Monday, July 28, 2003

Discovering my Dissertation Research Part 11

July 25: Staying away

I was in bed for a long time. I felt no compulsion to wake up. Rene knocked on the door to tell me that he was leaving for the weekend to see his fiancé in Hamburg. I mumbled something to him and fell back to sleep.

I did get out of bed by 11. I had to do some laundry, especially if I were going to go away for the weekend. I had some trouble finding everything. The landlady has been taking things here and there, probably so she can make a full load of laundry, and then placing the things back in the room. I guard things that I don’t want ruined.

I went back up to Nippes to the same laundromat as last week. While my clothes were washing I found a natural foods store and bought some food. It was one and one-half hours of nothing interesting. The highpoint came with some woman asked if she could dry dark clothes with white clothes (lady, your are in your forties! Don’t you know by now?)

I dropped the clothes at the apartment and I was off again. I decided that I would spend the day around the Dom, photographing the social life that it attracts. The Dom was very busy. Many large groups were taking tours. The sun was very bright and perfectly positioned to bring in a lot of sun. I walked around, looking for details that I had not noticed on any of my previous several dozen visits. While less is usually more, there is an art to using grandeur effectively. The Dom is huge. It is cavernous. The other end of the cathedral can be said to be “off in the distance.” The light streaming from the high windows creates an eerie glow. The Dom is open, more so than any other Gothic cathedral that I have seen. It is possible to see very far away; there are not as many columns to distract one’s gaze.

Outside there were the usual gaggles of tourists, skateboarders, young people just sitting around, and performers. There was an excellent combo who played jazzed-up Russian melodies. The guy playing the “bass balalaika” was an excellent musician, fluidly switching between registers.

I wandered aimlessly. I could not come up with a good plan for something to do. I went to the shopping area, looked at things just for the hell of it. I found a bottle of wine from one of my favorite vintners, Alois Lageder, which I thought would be perfect for another warm evening. I explored the shops around WDR (Westdeutsche Rundfunk), which is one of the main media organizations in Germany.

I went back to the apartment to watch, well, Star Trek. The apartment was empty, and I could relax. I still had no plan. I thought that I might eat out, but I did not want to spend too much money if I were going away. I walked over one block to Saturn, the big music store. I would only listen to things. However, I found a really interesting band from Hamburg, and I bought it. (I am so weak.)

I went back to the apartment. That was the end of the day. Nothing more exciting than that.

July 26

I woke up early. I took a shower. I packed by bag. I was ready to go .....

back to sleep. I am sorry. I promised that I would take a trip, perhaps either to Liege or Maastricht. I decided on Maastricht. It sounded like an ideal place to take an overnight trip. But before I would have left, I checked the weather; it looked as if it would rain all day in Limbourg (the southern part of the Netherlands.) It would not rain until the afternoon in Cologne. It felt easier to get more sleep. I’ll try to go next weekend, if the weather will cooperate.

I started by going back to the Dom. I thought about going either to the renovated Museum Ludwig or the Romanische-Germanische Museum (Roman art from Germany.) Yet again, I wandered aimlessly. I walked south toward Heumarkt. I saw the old Rathaus (city hall), but I lacked the energy to climb up to see it. I started walking west into the more traditional part of town (lots of small, narrow streets, restaurants, beer gardens, views of the river, etc.) The answer appeared before my eyes: Suenner. I had run into one of the 26 breweries in the city; I did not remember having had any before. I walked up to the table, had two quick ones (mind you that they are small glasses), and felt ready to tackled some sites.

I decided to tour around the southern part of the old city. I started with the Rathaus. A large wedding party took up much of the space in front of the Rathaus. I kept my distance so that I would not disturb them. Near the Rathaus is the ancient Mikveh and remains of one of the original temples. Cologne, the first “real” city in Germany, also had the first Jewish population in Germany. The community was kicked out in the early fifteenth century, although this was a non-violent event (as opposed to other expulsions.) All that remains of this first community are the ruins. The Mikveh is difficult to see: the glass pyramid keeps it open to the public from the street, but the glare obscures the view. Right above it is the typical epitaph to almost every Jewish community in Europe that has disappeared: someone renamed the street “Jews’ Street.” (In Lisbon, there is “Jew Alley”; in Bamberg, “Jew Street”; and Strasbourg has the tram stop “Old Synagogue.”)

I walked around several of the adjacent blocks. There were several statues dedicated to Carnival/Fastnacht: song composers, general merriment. I also saw some of the older houses that survived the bombings (Cologne was damaged more than any other German city during WWII. That the Dom survived is considered a miracle.)

I started walking back toward the more touristy area (I think they all are.) And I came upon a brewery. Pfaffen. Never had that before. So I drank down two quick glasses. It was a very good. Koelsches are typically light, fizzy beers with a sharp, bitter foretaste but otherwise delivering a subtle sweetness. They are unpresuming, light, perhaps effete to the palate of some people. Pfaffen was slightly bolder than most koelsches.

There were several other breweries in the same area (to be correct, these were the locations for the old breweries; the mass production has been moved to outward areas of the city.) Two of them were right next to each other. Gaffel and Gilden are, along with Dom, Frueh, Reichsforf, and Sion, among the more widely distributed koelsches. I have had them both. In fact, I think that I had been to the Gaffel brewery before with Karen (she reminded me that we drank there a few times.) I pondered whether I would go to either. However, I decided I wanted something different. I walked up a little farther to find the Peters brewery. I had not noticed it before: the building itself is off slightly on a side street; the “patio” area is out in the square. This was another excellent koelsch.

How much farther would I go? Before my mother runs out of oxygen as she “holds her breath,” I stopped after Peters. It was already after 3 and I wanted to do other things. Actually, I had to get back to watch my Star Trek. I ate a few slices of pizza, nothing special. After two hours of watching TV, I was less motivated than I was two hours earlier. I may have done nothing more than make myself some dinner.

July 27: The day decorum went out the window

I planned to go to Dusseldorf. My pass for the rail will run out by the end of the month, and I wanted to see a few museums. I would not leave right away. The landlady asked if I could do some chores.

I had done these before: cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floor in the kitchen. I had done these several weeks earlier. At that time, the landlady asked if I would clean these areas; she said that she would show me what to do. I awoke early and cleaned a few things, anticipating her wishes, so that I could get a head start. When she awoke, she told me to do a few specific things. I thought that I had already done to much, that I had one things that were not necessary (more specifically, I had washed to floor in the bathroom.) I completed the tasks that she mention; she was pleased, somewhat effusive about my cleaning job and the time that I took to complete it.

I started early, however the landlady woke just as I was starting; she wanted to use both rooms before she had to leave. Ok, I watched some CNN (the British version.) I then started on the bathroom tiles. I skipped the tub and the “porcelain”: I wanted to use the same water to wash the floor before it became too disgusting. As I started the floor, the landlady came out and asked me if I was “fertig” with the bathroom. I was confused: the definition for the word was more complex than I could recall on the spot. I thought that she was asking whether I was ready (definition 1) to start in the bathroom, when she actually asked if I was finished (definition 2) in the bathroom. It did not take me too long to realize how I misinterpreted her, but in that short time the situation became explosive. She started going off on every little thing. You didn’t do this. This is still filthy. Why are you cleaning the kitchen before you have finished with the bathroom? (Probably because I want to pour out the dirty water and then clean the tub.) You used too much detergent in the water (1 tablespoon for a whole bucket?). It went on like this for twenty minutes. There was no stopping her. She started to toss things from the counter and sinks. I had no chance to say anything. I was scared. This was craziness. I felt insulted. It was obvious that she had a set routine that she expected me to know through osmosis, and that nothing more than her way would suffice. She mentioned at some point that Rene, the other border, pays her to clean the bathroom for him (he won’t have anything to do with the kitchen; he just wants peace and nothing more; he told me that the previous tenant had similar problems.) I was shaken. It took me longer to finish because I had a painful headache.

I got out of the apartment for a while. No Dusseldorf, I had to figure out what I would do. Does this woman really despise me? Does she enjoy making me feel bad? Is she abusive? Or is she trying to get money out of me? I called Karen and my mom. I called Uli to see if, in an emergency, I could have a place to stay. I looked up other housing options in the city. I wrote an e-mail to the real estate agency from whom I found the listing. I went back to the apartment. I wrote a note that said, “Stay away! I am afraid of you.” I left it in front of the door.

I heard her come home. My door was closed. After awhile, I heard a knock. I ignored it. I heard another. I said, “Come in.” She said, “I don’t understand this.” I had resolved to say nothing other than “stay away,” but I took the opportunity to speak my mind. Specifically, I talked about the filthy condition that the kitchen is always in because she never cleans up after herself. I told her that she blew a misunderstanding out of proportion. I told her that her expectations that I clean in the same manner as she were outrageous. I told her that I, because I have been so conscientious about my effect on the apartment, am the neatest and cleanest person, that my bedroom is always presentable to the public (which no one else can say–don’t tell Karen, she might want me to do be as orderly at home.) I told her that I found her outburst offensive. During my tirade I pulled the split plate out of the recycling to show her what a freak-break it was. I even said that someone else could very well have been responsible. To illustrate the unusual nature of what had happened, I rubbed the plate against my wrist to show her that it had no sharp edges. (Of course, it had one–the defect from which the split began. When I repeated the demonstration later, I scraped myself with that one sharp edge. It bled slightly. I had to hide my arm from her as I continued to speak. My demonstration was only partially effective.) I appear to have disarmed her. She apologized. She said that she has been under pressure because her employment is uncertain. I took this as a temporary detente. An hour later, she came in to praise my cleaning job.

