Friday, July 24, 2009

update July 24

Friday, July 24, 2009
It has been a while but here is another report from Germany. The few days on my own in Potsdam went by fast and in great anticipation Daniel finally arrived in Berlin where I picked him up by car. I was hesitant to drive to the airport but conquered this as well and finally could hug my son again. We had a great time with a family pow-wow meeting up with my niece, nephew (the chef) and getting to know my great-nieces. Such charming kids – that they just put a smile on all our faces all the time.
Then Daniel and I were lucky that another friend let us stay at her apartment – yet on another charming lake – before we set off for Berlin, Dresden, Wittenberg – the Lutherstadt and ultimately Munich. If you decide to explore the former East Germany states of Saxonia, Dresden is a must. It is so historic you feel like in Florence.
The famous Semper Opera offers tours and we were fortunate to sit in a rehearsal of Porgy & Bess by the New York Harlem Theater company. They are one of the greatest successes here in Germany. The Dresdner Zwinger is the one of the famous gallery’s – all 17th, 18th, 19th century art. Amazing how this stuff survived all the political changes over the hundreds of years.
In Munich we took a walking city tour and Daniel went to see the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial on his own.
The days with Daniel were too few but at least I enjoyed every minute with him. Flash backs included when I tucked him in the car seat and drove him all over the autobahn. And now: he is the driver, with such ease and comfort. I loved it.
We parted in Munich and he took the train to Frankfurt to return to LA while I drove the 550 km back to Potsdam.
Now I am in the second apartment, located right in the middle of town in a fully restored “Hollaender Haus”. It is basically the top floor of a private home. You go out of the door and there are little shops, restaurants, cafĂ©’s and shopping. My little place on the lake the one with the naked people) is only 20 minutes walk and I went yesterday, catching a dry spot in the day.
This is what is really not so fun: Maybe you even heard in the US about the strange summer her. Showers, thunderstorms, hail, huge down poor’s day after day. Then in between just wonderful hours of sunshine. People are pretty frustrated and for the tourists it is not fun either.
But – I am finally online and can work during the rain and hope it will get better.

Tomorrow is the big day for Potsdam. It is called “Erlebnisnacht” – the entire town is closed down for an music, art and food festival. Hopefully the weather will settle down by then.

Monday, July 6, 2009

3 Entries from Germany

Monday, July 06, 2009

After much TLC from my cousin Anke and her husband I am now in Potsdam. I am finding my way around walking over 5 miles a day, exploring the town of 140.000.
After a ballet show – somewhat amateurish but fun I wandered into town, ending in a buzzing place under the Nauener Tor. Within minutes 2 guys of around 30 (and handsome) struck up a conversation that lasted until 1:30 am in the morning. They were locals and talked very openly about attitudes in the DDR vs. GDR, their dreams, careers,
Their memories of the time before the wall feel (when both were 11) What an interesting evening.
Then I walked home by myself, feeling safe all around because many people on their bikes zipping by.
It is a very different feel. So far my favorite lake is the Heiliger See (not for its name) but for its little grassy beach spot. People are naked or in bikini’s (not me). The view is spectacular across the lake showing off castles, towers, churches and parks and the water is just perfect for swimming.

Friday, June 26
Trip to Bundesgartenaustellung in Schwerin with Irmchen Lootz
My 80=year old, chick, stylish and so upbeat friend with her bright red woollen coat allowed me to push her in a wheel chair through the Schloss Park in Schwerin. The old castle restored to its glory after the East German Government neglected this historic jewel.
The placement of the federal garden show in East Germany is another attempt to attract visitors there. The gardens, flowers, herb and vegetable gardens were nice but not spectacular. But the Schlosspark is worth any minute. The beautiful old trees, the lawns, statues and water ways – just a delight for the eye and spirit.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Luebeck is one of the most historic cities in Germany, founded in 1143 and prosperous throughout centuries. Thomas Mann, the famous novelist and author of the Buddenbrooks was born here.
As I visit more often I noticed the focus on traditions, valued by young and old. The city of Luebeck celebrated today the 161 anniversity of a community party. Six years ago, young people came up with the idea to have an opening celebration of this big Volksfest In the famous Marienkirche, the center part of town. It took from 1260 till 1350 to build this magnificent gothic church. Bombed in March 1942
the church was much destroyed and the fallen church bells are still sitting as a memorial of this tragic night.
Now – on this Sunday I find myself in this ancient building, surrounded by marching band, traditional music makers with names like the Freubeutermukke (pirates club) in outfits from pirate ships. Girls, boys, man and women of all ages with trumpets, horns, cylophones, drums making rhythmic music in this church. 8 other bands took turns between prayers, sermons, speeches and the confession of faith. I could not imagine such modern sermon given together by a priest and priestess together in such harmony.
Germany is changing or this maybe have been a display of hope. I saw volunteer musicians, event planners, city senators and the community all celebrating the coming together in a festival of 2 weeks. The integration of music, applause in a church, smiling northern German people – there is hope I think – for my birth