Have a Break

Wuppertal spoils me. I love those views from above. I keep looking down on something, see buildings and walls stacked on top of each other. In the suspension railway “Schwebebahn” we swish along the treetops, below us the river bank lined with Himalayan balsam. I’ve never seen so many car repair shops. One features an old advertisement in faded letters saying “Have a break. It’s refreshing!”. Before I can decide if I want to get off or not, the railway car is hovering above the expressway. Red lights below me. I enjoy the queerness of this city. The shapes of the houses form a huge paste up. Gründerzeit and Bergish slate right next to repair shops, factory halls and glass bricks. It’s a warm summer evening, and kids are playing outside. I climb up to the Hardthöhe. That’s what one of the hills in my childhood was called, too, with a “stairway to heaven” leading to the top. Probably that name was an invention of my mother’s trying to talk us children up to the top. Today, the pedometer on my smartphone counts a 28-story tour. I reward myself with a beer on the gallery of Café Elise. As so often these days, I am certain this hasn’t been my last visit here. So many places in this city are delightful, radiating the charms of untidiness and serenity. “You can still buy whole houses here”, says my photofriend and hostess. We are sitting in Café Katzengold, exchanging memories of the city in the Sixties and Seventies, but fully in the moment all the time. We simply drop our conversational thread and watch, as a street musician is beaming at us while playing “Besame Mucho” on her accordion.

To the album

Tunnel vision is also set in Wuppertal.

Translation by Susanne Lück