I brought home a pizza. I did not feel like cooking. “A Fish called Wanda” was on in German. Kevin Klein did deserve his Oscar–he was perfect.

July 28: Zzzzzzzzzzzz

I was at the archives. Nothing special. I ordered some files. I find little of importance. One file was a box of cards–about 1500. I did not know what to do with it. The info on it was written in some shorthand that I could not comprehend. Besides, the whole file violated one of my research rules: if the text does not go beyond one full page (one side), it has nothing that is that important. It is a rule I developed when I realized that old administrative records are usually filled with formal addresses, and that a one page document probably has only one sentence of information.

I picked up my photocopies: 11 euros for 30 pages. The woman was very nice. She inquired into the pronunciation and origins of my first name.

I bought two CDs. On Friday I bought a CD from a band from Hamburg (yes, a Hamburger band) called Spillsbury (sort of retro-New Wave.) Today, I bought a CD from a guy from Cologne called PeterLicht (one word.) I also bought Fehlfarben, a post-punk band from the 1970s (something Uli recommended.)

I walked around Koenigsallie, the expensive part of Dusseldorf. Very expensive. But I found some sculptures by a regional artist that I might study.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

I should have completed a new entry for today, but I am too nerous and anxious to get it done. The landlady has become more erratic.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Discovering my dissertation research part X

July 23, 2003: Nothing much but the work

I did not plan to do anything interesting this day. I would only go the archives and work. I did even less than what I planned.

In order to have files to read right when I arrive, I must order them the day before. I did so on Tuesday, asking for two new files and to hold the one that I was looking at when I finished my work for the day. When I arrived in the morning, only the file that I was previously reading was there. I could not even remember what else I ordered. I filled out slips for new orders. When I finished with the file in front of me, it was noon. Nothing else had come up for me. Nothing came for me until 1.30. During the mean time I wrote the previous blog entry (a good use for the space and electricity provided by the state government.) I looked at a few books. I order the catalog books for another archive that I would visit (the state keeps these so that people can know where to find things outside of this particular archive.) The reading room staff was a bit confused by my request. They seemed unable to find what I asked for. Finally, someone volunteered that he knew what I was talking about. He left the room, and came back with the four books for which I was looking. I starting reading though them, noting files that I would want to read.

The man came back after twenty minutes. He wanted to know if he had, in fact, brought the correct books to me. I responded, that these were probably what I wanted. As I expressed uncertainty, he asked me to speak to him in another room where conversation would not disturb the other researchers. He said that we could speak in English at this point. He asked me what my topic was; I explained it. He said, that he remembered my initial e-mails to the archive. (I also knew who he was at this point.) He said that my topic would be difficult to research at this archive, especially in the period before 1919. (This is something that I had already discovered, and I was concentrating my efforts on the post-1919 period.) He went on to say that he doubted that regionalism existed in the area before 1919. At this point I got the “lecture” that all German scholars seem to give: you don’t have anything to go on. This could mean anything from “prove yourself” to “you haven’t a clue, do you.” I believe that he was doing more of the former. However, we were of differing opinions about what constituted regionalism, and he preferred to see it in particularism and provincialism. Rather than argue with him, I tried to steer him into a different direction by trying to talk about the sources that I would like to find. This seemed to work: he recommended that I look at several other archives, most of which I plan to visit anyway. I also tried to direct his attention to other historians who have done work at this archive in similar areas. I hoped that this would jog his memory.

I finished up my work and left. I had nothing planned for the evening; I wanted to get to the apartment to rest.

July 24, 2003

I woke up late, but still managed to get to the Dusseldorf by 10. After I was there for 20 minutes, the historian with whom I was speaking the previous day came to see me. He could not find the name of the previous researcher who had been there, and no reference to his book (I found this puzzling, and perhaps disturbing, that this researcher would not have submitted a copy of his writings.) However, he put into my hands a notes that contained his notes on Horion, a man who was committed to self-government in the Rhine Province, as well as photocopies of letters and articles by Horion. The historian explained that he intended to do a small piece about Horion, but that it came to nothing. The notebook was mostly useful for the file references (his writing was difficult to read, only giving me clues as to what things said.) The letters themselves were very important–I had my camera with me, and I could photograph the letters because they were not part of the archive’s collection.

I thought about exploring Dusseldorf in the afternoon. However, the weather threatened to spoil my plans. The sky had clouded up since the morning; it was drizzling steadily. I could not find the places I wanted to visit. I decided to go back to Cologne. The train was packed; I had to stand the whole trip. I got back by 5.30, enough time to watch Star Trek and eat some dinner. I was determined to go out, but was uncertain where. I was very meticulous while cooking; I was meticulous cleaning up after myself. I dried the pans with a towel so that I could put them right away. I placed by dish in a drying rack above the sink. I had no choice: the landlady had left so many dirt dishes out that there was nowhere to put anything. I looked around. No crumbs on the floor, no excess water.

I left the apartment at 8.30. I planned to go to a jazz club near the river, purportedly the first jazz club to have been founded in Germany and which is still dedicated to classic jazz (read hot jazz, with only a little swing.) I stopped at the internet café quickly to check my messages. It took longer than expected to deal with all the business that had come through. It was too late to go out to a club, especially if I might have to walk all the way back to the apartment.

I decided to go to Tilmann’s Café-Bar in Nippes. Thomas Tilmann rented an apartment to Karen and I the first time that we were in Cologne. When I planned this trip, I had difficulty getting in contact with Herr Tilmann. I only knew the address of his website, not his e-mail or telephone number. A search for the address of the bar came up with a dental agency. I feared that the bar had closed (I put 2 and 2 together and got 5.) Last week, when I went out to do my laundry, I found that his bar was still there, although it was not open until 4. I planned to go Friday afternoon when I expected there to be less craziness. I supposed that “now would be as good a time as any,” and I headed north to Nippes.

Nippes, at the beginning of the twentieth century, was a small village that had been swallowed up by the city. Now it is its own community. It had nothing of interest for tourists in the sense of great museums and monuments. What it has is relaxed hip-ness: lots of small cafes and restaurants that are out of the way from the insanity of the old city, but which possess an energy that is not overly self-conscious.

Tilmann’s bar was busy. There were people sitting in all the tables along the sidewalk. The inside appeared to be full. At first I did not recognize Herr Tilmann–he had longer hair when I first met him, and he always looked exhausted (from staying up late partying.) I could only guess that the man behind the counter was, in fact, Herr Tilmann. He looked younger and very fit (he has been working out.) He received me very warmly, even more than I would have expected. He has a child (three years old, named Leena, if I am not mistaken.) Being aware of the problems facing a business like his, he has actually expanded his work: he does catering on a nearly daily basis, and he will move into an adjacent space so that he can turn the café into a full restaurant. The apartment that housed Karen and I is gone: he combined it with his own to accommodate his family. He kicked out some of the rowdier patrons as he became more responsible, and he appears to be happier with the new clientele (who are probably 10-15 years younger than before.) One of the older patrons, no one whom I knew, tried to talk to me, but he was a little too tipsy for me to hear him properly. Herr Tilmann and I talked for a while.

I returned to the apartment by 11.15. I brought back a little food–I was peckish from the koelsch. I decided to put away the dishes that I had left to dry. The plate had split. It was in two pieces, the break coming along a straight line, and it was perfectly smooth. The rest of the kitchen had been cleaned up since I left. I was very suspicious. There was nothing I could have done to have caused this. There must have been some imperfection in the plate, and it broke either because something heavy was placed on top of it or a door was slammed very hard. I brought the plate to the landlady to show her. She said, that she told me not to put breakable things in the drying rack (where else could I have put the plate?) This is hardly a compelling reason to put the blame on me. I think she knew the plate had split beforehand, or at least she realized that her own actions must have led to the split.

I retired to my room, shut the door, and ate my food.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

July 20, 2003: Chocolate disaster

I slept in very late; I was still aching from the grueling walks around Zollverein and to and from the Villa Huegel. Even when I did finally get out of bed, there was little that I wanted to do. It was too hot, inside and outside.

There were several things that compelled me to go outside. First, I finished the previous blog and entry and was eager to post it. Second, I wanted to write to Karen because I could not the previous day. Third, I needed water if I were to survive; what comes out of the pipes is not tasty (I understand that they have problems with lime in the city water. There is even an outer suburb that is called Kalk, which means lime.) Fourth, I did not want to be a boring dweeb. I had to do something.

