I always found amusing and somewhat reassuring that the main tourist attraction in this neighborhood is a cemetery.

Amusing because of the visitors that get stranded there, by tour bus or their own means. They usually come to town with a limited time, and they spend a morning or a day wandering there, respectful and solemn. They could be in a museum or a garden or shopping for that matters, activities of the living, but they choose to chase their souvenirs in the company of the dead, walking among sculpted tombs, ancient graves, curved trees, engravings stating the perpetual concession of mausoleums to ancient families.

Reassuring because it offers a contrast in a city that is the vanity of all vanities. I see in the promenades through its alleys a portion of irony, it whispers to the occasional visitors that moral lesson from eternity that only graveyards can deliver, the vanity of our lives.

It is a lovely place for a meditative walk among the grand and the great that are buried there. Although it is a calm spot in the middle of a lively neighborhood, for a cemetery it has a lot of activity. Walking there in an autumn is a guarantee of silence, provided that one does not meet one of the eventual, more or less dangerous, lunatics that can be wandering there: people that sing for dead rock stars, lovers looking for a romantic tomb, fans of this or that artist, the occasional photographer, or a pure fool that finds himself at home in such place.

Despite the tourists and the visitors, one can still find a quite spot and the evocative calm that is framed by tombs and trees. A visit calls for a particular mood. A mood that I find when I think of the German word Friedhof, a peaceful yard.

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