was worth it. It’s only one hour by train from Berlin, and close enough to Thuringia to have some great Thüringer Klöße on the menu, the best dumplings you’ve ever had, so I’ll be back soon, I guess…

Paris upon Seine.

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Grand-Duchess Anastasia of Russia, the false one, the one Ingrid Bergman played so well she was presented with an Oscar, tried to drown herself in Berlin’s Landwehrkanal, in the Spree, a river so widely spread all over Berlin nobody takes really notice of it. What a sad story. What a miserable choice of ending one’s life. If I were to drown myself, I’d choose the Seine. It plays so much more important a role, it’s a question of belief whether you live on the left or the right bank, Rive Gauche or Rive Droite, old money or nouvelle vague, in the 1960s, Yves Saint Laurent took a stand and named his prêt-à-porter collection accordingly, his haute couture salon remained on the right bank of course, on Avenue Marceau, anyway, it’s so much more high-toned a river, the Sisley people, Count d’Ornano and his family, actually live there, on Quai d’Orsay, able to overlook the river’s beautiful scenery 24/7, so did Rudolf Nureyev, he took lodging on another one of its quais, on Quai Voltaire, Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn took long walks there, passing the bouquinistes with their displays of books and old magazines, spotting themselves on the covers, manifold, after every new film and every new collection, this river knows them all, all my favourite people, Marie Antoinette and Charles de Gaulle, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, Ernest Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon, Claude Chabrol and Claude Sautet, they all crossed it, back and forth, looked in it, gazed into it, spat in it, I’m sure, Hemingway did it all the time, he always looked like a big spitter to me, I could go on for hours, this river has seen them all, and although none of my heroes drowned in it, by chance or on purpose, I’d still choose the Seine over the Spree, but alas, I’m not suicidal at all, I’ll just go on crossing it, over all these beautiful bridges, again and again, loving every second of it.

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