Being back in Europe for some time triggered me to pay two cities a short visit that have been my home during the last years for quite some time. So I boarded a train to Berlin after spending some quality time with amazing people in Thuringia, where I grew up.
In Berlin I purposely had a one hour layover that I used to quickly head to the Brandenburg Gate to take a picture. That well-known sight is quite special to me as I was born and grew up in the German east. It’s a symbol of reunification and I remember very vividly walking through it the first time years ago. I decided to take trains to travel within central Europe as I needed these approximately 2000 km to soak in everything that’s in between, to experience the distance and have time to contemplate.
Anyway, coming back to Warsaw felt strangely familiar and not as I have been away for over one year now. Apparently the city hasn’t changed, but at the same time everything is different. The city seems to enjoy its comfortable summer laziness – people are happily wandering around, sitting in one of the restaurants, gazing at this warm orange evening light that I missed so much. But the same night the Polish parliament agreed on a law that leads Poland even further away from democracy. The freedom of polish universities gets more and more cut back. Speaking of universities – some universities even step back from having exchange programs with universities from foreign countries as these exchange students might not be that save anymore strolling around in the city. Not just in Poland but the overall atmosphere changed and I wonder, wonder, wonder where is the Europe that I missed so much? When travelling I noticed how important something like a united Europe is. It makes me miserable to see all these tendencies. However, it was great to meet up with friends, former colleagues and acquaintances again. I missed you all incredibly and it was good to catch up. We made it – no matter how many km are between us.