As we approached our destination on Lake Bodinsee between Germany and Switzerland, it was raining and dark, very dark. We called ahead to the Hotel Zur Winzerstube to say we are late and we are lost. Olivier answered and, though I could not understand his directions, his encouragement came through in the words “We are here for you.” When we got there, he welcomed us with two glasses of champagne. In the morning Nico was equally helpful and encouraging. Memorable people! And there are more to come.
At 5:30 in the evening, we were waiting in the parking lot at Integral Yoga Zentrum Augsburg-Bobingen for Heike Farkas and her yoga class . In August I had written to Heike to inquire about talong a class at the center, but then confirmed nothing. We just showed up. She was surprised! In our honor she taught a bilingual class and a beautiful one. I hope I can remember some of her variations. We were hungry! So her student Catherine led us to Mai Mai, a Vietnamese restaurant on the edge of town with a spicy and crispy menu. Then we drove back to our room above and behind a Biergarten in a much smaller town 50 km west of Munich. What an unusual day!
Today, Tuesday, we left Durbach in (or near) the Black Forest and drove first to Colmar. Patti’s friend said we must see the Isenheim altar piece, 16th century paintings in the Unter Linden Museum in in Colmar. These paintings are temporarily living in the Dominican Church there. They are amazing! And so are the Madonna in the Rosebush and other paintings by Martin Schongauer from the 1400s.
Then Patti navigated – in a juggle that required both our phones – and I drove over an Alp in a rainstorm and down to Lake Bodensee in the dark. There were some reversals toward the end but here we are in the nicest room! Chilling.
Fellow traveler Patti Anders from W 110th St and I rented car in Darmstadt and drove south to Heidelberg to walk along river and look up at castle .. on to Hotel Linde in Durbach near Kehl .. today climbed a steep hill terraced w grape vines to the local winery .. drove across the border into France and visited the Petit France neighborhood of Strasbourg .. and tomorrow we drive south to Colmar then southeast to Lake Bodensee. Improvising! And enjoying. Beyond Tuesday, our goals are Munich and Prague.
Breakfast! Laundry! Conference in a civic building named for JFKennedy. Presentations about Gender and Identity in Jazz. Among four topics this afternoon were Sexual Desire, Eroticism, and the Construction of the Jazz Tradition (that’s one) and “Alright for a girl” and Other Jazz Myths about two British saxophonists, generations apart. (Note to Sally: I told the group about the Ina Rae Hutton play we saw recently in NY.) Visit to Jazzinstitut Darmstadt tonight followed by beautifuldinner. Eight more papers tomorrow and I am really looking forward to all.
Tuesday night now .. Today was social! Earlier, after lunch near Templehof with Stefanie — who was next to me on the plane last week — I hustled over to a nearby school to watch Tanja, who used to work at the jazz station in Berlin, teach back to back vocal jazz classes. Tanja’s employer Jazzschule rents classroom space in a multi-building, artsy, garden-y commune yes a commune that dates from the 1970s. It’s called ufaFabrik Berlin and physically, it includes a beautiful grocery store, a cafe, one or two theaters/performance spaces, and housing which I did not see. Most of the buildings are low to the ground or slightly below. Today for a special event, friendly Buddhist monks were hanging out in the leafy pathways and courtyards. And in an amazing coincidence, tonight at the club A Trane, I discovered the jazz fan next to me had been an architect and designed the buildings of ufaFabrik. He said the residents now include a second generation.
Here she is counting off the tempo for one of her students. Great finger snap!
These classes are focused and fun to watch. The singers are working standards and the band was good. And finally at sunset here is the former Tempelhof Airport. Now it’s a park. I’m told that Berlin has decided to wait five years before developing it, and many hope the city will never develop it at all. People ride bikes on the erstwhile runways etc. It’s green space under open sky!
I walked to the Jewish Museum Berlin. Google maps routed me along a bike path that happens to pass this mural on the side of a several-story bldg. How about that sky? To the right outside the frame there’s the message REFUGEES WELCOME.
The museum is not to be described in a few words or a photo. One observation: the design by Daniel LIbeskind admits no sunlight. I hope to finish the exhibit tomorrow night.
In the evening I went to a most interesting production of Turandot at Deutsche Opera Berlin. Here’s the curtain call.
It’s a mediocre photo but a great big cast and I wish you could have seen the staging — Act One especially. Singing Liu, Ellen Tsallagova was wonderful.
Passed the the two jazz clubs A Trane and Quadimodo as I walked toward home, and I hope to get to AT on Tuesday. We’ll see about all these hopes.
After watching so many concerts online, my dream came true as I took a seat in the real hall with real music in the real air. The sound is sublime! I stretched my eye muscles (yoga reference) to look everywhere. The program was Korngold and Saint-Saens with violin and organ soloists. Total beauty and engagement.
And after the concert, here’s the studio team of Robert and Thomas with guest, then Peter from Copenhagen, and Ina from the media team on the right. Hanna not in photo and Holly’s the photographer. I spent the two previous nights watching them set shots and rehearse. Another dream.
Marathon is everywhere today!
My hotel is near where the route almost crosses itself, just below center of map. Just now the winner is running through the Brandenberg Gate! There will be many photos and here is mine from two days ago, during marathon preparations.