Putbus

Still today you pass by two massive white pillows with two similar looking figures on top, when entering the town. The depicted antique heroes carry each a shield in their hands. The shields look impressive even when not being polished for many, many years. Quite is the town and you can leave the car anywhere. Still the trees are of astonishing beauty. At the entrance of the once so splendid park you see wonderful old copper beeches next to centuries old oaks and massive chestnuts. Splendid it is hereto walk under their shadow and the light that falls gently through their leaves lets the ground shimmer in a magic light- green. Still an old fountain framed by white gravel paths appears at the end of the path. The fountain does not work. Once a castle stood here but nothing is left of the home of Malte zu Putbus, who died in the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen in the last days of the long twelve German years. A couple of years later the authorities of the GDR decided to blow the old castle into pieces. This worked out quite well. Only a few steles mark the old outline of the castle. Not a single soul is to be seen in the park and for half an hour I close my eyes under a lime tree. I dreamt of horses racing by with drumming hooves but when I opened my eyes the park was empty as before. Far away a couple poses for photos. The groom a broad massive man leans against a tree and to his knees his bride is busy not to loose balance while desperately tries to look romantic. Everywhere grows wild garlic. At the right hand corner of the park is a café. Bismarck has been here is written everywhere. I am not quite sure if this shall convince people to enter or not. However, the terrace is big and soon the roses will open their blossoms. The waitresses have a rather bitter charm but this might be a tradition since Bismarck’s fist visit. The cake is heavy and very, very sweet. I miss badly the fluffy lemon tart of my grandmother,think of the heavenly chocolate cake I tried a few weeks ago and would give the original Bismarck letters for the grocer’s wife scones. Then the wedding party arrives and I am reminded of all my prejudices towards weddings. Quickly I leave. The city is dead as the park. The houses all white and all renovated look empty, the form a circle in its middle the theatre. The theatre is closed. The sole bookshop of the town sells nearly no books at all. The sole antique dealer sells postcards produced thirty years ago. 1 Euro a postcard. In front of a bakery old men sit and talk about whatever. I wonder what the people living in this white circular town do all day long? Do they waltz at the market place when it is dark? Do they walk on Sunday mornings through their park? Do they never have the desire to enter a book-shop and leave with a pile of books under their arms? Do the children never play ball or hide and seek in the meadows of the park? Do people here never want to dress up and to have dinner in a place with heavy white linen table-cloth and to see a play afterwards? But I do not know and drive back. At the roof-top of the hotel terrace I sit and look into the wide landscape. The Baltic sea shimmers blue and of a bright yellow are the rape fields. But when looking a bit further down the road I am sure I can see the tree-tops of the old copper-beeches of the once so splendid, so astonishing park that frames Putbus, a small town at the southeastern cost of Rügen.

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