Eeeearly Friday morning we left for Cologne (Köln), a big city with GOBS of tourists (more than Strasbourg, believe it or not!) covering the streets, and VERY expensive, well, everything. We were on a 5-star bus, and it was the best bus i have EVER been on. It was red and black and had black leather seats and TONS of leg room as well as a VERY good recliner. ;) 3 hours later, we arrive at
Kloster Maulbronn, a Cistercian Monastery from the 13th century. It was only used as a monastery until the mid-16th century when the Kaiser closed it down because he wanted only Catholic institutions in his province. It was really cool to see a monastery as opposed to a cathedral, because they are SO incredibly different. Apparently THIS certain monastery was the best-preserved monastery in all of Germany, and has a tower they named 'Faustturm' because the legend is that the actual Dr. Faustus that Goethe based the story on lived there. Today it is a Monastic 'Gymnasium' (the highest level of high school in the German school system), where there are 75 students who live and study there.
Then we stopped in Bingen 3 hours later, where we took a boat tour of the River Rhein, that ACTUALLY served as a means of transportation! I thought that was a good idea on the planners' part-- we had taken boat tours before but we always went through the city and back-- this one was on a HUGE yacht and it was a tour of all the castles, forts, and ruins along the river (what was funny is that the tour guide thing was automated-- in German, then English, then Japanese!). Very cool. ;) So we ended up 2 hours later a tad farther north, and then drove the rest of the way to Cologne. By this time, we were all exhausted from traveling, and we ate some dinner at the hostel and just crashed.
Saturday we went to (FINALLY) an Art museum. It was GREAT (although no one else appreciated it quite as much as i did), but it was a very heavily American-influenced museum. The exhibition was by an American artist with a German name, Lichtenstein, and they def had a few Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol paintings. ;) After this, we had free time ALL day, so we went to see the Kölner Dom (which was HUGE, had 3 organs and the highest staircase to the top of the tower in Germany) and after that we found food and then went to the Lindt Chocolate Factory museum. It was pretty much delicious. ;)
On sunday we drove an hour to Bonn, where we got a tour of a history museum for Germany, 1945-present. Yet another German history museum. I think i know more about Germany's history than America's, now. ha. But anyway, after that we had some free time in Bonn, and went to the Beethoven-Haus, where Beethoven was born! It was really cool, though i wish it had had some more symphony manuscripts rather than just trios and piano sonatas. I bought a few postcards. ;) Then came the 7 hour bus ride home in the rain and traffic! I don't know why anyone would have a car in Europe-- it's so pointless. If i lived here, I would most definitely take trains everywhere. It's the way to go.
Sadly, in my rush to pack when i woke up later than expected Friday morning, I forgot not only my scarf (which i could live without) but also my camera... so i didn't take any pictures. Technically I owuld have only had pictures from the Dom, though, so it didn't really matter-- and it was cloudy the entire day, so my pictures wouldn't have been super appealing. So it's okay! ;)
Next Stop: Baden-Baden for an art museum trip with my Art History class!
OH and i MIGHT get to play with an orchestra-- i emailed the woman in charge of personnel for the Akademisches Orchester Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet (the Uni that I am officially a student of) and she said that they don't often let people play who aren't going to be there for the concert (it's in January), but in their shortage of bassoonists, she said she'd ask the conductor if it was okay since they need one. Soooo hopefully I'll get to play with them! My audition in that case would be tomorrow night. yay!