Seasons

 

In nature, I love the different seasons

img_2102Spring, summer, autumn, winter.

They are ever present here in Germany.

Spring

nature awakening from its winter rest,

bursting out into fresh greens and first colours.

Warm evenings.

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                                            Summer

Bright sunlight, waking us up early,

Nature growing in abundance,

Long days.

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                                                                            Autumn

Nature preparing for winter

Cool mornings and nights

Colourful leaves

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                                                                                        Winter

Bare trees and icy paths

Crisp, cold air and frozen noses

Nature turning into white magic.

 

 

 

Right now, in nature, it is autumn.

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Days getting shorter.

Leaves turning red, yellow, brown.

Nature changing it’s face into earthy colours.

The sun shining more gently, lower, cooler.

In nature,

I love autumn.

Autumn is my favourite season.

 In life, I love the different seasons.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter.

They are quietly present in my life.

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                                                 Spring

I am a little girl.

I live in the moment.

I enjoy every minute of my being.

I don’t doubt.

I trust completely.

Time, for me, is endless.

                       

                                     

             Summer                                

img_3016                 I am a young woman.

I have dreams.

I make mistakes.

I have a family.

I work hard.

Time, for me, is busy.

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Autumn

I am a “mature” woman.

I live life to the full.

I value relationships.

I conserve my energy.

I stress less.

Time, for me, is valuable.

                                                                      

                                                       Winter                       

One day, God willing,img_5238

I will be an old woman.

I will live life with limitations.

I will value friendships and family highly

I will have to conserve my energy.

  Time, for me, will be limited.

 

Right now, in my life, it’s autumn.

My hair turns grey.

My skin is wrinkly.

My mind is clear and

My soul is searching.

In life,

I love autumn.

Autumn is my favourite season.

What will it be like in winter?

Will I still walk the icy paths?

Will I still feel the crisp, cold air

And will my nose freeze?

Will I still see nature

Turning into white magic?

Will my life still be enjoyable

Despite the limitations?

Will I still have friends and family?

Will I still have energy?

What will winter be like?

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Can you hear it?

Can you hear it?

Roaring thunder of the ocean

The mighty Atlantic

Rough and raw

steady, beautiful rhythm

Foamy waves rolling on the shore

Can you hear it?

Screeching seagulls at the beach

Circling the air

Up and high

constant, wide wingspan

Searching for food

Can you see it?

Shining light through thick cloud

A piece of blue sky

Light and bright

 promising, little smile

Warming my face.

Can you see it?

Uplifting rocks along the coast

Coloured beauty

Rugged and rough

 hard, yet soft surface

protecting the land.

Can you feel it?

Squeeking sand between my toes

Cleaning my skin

Fine and coarse

 water washed away

Massaging gently.

Can you feel it?

Love, I love the sea

The beach and the sun

The wind and the sand

The beauty of nature

Giving me peace.

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Frederick

I am Frederick.

You don’t know who Frederick is?

Frederik, the little field mouse.

You still don’t know?

Frederick, who never collects food for winter like all the other mice.

Frederick.

The one who is lazy while his companions work hard.

Frederick.

Instead of collecting food for long winter months,

Frederick uses his time to collect other things:

Silvery sunrays

Radiant rainbows

Sweet sounds

Spectacular smells

Terrific tastes

Perfect pictures

And many other valuable things.

Valuable?

Frederick’s collection is valuable.

Silvery sunrays

bring warmth to cold winter nights.

Radiant rainbows

remind of summer’s colours

Sweet sounds

Supply music for a winter’s dance

Spectacular smells

bring back memories of spring

Terrific tastes

are the spice on bland food

And perfect pictures

Make our soul fly.

This year

I am Frederick.

This year,

I don’t collect food for winter.

This year,

I am lazy while my companions work hard.

Instead of providing for the months to come,

I use my time to collect other things.

Sunrays and raindrops

Colours and shades

Sounds and waves

Smells and scents

Tastes and spices

Pictures and photos

Things from afar.

Many valuable things.

For myself

For the winter days

That will come for me, one day.

And for you

Whose winter days may be here

Already

To share my collection

With you

And to bring

Sunshine

Into your life

And help your soul to fly.

   I wonder:

 Will you

like my collection?

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CAMINO – THE WAY

It didn’t matter to me.

Without my dear husband,

I would have forgotten.

I had read about it, but

Had put it in the

Unnecessary-to-remember-drawer

Of my brain

Which was already overloaded by then

From all the packing lists

And guide books

And other books on the subject.