I had to go a little farther out to post the blog; my usual haunt was closed due to networking problems. After that I started out toward the river. I promised Karen that I would go to the chocolate museum, Imhof Stollwerk, and pick up some goodies. Karen and I had been there before, and it was an interesting museum. The gift shop has some interesting things.

I walked over to the river. There was a LED display that showed the temperature. 38 Centigrade. Can’t be true. It was hot, but was it actually that hot?

I went first to the Museum for German Olympic Sports. This just moved next to Imhof Stollwerk in the last several years. Both are located on a small island that shelters the marina. The museum was interesting. Many of the themes were familiar to me already: the creation of German Gymnastics as the national sport by Jahn, the development of Olympic sports, lots on soccer and racing, ... . They were forthcoming on the problems of the 1936 Olympic Games. There was something that I found odd. In 1938 the world cycling champion, Albert Richter was from Cologne. He is perhaps the only noteworthy Cologne athlete, cycling being a major sport before 1950. I read years ago that he was killed, shot in the back after being tortured by the SS, as he was trying to smuggle money to his Jewish agent who was in exile in Amsterdam. There was no mention of this brighter light in German sports history from the 1930; they only had the cup that Richter had won. (To continue along the tangent, Richter’s death was ruled suicide by hanging even though he was clearly shot in the back and there were no marks on his neck; the German government has not yet rehabilitated him.)

Next, I went over to the chocolate museum. I would not stay long. Just get some goodies and get going. I spent a long time looking over things. Some purchases were more obvious–the tin with varied goodies. But I had to screen out anything that might have nuts because Karen has peanut allergies. One nice thing I found was a chocolate cup that had a painting of a “bourgeois family” enjoying a drink. I was ready to go, but I was curious about what they had in the café. I decided that I would try one of their chocolate drinks (yes it was hot, but the Aztecs would have still served it.) What I ordered was infused with a great deal of shredded coconut. It was excellent. It also came in a beautiful cup (for which I had to leave an 8-euro deposit), and a large amount of very heavy whipped cream on the side.

I intended to do little more. I wanted to watch the three hours of Star Trek that would be shown in the late afternoon. The sky had clouded up, and a breeze had kicked up. It seemed like an ideal time to get back to the apartment. And for several hours I did nothing but lay horizontally and stare at the TV. Did I have anything to eat? I can’t remember, probably just some bread and cheese, nothing more interesting. I walked down to the local store to buy two bottles of sparkling mineral water.

I fell asleep for a while and woke up around 11. It was hot in the room, sweat-dripping-down-my-back hot. I left the window open, but I pulled down the shades and closed them. I had a bad thought–the chocolate. I put it in my luggage, thinking that it would be cool enough in the dark and that I would not let the room get too warm. I looked in the bag. I reached for a chocolate bar. Even in the rapper I could tell that it was soft. I examined the rest. Some things survived better than others. I was disappointed that all the chocolate could be ruined.

July 21 and 22, 2003

Another two days of getting down to business. And not much to report. After I had reached some sort of “equilibrium” with the landlady, I did several stupid and clumsy things that have given her some legitimacy to complain: I knocked over a frying pan that I was cooking with one night, nearly burning myself, and the next I did not turn off the electric burner the next (I just turned it down to the lowest setting; there was no light to show me that the burner was still on.) I have learned that all the people who have inhabited my room in the past year have all been from Strasbourg (the only exception being me, who only lived there for two months.) Through a combination of sports braces, ace bandages, and bionic technology I have been able to rebuild my leg. I have been drinking a bottle of Sylvaner from Hesse; it is a disturbing wine. I have been also discovering what faux-meat products are available in Germany, thanks to the Reformhaus chain (not a good name choice.) The weather promises to cool down in a few days. I am thinking about going to either Liege or Maastricht over the weekend? I need a trip that won’t pick my wallet clean.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Discovering my dissertation research Part VIII

Things have quieted down with the landlady. She is doing less nitpicking, and I feel more comfortable here.

Friday, 7/18: Clean and Pressed in the Belgische Veedel

No Dusseldorf for me today!!! I can only stand so much archive each week, and I have had enough!!! Instead, I did something more important: MY OWN LAUNDRY. Everything is so soft, and so not totally, unwearably wrinkled and crunchy. I sneaked out early with my carry-on case, which is black like the case for my laptop case, and went to a laundromat in Nippes, the part of town where I previously stayed in Cologne. A Turkish woman kept asking me how to operate the washers (I was confused myself.) While I was there I looked around the neighborhood. I could not get in contact with the man who previously rented to me. He ran a bar and owned several apartments in Nippes. I assumed that when I could not find him that times had turned badly for him and that he had to sell the business. However, Thomas Tilmann’s Café-Bar is still in operation. It was, however, closed for business (he tends to stay up late drinking and singing with the patrons, sometimes sleeping up to or beyond opening time at 4 pm.) Around the corner was the Wilhelm Platz market where I used to buy all sorts of great things: Dutch and Danish cheeses, Norwegian lox, Turkish flatbread and olives–together they made an awesome sandwich. I might have to go back there soon ...

I returned home, quickly hanging up my clothes, and talking to the landlady a little. Then I was oft again. I would just explore some part of Cologne. I bought some peaches and water to take with me.

The Belgische Veedel (the local dialect for Viertel, or quarter) is west of the old city, built just after 1919. Military fortifications once occupied the area, but they were ordered to be dismantled by the treaty of Versailles. This was good news for then-mayor Konrad Adenauer as he could use the space for his grander project of urban aggrandizement. One of the first project was the “refounding” of the university, which had been closed first by the French in the 1790s and then by the Prussians in the 1810s.

My walk started, as you might expect, at a church (very few of the old buildings would have survived the Allied bombings in WWII; churches tend to have been spared, being some of the more interesting architecture.) St. Michael was built 1902-6 in a neo-romantic style. I did not have the chance to go inside (there were no open doors.) What interested me about the church was its outer decoration–the mosaics that abutted the windows.

The neighborhood around the church was quiet; it looked as if some of the buildings had survived the bombings, but mostly there were newer apartments. There were several nice squares which were dominated by cafes, as is typical in Germany. I happened across a vegetarian restaurant-school, Five Season, where I ate several times during my previous visit.

I cam back south to Aachener Strasse (BTW, the names reflect places that are west of Cologne as these neighborhoods are west of the central city. It is a central axis for traffic. There was little that was interesting, until a came upon the Aachener Weiher, a pond surrounded by a park. The pond itself is square; the promenade comes right up to the water. I could not tell whether on not this was a man-made pond. There were several people enjoying the sun, others who were biking. To the south of the hill began the larger park; up the long hill were scores of people who were sunning themselves. Oddly, the grass was brown. It has not rained here significantly in the two and one half weeks since I arrived, but I am surprised at how dry it has been (is there a drought everywhere?). I stopped for a beer–a koelsch, but it was one of my least favorite kinds–and watched the people, and some of the birds. The sky was partially clouding, giving temporary respite. Across the pond I could see the restaurant for the Museum of East Asia Art. I didn’t go in.

After my beer I walked along the south side of the pond up to the small Lindenthaler Canal that ran for three blocks. It was nicely shaded; there were several storks on the edge of the canal. At the far end was the Christi Auferstehung (Christ’s Resurrection) Church. I was built by Gottfried Boehm in the 1960s. From the outside it looks like an unusual brick structure. There is a tower that, upon closer inspection, is also a spiral staircase. The inside was surprisingly constructed. It was a sparse space. The decorations were limited. There were stained glass windows (when I looked back at my pictures, I realized that they contained writing.) The crucifix was decentered, near the ceiling of the above the alter and to the left. There were walkways above the worship. To the side was a small memorial to Edith Stein.

I walked back past the canal, though the park, to my next destination (my guidebook suggested seeing the university next, which I have already seen and which was out of session.) I came upon the Auferstehungskirche (Church of the Restriction.) The pictures in the guidebook made it look very interesting. However, I was less than impressed when I saw it. It consists of the remaining tower of a church, its original presbytery, and a glass building designed to resemble the original church. The glass section, however, was office spaces; the church itself had been reduced to a small meeting hall.

I walked south east back into the center city down Roon Strasse. I came upon the Synagogue on Roon Street, a massive structure built 1895-9. Cologne had a large Jewish population up until the NS period, about 10,000 in the 1910s. There were several synagogues, all of which were destroyed on Kristallnacht; only this one was rebuilt. I could not go inside without a pre-arranged tour. Furthermore, it was close to five o’clock on Friday, and would not have wanted to offend anyone. It was a massive structure.

I took a quick look at the Herz-Jesu-Kirche, only because it was near an internet café.

The tour technically ended. I walked north up the Ring (one of the streets that replaced the medieval walls) to Ehrenstrasse, a sort of Melrose Avenue with hip stores, but without traffic. I ate again at Sproesslings, the vegetarian restaurant. I ate the South African baked vegetables; it used a mild African curry that probably made it the spiciest dish in Germany (Germans hate spiced foods.) I drank a glass of red wine from Baden. It was another enjoyable meal. It was still early, but I came back to the apartment to turn in early.
July 20: Essen

I promised that I would go away for the weekend. I did not. But I did visit Essen in the Ruhr Valley, the sixth largest city in Germany.

