Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Thursday 16 September 2021

Where do you feel most alive?


I found this question in: "How to be a Wildflower" by Katie Daisy. (I wouldn't have ordered it if they had changed the title by using "Wall" instead of "Wild" :-)  

Honestly: I cannot answer this interesting question. 

Coming back to Bavaria yesterday, I felt so alive! 

Despite a remarkable journey by train - we left Berlin at 12:05, should arrive at Nuremberg at 14:48, then I have to wait 56 minutes - YES --- and then the little red train - TOOOT! - drives me in about 25 minutes to my destination.

That was the plan. 

The Deutsche Bahn - formerly an international envied Technical Marvel of Punctuality - has changed its image drastically: from boring conservative to youthful spontaneity - but "Go with the flow!" can become a bit tedious with lots of luggage and No Flow. 
We arrived at Nuremberg 20 minutes late - during the ride they informed us that in Halle they "had to remove" a woman from the train by police - the woman had shown a forged doctor's certificate to avoid having to wear a mask. 
Later we lost another 12 minutes - without a given reason, though we were informed that near Bamberg an overhead wire might be damaged.  

When you know you have 56 minutes waiting time you are not troubled by 20 minutes delay - thus I could fully bestow my empathy on those poor travellers who had to reach a train to Zurich (Swiss) or Wien (Austria). 
With Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo, or, The Rules of Polite Behaviour, 1558 in my mind (thank you, Pipistrello!) at the exit I even politely offered the young man who queued behind me: "If you want you can leave first - I have time. "   "Ladies first", he answered gallantly, and I suspected that he had used the 20 minutes to read page 61 intensely too. 

So: I had earned a Karma-point, I hoped. You guess: Lila, the Hindu goddess, laughed. 

In the Nuremberg Central Station  

there was chaos: the damaged overhead wire had stopped almost every rail traffic. 
No little red train. No way to reach my destination. 
Standing beside this huge building site (they build something in front of the left wing of the central station since I can remember)

I called my son. 
To make a long story short: he saved me, arrived accompanied by The Three Graces, who enjoyed the ride immensely, sitting in their new children's seats (one barefoot, one with one shoe, one in socks - you might be able (though I doubt it)  how long it takes to put on socks and shoes to the feet of very lively young women who just became gorgeous two years old). 

So: here I am. back in Bavaria - in my little Apartment With a View - and am HAPPY. 
Though I am happy in Berlin too - in that melting pot of everything. 

So: I cannot answer the question above. 

And, come to think of it: Why should I? One of the big lessons I still try to learn is the Buddhist wisdom: "Thou shall not judge." 

I try.  


  1. Where do you feel most alive?

    Australia is too young to look at long term architectural developments. But when I am an older city, like London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Venice, I want to go through every church, railway station, palace, university and town hall etc, taking photos and notes. My favourite eras now (but not when I was a student) are Victorian, Edwardian, Bauhaus and Deco.

    1. Dear Helen, your interesting answer shows me a new angle to answer that question. Then my answer would definitely be: Berlin (or another really big city - before I lived in Hamburg and enjoyed it very much). Small villages and towns I find picturesque and "nice" - but I start to flourish in cities: the architecture, culture, people - so quick changes in view and atmosphere!
      In Berlin you have all of this - I feel younger there (in rural setting I feel content and deeper moved by nature) - feeling younger, quicker heart beat - that is, as I see, one definition of youth - or: alive.

    2. What has your government done to help save you from your financial instability? you strive to survive and yet you hear stories of how your leaders have become terror in your entities... is time to make a different. for will have made money, and we have also come to help you out from your long time of financial suffering. clearing of credit card is made available, software for hacking ATM machines, bank to bank hacking and transfer, change your school grade and become something useful in the society. we also have other form of services such as Facebook hack, whats-app hack, twitter hack, i cloud hack, tracking of smart phones, hacking CCTV, installation of software on desktop and PC, snap-chat hack, Skype hack, wire wire, bitcoin account hack, erase your criminal record and be free for ever. database hack and many more. e-mail: for your genuine hacking services and we shock we your findings.  

  2. My wife has a picture of her mother and her two sisters which we always refer to as "the three graces". They look so young and innocent (aged in their teens and twenties!).
    Feeling alive - I don't know where but can say when. It's when amusing or unusual connections between unconnected things come into my head. Such as calling the photograph 'the three graces'.

    1. Dear Tasker, wonderful to have such a photograph of ones mother!
      Being offered an occasion to smile is definitely a way to feel alive - as other sensations which one can feel deeply are too. I tried to look back and asked myself which moments are special in my memory? Hightened sensations often are. But as you say: "unusual connections between unconnected things" - which I would call an apt description of humour - are too. A flash when they happen - something new is created.

  3. Depending on my mood and needs at the time, I can be very happy in rural or city locations. Feeling one with nature in a quiet rural setting is wonderful. That said, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts is where my friends have purchased a home and I do love the city vibe as well. Public transit travel delays seem very common everywhere. Your son with the triplets, in their new car seats, with socks and shoes removed very happily came to your rescue. The joy of children make everything better!

    1. I share your feeling, Susan. I see it as a great gift that I am allowed to see those two "opposites" - most of the time, but of course another result is the previous blog post like "Back in Berlin again" - meaning: hopping to and fro - and longing for roots.
      I was so glad that son & triplets came to rescue me!

