Germany

Germany? Hey man, what the heck do you mean?
Well, vagaries of destiny. In the whole daily madness, what does it matter?
The lifelong aspiration was to get out toward USA or Europe, Italy per esempio.
But Germany … not even in my craziest dreams!

The long years coi Figlioli di Don Bosco (!?) had disposed the inclinations of the adolescent and nourished my fantasies and fancy plans, moreover they showed
me, under other perfectly superfluous things, the beauty and sonority of the
Italian language that already captivated me then, and that I learned to master
con discreta infamia, come allora si diceva.

Years later, already in São Paulo, in an old big room of the legendary Martinelli
Building the great reporter called Barda [J. C. Bardawil] appears one day and —astonished at my talent for Neapolitan songs and operatic arias, learned at the Seminary— begins to gesticulate in that special electric way he alone mastered
and says, in a mix of friendly advice and peremptory order, hey kid, look, here
you're only wasting your time and talent. Find a way out and leave for Italy.

Heidelberg

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Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren  /  I lost my heart in Heidelberg
in einer lauen Sommernacht…  /  on a balmy summer night…
Ich war verliebt bis über beide Ohren  /  I was in love head over heels
und wie ein Röslein hat ihr Mund gelacht.  /  and like a rose was her laughing mouth.
[Fred Raymond, 1925]

Lange lieb’ ich dich schon, möchte dich, mir zur Lust,  /  For a long time I love you, I wish on a whim
Mutter nennen, und dir schenken ein kunstlos Lied,  /  to call you mother, and offer you an artless song,
Du, der Vaterlandsstädte  /  You, under the cities of the Fatherland
Ländlichschönste, soviel ich sah.  /  the most beautiful, as far as I could see.
[Friedrich Hölderlin, 1800]

And so it was.
The charm of small Heidelberg, pressed in a pleasant valley through which flows the Neckar, flanked on both sides by high hills, and so well praised by the romantic Fritz Hölderlin when he was there, was slowly conveying to me the feeling of squeeze and suffocation, then for me to live in open spaces it’s really essential.

Frankfurt am Main

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Old new Frankfurt am Main (Frankenfurt = ford of the Franks!) is basically, mutatis mutandis, nothing more than a Germanic miniature of the “paulista” Megalopolis
I just had left to embark on the great adventure.

After a while the artful bold adventurer from the tropics arrives and starts trying
to digest the German language (wow! what a nut to crack!), and soon he ends up feeding almost exclusively German flesh, well, it may also be so luscious and good tasting and satisfying as any swarthy specimen, only missing the cinnamon skin, tropical rhythm and that mellifluous tone you certainly hemhum
Yes or not? Well, well!

The next day, varying a bit the menu, you may like to choose another nationality,
there are so many of them rambling around, you just have to find where! And how
they abound, compadre, lots of them, really, in all variations of tongues and tastes. Besides, maybe you don’t need any different tongues, I mean, well, shut up, it’s enough.
Hey, be careful, then suddenly may throw backfire. Cut it out and turn the page!

Hirschberg a. d. Bergstrasse

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In one of the countless trips through Germany’s Inland I came to this lovely corner
of the Palatinate, many years before I moved to Heidelberg, where I finally arrived
to stay and to spend the second part of my life, fulfilling the dream of a professional
career as a classical musician (opera and concert).

Years before, due to homesickness, a lot of deceptions and some problems getting
adapted to the way of life in Germany, I went back home trying to get a job in Rio
and in São Paulo, which did not succeed at all – for many reasons.

In course of time I’ve learned and confirmed that going back to the past is a pure
and simple illusion. Once you have started with the big adventure, to contemplate
a return is an action condemned to disenchantment.

And so, a few years later —looking after the welfare of the family, being already
married and father of a son— I/we took up residence in the small town, 15 km
from Heidelberg, in the idyllic region called Bergstrasse [mountain road], where
modern life goes on next to old monuments and signs of a moved historical past,
full of myths and literary references of great importance.