Sunday, March 7, 2010

The story of how I went to the opera wearing purple cowboy boots (and other adventures)

Greetings from frigid Germany! (Note to Germans: it doesn’t matter how many times you tell me “this is the coldest winter we’ve ever had!” or, “Normally it’s spring by now!,” it doesn’t make me feel better about the weather, or make me not wish I’d brought my down coat. Thanks.) Anyhoo, thought I’d write a short update of my travels up to now. I now know a tiny bit of German, and that tiny bit includes phrases like, “My hobby is rollerskating,” and “Klaus-Otto is married,” and does not include useful phrases like, “I’d like a small coffee with milk please.” Ah, well, it’s nice to know beginning language courses are the same throughout the world. :) I spent my weekend going to operas (they’re already in German, yet they put up German supertitles; I guess I never appreciated the Met’s individual screens where you can choose your own language until now) and going to Leipzig. Leipzig is a city about an hour and fifteen minutes from Berlin by train, famous for being the home of, at one time or another, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Schumann, Wagner, and Bach, who conducted the choir of the St. Thomas church for almost 30 years; as well as a pretty interesting role in the reunification of Germany. Leipzig also, as I learned when I arrived, has adopted the wait-until-it-melts method of snow removal, which made my choice of weekend footwear (suede pumas, as there was no snow at all in Berlin when I left) particularly unfortunate, since I was soon up to my ankles in snow and slush. As it was too cold to walk around and take pictures, I went to a few museums, then heard a concert at Bach’s church, which was advertised as a concert, but actually was more of a service, with standing, praying, a sermon (literally the only words I understood were “snow” and “March,” but maybe that’s because I was subconciously listening for them), the Lord’s Prayer in German, etc. (which reminded me of the fact that one of the first phrases I learned in sign language was “In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.” For an atheist I seem to gravitate towards religion a lot.) The whole concert/sermon was quite lovely, but I felt a little bad about disrespecting Bach in his house of worship by having my shoes and socks off, but both were soaked and cold. Afterwards I was wandering around and noticed that the Leipzig opera was doing Lohengrin, and decided to get a student ticket; but decided I couldn’t spend 5 (five! Thanks, Wagner.) hours in an opera with freezing feet and soggy socks, so I decided to buy some new socks. BUT the shoe store was having a major winter boot sale, and they happened to have some kick-ass purple cowboy boots (that’s right) in my size, half off. They also had some practical, black, staid shoes, but why buy practical shoes when you can buy purple cowboy boots? (Note: sorry for knocking the usefulness of my German – the entire shoe-buying transaction was conducted with a sales clerk who spoke no English, which is good, right? Even though it was mostly numbers. But still!) So that’s how I ended up at the Leipzig opera, seeing Lohengrin in ratty jeans (sorry, older and distinguished Leipzig opera-goers, and sorry, mom, I know I should dress better) and the aforementioned purple cowboy boots. Which, now that I’m back in Berlin, you’d better believe I’m going to wear with panache. :)

Bach, presiding over his church

A chandelier I liked in the opera house

The organ inside the Thomaskirche

4 comments:

Galina said...

These picures are greart but I want to see a picture of the famous boots.

26 Female said...

sooo, we're still waiting for those purple cowboy boots. please model them for us.

26 Female said...

p.e. 26 female is Natalie. I need to change that back in my account. I made it anonymous while i was using my account for a school project.

26 Female said...

also, i'm 27 now.