What do you do when you’re sick on your audition tour? Make the most of it and enjoy the culture! Even though Susan was battling a cold on week ten of her audition tour, she worked through it and decided to be a tourist. Susan travelled to Dresden and even met up with GVAI’s founder, Christine! They had the chance to attend a concert, eat some delectable German food, and visit a Weihnachtsmarkt.
“This week, something I've been successfully avoiding since I arrived here finally happened. I've got a cold. It could be worse, though. I didn't have an audition coming up this week, so a cold is no dire disaster. It's just means a lot of rest. I'm doing a lot of sleeping and drinking orange juice, trying to convince my body to fight this and get past it as quickly as possible. I learned how to say, "Ich habe eine Erkältung." This cold came with a cough (Husten), I'm afraid. Because of that it has slowed me down in terms of my singing this week. No use trying to practice if you can't get through a phrase without coughing or needing to blow your nose. My main regret is that a cold makes for pretty dull reading. Nothing fascinating about naps.
In more exciting news, I did manage a day trip over to Dresden this week. It's an easy 2.5 hours from Berlin. I met up with Christine (Hi Christine!) and she showed me all around. First, we went to the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon. Fascinating stuff in there, clocks going back to the 1500s, an entire room full of globes...
Next, we went to the Dresden Cathedral to hear a noontime concert of organ music. The Dresden Cathedral itself is beautiful; it's a very white, airy, open space. The thing that knocks me out about organs like that is that they're designed to suit the space they live in. So sitting in the church, listening to this man play Bach, you can feel the music vibrating in your whole body - as if the man plays the organ and the organ plays everyone in the room simultaneously. There's something fundamental about live music as a communal activity. What's a language barrier in the face of an experience like that?
Next we got some lunch - wonderful, traditional German fare including Wurst (sausage) and Glühwein and mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, all delicious. Then it was off to the Grünes Gewölbe or the Green Vault, a museum containing the largest collection of treasures in Europe. This place was fascinating. The craftsmanship required to make these things was unreal. In addition to the jewels and goblets and statues, they actually had a lot of things carved out of ivory; which is crazy to think about how commonly used that sort of material used to be.
We wandered over to the Dresden Armory and saw lots of weapons and armor- horses all fitted out for battle with matching plumes in their helmets, which was fascinating. One thing I was not expecting was that a lot of the weapons had intricate designs on them if you looked up close. The craftsmanship was unparalleled. We saw a shield that had entire scenes on the side of the shield that only the person using it could see - equal parts an object of art as an object of war.
Next we went and visited in the Weihnachtsmarkts. As I've written about before, I love Weihnachtsmarkts. I find them all charming and wonderful - they literally roast chestnuts and have colored lights and christmas trees - everything smells great and looks great without fail. They take Christmas very seriously, in general. In Dresden, they have a Weihnachtsmarkt that goes back 583 years. And at another Christmas market all the people at their stands dress up like it's still the Middle Ages. They have it in the same place where the stables used to be when the castle that is now a museum was still being used as a castle. We had a ball.
We saw the Frauenkirche - with white stones and black stones. The black stones had been retrieved from the rubble after the war. They held a series of concerts to raise money for the restoration, which took them years. We didn't get to see the inside because they were having a rehearsal in there. I guess it just means I'll have to make my way back to Dresden someday. Next, we went to another concert at a different church - this one of choral music, which was very lovely. Then it was back on the train and back to Berlin before bedtime.
I’m sorry to make this week's news such a travelogue. Hopefully by next week I'll be feeling better, singing more, and napping less. Send me all your healing vibes, please.”
All of us at GVAI are sending you healing vibes and wishing you a speedy recovery. If you read Susan’s blog, what is your best secret to getting well quickly? Comment below! I would recommend plenty of Zinc, Vitamin C, Chicken Noodle Soup, a Hot Toddy, and of course, tons of sleep. Subscribe to the GVAI blog to hear more updates on Susan’s journey.
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