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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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Day 20. Berlin

Posted by admin On Julio - 28 - 2010

IVAN: Today we woke up in Berlin at ease because we knew we didn’t have to pack our stuff in a hurry, because we didn’t have to get a close-up look under the bed to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind because once you leave the place, you never come back. Today we also woke up knowing that we didn’t have to cycle. Total relaxation first thing in the morning, hahaha. The thing is that we went to one of the several bike stores in Berlin so that Paco could get a checkup. Well, the typical thing: to evaluate and balance the spoke tension, to replace the brake pads, and to check the brake fluid. Our intention is to get Paco back first thing tomorrow morning so that we can continue making this curious trip.

Regarding Berlin, its huge and impressive monuments, which are a living link with the glorious past, fully integrate with its people. At first glance, the Berliners look less serious and rigorous than the traditional stereotypical representation of Germans. In fact, the German youth, just because of how they dress and because of the way they get around in the city (most of them ride old junk but useful bikes), seem not to agree entirely on those authoritarian ways, if anything, that are commonplace in the rest of Europe. I know I’m making sweeping assumptions, and it’s also true that I’ve never been to cities like Amsterdam, Oslo or Helsinski. But I’m dead certain that the “brightness” of colors we can spot in these cities is more or less the same we can see in Berlin.

Being in a huge city entails coping with the hustle and bustle of people and the trouble this spells. And to think that, some days ago, we were in the middle of the woods, in quiet solitude… The other day on the ship, while I was contemplating the vastness of the sea, a thought popped into my mind. We were sailing the dark and rough sea and I was resting in a cozy cabin on a gray and rainy day. This telling example illustrates the human race dominance over the planet. Neither the wildest animal nor the biggest oceanic abyss puts us in the shade. In fact, this dominance has enabled world population density to double in the last 50 years. This population survives and works thanks to the global consumption of the raw materials that the Earth offers. If we take into account the two-fold increase of population density in 50 years (50 years don’t mean that much in the history of the planet, do they?) and the definition of the word consumption (the first meaning in the R.A.E. (Real Academia Española) dictionary is “destruction; extinction”)  we can see that this so-called development advertised on public TV is everything but sustainable. To put it simply, it is impossible to sustain a population that doubles every 50 years; however much we divide things into portions. Sooner or later there won’t be a pie to cut up.

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