Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Here it is: the last post on my trip to Germany!!! If you need to read from the beginning, look back into the archives. The trip starts in early July, and there are about fifteen installments.

Discovering my dissertation research part ?: The Final Stretch

August 10: A Day without a plan

I did not do much on Sunday. I realized that I missed a golden opportunity as the landlady had been absent on Friday and Saturday. I looked at a few of the Churches that I had not seen, most notably Gross St. Martin, which was right near the shore and appropriately large-ish. I also returned to the Wallraf-Richartz Museums in order to see their special exhibit to Cranach, although the focus was more on the collecting of his work rather than the artist himself.

August 11

I took the train and bus out to Pulheim one last time. The archivist was very friendly and helpful, and I got a lot of work done. The temperature had soared again. I was less than happy. I don't mind hot, dry weather, but the heat was not letting up. I needed some break.

At night I went back to Tilmann's bar. Herr Tilmann seemed sad that I would be leaving. He plied me with several shots of cold vodka, which mixed with the koelsch that I was drinking with the expected results. I spoke to some of the Africans who are typically drawn to the cafe—Herr Tilmann's wife comes from Congo-Zaire and attracts many of the local Francophones. He knows no French, which is comical. I also discovered that Frau Tilmann is featured in a book about foreigners in Germany: I saw her picture on a billboard advertising the book.

August 12

Another day without much happening. I went to the Cologne municipal archives and read through a ton of files. The weather was again miserable. However, it was sufficiently cool that I could return to the chocolate museum to replace what had melted in the original chocolate disaster so that I could bring it home to Karen. I also bought about 5 lbs (2 kg to be exact) of gummy bears. Karen bought tickets for us to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Hartford for the night after I got back. Gummy bears have a prominent scene in the play/movie, and the idea of a whole store dedicated to gummy products, called Baeren Land, tickled her. However, I could not buy most of the things because they derived their gelatin from pig. Pig? Well, they had some things made from plant-based thickeners that were very fruity tasting. However, the gummy strong men would have to remain in Germany. I also found an incredible mug that had a scene from the city. I can only describe it as the coolest souvenir ever made—very artsy.

I was hit with disappointment later. Uli could not take me in. He had gone crazy from the heat and had to leave Mannheim. He went to visit a friend in the Pfalz forest. I could not be too angry— Uli had come through for me many times. His timing was horrible. I had to tell the landlady that I would be staying until the Thursday morning. I would also have to find a hotel for the night in Stuttgart that was sufficiently near the train station that I could walk there in the morning. Rather than make solid arrangements, I decided to find a hotel when arrived.

August 13

The last day at the municipal archives. Hallelujah! I did not look at any files. Instead, I looked through books, compiling a list of books for a future bibliography (whether I would read them or not is still to be seen.) I also met another student, Gisela, who is working on identity in the Rhine province. I thanked the archivists who helped me. I was out by noon. I went to Sproesslings one last time.

That night I packed my stuff and cleaned up. I had collected many books over the weeks I had been in Cologne. They were not too bulky, but they were very heavy. I re-packed several times, looking for an optimal balance between the weight I would sling across my neck and would have roll behind me. I swept every place that I could reach. I thought that I did a pretty good job.

August 14: I am on the road to Stuttgart

I slept little. I finally got to sleep at 5, and I woke up later than I wanted. I told the landlady that I was ready to leave. I was anxious. She started to pull games. First the phone bill. I owed her thirty euros for two months of phone. I could not argue too much with this: on the realtors' website it said something special about the phone that I could not understand. I only objected to two months when I had been there for only a month and a half. Ok, moving on. Ten euros for staying an extra night. Excuse me! "I am leaving earlier by several days. I have all the e-mails to prove it!" She was going to charge me extra for cleaning up the room, saying that it would take her five hours. Again, I protested. The placed in the room that needed cleaning were inaccessible to me because they were piled high with her crap. I was very sorry that I could not clean a part of the windowsill that had gotten dusty, but there were six or seven large ferns in the way that I could not move. Every place that I could inhabit was spotless. She complained that I had been in the apartment too often. I was shocked. I paid to live there, not to give her money for nothing. What an incredible complaint! However, she backed down. Finally, fees for cleaning supplies and toiletries, etc. Finally, I asked her for what she would give back to me. 150 euros. Ok, I am being cheated out of 25 euros (if the phone thing is correct.) I am out of here. Goodbye, insane woman.