I woke up fairly early so that I got to Essen before 11. It is the main city of the Ruhr Gebiet, which was the main area for coal and steel production in Germany. Two of the main coal-magnate families, the Krupps and the Stinnes, made it the headquarters of their enterprises. My main interest in visiting Essen was to see sites associated with “the route to industrialization”: historic sites in the history of the development of industry in Continental Europe.

The first places I came to were, of course, buildings dedicated to worship. First was the Muenster (or Dom, depending on your usage ;<) .) It was first built in the ninth century and expanded over time. It was nice, nothing that blew my mind away. There was an interesting crypt at a lower level that was closed off to visitors.

Not far away was the Alte Synagogue. It was built in the 1910s and was miraculously left intact on Kristallnacht (although the interior was vandalized.) It was restored after WWII, but the Jewish community of Essen turned it over to the city in the 1980s after they build a newer synagogue. It was an impressive building. It was well lit inside by the sun. The city had put up several exhibits dedicated to the history of the community and to the history of NS in Essen.

I took a tram to the northern part of the city. The main reason for going to Essen in specific was to see the Zollverein, a mining facility built in the 1920s and a UNESCO site for industrial culture. It was built after a new cartel was formed, the Vereinigten Stahlwerks (United Steelworks), and was designed to reflect the spirit of confidence of the steel industry. The architects used Bauhaus principles to create a clean, aesthetic space. The engineers designed innovative machinery and production plans that are still replicated today. The Zollverein did not create any new mines; it combined several existing mines together. The coal miners entered the existing mines; the coal and iron were pulled up at the central facility, processed, and placed on trains.

The entry to the Zollverein is the Ehrenplatz, a courtyard with office buildings, center by the awesome Shaft XII Coal Elevator. The Elevator is nicknamed the “Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr.” I have seen the Eiffel Tower, and the Elevator impressed me more. It was designed to bring up only coal, in steel carts, at high speeds. It is a huge structure that looks like the Greek letter pi, made from thick steel, a powerful structure. There are four huge wheels. It was just the sort of thing that looks surreal in scope and function, explainable only through the heavy industry that dominated the twentieth century in which quantity rather than quality dominated production (especially in energy.) The buildings were designed to show clean lines and to be constructed cheaply and quickly (in fact, the cheapness of the materials has meant that the buildings have been stained due to years of production and rain.)

Behind the Ehrenplatz is the facility where the coal and steel were processed, sorted, washed, and shipped. These buildings were build high off the ground to allow trains to pass underneath; there were maybe twenty sets of tracks that ran through the plant. A long bridge, about thirty feet off the ground and a kilometer long, brought the workers to the plant from behind so that their blackened faces could not be seen from the Ehrenplatz (everything clean and bright.)

I took the tour of the inside of Shaft XII processing building. It looked like the film Metropolis–large, abstract machinery. The tour took two hours, and even with my weak German and the guides fast talking, I learned more about coal production than I would have wanted to know. The Elevator itself was operated by one man, who sat in the middle of a room in a chair, pulling levers back and forth, almost as if in a throne.

After that I rushed across to the south side of town to see the Villa Huegel, the residence of the Krupp family (keep all the filth on the other side of town!) I walked more than two miles from the tram stop to Villa, and I was sorry that I did. Not only was I in pain from the five mile-round trip, but the house itself was, on the inside, not very interesting. None of the rooms were still decorated, except with family portraits. Half of the villa was dedicated to the history of the family and steel production, which I already know well enough.

I went back to the center of town to search for my “book of local history,” something which I like to buy everywhere that I visit. I found a large history book, about two inches thick, well illustrated, for 35 euros. A little heavy, but worth it. I went to buy it. The cashier would not take my credit card unless it was an EC card (one that had a computer chip in it.) I had heard this enough, and I was tired of having my card with a magnetic strip turned down out of hand, so I walked out. I found another bookstore that had the same book. However, I found something for less that I would find more valuable to me in the future, and I bought it instead. I also looked around for a gift for Karen, who is at home taking care of the rabbits and the hamster. I haven´t found anything interesting yet ... her birthday comes up days after I get back from Germany.

I got back to Cologne later than I wanted. The trains ran behind schedule. After I cooked some dinner, I collapse–my body was too exhausted from hours of walking and standing. (Wait ... Wait ... Oh, my knees!)

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Preserving my sanity (formerly Discovering my Research) part VII

Day 15: After the nuttiness

After the aforementioned incident (BTW, she also through out a good onion,
and the carrots went bad the next day) I wondered around Cologne. I brought
my little guide book with me and decided to take one of the walk that it
suggested, which started around Neumarkt (the shopping area) and went west.

It was a little hot in Cologne, in the lower to mid nineties with some
humidity. The trains were not well air-conditioned, and therefore not
pleasant to ride. People were everywhere in the streets. Moving around took
some time with all the foot traffic.

The shopping district had changed a lot in the four years since I was last in
Cologne. There were all sorts of new stores, bigger stores. One of them,
Kaufhof, was about the size of a Parisian department store. Was it there
before? I could not believe I could have missed something of such gargantuan

In the middle of the commercial madness was the Antonitekirche. It was built
as the chapel for a brotherhood that took care of the sick in the late
thirteenth century. It had been damaged during WWII. Much of the artwork
inside is very modern, including the haunting Schwebende (“the one who
floats”), a memorial to those who died in both world wars.

I started to walk up Augustinerstrasse. There were several Churches that had
been turned into museums–alas it was too late in the day to see them. In
fact it was getting pretty late for this tour, and I was getting hungry. So
I stopped short–very short–of completing my walk. I went to Osha’s, the
vegetarian place run by nutty cultists. The food is good and cheap, the
atmosphere is relaxed. I bought a pen and a small pad of paper. While I ate
I started to write a new proposal. I must have returned to the apartment by
11. Everyone was asleep.

Day 16: The Disaster

I woke up early. It was too hot to sleep with the windows close. And I
wanted to get some work done, slipping out before I had to confront anyone.
I got to Dusseldorf early, did almost six hours of work in the archives
(really good quality), and decided that I would look around the city some
more. I left the computer at the apartment so that I would be lighter this
day. However, both of the pens that I had bought in the previous days ran
out of ink (I was a little disappointed.) I went to a department store,
which usually have a stationary section, to by some refills. I was not
certain what kind they would take. I took out both pens, unscrewed them,
took out the old ink and compared it to see which would fit. I held two
disassembled pens and two spent ink cartridges and and two new cartridges in
the other. When I payed, I instinctively put the disassembled pens and spent
cartridges into the pocket of my shirt. When I got outside I learned that
one of them was not completely spent–a large black dot was forming on my

I had no choice but to go back to Cologne, at the very least to replace my
shirt. Another day ruined. I am still trying to work out the stain, which
is slowly coming out. (The landlady was at least kind enough to tell me
about a product that might work well, but I have yet to find it.)

On the brighter side, I found a really neat CD box set. Music is expensive
in Germany. However, when things go on sale, it is a huge bargain. This is
especially true for classical music. I have not spent that much, choosing a
few things that I thought would keep me busy–two operas, both of which were
works by Czech-Jewish composers who later were victims of the Holocaust. I
already listened to them several times and needed something new. I found a
six-CD set of the organ music of Olivier Messiaen (he was just a KZ prisoner,
where he composed a quartet for the instruments that were available to the
camp prisoners.) I got it for 45 euro, which made me happy.

Day 17: Too boring to describe

I did not do much today other than spend time at the archives. I learned
that the wife of my friend who lives in Hamburg is expecting any day. I
thought about visiting him, although this weekend would not be a good time.
(I has smarts!) I had a beer, bought some replacement groceries. I will be
more entertaining soon, I swear.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


When I got home from the archive today, the landlady informed of things that I was doing wrong. This is becoming a ritual, and she chastises me for things that I was not responsible for or that was not a regular thing.

Today, she told me that I needed to recycle the square cartons that my soy milk comes in because it is plastic. She told me that I needed to take out the bottled for recycling (something which I usually do, but forgot.)

However, she said that I had a bunch of rotting vegetables in the fridge that she had thrown out. This made me a little suspicious. I looked in the fridge and didn't see the slices from the eggplant that I had bought and salted the previous day (according to Alton Brown, it should stay good for a week, and he is pretty conservative.) She had thrown them out. I was livid. She had also taken out vegetables, carrots and fennel, plastic bags and placed them directly on the shelves of the fridge.

I feel that she does this to exercise some sort of moral authority over me. It is becoming ridiculous. I have a long list of things that she should be doing better in my head. I pray I don't use it.

Discovering my Dissertation Research part VI

Days 13 and 14: Taking things slowly

There are few specific things to report for these two days, so I will combine them together.

I spent Sunday doing almost nothing. I spent as much time as possible in apartment so that I would not tax my knees. I left briefly in order to get some food at a local establishment (nothing special, just some roasted vegetables and rice at a Turkish fast food restaurant.) I looked over at the research that I collected over the past weak. I also watched American TV in German: three hours of Star Trek.

