Sea and sky twenty years later

I feel like a castaway but I’m not afraid
You and me and a couple of dusty volumes
I wanna be your Messiah but there’s no way
I feel the tide roll in around us

You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
I want you with me now don’t wonder why
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
Endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

This love’s like a labyrinth but I’m not afraid
You and me and a strong sense of forever
Like the old Swiss Family Robinson let’s drift away
If we go down at least we’ll drown together
(I can’t forget you)

You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
I want you with me now don’t wonder why
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky
Endeavor with me now don’t wonder why

It’s a little like this
It’s a little like being afraid
It’s a little like yesterday
Though I don’t mean to invade

Clouds rolled in front of your face
Your tears became the rain
I heard wonderful thunder
As you murmured
As you murmured my name
(Take me far away,
Teach my soul to feel that way
You take me far away
It’s wonderful, wonderful)

Roll away
Roll away with me
You be the sea and I’ll be the sky

It was only a few decades ago, but sometimes it seems like yesterday. When their music comes up on shuffle, I’m twenty something years old with big dreams and little experience. The band I went to hear on Friday nights at Sudsy Malone’s in Cincinnati were first acquaintances and then friends. Well, friends of friends at least.

Over the Rhine still exist as Karin Bergquist (vocals, guitar and other instruments, I think) and Linford Detweiler (bass and piano and pretty much any instrument he set his mind to playing) and various musicians complementing them for tours and recording and whatnot.

Back in the proverbial day, the band was a quartet with Karin, Linford, as well as Ric Hordinski (guitars) and Brian Kelley (drums). I enjoyed quite a few local bands when I lived near the banks of the Ohio River, but Over the Rhine I liked the most.

This song perfectly describes the male-female dichotomy. Mother Earth…Father Sky.

Something about these beautiful autumn days made me think about their music. ‘It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play‘. Taught them to play, indeed.

Getting back outside

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Deep into the fantastic autumn we were promised, and now that the Oktoberfest is finally behind us we can get onto the real heart of the season.

For mid October we’re having a genuine heatwave in Munich. It’s too late to call it Indian Summer, I believe. It’s warm and gorgeous in the daytime and not much cooler at night: it’s an Autumn Wonderland.

There has been leaf kicking, as well as plenty of conversations about how this is the best time of year. I wouldn’t bother getting into a discussion about it if you disagree. If you prefer summertime, you’re simply on the other team.

Winter? Well, that way of thinking has its place. I’m always up for a long dog walk in the snow, and huddling up in front of a fire is an exquisite pastime. Everything’s in a sort of hibernation, which appeals to my desire to ruminate and reconsider all of the things.

What about springtime you ask. Hmmm, you could probably make a case for that most tempestuous of seasons. I’d even entertain your arguments to be clear, whereas I’d ignore whatever the summer and winter folk had to say.

Nevertheless, I still find my mind wandering back to the fall. When you know everything’s dying, but it’s so beautiful while it’s doing it. The feeling that this moment in time is so precious and so fleeting – it reminds me to savour the now.

In the back of my mind I know the long, dark nights are just round the corner. Impatient and grumpy travellers on public transport we’ve got to look forward to and the once white snow getting increasingly dirtier and mushier. We’re not there yet, but it’s definitely coming. Encroaching upon our cheery last gasp of warm wind.

Don’t get me wrong. Aside from writing about it here, I’m not thinking much about the cold. Too busy revelling in the red and then yellow and then golden leaves. Even scrawling it here is keeping me from getting back outside.

Germans Love a Day off, even if the Reasons Behind it are Uninspiring

lahikmajoe:

Hmmm…there’s a lot more to this. Not just the costs.

Although it’s been quite expensive, most here seem to generally support the idea of Reunification. I think the criticism has been with how it was handled and that the costs continue to this day. It’s seen as a bureaucratic boondoggle, and if you question it, then you’re somehow a stingy bastard.

Originally posted on Laptops and Lederhosen:

2 GermaniesThis morning the sky was grey, I think. It was difficult to see though through the even greyer fog. Tis the season of grey, which is exactly how many Germans view their country’s Einheitsfeier, or Germany’s Day of Unity, which takes place today (3rd Oct).

Here in Bavaria the feelings of blaise are even more acute.

The following conversation I had with a Bavarian is by no means an absolute representation of ALL Bavarians, but it is a fair gauge of many Bavarians. (The conversation took place in German, over a coffee-not a beer.)

Me: “You’re too young to have understood fully the significance of the end of communism, what did your parents think?”

Fritz: “Well, I remember my father watching the events on television. He was transfixed. When the demonstrators clammered up the wall, I distinctly remember him turning to my mom, shaking his head and saying ‘this is going…

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in your autumn sweater

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It’s seasonal, I’m sure. The air gets cooler; those around me start whinging about it. Those of us walking dogs get our parks back and needn’t share them with fair-weather nature lovers.

People’s social media feeds are filled with photos and posts about leaves and Pumpkin Spice hot beverages and the like. Some who’ve had enough of their revealing summer clothing relish breaking out their sweater collection. I’ve lived places where one didn’t need a sweater collection. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Another change of season – who cares, right? We’ve got other things on our minds. You dig autumn. We get it. Anyway, what’s there left to say?

I’m getting to that.

For some reason, I hear Yo La Tengo singing,

‘…we could slip away
wouldn’t that be better?
me with nothing to say
and you in your autumn sweater…’

I’m one of those people who finds himself oddly restless while easing into fall. There’s that window between summer’s burning and winter’s solitude, and I want to relish it. Not necessarily fleeting, and it has been known to come in waves, autumn flirts with us as late summer still makes momentary appearances.