While I waited for the local train to take me to the main train station, I saw Rene. He asked how well I did with the deposit. He told me that I got more money back than anyone else in the past. He expected to get nothing back from the landlady. I was very happy. I felt like celebrating. Americans screw over Argentinians once more (reference to the collapse of the dollar zone.)

I bought a train ticket to Stuttgart. I specified a train that would be cheaper rather than allow them to put me on the really fast train that would cost twice as much. I made an excellent choice. The train that I took hugged the left bank of the Rhine all the way down. I saw all the old castles and vineyards, as well as the small towns and churches. I must take Karen on this train, it is too beautiful.

The beauty ended after Mainz. The direction of the train changed to go to Stuttgart. There were more hills, but nothing of interest to look at. When I got to the city, I walked right away to the tourist office to get a room for the night. 60 euros and right across the street from the station. The room was very small, more like a dorm, but it was very clean, the staff was very nice, and I had a view of the vineyards above the city.

I decided that I would give Stuttgart a chance. I have been through the city already four times. No one ever gave me any reason to see it, and I felt that it was unfriendly and uninteresting. So I walked around. Some of the government buildings were interesting, especially the baroque palaces. I went to the state history museum: the upper level had great displays on the Black Forrest, environment and the development of the cities and other settlements. However, Stuttgarters are mean people. They are pushy, bossy, rude. I felt uncomfortable.

I ate an a Vietnamese restaurant that night—curried tofu and pumpkin along with vegetable wonton soup. Excellent.

August 15: Millions of people out of power and I could not be happier

I woke up early, thanks to a phone call from Karen. It was a quick walk to the train station, which would take me right to the airport terminal. When I got there, the airline officials told me that there would be a problem. The plane that would take me to New York had not arrived at Zurich. I had heard something about the power outages over the news, but I did not think that they would affect me (I thought that JFK would be busy, nothing more.) They would have to keep me in Zurich over night if they could not reroute me. I chimed in: can you get me to Boston? All of the sudden, there were possibilities. They put me on Air France flights through Paris to Boston that would arrive by 6 EDT. What joy! Had I gone to New York, I would have had to have taken a cab to Grand Central Station and a train to New Haven before Karen would pick me up (she is afraid of driving in New York.) I could ask Karen to pick me up directly, and it would be a shorter trip home. Swiss Air gave me a voucher for a meal to fill up the extra time that I would be waiting.

The flights were uneventful. Air France was better than I expected, giving me a vegetarian meal on the fly and two small bottles of wine. I "spoke" to the guy next to me. When I was given the wine, the attendant forgot to give me a glass. He gave me his glass and ran back to get another for himself. Unfortunately, he spoke only Spanish. We communicated through whichever words we could figure out through various languages. He was going with six friends, none of whom spoke English, to New York for a vacation. Seven Spaniards in New York, watch out.

I was so happy when I saw Karen at the airport. I kissed her right away. The end.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

I must apologize for not posting more frequently. I tried to post every two days when I first arrived; I think that I was successful for several weeks. It has become more difficult for me to take the time to compose these entries for a few reasons. One, avoiding the landlady takes time out of my day. I must eat out at least once; I usually do so after I have visited the archives for the day, just when I would have started writing. But I also tend to stay away from the apartment more often, talking walks at night, spending more time at the internet café reading the posts from my friends’ blogs (I spend too much time explaining diplomacy and European politics), and visiting Herr Tilmann’s bar. Second, I have more work to do. The archives in Cologne have a wealth of useful information for me. I feel more comfortable spending more time there. And because I can take pictures of documents, I feel the need to sift through more. I have also started to visit another archive, that for the Landschaftsverband (an institution for self-government.) Third, it has been too hot. After sitting in front of my computer for five to seven hours, I don’t feel like typing for another hour. The machine has produced enough heat itself. Fourth, I have been too long without my wife. I think that a month is about as long as I can go and still maintain my sanity. Luckily, I will see her in about one week.