The big surprise came later. When I arrived in Cologne a week and a half ago, the landlady told me that only she could use the washer and the iron (there is no dryer–Germans generally hang their clothes to dry them.) She said that she feared that one of these might break if someone other than her handled them. The iron, which is professional, was especially dear to her. Furthermore, she implied that if one of these broke while I used it, she would completely blame me, fairly or not. Alright, at the end of the first week I gave her some clothes to wash. When I came back all my clothes were hanging all over the room, as she had promised. However, she had used so much soap that everything was stiff (or was it the soap that she used.) Some of my shirts were so badly wrinkled that I could not wear them, and she had left for several days. While I was in Aachen this weekend, she took it upon herself to collect my dirty clothes and wash them. This was very nice, and I could not complain about it. However, more of my clothes were too wrinkled. I had to ask her to iron some of my clothes. I gave her three shirts and two pairs of pants. She came back several hours later with the clothing, all well pressed. I was very thankful (especially since I would not look like a fool in front of a bunch of stiff German historians.) She asked for five euros for the ironing. I was surprised. She had mentioned nothing about a cost to this work, although I would admit that she is entitled to payment. However, I would not have had this problem had it not been for the way that she washed the clothes.

I spent one grueling day in the archives. I looked through a lot of files, and copied many passages into my laptop. My eyes burned, my entire body lost feeling. That, more than my weak knees, prevented from seeing the festival that is going on in Dusseldorf (it will last throughout the week.) I am considering taking an overnight trip to somewhere in the area so that I can see more. I wish that I felt comfortable enough to take a hiking trip–there are some beautiful parks in Westphalia, especially around the Munsterland and the Sauerland. Of course, I could look more into the industrial area of the Ruhr. I also have a friend in Hamburg whom I might visit.

BTW, my mom mentioned the problem of the difference between a cathedral and a minster, noting that the English insist that Westminster is not a cathedral. As far as I can tell, Dom and Munster are used interchangeably to name a cathedral. Either they are the same thing, or being one does not exclude being the other. In fact, the Aachen cathedral, built to be the seat of the Papacy, is called a Munster. Being that minster comes from Munster, I see no reason why Westminster could not be considered a cathedral.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Day 10: Ambulatory

I did so little this day that it would be painful (for the reader) if I were to detail everything. To say the least I stayed in Cologne. I did little that was nothing noteworthy. I did try a different vegetarian restaurant, Sproesslings. This restaurant, only a few blocks from the cult-vegetarian place I ate at over the weekend, was very pleasant. It was a beautiful, sunny day, not too warm, only slightly humid. The restaurant has a nice courtyard that is covered with ivy. The noises of the city were completely absent. Now and then I could hear the sounds of adults talking and singing (I think that this was a language class.) The waiter was very friendly: he explained what everything was on the menu (there were lots of different types of purees that I did not recognize readily.) I ate rice balls in a tomato-quark sauce (quark is a dairy product that is somewhere between yoghurt and sour cream, but not at sour as either) with various vegetables. I drank their “fitness-cocktail”: a combination of apple, carrot and banana juices.

At stayed at the apartment in the evening and enjoyed the last bits of peace before the landlady returned. I bought a bottle of wine, a “white burgundy” from Baden-Wuttemberg. It was light and good, not very distinct. I watched some TV (Star Trek, of course) and read over some documents.

Day 11: I can’t get to the archives quickly enough!!!

The landlady is back. Sometime in the middle of the night, I don’t know when, she returned. I heard her say hello from her room as I was readying myself in the morning. However, she had some “comments” for me. The previous night a fell asleep while reading–I was tired from reading documents–and I left the lights on. You should know that there are only four light bulbs in the entire room, and they cannot be more than 25 W each. There is no way to get enough reading light without (1) turning them all on or (2) sitting directly underneath one. I tried to tell her that I had just fallen asleep, that this is not normally something that I do. She took the opportunity to tell me how things are done differently in Germany than in the US. While I would agree that I am normally wasteful of power, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH LIGHT IN THE ROOM. I said nothing, just kept agreeing and making plans for a fast escape.

I was out of the apartment before nine. I didn’t eat breakfast. I would have to pick up something along the way. However, I got to the train station either too early or too late. Normally, there is a regional train to Dusseldorf every half an hour; these take half an hour to travel between the two cities. There are faster trains that take less time, but I cannot afford them for an entire month. There are slower “S” trains that stop everywhere along the way and take an hour, sometimes a little less. Apparently, when I arrived at the train station just after nine o’clock, the train that I would normally take is replaced by more fast trains. I had little choice but to take the “S” train.

I got to work at the archive. I started with the file that I was reading at the end of Wednesday session. I also tried to order some catalog books that were themselves forbidden to look at (usually only the files themselves are prohibited, never the books that catalog those files; I wanted to look at the catalogs that referred to the police over a one hundred year period, and one of the five volumes dealt with Nazi treatment of Gypsies–it was for that reason that the catalog book was forbidden.) The archivist in the reading room wasn’t sure why I wanted this, or what it might have to do with my research (and I did not know what was in it.) He called down Dr. Frueh, who talked to me about it. I explained that I could not be specific about which books I wanted to look at, so I ordered them all. He was very accommodating, and I asked him a few questions about specific historical issues.

I got back to work, reading my file. I found a list of members of a small political party of which I wanted a copy for reference. I took a few pictures. The reading-room archivist came down to my table saying that taking pictures was not permissible. I was confused. Apparently, I can order pictures to be taken, if I want (I don’t think it is too expensive.) So I put my camera away (got away with photographing seventy pages.) The rest of the day was less eventful. I ordered another file that was more interesting, even talking about an obscure economics professor whose name I found in the Strasbourg archives.

I left at three, a good five hours work. I did not want to explore Dusseldorf more this week–I wanted to save my energy for the weekend (to go to Aachen?), so I went up the street to see the synagogue. I took a picture of the front. It was a round building, very modern. Suddenly, a policeman started talking to me. He asked what I was doing, who I was, whether he could see my passport. (The second time my camera got me into trouble.) He took my driver’s license (I left my passport at the apartment.) He went back to his van, perhaps to check out my name (I guess after a week of reading official papers, I have created some–Robinson, the terrorist.) He let me go.

On the way to the train I stopped for (1) an Altbier, of course, and (2) a crepe filled with mozzarella and tomato slices. (There is a guy in the Dusseldorf train station (Hbf) who makes crepes all day. They are pretty good and not expensive at all.)

Day 12: Charlemagne’s City

I promised myself that I would see more of the area on the weekends, and I did. I decided that I would go to Aachen (usually known as Aix-le-Chapelle), the capitol of Charlemagne’s empire. By train it was only one hour from Cologne, someplace that I could easily see in one day.

I woke up late for some reason and had to run. The landlady and the other sub-letter were talking in a not-so-civil manner , although they were not quite arguing, about how long he would be staying. I was amused by the use of the English word “sorry,” which, like other direct borrowings into German, carried a slightly different meaning. Rather than conveying either sorrow or an apology, it was used to describe a fixed decision that would not be changed. I ran out of the apartment quickly.

I arrived in Aachen just after 11 am. The city is situated among several hills in a mildly forested area. I took a longer way of getting to the city center, west from the train station to one of the old city portals, and then north from the portal up to the cathedral. The city center maintains all its narrow streets. The foot traffic was dense (it was Saturday and, furthermore, the city was hosting a special shopping day for residents of local communities in Belgium and Netherlands.) The cathedral could be seen peaking out above the buildings as I approached. When I got there I found that the building was in the state that all European cathedrals seem to be in: renovation, covered with tarp and scaffolding. I could not go inside immediately–there were services in progress.

I climbed up the hill farther to the old Rathaus (city hall.) The building imitated the style of the church, although with more of a box-like structure (similar to the Rathuas in Munich, although on a smaller scale.) The Rathaus serves as an exhibition space. Along with other museums in the area, it hosted an exhibition called “Ex-oriente”: a look at three different crossroads of knowledge and culture in the early Middle Ages–Aachen, Bagdad, and Jerusalem. (Most of the pieces were on loan from European museums, which I found odd.) The exhibit, mostly from the Bagdad part, was housed in the great room at the top level. Along the way there were huge windows at which one could get scenic glimpses of the cathedral at just the perfect height. The great room itself would have been interesting to see itself as it was covered with paintings of old Burgers and city officials. However, the exhibit covered up most of the space, and the lights were fixed as to only shine on the exhibit pieces. The pieces themselves were equally exquisite and exotic. Lots of illuminate books, in Arabic, Hebrew, and Roman scripts; maps and other representations of the world; translations of holy works into different languages; some jewelry; mosaics and pieces thereof. Most interesting were those things that related to Islamic science and mathematic from the era. My favorite piece was a cloth chessboard.

The plaza in front of the Rathaus had become much busier. There were many cafes that were brimming with patrons. I could feel that many more people were going to come.