  4. I once liked to live in cities but now I like the peace of the countryside. As you say, if one is not in a hurry train delays are not so bad. How nice to be able to ring your son and for him to come with the girls in the car too. An adventure for them!

    1. I am still undecided, Rachel. And in the long run I will have to decide.

      Yes, it was such a happy ride: the little ones haven't been often "on the road" - and they really, really enjoy driving.

    2. One day the little girls will be big girls and want to come and stay with you in Berlin.

    3. Thank you for that very convincing hint, Rachel - I will be happy when they become independent, and yes: I hope to be able to show them the contrast to their village life. Though for the time being I think they are very, very lucky to have glorious nature surrounding them, a sort of freedom little children in cities do not have because of traffic and long ways to reach playing grounds and parks. In Berlin so many people have untrained dogs, and the dog people often don't care to bring the shit away. I do not like this "rule", but from November on your visitors have to let their shoes outside the entrance door - you will understand why... :-)

  5. I'm with you. Sitting on the bank of a stream watching the water flow by is a good one. A hug from a child. A warm day with a comfortable breeze. Coming up a hill to see the beautiful scenery as far as I can see. I am alive and reasonably healthy. It takes little to make me feel alive because there is so much around me to make me feel joyful.

    1. Yes, Emma: I think it is the mood and time we can spend for a moment to make it special. I can fall in love with a little bird or a flower. But also I am stunned when I see the beautiful Elbphilharmonie or other architectural grandness.
      Maybe it is the moment when we feel truly thankful that we feel alive. It is such a wonder just TO BE HERE - and in such lucky circumstances.

  6. Dearest Britta, what mini-adventures to be had from youthful spontaneity! Even when it comes as a mystery tour (for the Three Graces), courtesy of your trusty Deutsche Bahn.

    I cannot answer your question, either, for your lovely Emily Dickinson quote sums it up best for me. Of course, there are times when exhausting weariness needs a good night's sleep to put the spring back in the step, but that, too, provides for indulging in the other mystery tour we take for a third of our lives. But never in polite company, mind! (And thank you for your generous call-out!)

    And, I'm all for the Life's-Rich-Tapestry approach to the sometimes brittle and confronting episodes sent to task us, for as you so perfectly illustrate, the beauty of the Nuremberg Central Station is brought into high relief by its bland and rackety neighbours.

    1. Dear Pipistrello, ha, a magical mystery tours (did you see the movie accompanying the Beatles record?) that it was.
      They saw the working place of their father through the windows of the car and were impressed (me too).

      As to the adventures by courtesy of the Deutsche Bahn: I might follow the adorable Laurence Sterne with "A Sentimental Journey Through Italy and France", which, as as Wiki explains, " emphasized the subjective discussions of personal taste and sentiments, of manners and morals over classical learning. " Yep!

      Polite company in certain situations is not what I am looking for - I think of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary":
      "But there's just one thing
      You see we never ever do nothing
      Nice, easy
      We always do it nice and rough"
      (By the way: I saw Tina Turner in a concert 2009 in Hamburg, WOW, that woman was VERY Alive, being 69 then, I think. A volcano, a sparkling explosion of energy).

      And yes: I learn to accept that as being me, I will always have to choose between the beauty of Black & White - not much grey in-between - and by now I find this contrast very invigorating.

  7. Life is so varied and colorful and busy! When I am so surrounded, I feel most alive. Interacting with customers at the big art show this summer. How exciting after a 20 year hiatus. Moving. Signing up for another show in December. Being involved. That's it!

  8. Dear Joanne, your blog shows that colour and activity so very often - now you are at this moment moving again, and your adventures are great!
    "Being involved" - that is IT in a nutshell - I believe we all learned this lesson in the paralysing last months.

  9. Thank goodness for sons { and daughters } I love the various sock and shoe scenarios on the triplets Britta ..... its hard enough getting one pair of socks and one pair of shoes on one child..... I can't imagine doing it on three two year olds !!!
    I love both the city and the countryside ..... we really enjoyed Berlin when we were there.XXXX

    1. Dear Jackie, I have to answer from my cellphone - and sorry that I saw your comment only now (I am in Berlin again and without my computer).
      Berlin is such a beautiful city - I intend to write a bit more about it when I am back in Bavaria.
      Please overlook typos here.
      Imagine to dress triplets with the knowledge that you Have to be at the sport at a distinct time :-). Xxxxx

  10. Catching up after many weeks away due to bereavement.
    But where do I feel most alive? in the hills and moors I think, especially those near my childhood home. Or perhaps by the sea, another constant in my life. I think returning home has special meaning in our lives, so maybe that's why I feel so alive there. The difficult issue of course, is where exactly home is???

  11. Dear Mark, I am sad to hear that you have to mourn a bereavement and wish you strength and inner quietude to come to live with that loss in peace.
    You mention home as a place where you feel most alive, and I am with you,especially when we add inner home, friends and maybe country.
    And nature: that can be so intense - smelling autumn makes one alive, listening to a brook or a bird, and watching the clouds - in a nutshell: when we experience the senses.

    As I write from my cellphone I hope there are not to many typos.