Friends who had done this thing before

Showed it to us proudly, but –

Honestly –

I didn’t think much of it.

But –

You will need it

As evidence.

Evidence?

Who do I need to give evidence to?

People who know me will believe

What I have achieved.

If, and only if I succeed

in the end.

I might ….

………..

…………..

……..

Some people do this for spiritual reasons,

Some people need to get over their burnout

Some people try to get their life back in order

Some people do it for fun.

FUN ?

You can’t be serious.

Nobody can call this fun.

Blisters.

Knee pain.

Hurting shoulders.

Sweating.

And sleeping in a dormitory.

Using the same liquid soap for

Showering

Shampooing

Conditioning

AND

Washing!

No, not to brush your teeth.

You buy the miniature tube for that.

And the mini toothbrush.

The one you can fold.

You get them on the plane.

Hand washing

One of the only two

Sets of cloths you carry with you

Every night –

You’ve got to be joking.

With shampoo/showergel or liquid soap

Same diff.

You are supposed to

Wear two pairs of socks

On top of each other.

To avoid blisters

AND

You are supposed to

Wash your socks only

Every three days

Pwehh!

To avoid blisters.

At least that shortens the washing ritual.

Didn’t work for me

Still got the blisters.

However  –

I don’t do it for religious reasons

Or to get my life in order

I do it because

I want to prove to myself

I    CAN    DO    THIS

In the end

I     DID     IT

AND

it was FUN!

Arriving in Santiago

I had to open

The drawer in my brain

To get out

The book

The one my dear husband

Reminded me of

Every day

To collect

All the stamps

On the way

To get

THE CERTIFICATE

To have evidence

That I did it:

I walked

266 km

And completed the

CAMINO DE SANTIAGO PORTUGUESE

So proud of myself.

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Schwesternsch(w)atz

Gedauert hat’s mehr als 30 Jahr,

Bis es endlich mal wieder soweit war.

Die 3 Schwestern habn’s tatsächlich geschafft,

Und sich zusammen aufgerafft.

 

Auto packen, am Sonntag starten,

Die Arbeit zu Hause, die kann warten.

Das Wetter ist schön, die Laune gut,

Die drei sind happy und wohlgemut.

 

Landstrasse ist besser als Autobahn,

Da läßt es sich viel entspannter fahrn.

Piknikpause am Wegesrand,

Mit Ei und Stulle in der Hand.

 

Weiter gen Norden geht die Fahrt,

Regina hat alles genau geplant.

Zwischenstopp in Ludwigslust,

Schloßpark und Kaffee ist ein Muß.

 

Weiter gehts, Bad Kleinen ruft,

Wo wir ‘ne Wohnung hab’n gebucht.

Wir kommen an und werden begrüßt

Die Wohnung, die ist wirklich süß.

 

Im ersten Stock, mit Blick auf den See,

Im Garten Vögel, sogar ein Reh.

Holzfußboden und Bücherregal,

Und auch zum Kochen ist’s ideal.

 

Bad Kleinen liegt , das ist wohl wahr,

Georaphisch sehr gut, alle Orte ganz nah,

Schwerin und Wiesmar nebenan,

Und die Insel Poehl ist auch nah dran.

 

Fahrradfahren und spazierengehen,

Fischbrötchen essen und Schlösser sehen,

Cappucino trinken im grünen Park,

Ansonsten faulenzen den ganzen Tag.

 

Meck-Pomm, das Bundesland oben im Norden,

Ist ein Juwel, bald komm’ wir in Horden.

Regina und Christel, mit euch war’s toll,

Ich hab’ noch lang nicht die Nase voll.

 

Wir sollten das öfter mal machen, wir drei,

Da fühlt man sich gut, und vogelfrei.

Habt Dank für eine gute Zeit,

Mit Lachen und viel Heiterkeit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moin, Moin oder Die Leichtigkeit des Seins


Alte Freunde sind

wie die ersten

sehnsüchtig erwarteten,

golden scheinenden Sonnenstrahlen

im wärmenden _MGL5564Frühlingsrausch,

 

wie die großflächigen,

geradlinig gepflügten,

goldgelben Getreidefelder

im wehenden Sommerwind,

 

wie die wärmende,

wohlig-weiche Wolldecke

im goldblühenden  kühlen Herbstwald,

 

und wie der seichte,

still- sanfte Schneefall

im kalten Winter.

 

No matter how much time has passed since we saw them last, no matter where we meet again, no matter what life has thrown at either of us in the meantime, we recommence our common paths without any gaps.

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Ahh, friends.

