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the making of … | what’s next?

7 June 2015 · annemarie hoogwoud

The making of Night train to Lisbon  

A dream start! That is what I wrote last time, after my decision to imagine night train to Lisbon and the following especially beautiful meeting with the writer of the book, Pascal Mercier.

It was even more exciting to travel to Bern, the city where it all starts and on which the entire book revolves (although the title suggests something different.) Early April I took the train to Bern. During that trip, of course, I read the first few chapters again to get in the mood and to take in the tone. On reading the first page again and especially the opening passage I suddenly saw the special resemblance between me and Gregorius, the main character in the book: that first page dashed into my life, just as the first page of the book by Amadeu de Prado dashed into the life of Gregorius …. The next beautiful discovery.

After arriving in Bern there was only one place I wanted to go to first: the Kirchenfeldbrücke, the bridge where it all starts. This first acquaintanceship with the Bern of Gregorius was overwhelming. A special and emotional moment for me and so familiar at the same time. At last I was on the spot I already knew so well in my imagination and on the other hand brand new. And a place marking the moment that is so important to me.

And now?

Just start…. Walking, experiencing, seeing what is there, searching, letting that go again and finding. The images follow my search and so it went. The bridge, the ways Gregorius walkes, the Gymnasium, Hotel Bellevue (yes, I recognize the hesitation he feels to enter that hotel!) and Bubenbergplatz.
After a few beautiful days in Bern, with much sunshine and fortunate also a rainy day, I found out that this first trip to Bern is just a small beginning. Just like the book invokes to reading it again, Bern invokes to coming back.

And so I travelled to Bern again a few weeks later to meet the people of the Gymnasium and to meet Jaime Romagosa, the Spanish bookseller. In both locations I encountered a warm welcome. Beautiful meetings and conversations followed. And the images followed as a matter of course.

In the train going back home I realised that I need so much the images to understand things, that I need finding the images to get answers to the ever returning questions in the book: who in essence am I, which choices do I make in my life, who am I regarding security, focus and freedom. How do I handle wonder, emptiness and creativity?

And now, what’s next? I will see and will find it, this autumn, with the night train to Lisbon.



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