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kep

7 things 2016 taught me

What to make of this year? It has certainly taken up a lot of space, as years go. It has been loud and ponderous, with higher highs and lower lows. For me, 2016 has been frustratingly soul-sucking, but also exciting and surprising. Heartache and inspiration. Certainly transformative. (And I don’t throw words like that around […]

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Ostalgie 1

Ostalgie: What is freedom, anyway?

This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’m brought back to my first visit to Berlin, a divided city then. Crossing from West to East Berlin, we had to exchange 25 Mark (about 20 USD) into 25 Ostmark (East Mark). We could not bring East German currency out of the […]

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Berlin, I love you still

In 1983, Berlin was still marked by war, but a grand city still. Today, it’s even grander. And where Rome has beauty and chaos, Berlin has beauty and order.

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Gi at the cabin

Happy birthday, mum!

Yesterday would have been your birthday, mum. Just three days shy, on Friday 29 June, you died. It was a bleak, rainy day.

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oslo blomster

The streets of Oslo are filled with love

Terrorism. In Oslo, one of the safest cities in the world, one of the most peaceful. A month ago, the worst tragedy since World War II hit Norway. A mad man, a terrorist, set off a bomb near the Prime Minister’s office, killing 8. He then travelled to the island of Utøya and murdered 69 […]

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Bregenz: going back

Bregenz, though not perhaps Austria’s best-known city, is a city dear to me. When I was 15, a friend and I spent the summer, officially doing a language course, but in reality concentrating on beer, boys and night clubs we were much too young for. (These things were a bit more lax back then). We […]

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Muharraq, Baharain

The kindness of strangers

Arab hospitality is legendary. In the Middle East, I have encountered the kindness of strangers more often than anywhere else.

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