We have known each other for many years. Our lives crossed 20 odd years ago, in a different country, in a different setting, in a different scenario.

Coincidence?

I don’t think so. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason.

I also believe that there are seasons in life, for happiness and sorrow, for activities and rest, for sunshine and rain.

Right now, we have sunshine.

Not constant, but whenever we need it.

Amazing: whenever we leave the car, to go for a walk, a bike ride, a sightseeing tour, to photograph what we see, to sit outside for coffee, the sun peeps out behind the fluffy white or rain filled clouds. We always take a jumper, and sometimes a raincoat, but the warm sun rays find their way to us and gently touch our skin.

This is Germany’s summer. You have to be lucky with the weather.

We are.

We are also lucky with friends.

It is such a delight spending time with old friends. The stories we tell each other, the jokes we laugh about, the places we visit, the life we share.

         A few Snippets

Notizen in German – from the time with our friends

                                         BERLIN

Radfahren auf Tempelhofer stillgelegtem Flughafen, Heidi, meine rothaarige lebhafte Freundin mit Tochter Lea, schöner Garten in guter Wohngegend,  herzlicher Empfang, üppiges Essen und Trinken, überschwengliche Herzlichkeit, guter Wein und viel Wasser dazu, der neue Freund Wolfgang und die alten Freunde Jörg und Kai, Geschichten auimg_3293s alten Zeiten, Kanzlei in Kreuzberg, Gendarmenplatz und Riesenluftblasen, Fi und Ben in Hackesche Höfe, mit Lea im Penthaus-Garten-Café, Pizzaessen mit jungen Leuten in Kreuzberg, U-Bahnfahren und Terroristenangst, multikulturelle Atmosphäre….

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BERLIN,

du rockst!

                                       CARLOW

Bauernhof und LPG’s, Grenzhus und Kopfsteinpflaster, weiter Blick auf gepflügte Felder,alternative Wohnform und wilde Gärten mit Apfelbäumen und Johannisbeeren,

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Weinprobe auf Terrasse und spontane Musiksession mit Abendessen, Freunde, die gut kochen können, Fahrradtour und Soljanka Suppe,  Greifswald und Stettin,

 

img_3633       Kirchtürme und Graffiti unter der Autobahn,

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Usedom und rote Strandkörbe, gute Gespräche, freies WLAN in HH’s neuem Auto, Weißwein auf Treppe mit Weitblick, Tagestour durch Lübeck, Emus auf ostdeutschen Feldern (das glaubt uns keiner, die heißen hier Nandus), wunderschöne Klosteranlage mit Behinderten-Wohnheim, Gedanken über Alternativen zum Altersheim, gute Gespräche über ungeplanten vorzeitigen Ruhestand, Trost und Ermutigung, Hochsitze mit Prosecco und Wolldecke, Johannisbeersträucher und Rasen mähen…..

CARLOW,

du gefällst uns !

 

AARHUS

Linda, my dear, dear Danish friend of long ago….it was so good, to see you again…

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Grüne, flache Landschaft,

 

 

 

rote Backsteingebäude, graue Wolken,

weiter Himmel, Wohnsiedlungen mit zweistöckigen Reihenhäusern mit excellenten sozialen Vorteilen,wie z.B. (fast) kostenlosen Waschsalons und integrierten Gästezimmern, Optionen eines persönlichen Schrebergartens, rauhes Wetter mit kaltemWind, Spaziergänge durch Wälder in wunderschöner Landschaft,

neuer Lebenspartner,fullsizerender Geburtstagslunch mit Fisch und Hering, Dinner im Wintergarten, junge erwachsene Kinder mit guten Business Ideen, intensive Gespräche über Gott und die Welt, Gesundheit und Krankheit,  Religion und Glauben…

 

DANEMARK,

I wish I could speak your language !

 

                         BÜDELSDORF

Ali, du bist ganz die Alte!

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Kleine, vollgepfropfte,  gemütliche Eigentumswohnung,

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Retsina und griechisches Essen zur Begrüßung, Zugfahrt nach Sylt und Sonnenbaden am Strand, berauschender Sonnenuntergang auf dem Heimweg, Nord Art in Büdelsdorf, Schimpansenstatuen im Museumspark und fullsizerenderlebensgroße, beängstigend echte Messingwölfe in alten Industrieanlagen, mehr Wein und gutes Essen, Gespräche über Arbeitsleben und Kindererziehung….

BÜDELSDORF,

deine “Nord Art” ist faszinierend  und norddeutsche Freundschaft ist ein bleibendes Geschenk!

