Friday, January 12, 2007

January 12, 2007 - Friday

Today is my birthday! Last night everyone was amazing and toasted to me at midnight, and I got many, many birthday wishes today. I think this trip has definitely been a great way to form valuable bonds with fellow musicians, and many people I've met or gotten to know better on this trip now feel like old friends.

We started the day with a morning rehearsal in the hostel. In the afternoon, we ate at a restaurant called KaDeWe. The food was absolutely amazing, and I got to practice my approximation of the weight of so many grams (instead of pounds) after all those years of measuring it in a lab! After lunch, a bunch of us went to the Judisches Museum. There were many intriguing and eye-opening exhibits, including my favorite, which was a long tunnel with brass gaping faces covering the ground. When walking into the darkness at the end of the tunnel, all you could hear was the eerie clanking of the metal faces, and since you had to watch your step, the ground seemed to be staring up at you from all directions. The exhibit was embodying the forgotten memories of holocaust victims, and I thought it was extremely effective in doing so.

After the museum, we stopped by Checkpoint Charlie on the way to the Komische Oper to watch Strauss' Die Fledermaus. Since this was one of the first operas I'd ever seen, it was very entertaining and reminded me of how centralized Berlin culture was around the arts. On that street alone, there were many different opera houses, and the house we went to was full. On a related note, it was also interesting to walk around malls and parks and see a substantial number of people walk by with recognizable instruments on their backs (cellos, violins, trombones) - something not regularly seen in America.

After the concert, the conductor of the opera orchestra, conductor of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca, and family friend, Kimbo, took Chris, Steve, one of his friends, and I to a German restaurant for amazing food, drinks, and dessert. He even got me flowers for my birthday, and, being his birthday the following day, had a wonderful time.

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