Thursday, August 14, 2014

Praetorius and a bathroom door. Pass the oxygen!

Today we got up and loaded the bus. Our morning trip was several hours longer than expected thanks to construction. That's life. We had lunch, which was decent, then went to St. Mary (Wolfenbuettel) to find the grave of Michael Praetorius. What a spectacular church. I didn't bother to pay the money to take pictures but just walked around. We sang a piece of his from the steps, and when the guide found out we were a choir, he let us in upstairs to the exhibit. Amazing. A picture of the Compenius organ I played in Denmark one or two years ago was hanging on the wall, which made me all nerdy.

One tour guide said he was buried in an unmarked location on the right side of the organ and that the original stone was stolen. Another said he was buried near the marker under the left side of the organ. Yet another said all that is buried is his head, an arm, and a leg, and the rest of him must be "scattered about". Needless to say, I didn't get a picture with his grave because Lord only knows where his body lies. It was enough for me to be in this church and to know he is buried somewhere in it. 

At the end, the tour guide offered to take a small group up to the organ. I held back, not wanting to be pushy, but several people encouraged me to go so I did. The guide said we could go up to look at the console but only one at a time because they didn't want too much body heat near the pipes. When it was my turn, I was surprised to see pistons and wondered about the action. It killed me not to touch and play it. (One guy later joked that I "looked very pious" but I informed him my folded hands were because I didn't trust myself not to touch.) I stood there in awe with major goosebumps needing oxygen to be so close to such this instrument. I didn't get to play it, but I can say I've seen it up close and personal. I was also able to purchase a CD, which I cannot wait to listen to when I get home. 

There is one other organist on this trip who likes to make sure everyone on the trip knows he is an organist. (Maybe because he's not a member of the church?) When it was his turn to go to the console to look, he went over, picked up the tambourine sitting on the bench, and started shaking it loudly. Aside for being embarrassing, I rather think he doesn't understand the significance of this instrument. I so badly wanted to call Ross or Craig and chat about this since they understand both the significance and depth of the instrument as well as the frustration with American organists who clearly don't get it and spoil it/ give Americans a bad rap for those of us who want to go in and really play. The guide had told us before how serious it was to go one at a time, not to touch, etc. etc, and said he could get in big trouble if he didn't follow the rules. He made it abundantly clear. This guy either didn't hear, or didn't care, and found it amusing to try the tambourine. What. The. Heck. 

After this, we went to our hotel. Got there about 8:00. My roommate went out with other people so I had the room to myself. I decided to take advantage and take a long shower. This hotel, while it is not convenient to city center, is fabulous. Know why?

That is a door. Not made of glass or frosted glass. The mirror is on the OUTSIDE. The bathroom is all in one piece and all behind a closed door. 

The shower doesn't have a million buttons. It looks like this. 

It's not even super tiny. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to shave legs in most European bathrooms? Either the shower is so small that you can't escape the water that you have to turn the water off and freeze, or it's one of those other hotels with a bad door where you don't even think of shaving because you just want to get as much grime off you in 2 seconds lest someone walk in the room on you so figure you're in Europe so shaving and showering are semi optional. Not in this wonderful  Best Western!! Plenty of room in a big shower behind a closed bathroom door to shave your legs and take a proper shower without having to turn the water off and freeze. Oh, and once you are done shaving, you push this little button (not million and no tricks, just push the button) the water stops coming out of the hand held shower head and comes out of this. 

It is like it rains from heaven. A real shower head. O happy day. And as if this isn't good enough, they even have washcloths. In a European hotel. Yep, you read that correctly. No disposable camp washcloths here!

By now I know you are thinking this must be the best hotel in Europe. It gets better. There are free apples and ice cream in the lobby. They give you a free 2-day HVV pass. They have stamps for postcards. They are happy to break the large bills that the ATM gives you but that no merchant wants to accept. They give you mints on your pillows. Best hotel this trip. 

I took a looooong shower, enjoyed my mints and my room to myself catching up on emails until my roomie came back and then I went to bed. 

I feel like a new person. 

No comments:

Post a Comment