 

SYLT

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Schickeria, reetgedeckte Häuser,
Fischpfanne und Meeresfrüchte, steife Brise, e-bikes, wollige Schafe, Strandkörbe, reinrassige Hunde,

Fkk-jeder wie er will-Strände,Porsche und Lamborghini, Steppjacken in allen Farben, im Trend aber rosa, platin und olivgrün, spießige Camper aus Wuppertal,

 

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img_3783traumhafte Sonnenuntergänge, Prosecco und Rotwein im blauweiß-gestreiften Strandkorb, Gänsefarm und Sonnenschirm, Jogger und Schönlinge, Dialekte von Hamburg bis München über Dortmund und Stuttgart, Deutsch pur, Sansibar und Markenzeichen, Gosch und Fisch,  Dorfteich und Friesenkirche, Geest und Marschlandschaft, Ebbe und Flut, Wattkrebse und Fahrradtour am Deich, Cappuccino und Käsekuchen, Baderuper Heide, Keitum (High Society), Hörnum (Strandspaziergang um die Südspitze mit rauhem Wellen von der Seite), Radtour um das Rantumer Becken (Auf’m Deich mit viel Wind und Schafen), Uwe-Düne, Kampen (high society), Kaffeerösterei an der Sylter Quelle……

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SYLT,

deine Besucher sind merkwürdige Wesen und deine Landschaft ist atemberaubend!

 

                                                                                Fazit:

Zusammensitzen,

 essen und trinken,

 spazierengehen und quatschen.

Ohne großes Programm.

Treiben lassen.

Mit guten Freunden.

 

                                                                                     This is life!

 

 

 

 

South Africa – the “white” land

I had been here before.

IMG_0984A long, long time ago.

To be exact: in 1977, on my very first trip away from Europe. I travelled with a friend from Bremen, the place where I did my nurse’s training, and we were to visit another nurse friend of ours who had moved to Johannesburg with her boyfriend and later husband. I was 24 then, as young as you are now, Maren.

And you are travelling at this age, too.

How history repeats itself!

And how much older I am now! I can’t believe that.

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South African society was divided into 3 groups back then: the “Whites”, the “Coloured”, and the “Blacks”.

When approaching a beach, a sign would stop you in your stride and inform you: “Whites only” or “Coloureds only”.

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On the buses-the same signs.

It came back to me yesterday as we were hopping on a public bus in Cape Town.

Apartheid.

The country has moved on since then.

Has it?

Nelson Mandela is a big name. 1918 – 2013. A long life of idealism and fighting for human rights.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize  with De Klerk in 1993:  “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”

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He left a legacy. His name can be found everywhere.

How sustainable is his work after his death?

I remember the townships. We drove into one of them by accident back then, in 1977. It was the only time I remember we didn’t feel safe in our little light blue rented VW beetle.

The townships are still here.

Have they changed? I guess we see them with different eyes today, after being to other areas like that, in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi…..

This time, Ron and I were amazed by the sheer size of the townships, especially the one along the coast on the way to Cape Town. An endlessly stretching cluster of small, very colourful tin sheds, tiny, one after the other, with narrow gaps between them and small lanes criss-crossing through; washing hanging outside some of them, few people outside, even fewer vehicles, rubbish, yes, but not too bad; however, power lines everywhere and big satellite dishes on almost every shack.

So, we couldn’t help asking ourselves:” Are these people better off than the ones who live in the slums of Kampala?”

The townships look better from the outside, but we haven’t been inside any of them like we have in Uganda. (Later, on our last day in SA, we will visit Soweto, and yes, it is different to what we have seen in other African nations)

How come I feel like being back in “white man’s land” after spending time in “black Africa”?

Well, first of all you have all the conveniences that the first world has to offer:

Sealed roads, even multi-lane highways, good infrastructure, beautiful restaurants with splendid food and superb wine collections, clean, drinkable water, well functioning showers, nice cars, tastefully, well dressed (white) people.

Rarely does one see black people walking along the road or sitting under a shady tree here-vivid images set in our minds from previous travels through the other African countries.

Blacks are around (although most of them are a lighter shade of black than Ugandans, Tanzanians or Malawi people). You see them standing in car parks, wearing a bright red work vests, showing people where to park and helping them to get back on the road safely (and expecting money for their service; albeit not so much in your face as we have experienced before, especially in Malawi)

Near the townships you see public taxis and people jumping on or off to get to work or come home. You see blacks sitting on the back of big trucks.

But only few – in comparison.

And black (brown) and white men are not mixing in a social kind of way.

