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Published: July 19th 2013
The castle from the middle of Wernigerode
Crashed hard last night, but got 8 hours uninterrupted sleep, which was lovely. I still don't feel entirely with it, but am currently thinking that might have more to do with lack of caffeine than with sleep deprivation for the first time so far this trip, so yay!
So, yes, the hotel is set at the base of a bunch of ski jumps, and apparently used to be the home base for the local ski club. As a result, our after-breakfast rehearsal was held outdoors in the spectator stands, our voices echoing lovely-ly through the hills. BR joked that we should start singing "The Hills Are Alive". Wrong country, but, you know. To Be Sung On The Water is still freaking us out - not because it's the hardest piece, but just because we haven't practiced it as much.
We have since moseyed into town, taken in the cute square and the amazing old timber-framed buildings and ... 13h50
I got interrupted by our sound checks. We're singing in two different venues over the next few days - a beautiful old church from the 16th century and a more modern conference centre. Both have great acoustics, so it should be pretty good.
Lunch was at a nearby school... And after all the amazing meals we've had it was a bit of a disappointment. Not that the food was particularly bad (some sort of meat and cauliflower and potatoes and gravy, a definitely artificial cherry juice and some cucumbers in vinegar with dill) but there was a massive lineup and it took us forever.
Spent a large part of the afternoon on a walking tour of Wernigerode, where we learned about its medieval origins, growing up around a monastery as folks began to take advantage of the natural resources In the area. This place has an incredibly rich history, up to and including relatively recent history as a part of East Germany, the effects of which are still being felt in land claims today. Also learned about its history as a centre of witchcraft, both historically (several witches were burnt here during the witch hunts of the early modern period) and fictionally (Goethe featured the area as a witches' gathering place in his Faust).
There was a choir-y parade of nations and opening ceremony around 5pm, which was kind of nifty - we were the cool ones handing out swag along the parade route, after all, after which many of us ate dinner on the market squad, and then promptly returned to the hotel to crash.
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