August 4: A new place to start

I woke up early. I had to get to Brauweiler, a town just at the outskirts of Cologne. I would visit the archives of the Landschaftsverband, a curious and unique institution. It started out, in the early in the nineteenth century, as the assembly for the nascent Rhine Province. When Prussia set it up as part of a promise to give the residents more control over their affairs, but they never gave it any political powers. Representatives met, discussed political issues, maybe approved a budget, and that was it. It had no legislative competencies. Over time and by its own efforts, it developed competencies in various social services, becoming a strong administrative organization. When Germany united, the assembly lost its ability to discuss politics, but it could not be eliminated as an administrative organization.

Brauweiler is a way out from Cologne, as least from the view of public transportation. I caught a train that got me to my bus stop quickly, and from there I waited. I must have waited for forty-five minutes for the bus to arrive. It wove its way through narrow streets. It dropped me off in front of an old abbey. I was confused. This was supposed to be where the archives are located. I expected to see something that looked like a German government building; this looked like a Catholic school. I went up to the office. Yes, I was at the right place, but I would have to walk to the other end of this campus (whatever it was) to find the archive.

I met with on of the archivist. He gave me the typical German-academic speech, at the least the one the meant “prove yourself” rather than “you’re full of it.” Specifically, he was not convinced that I could prove my project without making reference to identity. The specific things that I was researching, namely all the efforts at changing the relations between periphery and state, intrigued him, and he gave me lots to look at that had to do with self-government. I budget three days to visit this archive–it became clear very quickly that I would have to use that time to the fullest.

That night I went to Five Seasons, a vegetarian restaurant attached to a culinary school. I ordered buckwheat crepes with avocado vegetables and drank a bottle of wine. It attempted to do very little otherwise. I bought several bottles of water and hid from the heat as best as possible.

August 5: More Zzzzzzz

I spent the day at the Cologne archives. I did not do very much otherwise. Again, the temperature was too constricting. The apartment itself has become warmer. It has not been very humid, but the length of the heat spell has eliminated much of the cool spots in the shade. I ordered a pizza and tried to do little.

August 6: How much koelsch?

More Cologne, more work. I stayed longer at the archives in order to get more done. I poured over files from Adenauer, many of them which were enlightening, some of which were amusing. I especially laughed at one hundred pages concerning a home that Adenauer wanted the government to buy for him. Adenauer was not simply the mayor, but also the presidents of the provincial parliament’s upper house, the state parliament’s upper house, and the state’s federal commission (as well as on the board of numerous commissions and private organizations–he was everywhere.) In this latter position, as the president of the Staatesrat, he argued that this position needed to have a state financed home in Mainz where the commission met. The letters concerned the location, the style of decoration, the fabric colors, etc. Was this an early “While you were out”? For lunch a took the tram out to Sproesslings for lunch.

I went back to the apartment to drop off my laptop. The landlady had washed all my clothes. They had an extra-special stiffness that was also sticky. For the previous two days I could not shave because there was a problem with the wash basin. I was not happy. I took the tram up to Nippes to hang out at Herr Tillmann’s. I drank a bunch, but it was mixed koelsch with coke, something which felt more appropriate for the heat. I also ate something. I spoke with several people at the bar. One man was curious about why an American would be so interested in Germany. I spoke to another man from Niger who married a German and is making his life as a musician. I spoke to him in French, which was a relief to me, but which also amused the other patrons (I come to this German bar to speak English and French.) Frau Tillmann came down briefly with their daughter, who had just had her third birthday.

August 7: You think this will become more interesting?

Another day in which I overworked myself and avoided the landlady but not the heat. I did not eat a proper meal. I had a bagel at one point. I picked up a book that I ordered. I read a book. Sorry.

August 8: Back to Brauweiler

I spent my day at the other archive, working as hard as I could. I spoke a lot with the archivist; I also spoke to a man who was collecting old travel pamphlets for his own interests (someone going to the archives for fun!). I was particularly hot–I would learn later that it would reach 105 F. Germans don’t use a lot of air conditioning, preferring other methods to regulate temperature. It is usually not too bad, but it had been too hot too long. I was very uncomfortable. My crunchy clothes made me feel worse as I sweated into them. I ate an ice cream before catching the bus back to Cologne. Fed up with the state of my wardrobe, I grabbed up everything, especially that which the landlady had cleaned, and I went to the laundromat. I drank some beer while I waited. At night, I wanted to do very little again. The sweat was all over me. I had several bottles of water. I wanted to cook at the apartment, to use up the remaining food that I had left. I started to smell something funny as I was boiling water. I became concerned, not for the operation of the stove but because of the landlady’s attitude. Would she blame me for whatever is wrong with the stove? I cleaned up in order to make it look as if I had touched nothing. I went out to Osho’s to eat. I bought a beer on the way back.

