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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Greetings from Cologne

It is Wednesday morning. I have awakened rejuvinated and refreshed after a day that I slept through several hours of (although I did manage to tour the impressive cathedral, walk around the city, and have a delightful dinner with Christian and Dorthe, my hosts here in Cologne. (Köln, in German, and I think I even managed to get the accented O right!)

I know Christian from Czernowitz last summer, He and Mimi Taylor were instrumental in getting the cemetery project going. Christian does not have a familial connection to Cz, nor is he Jewish. But he is a student and preserver of history(Christian, if you have a better way to describe your interest in Czernowitz, let me know!) and has become very committed to seeing the project continue and have the cemetery maintained. He is in fact leaving in a few days to return there, and meet up with Mimi and her family, and this year's volunteer group. Returning also to work on the cemetery this year are Shannon, the Peace Corps volunteer and other American from last year, Katya from Germany who has decided to do her thesis on the cemetery (and asked if she could use excerpts from this blog) and also Marina from Cz who joined us last year. I apologize if this is repetitive for anyone reading this. I just don't know who is reading what, and I continue to be amazed by the amount of continued participation in this project.

So here I am, at Christian' and Dorthe's computer, in theirwonderful apartment, while they are both at work. Their apt. Is a mix of styles. The first thing I noticed was a collection of toy cars, which Christian told me were Russian. The ceilings are very high, perhaps 12 or 15 feet. And quite a few of the walls are lined with bookshelves, all the way up to the ceilings. Christian pulled out a ladder in order to climb up to one of the upper shelves where there was a book he wanted to show me.

There are wonderful old details, like the ceilings and beautiful windows, and t the old ceramic tile stove similar to ones I've seen in Romania, the Czech Republic, and Polands. And then very modern appliances and shelves from Ikea and the like. Someone in this apt. clearly likes the color orange! I notice the color everywhere. It puts me in mind of the Christo installation in New York, the Gates, with orange banners lining Central Park, redefining our perceptions.

My one and a half days here so far have been delightful, and have given me a chance to slow down and relax a bit too. It is a beatiful day, as was yesterday. And now, having somewhat caught up in time, although there are still so many things I would like to relate, I will stop writing and go out into the city to enjoy the environment and visit a couple of museums. There are some very interesting sounding ones. Yesterday I visited the very impressive Cathedral, and have spent some time walking around with Christian, who knows his city and its history well.

I hope to write more about my Köln adventures soon, the ones I have already had, and the ones yet to come. I will be here another day and a half, and will leave for Karlsrühe tomorrow night.

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