Archive for the 'Europe' Category


See you soon…at last!


Can’t wait to see you, old darling! (busy reading guides and essays…)


DSS: Dusseldorfer Space Station


Last night I stepped out of my Soyuz, the U83, into the orbiting DSS….or at least, this was the feeling when I alighted from my train to Benrather Strasse U-bahn station. What a feast! My taxpayer heart is throbbing…so much Vorsprung durch Technik is a dream! Love the steel, glass and concrete…


Isn’t this service door mind-blowing?!


Ah this is the nec plus ultra of the typical “well-done German work”…


I almost tripped on the staircase! I was too busy taking pics!


Every station is different…and I have decided to discover them slowly by slowly…


It feels very Paco Rabanne!



K 488

I may have been 11. That was the time when I got my new cassette recorder. And I decided I needed to have a real cassette, not a “gebastelt” one. So I went to the music shop. Yes there were such shop, and mine was called “La Musicassetta”. It was tiny but very proper and close to the main bus stop, Largo Barriera, where I would get off the bus on Saturdays when going in the city. In Trieste, of course.

So I entered this shop.  Yes for sure, I was crazy for Duran Duran, Madonna – still unknown in Italy – Spandau Ballet (strange, a British group with cold-war name…), and Chic. But these, I could always acquire with some “basteln”. I had dozens of BASF musicassettes at home containing patchy recordings from the radio playlists of my favorite groups. They were not perfect buy hey, enough for me to dance on those tunes after doing homework.

No no, this time it was about serious music. Serious recordings, high quality. Continue reading ‘K 488’


In moments like these


Never before this week I felt so strongly the meaning-  and the need – for a Queen.

It is in moment like these, that one tells the difference between a Prime Minister, a President of the Republic. And a Queen.

We’ve seen a lot of President Hollande in the media these days. But in moments like these, France – and Mali, and Lebanon and and… – would need a Queen. A stately figure. An embodiement of the State. But not a politician. Not a government figure. Someone who can call for unity and strenght under dire circumstances. But who cannot be ascribed to a political view.

Someone who can show strenght, a pure one, not a relative one. And wisdom.

Someone who does not need to guard himself or herself from the far-right opposition, and does not need to say or do things in order to avoid being overtaken by opponents. Or at the next elections.

Poor Marianne could fit the purpose, but her image is too frequently abused by the far right.

It is incredible, but in moment like these, a Queen could be the best embodiement of the Republic.

A wise Queen, yes. A mother.



Friday night


Friday 20th November. One week has gone by. Rewind.

Friday 13th November, 4pm. I am exploring the most enchanting corners of Saint Pancras Station’s hotel, while taking in its quintessentially british atmosphere. It is always nice when one works abroad, to be able to tell where one is. No anonymous hotel underground conference rooms. No faux-minimalist boring design. Nope. This time I am in London and I can also take in a bit of the atmosphere of the city. I see the trains departing to Paris via Eurotunnel. I feel the vibe of the city cautiously slipping in its start-of-the-weekend mood from the businesslike frenzy of the morning.

And then when meetings are over, it’s time to pack and head to King’s Cross. Thousands of people like me shuttling around with their trolleys, a Pret-à-manger bag with a makeshift dinner for the train, yeah for many it will be quite a commute. The big panel is showing the boarding times and gates, there is a bit of an airport feeling at King’s Cross. I always find it a bit stressful, to wait under the vast fan of the station concourse for my platform to be announced. At last. Platform 2.

And now sitting comfortably. I have a novel with me, “The Girl on the Train”. Oh no, that’s a noir. No way. Not for a Friday evening in any case. I will continue reading “The diamond Queen” by Andrew Marr.

At lunchtime a terrible gale had hit London, short but very violent, my lunchtime guests arrived to Gilbert Scott’s completely drenched. Now the gale is continuing to hit Northern England. I guess it will be blasting Leeds when I arrive.

How nice it is to be met at the station by the love of my life!

It reminds me of 1920s novels. Of 1940s movies. It is nice to be expected. This must have been also my father’s feeling when my mother and me – aged 2 or 3 – were waiting for him every day in Turin at the station.

And yes it rains, cats and dogs. But then it calms down, and we sneak out of Leeds station and head to “Home –  Leeds subsidiary”. Time for some healthy vegetables and yes, let’s scoff these Pret sandwiches and be done with them…it’s late for a proper dinner anyway…so my second Leeds weekend with MeinMann ready to start! What are we going to do tomorrow? York for sure!

And then, from the bathroom, I hear my MeinMann saying “***** – what the hell…attack in Paris!”. And that was it. Friday night, slipping in the mood of the weekend. Unwinding. Relax. Be with your beloved one. All of a sudden this seemed so distant and unreal. Horror in the middle of Friday night. We are together. Hold me tight.



Trainspotters’ Wonderland

What a fabulous place…yesterday, chatting with my cousin – of course, when it comes to trains it is always something to do with cousins! – I discovered the existance of Miniature Wonderland, Speicherstadt, Hamburg…To be honest we had seen the adverts when in town lately, but we had not imagined it was as elaborate and incredible…

For manic trainspotters like us, who see every morning the Thalys and ICEs from our bedroom french window, this is a must. We must go to Hamburg and see this wonder! And apparently…this has to be planned carefully as waiting times can be long due to restricted access.

This reminds me of another miniature train landscape, the one of Stazione Campo Marzio in Trieste. Of course, it is on another level. But it is retro and a relic from another era…next time I’m going to Trieste I will check it up…if it is always there…it would be good if the Museo Ferroviario di Campo Marzio would get more visibility.


A vision for Europe


It took 30 years to turn this belief of Willy Brandt into reality. What should we wish ourselves, for year 2044? To have a united Europe, where many languages are spoken by every child? Where the cultures remain intact, but we all share one passport? A blueprint for energy policy, fostering entrepreneurship on our territory, where there are cultural and religious tolerance? A united defence policy even if soft power remains the key instrument? A sustainable financial balance, between discipline and multi-generation investments? What else?

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