August 9: I finally went somewhere

The previous day the archivist recommended that I get out of Cologne after I told him with all my troubles with the landlady (“the tribulations of research,” he said.) I told him of my plan to visit Maastricht, which he recommended enthusiastically. I woke up early and got to the train station. I bought my ticket that day. The path that they put me on would take me north into Netherlands and than south to Maastricht. I did not think that this would have been the most direct path–going thought Aachen should have been quicker. I took the ticket. By the schedule it would take two and a half hours to get there. There were four minutes between stops. I was not happy, but I did not feel like arguing.

When I got to Maastricht I went to the office to get a different travel itinerary on the way back. They claimed that I had to take the same path back because specific changing points were mentioned on the ticket. The woman printed out a schedule for me. It would take three hours to get back! If I missed just one train, it could take another hour. I was not happy, I would have to leave by 6:30.

Maastricht is, conveniently, on the Maas River. It is in the southern tip of the Netherlands in Limbourg, an area that was split between Belgium and Netherlands (Liege is the big city in the Belgian part). It is growing more closely to Aachen, sharing an airport with the German city.

It was cooler in Maastricht than it had been in Cologne. In fact, at one of the change points I could smell what I thought was salt–was I close to the sea? (Probably not.) I walked over the Maas River to the old city. The city has a very old look but is still in very good shape (it needs a little color is all). I could not find the tourist office right away, but the street signs marked the way to the interesting sites. I could see several large churches just slightly up the hill. The first, Sint Jan, is the main Reformed Church in the town. I believe that the building was started as a Catholic church; the orientation of the church was change to put to pulpit in the center. Next door was Sint Servaas, the main Catholic church. This was much more interesting. The style of Flemish art took me aback–I am more accustomed to seeing medieval churches. This was very airy. The artwork was more colorful and brighter.

I walked down the hill to the town center. I had no idea where I was going. I found the town hall, which was not terribly interesting. I stopped to eat some french fries. I walked a little farther. Down one street was the most interesting building, very tall and very slender. It was one of the tallest buildings (non religious) that I had ever seen of its age. I stopped to take a picture. Through the viewfinder I could see a big T–ah, tourist information. I rushed down to buy a small guide and a map. I stopped at an outdoor café for a beer while I looked over the map. I circled several things on the map that I wanted to see. I made out an ordered in which I wanted to see them. I forgot that things would close at five–an museums would be closed as well. The things that I planned to see first were outside and more easily accessible in the early evening. I went to the southern part of the town to see the old walls, several levels of them that were built as the city expanded and as military technology improved. The walls were in good shape. Surrounding them were parklands. There were plenty of water fowl. Streams flowed through to the Maas. There were lots of interesting small buildings. I was very content wandering around while I photographed things. Looking at the old battlements took some time. I stopped once for anther beer–it was getting hotter, but not as bad as Cologne.

I went to a book store and bought two books, one that used the death of D’Artagnan while attacking the city as a means to talk about the wars with France, another about the split of Limbourg. It was 4.30. I was not certain how I could use my remaining time well. I thought about getting something to eat, but I could not find a restaurant that interested me immediately. Language gave me a scare. I can read some Dutch if it pertains to history or if it resembles German in some way. I don’t know the words for food, and I was concerned about not eating something of which I would disapprove. Furthermore, I resent eating the only vegetarian dish at an otherwise meat-loving restaurant. I had already decided that I would have to come back some day, preferably with Karen. So I gave up. I took the train back to Cologne. There was an half hour stop in Venlo, and I looked around a little.

Back in Cologne by 9, I went to Sproesslings again for dinner–bulgur balls in a gratin with vegetables and a big pitcher of mineral water. I was exhausted.

On a sad note, I learned that some friends of mine were robbed in Taos, New Mexico. There car was broken into and their computer stolen.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

I have less than two weeks before I am reunited with my wife and all my pets. I cannot wait.

Discovering my dissertation research part 13

August 1: What the hell is this big mess of old letters?

