Devon on November 10th, 2008

The class arived in Heidelberg (November 4, 2008) at about 1pm after a 4 hour train ride. We walked from the HBF to our hotel, checked in, and freshened up. Heidelberg is known as a University town in Germany (much like College Station in Texas). We came to Heidelberg to walk the Philosophers Walk. On the northern side of the Neckar, the Heiligenberg hill, remains of the celtic fortress and the Philosophers Walk. The walk got its name from the fact that Heidelberg philosophers and university teachers are said to have once walked and talked here. It has excellent views of the old town and castle. The walk is basically a narrow staircase up a moss covered wall alleyway. It was an interesting walk; mainly valuable for the style and views over the city. After the walk, we headed back to the hotel. AIB paid for a group dinner at our hotel authentic German restaurant. We had a fantastic announcement from Cat (and Josh, her husband) that they are pregnant; with a baby girl. They told me about two weeks after we got to Germany, but I had to keep it a secret for months! It is nice to be able to talk about it now. In celebration of the news (and presidential election that night), we had a party in one of the hotel rooms and watched CNN (in English) on TV. The next morning, right as we woke up, we turned on the TV in our room and got the election results. Obama! It is kind of strange. In the States it is posable to almost ignore the election as it is happening. In Europe, it is everywhere. The whole world is watching the States; you just cannot escape the election. It is nice it is finally over. I think I can speak for everyone in my studio, we were tired of being asked “Who are you voting for?”

On Wednesday (November 5), the class checked out of the hotel at 10am and went back to the HBF. We got on a train to Munich. We arrived in Munich around 1pm. We used the U-Bahn to get to our hotel. It was a nice 3 star hotel owned and located centrally in a district close to my heart. We checked in, freshness up, and then gathered and headed to our first tour. We all went to met with Munich’s Landeshauptstadt Baureferat office; essentially Munich’s Park, Recreation, Public art department. They gave us a 2-3 hour presentation on how Munich incorporates art into all aspects of development. 2% of a project in Munich must be devoted to art (public and private). So a $2 Million building in Munich would have a huge public art budget requirement. The building the department is housed in is amazing! The art they had instated is fascinating. A whole circle of the courtyard rotates. It is hard to explain in words. The project was called “Courtyard in the Wind.” I’ll find a picture.

After our presentation we went to an authentic Bavarian restaurant, Hofbräuhaus. The Hofbräuhaus is a brewery in Munich, owned by the state government. The Hof (court) comes from the brewery’s history as a royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The brewery has the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest. Its own brew, of course, is the only beer served. We went to Bavarian night at the restaurant. They have shows of authentic Bavarian dancing, singing, and merriment. It was fascinating to see, I got some movie clips. The food was an all you can eat buffet, and really good. As a side note, The Hofbräuhaus in Munich was one of the beer halls used by the Nazi Party to declare policies and hold functions: On February 24, 1920, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the twenty-five theses of the National Socialist program at the Hofbräuhaus, which reconstituted the German Workers’ Party as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, known as the Nazi Party. Some of the first violent attacks on Jews took place at the Hofbräuhaus. All in all, even with the tainted history, the Hofbräuhaus is one of Munich’s pride and joy.

Now, for the past day my stomach has been feeling bad. I was getting bad cramps. At the restaurant I made sure to chew really well and only got Sprite. The next morning it was worse. I needed to use the bathroom every 2 hours. We went out on a city tour to see some the highlights from the presentation last afternoon. Walking around the city, not knowing where bathrooms were, and being outside in the cold was unbearable. The public art was cool. My favorite was the infinity staircase.

The next morning (November 7) was our last day in Munich. We were all gathering in the lobby at 8am to check out. When I came down from my room, I was as pale as a ghost. I felt offal. I was in so such pain. I was thinking I may need to cancel my weekend in Zurich and go back to Bonn. I talked to Miriam and Naderi. They told me to stay at the hotel and rest (we had our rooms until noon). It was a hard decision because I missed the Dachau Concentration Camp Tour (I got pictures and a summery from my studio people). In retrospect, it was a good idea to miss it feeling they way I did. I went back up to my room at 8:30am and at 8:45am M’Lynn showed up at my door. She was sick too. We both slept in the room until noon when Naderi came to get us and check out. We then sat/slept/rested in the hotel lobby until we needed to go to the HBF at 5pm. M’lynn went back to Bonn. I was feeling slightly better having rested and slept all day so I went to Zurich, Switzerland. And I am very glad I did.

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