A cold, cloudless day has people huddling in the few beams of sunlight. We know it’s a diminishing resource, so we cut the fingers out of our gloves, pull on that jacket that still smells of the mustiest part of our closet, and soak up the rays.

It’s going to be a beautiful autumn. I can already tell.

Confessions of an Oktoberfest Hater

lahikmajoe:

Thanks for this Albert. Good stuff.

Originally posted on Laptops and Lederhosen:

A young man tossed this before being tossed by security, at 11:15 in the morning!This post is a guest post from my good friend Albert Mooney, who sums up succinctly what about half of the people in Munich actually think about Oktoberfest.

It must be like living in Rio and hating Carnival. Or being a Dubliner who dreads St. Patrick’s Day. Or a citizen of Nero’s Rome who has long grown bored with the repetitive tedium of watching Christians being thrown to the lions. I am part of a beleaguered minority of Munich residents for whom the final two weeks of September is something to be endured, not enjoyed. Ours is the Loathing that Dare Not Speak its Name.

I hate Oktoberfest.

I hate the noise. I hate the crowds. I hate the back alley stench of stale alcohol, sour breath, and undigested meat that wafts through our streets as if a drunken giant had just belched. I hate the febrile atmosphere of borderline mania that…

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Fully upright, I might add (Octoberfest edition)

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Getting started early

Sleeping rough in your best Lederhosen? Yes, it’s that time of year in Munich. The Oktoberfest has arrived and shot off with a vengeance. The celebrating is in full swing.

It does look a bit like there are casualties on the hill above the huge Volksfest, as the people who started quite early take a timeout. Perhaps they’ve been going all night. There are plenty of places that’ll cater to those who want such a thing.

I know people who live near where the Oktoberfest takes place, and they often take their holidays during the time just to get away from the insanity.

When I first moved here, I couldn’t understand the locals complaining about it. It’s one of the highlights of the year, right? What some citizens here call the Fifth Season. It brings so much business to the city: not just in the beer tents and on the carnival rides; there are also so many hotels and restaurants and assorted other locales that do bustling business.

A friend who manages a hotel assures me that they make a third of their annual profit during these two weeks every autumn. Because the local media has covered every possible angle about this thing, it’s always a pleasure to see what whimsical out of the ordinary tale that this year’s incarnation brings.

The best from several years ago was the live chicken who was protesting outside of the festival grounds. One of the most traditional to eat with your litre of Bavarian beer is half a broiled chicken. The number of chickens killed each year for this event is staggering to imagine. So, what do some animal rights advocates propose? To bring one very vocal chicken along to make her case in the name of all the chickens going to slaughter.

Wonder what miscellaneous non news will make itself available this time around. I’ll certainly pass it on when I see it.

Oh, and in case you’ve not yet seen this, here I am in my Lederhosen. Fully upright, I might add.

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An adventure waiting to happen

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Looking up at Burg Sooneck

It’s like a Renaissance Festival year-round. Ok, it’s only six months, but who wouldn’t want to live in a castle in the Middle Rhine Valley for as long as they could manage it? Back in the old days, if you found yourself set up in such style, you wouldn’t leave until some other knight came along and threw you out.

That’s far too much bodily injury for my taste. This is an entirely different scenario. Instead, the fine folks at the region’s Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe (GDKE), which in English translates as General Office for Cultural Heritage, have arranged it that one lucky blogger can live in their castle and wax philosophic about what it must really have been like to live in the Middle Ages. That is, if the Middle Ages had had wifi and modern lighting.

Even more importantly, please tell me they’ve got modern plumbing up there. I used to live in a cabin up in the mountains in Colorado, and there was only an outhouse – the thought of having to walk the hundreds of steps to get down to the valley just to use the toilet makes me wish I had a larger bladder.

Between Bingen and Bacharach, high above the River Rhine, is the Burg Sooneck. I’m sure that once I’ve moved into my future digs, there’ll be much more for me to tell you about this place and its surroundings. However, in the meantime, here are some fantastic photos of the place, as well as views from up above:

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Can’t you already see me there?

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A panorama shot of the Rhine

Here's a view looking down from above

Here’s a view looking down from above

 

Bragging up my bonafides

Why am I ideal for this opportunity? It’s not very Teutonic for one to brag, but that’s where having a Yankee like myself become the castle blogger becomes advantageous.

For example, I’ve written for all sorts of blogs over the years. Travel blogs are the most obvious. I’ve certainly written about Bavaria, as well as trips to Hamburg, Berlin or even the former West German capital Bonn, which is right down river from the Middle Rhine Valley.

Additionally, the main focus of my blog lahikmajoe is what it’s like being an outsider living in Germany. Over the years, I’ve written about such diverse topics as German history (both before and more importantly after the Second World War), cultural differences between English-speaking people and the modern day Germans, as well as funny misunderstandings that occur when an outsider doesn’t comprehend those cultural differences.

There’s nothing I like more when I arrive in a new German city or town than to map out the most interesting highlights of the area. Of course, I’m always on the lookout for some undiscovered gem of a story – some curiosity that the guidebooks simply don’t have the time or inclination to include.

Another one of my strengths? Not only do I speak German well, but I love interacting with people and discovering their stories. What more could you want from a castle blogger than someone who gets the essence of the regular folk, as well as their surroundings?

Last of all, there’s one more thing I bring to the table. Despite my rather simple camera, I enjoy taking photos. If you look through my blog, I take great care to find the ideal image that goes with a text. Look back at the photos above. You can almost imagine being there, can’t you?

Most importantly, I love a good adventure. My friend Patsy used to say, ‘Anytime you go out the door and you have no idea what’s going to happen that day, that’s an adventure.’ Can you imagine me waking up every morning in Burg Sooneck? That’s an adventure waiting to happen.