This was a mildly productive and very uninteresting day. I went to the archives. I saw nothing of the landlady, although I heard her early speaking to Rene. At the archives I looked over a few things. I did not find anything breathtaking. One deposit, Mallinckordt, was almost completely restricted to public viewing. It consists of about 100 files. Most of them are the families work with charitable organizations and Mallinckordts exploration of genealogy, for which he amassed the records for 250 families. It also contained his business correspondences. What could be so controversial? I could not tell you. Only 7 of these files are accessible to the public. I tried to look at one of them: the personal correspondences between the parents and the children. I was not certain of what I would find. A huge box was brought out to me. Inside were three large packets. Inside these packets were every manner of letter, greeting, and well-wishing imaginable. There was no pattern to the file. Some letters were tied together, and they generally corresponded to the person who was receiving the letters. Other than that, it was a free for all. I would guess that there were two thousand letters from a ten year period. And they were so uninteresting. Anyway, as I was trying to get one of these old packets open, one of the assistants came over and said that he would have to open it for me. But upon further reflection, he did not think that it would be possible to keep the file in order if I did. Things were bound together with bows, etc. He called down one of the heads. He looked at the file and said that, while the file is public, it is unavailable for technical reasons. Someone would have to catalog it in the future. I looked at a few letters and decided that they were of little interest for me, and agreed that I did not need to read the letters. Was I the first person to try to look at these?

The historian who was helping me out came over to talk to me. He would be going on vacation for a few weeks and would not see me again (too bad: he was very nice.) We talked a little history, about how the research was going, about his vacation place in the Eifel.

I left the archives early. I rushed back to the apartment to pick up my clothes. A quick wash in Nippes, back to the apartment, watch a little TV, and take a stroll in the evening. Nothing special

August 2: Eating for two (meals) in Bonn

I had seen flyers around Cologne for a concert that would take place in Bonn. It would be a concert of world music. Two of my favorite artists, Bratsch (gypsy-klezmer fusion from France) and Rabih Abou-Khalil (a jazz oud player from Lebanon) would be playing among others. Cologne and Bonn are very close together; it is possible to take a streetcar between the two, but I would take the train. I had not seen or heard the landlady the previous evening or that morning, and I assumed that she left for the weekend without telling me (I was later proven wrong.)

I arrived in Bonn by 11. I would have earlier except that I was confused by the myriad of changes to the train schedule and missed several good opportunities to leave. I first tried to get to the tourist office. I followed the arrows. However, I ran into the Muenster. I looked inside. Lots of good Baroque artworks. I started to look for the tourist office again. Ooh, neat fountain. I found one of the Baroque palaces and look around (not very interesting, the building has been converted to offices and offers little but its structure to the viewer.) Oh, there is where the concert will be. Are these arrows leading me anywhere? I realized that I was walking in circles, as per the signs that were posted. I never found the tourist office, but I saw something of Bonn in the attempt

One of the reasons why I wanted to find the tourist office was because my Rough Guide did not put several of the sites on its map of Bonn (although it could have.) I figured out how to get to Schloss Poppelsdorf from the description in the text. There is a long green that leads up to the garden. I offered shade from the otherwise hot and slightly muggy heat. The Schloss was built by Clemens August in the mid-seventeenth century. In the early fourteenth century the Cologners kicked out the archbishop from Cologne. Although the city was technically the seat of the archbishopric and the citizens recognized the religious authority of the archbishop, the refused him political power (he was a prince bishop as well as an archbishop; he was also an Imperial elector and voted for the Holy Roman Emperor) and they physically kept him out. This was known as the Cologne Liberation. Ever since the archbishop made his home in Bonn, ruling over a large arch diocese. By the seventeenth century the Cologne arch diocese had become the play thing of the Wittelsbachs, the ruling family in Bavaria. Archbishop Clemens August was more interested in politics and world affairs that in religion, making him an uninspiring religious figure. He spent much of his time perfecting his skills in falconry. The palace was another Baroque structure with a nice courtyard. Much of it had been turned into space for the university and held no further interest. The grounds had wonderful gardens that were open. There were nice streams. There was also a large greenhouse, but the heat was already overbearing.

I tried to find the Robert Schumann house without luck. Schumann was one of the two great composers to have come from Bonn (the other being Beethoven.) I could not find the building. The description in the guidebook was inadequate; this is where a better map would have helped. My search did lead my to see some great houses.

