A New City, A New Year

Bye, Cologne
Even temporary homes are homes.  We lived only three months in Cologne, but we all feel a little more like Rhinelanders after that time.  Our land-lady even bought us a crystal cathedral that lights up, all giving us a sense that we will be missed.  But at 9:55 on New Year’s Eve all was to change.  Our plans were made: pack, find our place in the Kinderabteilung (Children’s compartment), and head to Munich.

Four hours later we arrived in Munich, and loaded a taxi.  Our new home was waiting, and, now, the glass cathedral has a new place to glow and spin.

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And the Snow Came Down

I wouldn’t consider myself necessarily a “snow person.”  Then again I am not really a person for any particular weather. (Though 70 degree winter evenings in the desert were amazingly relaxing.)  During college I only had a bicycle for transportation, so like the postal service of old, I would pedal diligently through rain, slush, snow, fog, locusts…anything nature decided to throw at me.

But this is my first Winter in Europe, and soon to be my first Christmas in France, growing to a list of “firsts” for all of us.

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What is Classical Music worth to us?


My colleagues at WDR3 asked me to compare the cities of Cologne and Phoenix in terms of classical appreciation.  It is not an easy task, but this report attempts to make the comparison fair and accurately.  In short, Europeans are much more willing to pay for cultural activities through taxes, whereas American organizations hope the locals will pick up the tab.

English translation below

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An American at Karneval


When the clock hits 11:11 on the 11 of November, Cologne becomes a party city, and costumed party-goers lose nearly all inhibitions until they drop.  I ventured into the crowds and produced a short report with observations and musings from the belly of the beast.  One thing was clear…there was much I had never seen nor experienced before. The report was spontaneous and impromptu, though still hopefully understandable.

**Translation provided by Katie Ganzer.

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Karneval’s Toll

Bad day
The official start to Karneval is 11:11, on the morning of 11Nov, but the drinking began much earlier than that.  Celebrants in costumes ranging from interesting (a giraffe) to ridiculous (smurfs, and fire hydrants) piled out of the subways and marched across the Roncalli Platz to find a brew–a morning elixir to make their dreams come true.

But this tangible inebriation came not without a price, and the Altmarkt (Old market) stood as a beer-soaked ruin.

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Underway, the Kölner Way

When many Americans talk about seeing Europe, the bulk of these people can be divided into two groups: the tour bus or backpacking crowds.  Some folks spend their hard-earned dough on a blitz-offensive of Europe like the kind seen in “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” rushing city to city in an attempt to “experience” Europe in an insanely tight time frame.  Rome, Berlin, Paris, London, fly back home.  Others try to backpack through Europe, and spend a lot of time in hostels.  This is a fine option for younger folks, but not everyone.

But our troupe doesn’t fit into those categories.  We are European veterans, having taken our time to see the on- and off-the-beaten-trail sites.  And with a baby, and no car, the list of “Crazy things we have done in life” has just gotten longer.

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