I went to Regensburg the other day to participate in a conference and give a lecture there. For fun I had added an extra day to my visit, so I would be able to see something of the town as well. Regensburg is a medieval town that wasn’t bombed during the Second World War, so it’s worth a visit.
While the conference was underway we had plenty of opportunities to see the town. The organisers had even planned a guided city tour for all participants. My extra fun day off was superfluous, I had nothing to do except visit some bookstores to search for a copy of a German book I’ve been wanting to have ever since I read it in school. I found it rather quickly.
So, early in the morning of my fun day, I wanted to leave. There was nothing further to do. But as my trip back wasn’t planned until the day after, I killed some time in an excellent internet café and walked about a bit being very bored.
That very same evening my attitude changed completely. When I saw the towers of the Regensburg Dom lit up in the night I suddenly realised I was going to miss all this and I did not want to leave. The places I had been going to with the other participants became meaningful to me, even though they were now deserted: the lecture hall, the restaurants, the Dom.
Apparently it’s a common feeling for humans as it also found its way into classical Arabic poetry. The qasida more precisely, a form that always starts with some description of a deserted campsite, usually where a loved one had dwelt, and where the poet reminisces about what happened there.
Maybe deep down, I’m an Arab…