*All photographs are my own, and if shared please credit as appropriate (see Creative Commons).
The time spent in the city of Mageburg, in the Saschen-Anhalt region of Germany, passed as if I was in a dream. The days floated by in an easy going, laissez–faire sort of way, and I loved it. It is a period that I shall always remember with a great fondness, as I got to know the city and the people that I worked for. The time spent swimming in the lake alongside families and older people was time well spent relaxing in the great blue murky bliss, watching thunderstorms roll harmlessly by whilst half submerged in the inky depths. The joy of being woken at half twelve at night to watch the numerous lightening strikes over the city, as the fury of the heavens was unleashed in one foul tirade late at night.
The pure joy of relaxing with an ice cream and a coffee whilst writing letters home, filled with the love of a good country and fine people. Attempting half broken German whilst asking for briefmarken to help send postcards home to the family. The old man on the tram, gesturing and pointing to his leg, and to my leg, crossing the language divide to highlight our shared disability. The empty museum in which I could lose myself amongst the fossils, the books and the stuffed animals. The imposing two towered Dom weathering time itself, surviving through fire, war and pestilence throughout the ages.
The exhilaration of taking part in my first cemetery excavation, and the pure awe of helping to excavate a skeleton. The deep feeling of honour in being able to excavate this person with care, a person that had once lived and loved. The friendships that were formed over a toast of Jagermeister, Germany’s finest herb drink. The bond that crossed language, and the letters that ensured, half written in our native language and half written in halting English or Deutsche.
The feeling of why couldn’t life be this free all the time? The thrust of the jet engines as they screamed towards the blue yonder, and took me away from my country once more. The deep glittering greens and browns of a leafy cemetery, where family plots lay within a few feet of the war memorials. The pop art poster in the local museum, of a half naked woman appearing from a chocolate wrapper, radiant joy spreading across her beautiful face. The wooden tower dwarfing the people walking nearby.
The shared flat and the friendly guide, and the hours spent watching families walking by. The rush of the capital city, swarming with tourists and glittering with the jewels of Europe. The skeletons of the long dead, of the LBK and the Neandertals on display for all to learn from. The communal feeling of a close community in the soviet flats, and the love of the drunkard wishing us well on our final journey home. The silly photographs. Ah, Germany was bliss.