And so to the beginning of this particular journey, which was in the security queue at Southend Airport - wow, what a disagreeable bunch they were, but I complained on Twitter so I feel myself vindicated of the unpleasantness.
Actually, the airport was uneventful. We'll begin then not at the beginning, but around 3 or so pages into chapter 2.
This was map no.1, 'cos of course we in fact lost every map he ever marked for us, and each day had to request a new one from him in order to have a clue where on earth to visit.
But his recommendations were bang on. And I shall share them with you.
After pounding the streets of Berlin all night; walking probably in the region of around 10 miles drinking Club Mate from a kiosk mixed with vodka, queuing at each Enrico-highlighted establishment, then deciding we didn't want to pay the E10 entry because we were suspicious of the quality of the sound system (when in fact, we should have just been celebrating the quality of the soundproofing), we finally got our fill of techno in a well known club just by the Allianz tower. A 5am finish meant much fun was had by all.
The following day was pregnant with the promise of culture, history and art at the Jewish Museum. Well, for 3 of us it was, as Ninja's state was a little too delicate to be in a windowless building for 2 hours filled with artefacts that once belonged to the persecuted, exiled and/or murdered.
She went for a walk instead.
But what she missed out on in my view was not the delicate hairbrush or final letter from a mother to her relative as the SS stormed their hiding place - interesting and thought-provoking though they were - but the immersive art installations at the end of each of the 3 axis around which the building was designed.
The Axis of the Holocaust ends in the Holocaust Tower, which you hear before you are even near to it, since every individual enters through an extremely heavy, noisy, steel door. Inside, you are met with a stark, cold, high chamber, completely unlit save for a sliver of sunlight streaming through from the top right hand corner. There is a ladder that starts half way up one side and holes punctuate the walls around the room. Inside, you feel alone. I thought of the gas chambers.
At the end of the Axis of Continuity was the Memory Void and an art installation of 'Fallen Leaves', which was once again heard before it was seen and intended to be experienced, rather than looked at. The unpleasant clanging of metal grows louder as you draw nearer to a room that has spread out on the floor, but not nailed down, grotesque cartoon-like faces, which you walk upon. As you walk to the end, the sound echoes around the room; you have to watch where you are walking, on account of the uneven layering of metal discs on the floor, and unwittingly you hang your head in shame as you trample the Fallen Leaves.
These two pieces of art I found incredibly powerful, and so meticulously planned to engage with as many senses as possible; and the third was no exception. The Garden of Exile is at the end of the Axis of Exile, and outside in the open air. Standing tall and imposing on the sloping, cobbled ground are multiple rectangular concrete towers. You navigate your way around the structure, like a drunken sailor and wonder what it would be like to have to leave the only home you've ever known and settle in unfamiliar territory.
To be continued...