His books were a siren song for the youth of the '60s and '70s, written with a voice at once cynical, melancholy and darkly humorous. On the ninth anniversary of his death this week, fresh interest is building in the bitingly comic author - followers have launched a drive to fund a new library and a top screenwriter is working to bring "Cat's Cradle" to television.
I hadn't heard much about the city prior to my visit so was amazed on arrival in the old historic centre, built in the 1800s from stone after a huge fire destroyed the city. It was later further damaged during World War 2 and I was intrigued to see the mix of old and new throughout, with many additions and repairs made in the 70s.
Thousands of people were waiting for us at the airport, a sea of black-red-golden flags fluttering in the cold December wind in between an almost forgotten white-green flag of the Saxon State. Once the plane had taxied to a standstill, I climbed down the escalator and saw Hans Modrow, who was awaiting me about 10 meters away from the steps with a blank expression on his face. I then turned around to tell the Minister of the Chancellery Rudolf Seiters: "It's done."