I went back to the cathedral. This was the famous church commissioned by Charlemagne to serve as the center of Christianity as well the capital of his empire. From what I understand, the cathedral has been extended several times since it was originally built. I am not certain which part was built first. The main worship space is a cylindrical building that is several stories high and has a domed ceiling. The throne sits on the supper level, looking down over the worship space. An arm extends outwardly from this cylinder, and this is the place for those involved in the performance of the service (clergy, choir, etc.) Considering how diminutive the lay space is to the clergy space, I would assume that this latter part was the newer addition (but still quite old.) The walls were decorated, but because of the low light I could not examine them in any detail.

I went around the corner to the cathedral “treasury.” The permanent exhibit contained examples of the library that Charlemagne assembled and his reliquaries (you could see what looked like the bone from a forearm.) The treasury contained the rest of the Exoriente exhibit, the Aachen and Jerusalem parts.

Thereafter I went to the Couven Museum, a Baroque house made by the Couven brothers and that is decorated with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century furnishings. This was more like what I expected at Jaegerhoff. There were several rooms tiled in porcelain. There were also some hallways that were completely painted with country scenes.

Afterward, I needed to sit–the knee again. I sat down to drink a beer (of course)–a Bitburger, from the town that Reagan made famous. I sat for a while and read in the main plaza. I considered going to another museum, one dedicated to local medieval religious art, but I did not feel like standing for that long. So I ate–spaetlze with cheese. I walked around a little more, bought some books (including a history of Carnival celebrations in the area), and went back to Cologne on the train. In my car were a bunch of older Germans who were partying. They circulated food as the train went.

I have a few pictures up, but they are not very good. Aachen was just not that friendly to my camera.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Discovering my Dissertation Research Part IV

Day Eight: A little more Dusseldorf

I began the day, as I will most, taking the train up to Dusseldorf. The landlady is gone for several days,
which is welcome relief for me (and perhaps Rene, although he has said nothing) because she tends to
be obsessive-compulsive. At the archive I tried to get down to more interesting work. I would delve
into some of the files that looked particularly interesting. I would have bad luck in this matter. The first
file that I ordered, which detailed the extra-parliamentary meetings of the Rhenish representatives, was
non-communicable it was forbidden for me to see it (I will have to look into getting some sort of
special permission.) The second, which concerned the revision of the Cologne Landkreis (something
similar to a county) was either boring or illegible; most of the documents were water-damaged. The
third file was more interesting. It was a police file about unrest and demonstrations from 1922 to 1924.
The twenties are, to some extent, the heart of the paper in that they are part of NRW history that is
most familiar to Americans: the Great Inflation and the French occupation of the Ruhr Valley. (In short,
the French attempted to take over the steel factories and the coal mines in order to take from them
what Germany owed in war reparations; the workers refused to produce anything, but the government
kept paying them with bills that had no backing in order to keep them loyal, which brought about the
decline of the Reichmark.) I have not yet read through the entire file. In fact, I have not yet left
December 1922, still two weeks before the French attempt their power-play. What was interesting so
far is the rioting and plundering that occurred before the French arrived. I'll have to keep reading to
see what happened and how useful this might be.

I left the archive after 5 hours of work (I also looked through books to get ideas for files to look at.)
Afterward I wanted to walk around the center of Dusseldorf, see a museum, walk through one of the
parks. The first stop was a brewery (somewhere my mother is shaking her head.) I stopped at one of
the smaller Alt breweries, Schumacher (located near the Koenigsallee, with all the fashion shops, and
thus in a very busy area), and their beer was really good still bitter and dark, but with a sweet
aftertaste. I restrained myself from having another. (Many of the breweries have no real seating that is
for cafes. Instead, they have high tables that come up to elbow level, perfect for leaning against.)

I decided I would go to Schloss Jaegerhof. It had been recommended as an example of Baroque
architecture. Getting there I would have to walk through the Hofgarten, which I would explore later in
the day. I was underwhelmed by Jaegerhof it was not particularly large, the grounds were cris-crossed
by roads, and their was no markers indicating the importance of the building or how it should be
viewed. The inside had been turned into a museum for Goethe; none of the original interior decorations
were present. I suspect that the walls had been painted over to a flat color. Instead, the interior was
simply a museum, and not one that was particularly compelling. It had papers, books, and paintings
from Goethe's collection. It had works, dramaturgical and scientific, from Goethe's friends. It had
some pieced dedicated to the historical performance of important roles as well as a collection dedicated
to the psychological examinations of the "Weather complex." I like Goethe, but not that much, and the
museum demanded a familiarity with his works that neither I nor most Americans have. Besides that,
most of the collection consisted of paper letters, books, illustrations. Boring.

Dusseldorf is known as the "garden city." Not that it is particularly green or environmentally conscious.
Skyscrapers and the needs of business rule more than the defense of nature. However, the garden city
should not be confused with the "Garden State." Dusseldorf gets its reputation from its parks. I visited
Hofgarten, one of the first. It was designed and created in the eighteenth century based on French
gardens. I enjoyed my stroll through the park. There were plenty of ponds and small lakes with ducks,
geese, gander, ... . The trees were well-placed so that there was just enough shade to keep cool.
There were several interesting sculptures. There was nothing overwhelming about the park, it was
simply well made and relaxing.

I returned to Cologne by 6.30. I uploaded some photos. I went in search of a jazz club (the concert
was too expensive, and the later show, which was free, started at 11.30.) I returned to the apartment
and made myself some dinner. (I had to remain mindful of the landlady's compulsions, making certain
that I used as few items as possible and cleaned up prodigiously.) I drank some koelsch and went to
bed. Karen called me late at night.

Day Nine: Slowing down

My knee started giving me problems. Every now and then I get pains in my right knee that make it very
difficult for me to walk. At least once I spent a whole day in bed because I could barely move.
However, my knee never gets so bad that I must go to the hospital. There are usually two solutions:
rest or walk more.

I doubted that I should go to Dusseldorf. In Cologne I know my way around, I could call a cab, I
could be home easily. I would have stayed in the apartment, but there were things that I had to do (like
pay the real estate agent.)

I took the subway down to Rudolfplatz to look for the real estate agent. I carried my computer with
me in case I changed my mind about Dusseldorf. I found the building easily, but I wasn't sure which
office it was. The building was six stories high, and it had only a staircase. I climbed up each level and
looked around for the realtor's office. I reached the top floor and had found nothing. I asked in at a
law office, and they directed me to the second floor. The realtor's office was unmarked (I don't know
how they expected to be found.) I knocked. They invited me in rather formally. I paid, they gave me
a receipt. That was it. Such personal service!

As I left the realtor's, guilt set in. I could take the day off to rest my knee. I would still have to do a
few things before going home, like buy groceries. But I had no files to look at and analyze I would not
be doing any work, and I might not still be able to walk the next day. So I went to Dusseldorf, back to
the archive. I used my digital camera to take pictures of interesting papers (just about anything that was
remotely interesting.) The thing is pretty useful: I got 60 good photos of pages in great detail.

After the archive, I went to get a beer. I needed to relax. I stopped at another one of the breweries,
Zum Schluessel. The tables at the breweries are tall and are designed to lean against rather than sit at.
There is, it would seem, a proper pose that one must adopt. One leans against the table with the arm
that is opposite the street. The forearm is completely on the table, not hanging over, and no one leans
only against his elbow. The other arm is often draped over the first, but it can be used to gesture and
point, and to pick up the beer glass. The body should be turned toward the street, the head should be
slightly inclined. The weight of the body and the forearm should be on the arm that is resting on the
table. The foot opposite of that arm is often on one of the crossbeams at the base of the table.

When I got back to Cologne, I ate at a local pizza place I did not feel like cooking that evening. The borccoli on it was bitter, so I did not like it much. I
spent the rest of the night, at the apartment, puzzling over the picture I had taken at the archive (the
pictures were clear, but I had not accounted for what I was taking pictures of. I had to read through
them to know what I had.)

This weekend, I promise that I will go somewhere interesting. I swear.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

There are new pictures up in the photo album. I had to pick them randomly because I could not see them on the computer from which I uploaded them. I will choose better later.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Update: I spoke to someone on the train, a man who is a refugee from Togo. He knows little German, and he was surprised that someone knew French (at first I thought he was from New York.) Anyway, I tried to give him my e-mail as he was rushing off the train, but my handwriting was probably illegible.

BTW, my spelling is lacking.

Discovering my dissertation research, part III

Day Five: Shopping in Cologne

Today I spent taking care of some practicalities. It was not terribly interesting.

I discovered late last night that I had left by pajamas back at Uli's. I awoke this morning to discover
that it was really cold outside, and I had not brought a jacket with me. I needed a map and some sort
of guidebook for the city. And I needed more groceries so that I could actually cook something.