Black people are waiters in restaurants and shop assistants in department stores or souvenir shops. They drive the taxis and buses. They work on farms and clean hotel rooms. They don’t look as well nourished and groomed as the whites.

However, there are a few who appear like they have made it.  Just a few. They sit and sip a cocktail on the waterfront. They laze around the pool with their children who are dressed in designer clothes. They drive big, expensive cars. They order exquisite food at good restaurants. They are “show off’s”.

But they are not joined by white people of the same social class.

I feel safe in this country.

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I have not seen or heard any violent behaviour.

I feel like one of the other white people around me, but, after having just spent 2 months in “black” Africa, this feels weird yet again, but in a different way, uncomfortable, uneasy? Hard to put into words.

A really nice host from one of our Airbnb guesthouses tells me that the current government in South Africa is trying to build up the Middle Class. Here, as in most other parts of the world, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

According to her, the situation in this country appears to be manageable, not perfect, of course and with much criticism of the current government, but it sounds positive, hopeful.

However, most other people we spoke to paint a more gloomy picture.

On our recent wine tour through Franschhoek we met a young South African lawyer, who spoke fluent Africaans and English, a well educated young lady.  At our last wine tasting stop (and surprisingly enough, we were all still quite sober, at least in comparison to some others, who were singing and dancing by this time), we started talking over our constantly filled glasses and she told a rather different story. She had recently moved her area of work from “crime to “property”. Her reason:

“I didn’t feel safe in my neighborhood when working with cases of crime, property disputes are much safer”. She told us that her father owns a farm here and has to fear for his life every day, farms get attacked and each day of the year at least one white farmer gets killed in this country.  Consequently, she is trying to migrate to Canada. Her brother has already left and lives in London. She believes, in the foreseeable future, a civil war is unavoidable, and she has little hope for the survival of her home country.

What is going on here?

After all of Mandela’s work! Over decades, he fought for equal rights for all people in this beautiful country.

Yesterday, we went to Cape Town and from the coastline, you could easily spot Robben Island, where this man was unjustly imprisoned for twenty years because of his belief in racial equality.

You have to hope that this can’t all be lost!

On our very last day in Africa we spend 5 hours in Johannesburg and decide to book an individualised tour through the township Soweto. We visit this widespread suburb, where 3.5 million blacks live (in contrast to 4.5 million people in the rest of Johannesburg). The township is very diverse, from richest to poorest, very interesting to visit and it’s safe, assures us our private tour guide Agnes, who picks us up from our airport hotel and drives us there in a white Mercedes. Much safer than the other part of Jo-burg (the white part?), the city centre, where there has been a strike going on by the rubbish collectors for a few weeks now so the city is a stinking mess.

At the end of our 5-6 hour tour through Soweto we return home to our airport hotel with a changed view on South Africa’s history. We talked to people, we visited The “Hector Pieterson” museum and the Mandela House, and learned many things that we had no idea about. The most interesting thing for me was this and I have just copied the following information from the internet:

The June 16 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. Events that triggered the uprising can be traced back to policies of the Apartheid government that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953. The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of South African Students Organisation (SASO) raised the political consciousness of many students while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community. When the language of Afrikaans alongside English was made compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools in 1974, black students began mobilizing themselves. On 16 June 1976 between 3000 and 10 000 students mobilized by the South African Students Movement‘s Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium.
On their pathway they were met by heavily armed police who fired teargas and later live ammunition on demonstrating students. This resulted in a widespread revolt that turned into an uprising against the government. While the uprising began in Soweto, it spread across the country and carried on until the following year.
The aftermath of the events of June 16 1976 had dire consequences for the Apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed. Meanwhile, the weakened and exiled liberation movements received new recruits fleeing political persecution at home giving impetus to the struggle against Apartheid. 
( sahistory.org.za)

How interesting: the students in 1976 protested against the language Africaans in their schools.

And while we were in South Africa, the newspapers reported on recent student strikes.

And what are the students demonstrating for these days? They refuse to be taught in Africaans and demand English to be the only language at university studies.

How important is language!!

Apart from all these thoughts, just a short chapter on Cape Town itself:

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Beautiful city, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Table Mountain watching guard over the city, multiple superb beaches along the city’s coast for swimming and surfing, a well developed waterfront harbor, a metropolis with a rich history of pride, cultural diversity, full of acceptance and tolerance, happy and friendly people, street artists, markets and overall, just a very good vibe!

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We loved this city and our only regret was that our time was limited here.

Even for us, being 12 months on tour? We should have ample time to do whatever we want…….

How is it possible that our time is still limited?

Are there life lessons to be learned?

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