Cologne/Bonn/Orientation

10:26am: I am appreciating this slow, cloudy morning in Berlin.   Music: Samuel Barber, The Complete Songs

 Der Blick aus meinem Fenster // The view from my window

Der Blick aus meinem Fenster // The view from my window

I spent the last few days off the grid in the small town of Wermelskirchen outside of Cologne. Here, we had our Fulbright orientation. The views were stunning, the food was great, and having the chance to get to know other Fulbright Scholars was inspiring. So many brilliant people with brilliant ideas!

 Tagungshotel Maria in der Aue, where we stayed

Tagungshotel Maria in der Aue, where we stayed

 Sunset silhouette of the mountains

Sunset silhouette of the mountains

 Getting oriented

Getting oriented

Before and after that, I hung out in Colonge. Whatever budget I had for tourism I used to spontaneously hop on a train and visit the Beethoven Haus Museum in Bonn. I had no idea that Bonn (Beethoven’s birth place) was only a half hour train ride away. Walking through the house where Beethoven was born was surreal. To me, the most meaningful thing was getting to see his desk and one of his pianos. To think that the visible wear and tear on these things was made by Beethoven’s hands as he composed the music that still resonates in me today...

Alban Berg quartet playing Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 18 No. 1 (because everyone needs Beethoven in their life!) 

Cologne was nonetheless memorable. I find that doing this like going to the pharmacy to buy shampoo gives you just as much information about the culture of a city as visiting museums, just in a different way. My time there was also special because I got to meet up with some friends from Eastman. Crazy to think that three years ago we were all sitting in Deutsch 201 together, and now we are all living over here. Other ‘poor tourist’ highlights include a one Euro scoop of ice cream with Rosina while watching the way the sunlight hits the magnificent Kölner Dom as it sets, sitting at the train station with Rosina eating custard pretzels and watching two trains that we needed go by because we both acknowledged that enjoying breakfast and coffee was far more important than punctuality, listening to a pop up Klezmer band concert on the street…oh, and this guy.  Recorder is serious business in Germany. 

 Me, Betsy, Rosina ESM in Köln

Me, Betsy, Rosina ESM in Köln

 drool... (you would have missed three trains too!) 

drool... (you would have missed three trains too!) 

Ps. Barber songs still rolling, and 'The secrets of the Old' just came on. Any Eastman people reading this, throwback to that Aural Skills Exam...yeah.