The wonderful room (suite, actually) that the convention has provided is cooling off with the afternoon breeze. I came in after a day of roaming and opened the windows. Windows here are a marvel. Someone should import them to the United States. They have a handle that when turned 120 degrees opens the window only at the top. When turned 90 degrees, it opens the window at the side like most American windows. The first time I opened one from the top, in Nuremberg, I thought I had broken the window. I figured it out eventually—without asking anyone. (A major victory for me.)
Today I saw some more of Leipzig, more music items, and then the history of the city—first in the Old City Hall (which takes the history from founding [around 1000, although dating actually begins a hundred years later]) to 1909 when the hall was replaced by the “New” City Hall. Beautiful old Renaissance building, with some good exhibits. This town continues to fascinate.
But the hard exhibit to see was the only free one I’ve found so far in all of my travels. It covered the history of the East Germany. There were some tour groups inside (I swear, if I don’t kill a flock of tourists before I leave, it’ll be a miracle; thankfully, the museum part of my trip is ending before I can act on this fantasy) so I paced myself to wait for them.
I know less about this history than I thought I did, particularly from the point of view of a great city trapped behind the wall. This exhibit didn’t just cover the history of Leipzig in the GDR, but the entire thing—and it had the sign from Checkpoint Charlie which is just—well, the world went crazy in the 20th century, I swear.
One of the guards realized I was on my own, and talked to me about the building of the wall. He was so matter-of-fact. He pointed out details I hadn’t noticed with a passion I hadn’t expected. So of course I asked him if he and his family had lived here before the Wall fell.
“Yes,” he said, and for the first time the matter-of-fact went away. He pressed his hands together, bowed a little, and added in a completely different, very fervent voice, “It is over now, thank God.” And then he walked away.
So much emotion in those six words, so much experience I can’t begin to comprehend.
Opening ceremonies start at seven, and then I have a panel at eight. I have to grab some dinner before it all begins, so I don’t have much time to write this. I’ll post it when I return, whatever time that is. I have a hunch the next two posts will be about the convention, unless I manage to sneak out and see more ancient instruments. (Doubtful. My brain is full.)
Okay…thought I saw my first jogger/runner in the park across the way. Turns out that it was a kid chasing a guy on a bike. The kid was beginning to lose ground. Everywhere I look, stories I don’t entirely comprehend….