Drowning in a phantom pool

Less than two days. That’s what separates me from the beginning of my pilgrimage to Shikoku.

This summer has been a bit weird. I’ve never had so much time on my hands since maybe 2009, when I graduated from high school. After that, I moved to Ferrara and started living on my own. A true turning point and a kind of big deal, when you are 18 years old.

Seven years and hundreds of hours on Steam games later, I’m about to embark on a solo journey that also might be a turning point in my adult life.

Recently, I’ve had mixed feelings towards this journey. It made me live these days in Berlin as if they were my last ones. Not in a “fatal” sense, but I tried to enjoy everything that makes me happy and, at the same time, tried to go out of my comfort zone (a bit). It doesn’t sound exciting, maybe, but it wasn’t something trivial either.

Yesterday Agnès and I, together with two friends, went to an abandoned swimming pool in Pankow.

I’m not a very keen urban explorer. I usually ignore any sightseeing activity when I visit a new city. But this time I tried something different, and it was worth it.

mermaid schwimmhalle pankow
The mermaid in the swimming pool.

Somebody drew a mermaid on the floor of the pool, looking above through the invisible water. I imagined myself drowning in that phantom pool, captured by the sight of that mermaid, same as in the Odyssey. She was singing of a land close to where the Sun rises. I wasn’t tied to any ship mast, unlike Ulysses, and had to yield.

One thing he and I share, however: I’m also going back home, to the Road.