I went shopping down at Neumarkt, which has the big department stores, expensive shops, and the
really big bookstores. I went to the latter first, just so that I could get a handle on what books have
been published in the four years since I had last visited. I bought a Reise-Fuehrer (guidebook) for the
city that had a good list of shops and restaurants as well as detailed maps of the inner city. I also
bought a novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian author, translated into German. (I want to test a
theory that it is easier to read foreign novels in German because the original language is itself simpler.) I
went to Karstadt, one of the big department store chains. I bought a beige jacket made from micro-
fiber and blue pajamas with thin black and white stripes. I bought some food in the basement level,
including a bottle of wine. Afterward I stopped for a caf‚ au lait so that I could get my bearings and
plan my next move. I decided that I had too many things and should return to the apartment to drop
them off.

I went to the area around Zuelpicher Platz. I wanted to find a cybercafe where I could check my
messages and upload my blog. It was also in the area where I wanted to eat.

I went to a vegetarian restaurant called Osha's Place. It was "self service." I ate a salad and an
enchilada (it taste good, but it was hardly authentic.) It appeared to have a nice atmosphere: there
were people reading and relaxing, and the interior was nice. I thought that this was a place where I
would want to come back. Later, my landlady told me that Osha was a cult leader who amassed a
large following and a large business (managing properties, restaurants, teaching self-help classes.)
When he died, the cult members went underground. They continued to manage the business
enterprises, including the classes, even though Osha's philosophy is publicly unfashionable. My opinion
of the restaurant is that I will probably return, but I will avoid talking to people.

The landlady walked me around the neighborhood, mostly so that I would know where to place the
recycling (there are several large containers two blocks away), but also so that I would know that
interesting places there were. Saturn, the world's largest record store, is a short walk away!!! G-d
help me!!!

Day 6: Pink Pride in Cologne and First Steps in Dusseldorf

Today was CSD, or Christopher Street Day, in Cologne, a gay/lesbian pride festival (it had its roots as
a day of AIDS awareness.) The newspapers claimed that one million people might come into the city,
and that local transportation might be overwhelmed. I wasn't sure what I would do, so I planned to do
little. I ended up doing quite a bit.

First, I had to get a monthly pass from the regional rail service. Cologne and Dusseldorf are serviced
by different organizations, so a special pass would be necessary. I had hoped to get some sort of
global pass that would allow me to travel anywhere in both regions, but that was not possible.
However, I can use all local transportation in both regions with the pass.

I had already walked down to the train station to get the pass; I decided to walk around the Dom and
take some pictures before going into seclusion. People were pouring out from the train station in
droves. They overwhelmed the sidewalks. It was hard to move. I went into the Dom (as if I hadn't
enough pictures of it) to look for the one same-sex couple who were longingly looking on at the service
and take their picture. I failed for several reasons: there was insufficient light; people kept getting in the
way; people were moving too quickly. I got one picture that, had it been clearer, would have been
wonderful. Oh well!

I went outside after mulling around the back of the cathedral for half an hour. I followed the crowds
south to the festivities. There were any number of street vendors (I often think that all festivals in
Germany occur on Sundays so that vendors can have an extra day of sales.) I stopped to drink a
Koelsch while people filed by. I went up to the parade route. The crowd was several rows deep, so I
could not see the people who were walking along the parade route, only those who were riding in
trucks. The trucks drove slowly, bouncing up and down from the passengers. Some people were
dressed oddly, some carried super-soakers. Many of the men wore tight fitting shirts and shorts, if
shirts at all. On one truck both men and women were topless, having painted their bodies in almost
random designs.

I could not stay long. The music annoyed me. That incessant pounding of techno/house music (no
cliques about gay men were displaced today.) I decided to do something else, to get out of Cologne. I
had my new travel pass, why not use it? I went to Dusseldorf, at least to see how to maneuver around
the city. The trip took one-half hour, I was there by 2.30 pm. A German man, who had been living in
Chicago, talked to me on the way down (he seemed to be amused that women seemed very "available"
in the US; I was not certain of whether or not he was talking about prostitution.) I went over to
Heinrich Heine Ally, which parallels the river. I thought about going to Jaegerhof, but I did not bring my
English guidebook, and my German guidebook did not mention where to find it. I walked outside,
north up to St. Andreas, a Dominican church . It was based on a church on the Danube built at the
beginning of the era. I could see the baroque influence more clearly since I had been to the Gothic
Dom earlier in the day. Everything was much lighter; everything was highlighted in gold. The cross,
oddly, was simple (perhaps because that part of the church was damaged in the bombings.)

I continued to walk north. I thought that I might go to the state's art museum. However, I was neither
interested in the exhibits that they advertised nor in going to an arts museum. I went to another church,
St Lambertus, another baroque masterpiece, but which was much more interesting. The alter and the
sermon lectern were located in the center, which I thought was odd because it reminded me more of
some of the Protestant (what Americans would call Lutheran) churches that I have seen. However, the
pews were clearly located on one side, and the area behind the alter consisted of crypts and smaller
alters. It was, I would think, a tremendous waste of space. It was also beautiful. I wished that my
pictures would have come out more clearly. Nonetheless, I took a good picture of Graf Wilhelm's

I went back into the street, down toward the river. Many booksellers were out along the boardwalk in
a special "book festival" (much less colorful that Christopher Street Day.) I found nothing interesting. I
drink my first Alt, a type of dark beer that is brewed locally. I was very good. It had a bitter, deep
taste, slightly nutty, but not necessarily heavy. It is served in a long, straight glass that looks like a
koelsch glass but twice the size.

I returned to Cologne. I took more pictures of the festivities around the Dom. I walked up the
boardwalk back toward the apartment. I ate an ice cream before returning home to write all this. I
also met my "co-sub-letter," Rene, who seemed to be very nice.

Day Seven: First day at the archives

This entry can be nothing but boring. I am very sorry, but nothing interesting has happened (unless it
will happen later.) I woke up at 8.30, was on the train to Dusseldorf by 9.50 (I was disappointed that I
could not get to the train station earlier.) I met with one of the historians at the archives, Martin Frueh,
who showed me a few books, gave me (some really great) leads, and showed me to the reading room.
It appears that I will take longer locating records that interest me here. And these all might be more
workhorse records nothing surprising, but lots that is necessary. Dr. Frueh also explained that the
records will not be as centralized as I would have liked, and that I would probably have to go from
place to place locating what I want. I left the archive by 2.30. That is enough for the first day.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Discovering my dissertation research

Day three: Mannheim and Heidelberg

I awoke by 8:30, just about when Uli was about to leave for work (he has been helping his advisor edit an article about Waterloo–a “student job”, as he put it.) We planned to meet later in the day and head off until Mannheim; in the meantime I would explore Mannheim on my own.

Mannheim, as I have said before, is an overly orderly city. It was the height of eighteenth-century city planning, with streets laid out in a grid pattern so that they were very square, and a ring street that circles the around the inner city and avoid foot traffic. Instead of street names, each block is labeled with a letter and number according to its position in the grid: the streets on the western half get the first half of the alphabet as they go north; the number increase as one moves away from the city center. Many of the building are very new and modern looking. The downtown area features elegant shopping, especially for a city of its size (about 300,000 people, including parts that were annexed by the city from across the River Neckar.) While that would sound convenient, the orderliness is eerie. It appears, somehow, too impersonal. Furthermore, there are few convenient shortcuts that allow one to cut across town if one is on foot.

I wandered the city, looking at the things of interest. The first thing that I did was walk all the way across town in order to look at the Rhine (the city sits at the confluence of the Rhine and the Neckar.) While the Neckar, next to which Uli lives, is not that interesting, the Rhine side is highly industrial, with old factories and barges. Hardly a picture of beauty, but I found it interesting.

It started to rain while I was at the bridge. I decided to make my way to Uli’s office: he would tell me when he would get out of work, I would check my e-mails on his office computer. Along the way I took pictures of some of the interesting buildings in Mannheim. The baroque church, which I had seen on my first visit, was undergoing renovation. Just as I got to Uli’s office, which was on the far west side of the old city, I saw a rabbit that was sitting on the tram tracks. It ran away as the sound of the tram approached.

Uli was hard at work? Almost, but he stopped to talk to me for a while. I told him that I would head back out into the downtown area and give him a call. I walked over to the Wasserturm and took some pictures of it. I had not noticed the surrounding gardens the first time. It has beautiful walkways that are covered by vines. I wasted the rest of my time looking at CDs and books (all my weaknesses), but buying nothing.

I met Uli back at his office. A colleague of his, Andreas, told him about some great “antiquarian” (either used or old) bookstores in Heidelberg. He even drew a map to show us where they were, although the map was not too helpful. We took the tram, which runs between the cities within the “Dreiecke” (an agglomeration of three cities that share public services and have common transportation systems.) It took us about 45 minutes.

Heidelberg is still the quintessential university town (thanks, Mario Lanza) with students from everywhere. It is much more attractive than Cambridge in Massachusetts, although it has a similar atmosphere. I bought two books, one which was that discussed the first decade of the FDR and that was newer and more readily available, another about the city of Dusseldorf and its politics that was probably uncommon but only costed 8€. Uli found nothing that he could afford: the things that interested were overpriced. We ate at a restuarant several blocks down from the university library: spatzle with cheese and pils. It was not too expensive, but it was really filling.