I rushed back to the center of town. The concerted would start shortly; I wanted to fill up on some liquids before I stood out in the sun. Bratsch was the first band to play. I bought an album of theirs several years ago. It was called “Rien dans les poches” (nothing in my pockets), and the “o” was a ten centimes piece. They were inspiring. They played for one half hour, two klezmer pieces, one french folk song, and some Eastern European dances.

It would be another hour before Abou-Khalil would play. I went to Cassius Gardens, a vegetarian restaurant near the train station. I had to fill up on food (I am eating for two meals now.) Also, I needed vegetables. Since I have avoided cooking meals my diet had become dominated by the starchy, cheesy, salty, and chocolaty food groups. They had all sorts of good stuff. My favorite was the sauteed chard hearts. I need to make that for Karen and me when I get home.

I ran back in time to see Abou-Khalil. Karen introduced me to him when she bought his CD for me. He plays a type of jazz backed by band instruments (including tuba instead of string bass) with Middle Eastern melodies. His performance was stellar. He has added someone who does throat singing, which added to the already complex textures. I found a place that served a koelsch that I had not yet tried–Kurfuersten Maximilian. It was good, but I think that it was a bit strong for koelsch. It was too fizzy.

I did not feel like staying around for the rest of the show. I took a train back to Cologne. I bought a CD (Ernst Bloch for 5 euros.) Late in the evening I ate some ice cream.

August 3: Why am I here?

I planned to see a little of Cologne but to do nothing strenuous. I bought a train pass for the next week. I have to go to a suburb called Pulheim to go to the archives of the Landschaftsverband, which is a self-government organization. I went to Osho’s (you know, the cult-hippy place) for their brunch. It was good food. After that I went to the Historical Museum of Cologne. I had been there the last time. It is not special. The one in Dusseldorf is more extensive and exciting. I just wanted to take pictures of some of their collection for my records; maybe I will find them useful for my research.

I went east from there. I came across a church that houses the remains fo Adolf Kolping. He was a Catholic priest who started the Catholic social works movement and who oversaw the organization of Catholic trade unions. The church also had the tomb of John Duns Scotus, whose dedication to Catholicism has given the English language a word for muddled thought–dunce.

I thought about going to the Museum for Decorative Arts (it is a good collection) but I did not want to stand around a whole lot. I went to the old city and drank a few glasses of Koelsch. I went back to the apartment to watch my Star Trek

In the evening the landlady asked me a few questions. When would I be leaving? How have I been calling home, with a calling card? Why are you always here over the weekend? Why don’t you go anywhere? Why don’t you cook in the kitchen? (These were, of course, related questions. I can’t go anywhere because I must eat out all the time because you are so obsessive.) Then she turned her attention to the recycling. There is a wire basket hanging from the wall into which were are supposed to put things that can be recycled. I try to bring something with me from this basket every day. She complained because I took some plastic bottles for which she could have received 25 cents for a returned deposit. I think that this was too much. If she wants the deposit, she should not put the bottles with the things to be recycled. I cannot determined her intentions with this. Besides, I am certain that I would be blamed for the accumulated clutter anyway, so why should I care!

Friday, August 01, 2003

Discovering my dissertation research part 12

I have decided to avoid any activities that will get the landlady going. Specifically, I no longer cook anything complex. I eat out as much as I can.

July 29: Research at HAStK

I started my research at the Cologne Municipal Archives (HAStK.) I was very happy that I would not have to take the train for at least one hour today, and that I could sleep in late. The landlady left earlier. I would not have to see her until later, thank G-d.

I arrived at HAStK around 10. I was not sure what I should expect. I wrote to the archives several months ago. I realized that the historian responded was under the impression that I was interested in the era of the French Revolution, which I am not. Over the past two weeks I wrote several times trying to correct this impression, but I received no further responses. In fact, I had delayed coming to the archive because I wanted to straighten the matter out–I would have to be assigned another “Ansprachspartner” (an archivist who acts as a liason as well as an advisor) for the modern era. There was no problem. The original Ansprachspartner passed me off to another write away. He and I talked about my research (perhaps one of the most productive conversations I have ever had in German.) He and his colleague received my ideas with great enthusiasm. They brainstormed several creative approaches that I might take. I think that they enjoyed themselves. They gave me a whole stack of catalogs to look at (it might take me the rest of my trip to look through them all.) They also said that I could photograph documents with impunity; they even have a room with a camera mount to photograph vertically. Well, thank G-d again. I went straight to work. I was excited. Everyone was so nice and helpful.

