Christmas Day

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December 28th 2010
Published: December 28th 2010
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Sorry. Not only have I been really busy but I managed to lose the last post. So, I'll try again.

I broke off in mid sentence on the freezing platform of the station at Frankfurt Airport, waiting for trains that never came, However, eventually one came and i made it to Cologne, where, on the advice of my brother Chris, I had booked into the Ibis hotel at the station. He wasn't joking. I was accessed through a door in the station right next to the ticket vending machine!

With only two hours to go before the opera started at 6pm I needed to eat. Almost everything was closed except a super posh 5+ star hotel near the Dom. Asked the bounce guy where I could have lunch at 4pm. He directed me to the piano bar. I must be getting grumpy! First there was a couple smoking. And a well dressed guy with a weird Pommy accent trying to chat up the waitress, and two gay guys chatting each other up right in front of me. And a couple carrying on together with a dog, which at first was being served something to drink from a sparkling metal bowl but then, feeling ignored kept edging its way closer and closer to me until it was under my table! I'm allergic to dogs, although i quite like them! And if that weren't enough....a couple in which the Irish woman kept calling people on her mobile trying to get them to do a "job" near Trafalgar Square! I don't even want to try and guess what the job was. Crazy!

Rushed back to my monastic-style cell at the railway. Never seen a hotel room with a single bed. And I've stayed in some shoeboxes in New York and London. Quick change and taxi to the opera. On account of renovations they have transferred the season to a rather unlikely looking lecture theatre at the university.

It was a magnificent peformance. My young Australian friend, Brad Cooper was totally heroic and stole the show as Tamino. Wonderful voice, exceptional stage presence and perfect German accent in the dialogues as well.! Bravo! Lots of children in the audience and all were well behaved, so enthralling was the performance. Even the baby with the dummy.

Afterwards we took a tram to a restaurant with a most impressive high display of Australian wines up to about 20 feet! We had a great dinner and very welcome chat in English. It must be really lonely to be based in Germany working for two months in a short term lease flat and working with a cast whose first language is not English. Brad's German, like mine is adequate, but it's not the same.

My hope was to visit Bonn and pay my respects to Beethoven at the museum at his birthplace. However it was closed for the holidays. So I decided to return to Regensburg early in case of further snow delays. I did not want to be stranded in the dark as well as the cold. Luckily I discovered a special counter for 1st class passengers at the station and a lady who had time to help me. I guess it's like choosing airlines. If you pay a bit extra, when there's a problem they don't just leave you stranded. She advised me to avoid the direct high speed train, which coming from the north was likely to be delayed. Instead she recommended I take the scenic route long the Rhine valley. How lucky I was. It was so beautiful and interesting.
I have posted photos on my facebook page rather than here. Please check there as well.


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