We ended our visit by climbing up to the Philisophenweg (Path of the philosophers, renowned as the hiking path of many of the great German writers took while debating with each other.) The path is across the Neckar River, and it is very steep. I was out of breath by the time we reached the path. However, it has an exceptional view. I was able to take some pictures of the castle/palace. We walked further down, but eventually descended to go back into Heidelberg rather than follow the path to its end.

In Mannheim, we went to a café to drink coffee and chocolate. We were both too tired to talk, but the caffeine helped us to be more active. We returned to his appartment. We drank a bottle of wine while we talked about this and that (you know, the nerdy stuff that students only care about.) We finally we to sleep around 1.30.

Day Four: leaving Mannheim for Cologne

Uli would have to work again, and I would have to leave before he was free again. We planned to meet at his office before I left. I would be able to sleep in late.

Uli’s floor was too hard for me to continue to sleep on. He was nice enough to give me a pad and a sleeping bag, both of which I used as a mattress, but I could only get so comfortable. I tried to sleep for another hour but succeeded only in lying on the ground with my eyes closed and cutting off the circulation in my limbs.

I took the tram to the train station and bought my tickets. I quickly went over to Uli’s office. I had only planned to stay there for a short time. However, we got to talking, and we were joined by one of his colleagues, Daniel, who seemed too well informed about politics in the US (he cited lots of recent and specific political issues that had been in the news; I think that he reads the New York Times religiously.) He was kind enough to drive me to the train station (I would be late for my appointment in Cologne, but my ticket did not have a specific time attached to it.)

The train ride was uneventful. It was on the Inter-City Express, which travels too quickly to make the scenery interesting. Uli had told me that the specific line that I traveled had been controversial. It would never make back the money that was put into it, and it was built to service an elite clientele–a “bankers’ express” rather than a needed line.

I arrived in Cologne after 4. My landlady met me at the train station on her bike; we would walk over to the apartment together. The apartment is one block north of the ring street (not within it as I thought previously.) The area has many outdoor cafes, and the apartment is not far from one of the portals of the defensive wall the Romans had originally built. The room is in the landlady’s apartment. She lives there and has one other boarder, a man who has lived there for some time (he works in the city, then travels back to his home town each weekend to be with his family.) I have not met him yet. The landlady herself came to Germany from Argentina. The apartment itself is cramped. I have the largest of the three rooms, which is much more than I would need. I think that the landlady is something of a pack-rat. She simply has too many things. The kitchen and bathroom are small but adequate.

Lastly, I went to buy basic groceries before the markets closed. The carts at the market require a deposit to use. I did not have the right coins, so I had to carry around all my selections (nothing special: some rice cakes, sparkling water, orange juice, gouda, carrots, and raddiccio.) I also did not bring any bags with me, so I had to stuff my food into the case with my laptop.

There are pictures, but I am having trouble uploading them

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Day One: the flight to Zurich

I hate flying. This is no secret. But at the moment the airline is delaying the departure of the plane in order to inspect mechanical difficulties (a part that wasn’t working properly while they were flying into New York.) And they already boarded us. What if they need to put us on a different plane? I am less concerned about arriving late than what a change of plane (or no change) might do to my nerves.

I could complain for pages about checking in at the airport. It is hard to tell whether the check-in process is safer or more bureaucratic. At least I was not selected (again) for the more painful process of detailed security checks (where they go through all the bags.) I only had to remove my shoes, my belt, my laptop from its case (although I was not required to turn it on.) This means that I have been intensively searched three of five times.

So, I started out the day by getting my hair cut. I held off until the very last minute so that my haircut would last as long as possible. Karen started to complain about how bad my hair looked almost two weeks ago. She escorted me to the hair dresser, and she waited for me in our local café (Thirsty Mind) and read while I was well shorn. We returned home. Karen worked on her garden while I finished printing up directions to archives that I will have to visit. I also let the bunnies run around–I won’t see them for a very long time. They were actually well behaved. For the past week we had them in the bedroom, where we had just installed an air conditioner in the window, in order to keep them out of the heat. They were not happy with that arrangement. It was very cold in the room. It was also very noisy (we were still trying to figure out how to use the air conditioner, but it was “freezing”, making lots of noise.) We brought them back into their own room the day before. I gave Ollie a big kiss on her little head.

I showed Karen how to call up pictures on the computer so that she could work on some projects. She had one picture that she wanted to print out. The picture kept coming out with weird colors, and we messed with the settings for an hour. (I eventually figured out that the paper type setting was not correct. I also printed a “test” copy on the back of an already failed picture, and I succeeded in getting ink all over the rollers.)

We left for JFK at 12.30. I thought that we would make it there in plenty of time. We had few problems driving south to New Haven. We got stuck in traffic as we neared Stamford. I wasn’t worried. Karen was–she wanted to leave much earlier than I. The traffic got much worse as we got into New York City. We were driving at a crawl. We arrived at the long term parking lot at 3.45. Karen knew best how to return home from there. She walked me over to the stop for the shuttle. I got on. The shuttle twirled around the parking lot, picking up more passengers. I thought that she would have left right away. However, I saw her car pulling up to the pay booth. Then, as the bus was leaving the lot, I could see Karen’s blue-silver Saturn turning in the opposite direction to go home. I don’t know if she realized that I was right behind her. I will miss her a lot.

JFK is a mess. There is so much confusion, so many unlabelled lines to stand in. When I finished with all the check-in business (including security), the time was 5.30, fifteen minutes before the plane was scheduled to leave. What a day!

Despite my fears, the flight was smooth. Only a few periods of turbulence. The plane itself proved to be unusually uncomfortable. I had been puzzling over the surprising lack of features–like controls for the air flow. Anna commented that she thinks that this plane, a 767, is normally used for domestic flights. One of the more comic aspects of the flights was my meal. Since I bought a ticket for the first time in a long time, I decided to order a vegetarian meal. The meal was there; it was served to me right away, and I was able to begin eating before everyone else. But the meal that I was served was odd. The main dish consisted of several slices of Japanese tofu (neither dressed nor marinated, just cut off the block) on top of rice cooked with vegetables. It had little flavor. There was a salad of iceberg lettuce; the lemon vinaigrette was so lemony and so creamy as to remind me of lemon curd, which I did not want on my salad. Where was the irony? As the attendants circulated with the regular meals, I overheard them offering either steak or vegetarian pasta.

After eating, I asked for a small bottle of wine. I fell asleep rather quickly, getting a few hours of solid sleep before beginning the more typical cycle of sleeping and waking up.

Day Two: Trudging through Zürich, Stüttgart, and arriving in Mannheim

The hypocrisy of the vegetarian meal, part II: the airline had another winner meal for me. A Nutri-Grain bar. Everyone else got a croissant, yogurt, orange juice, and raisins. The flight attendant gave me the regular meal–and the breakfast bar.

The plane landed late in Zurich. I almost missed my connection by ten minutes (the departure time for the connection was delayed as well.) The second flight, a commuter shuttle from Zurich to Stuttgart, was bumpy but uneventful. However, while I arrived in Stuttgart, the bag that I checked in did not. I puzzled as the conveyer belt turned round without revealing my luggage. Luckily, the airline knew exactly where the bag was (still in Zurich), and was willing to deliver it to Mannheim.

So, I bought my train ticket to Mannheim. That trip was uneventful. I arrived in Mannheim by 1:35 pm. Uli was waiting for me. Straightaway, we went to get something to eat. We went to a place called Hellers, a cafeteria-style restaurant that serves vegetarian fare. We sat out on the terrace, ate, drank, and talked. Then we walked over to his apartment, which was just across the River Neckar from the old city. We sat in his apartment for several hours while we waited for the Swiss Air people to call about my bag, which did not happen until 4. And then we waited until it arrived, just after 6. These period of time were unnecessarily long. Luckily, the bag appeared to be intact, with the exception of part of a zipper.

By 6.30 we were back out in Mannheim’s old city. Mannheim was originally designed to be consciously modern. All the streets were laid out in a grid pattern, the block labeled by letters and numbers in order to indicate position within the grid. It is easy to find anyplace in Mannheim, at least in theory. We went to a bar called Flic Flac. We ordered a Banana-Weizen, a combination of the local wheat beer and banana juice. The concoction was very refreshing, subtle and sweet. We went to another bar, Murnau (named after the 1920s film director), which had ample outside seating. I ordered a straight wheat beer, Uli a pils, both from the local brewer. The Hefeweizen was good, with a very clean taste. We talked about academia, comparing out experiences, questioning each other about the consequences of such-and-such. It was really nerdy stuff. Our waitress, on the other hand, was less than present. We wished to order some food from her, but could only get her attention with great difficulty. Uli had a sandwich, and I ate a Flammkuchen (a very thin bread with cream and some toppings, although mine had so much cheese on it that it more resembled a pizza.)

We returned to his place by 10. We were very tired. I could barely keep my eyes open. We made some plans for the next day. We will take a trip to Heidelberg and crawl through the bookstores there. Uli works until 2 or 3, so I will explore Mannheim in the morning (if I wake up early.)

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