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Tracing the steps of the Bauhaus movement turned out to be a totally illuminating experience. I’ve always been a Bauhaus fan, but without knowing the real story of this influential design movement, nor realising how much it was enmeshed in German history. Apart from that though, the trip from Weimar to Dessau and Berlin really spelled out the gulf that still exists between former East Germany and West. It was an eye-opener, and I strongly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in design, architecture and modern history.

As a complete contrast to my usual Hispanic / Mediterranean / Arab-world destinations, last weekend I found myself in southern Germany, in the Black Forest. Then, by some strange act of synchronicity, this little trip was followed by a preview of Michael Haneke‘s film The White Ribbon, and finally last night I found myself among 3,000 people at the Festival Hall lucky enough to see Werner Herzog talk about his life, work and obsessions (“they’re not obsessions” he stressed despite, for example, endless footage of midgets and the recital of an Icelandic ode to dwarves… I wondered). So altogether this week’s leitmotif has been decidedly teutonic.