I stopped on the way home at a falafel place near Neumarkt. I have decided that the best way to survive the next several weeks is to not use anything–at least not anything in the kitchen. I returned to the apartment, watched a little TV, got some work done. I fell asleep early.

July 30: Second Verse same as the first

Much of my day was just like the day before. I went to the archive. I read catalogs. I ordered some documents. I took lots of photos–about 160. Not all of it was important. One file was a discussion about whether it was more appropriate to spell the city’s name “Coeln” or “Koeln” (the former held until after WWI; it changed, as did many other cities in Germany, from C to K, and as did the names of many historical figures (Charlemagne changed from Carl der grosse to Karl der grosse.) One document was precious. It was a letter from a society for proper writing that said excessive use of C was inappropriate, that it should be pronounced like Z (which is like an English S), and that it was very “welsh” (which is how Rhinelanders used to refer to the French.) It produced a wonderful, quotealbe phrase (when translated): “Cologne is so un-German.” I also found a bunch of letters form Nazis that talked about why they hated Adenauer so much:

To Lord Mayor Adenauer in Cologne on the occasion of his refusal to dissolve the “public enemy” Prussian Parliament:

Thief, Traitor, Separatist, and anything else that you are. You have sold German power to Rome, you scoundrel. Now the German People will be stained; to the lamppost with you, you Schweinehund.

(The last sentence refers to the manner in which unpopular officials were executed for “treason”. Schweinehund is literally “pig dog”; it is usually translated as bastard (which makes no sense), but no English words can approach the vulgarity of this word for Germans.)

I stayed at the archives until after five. I walked around a little, not doing much really. In the evening I dropped in on Herr Tilmann to have a few koelsches and to have a bite to eat. He asked me about the progress of my research. I took a few pictures.

July 31: Last day in D’dorf

I had to go to Dusseldorf one last time. I had some photocopies to fetch, I had to say goodbye to the people who had helped me there, I had to use my train pass on the last day that it would be valid.

I was very quick at the archives. I tried to order some files, but found nothing interesting. One file was in such bad shape that they would not give it to me. The other was just off-topic. I talked to the historian who was helping me there. I asked him why there was such a poverty of documents for the period of the Second Empire. One possible explanation: the Nazis removed many documents to their own building, classified them, and they were consequentially destroyed in Allied bombings.

I was out by noon. I had a big day planned. What would I see? Anything. Everything. I started with the city museum, which is part history and part fine arts. It was near to the river by one of the ponds (Dusseldorf has such beautiful parks.) The Stadmuseum is large. The first floor is devoted to history: urban growth, the various houses that have ruled over Juelich-Berg-Cleve (the right side of the Rhine); archaelogy, lots of models that showed the urban layout and the architecture, portraits of rulers, their furniture and insignias, etc. The second floor finished up the theme, ending somewhere in the nineteenth century. Most of the second floor contained more modern stuff, namely “Junge Rheinland”, and arts movement from the nineteen twenties and thirties. The artwork was excellent; I was surprised that I had never heard of many of these painters and sculptors. Then it hit me–my camera. I ran down to the lowest levels to the lockers to get my camera. On the way up I heard the bad news–my knees. I knew that I would have problems if I were to stand too long. I decided that I would go through this one museum (I was discovering so many important things) and I would call it quits. I took all the photos I wanted; many were blurry as I could not use a flash or hold the camera steady for so long. I was happy with what came out. The last section of the museum was a combination of contemporary art and history. Dusseldorf appears to have had a active arts community over the past fifty years.

I grabbed to quick Altbiers before heading to the train station. Before I got on the train, I visited the guy at the creperie one last time. The train was late and crowded. At least I had a seat. I stayed in the rest of the night looking over my notes.

Plans for the weekend

So am I going somewhere interesting this weekend. No. I am only going to Bonn, which is so close to Cologne that two tram lines run between them. Bonn is hosting a free musical festival. Bratsh, a Roma band from France, will be playing.

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