About 12 hours ago, Enrique and I landed at Newark, thus drawing to a close the European (and for me, Asian) part of our summer. Magically, the travel went really well…
On August 1, we headed to Berlin to spend a few days there with my German sister Birke and my dear friend Vicky. The crap weather in Europe managed to subside for a few days and we wore holes in our feet, as we walked all over the place. It was something between my 15th and 20th visit to the city–I have lost count– but it was Enrique's first. We saw museums (Altes Museum, in particular because it is a Schinkel building and because it now houses the excellent Egyptian Museum; Stasi Museum, which I'd seen two trips ago), we ate Berlin specialities (currywurst, döner kebab and German-Japanese fusion), we went to beer gardens (Prater, Schleusen Ufer) and industrial beach bars on the Spree River (Kiki Blofeld, Klub der Visionäre). We saw my first love, Martin Nachbar, now a well-known dancer an choreographer — he'd not seen Birke since she was 7; there was a Noend reunion with Paul, Stephen and Dagmar — old friends from San Francisco; there was a tasty dinner with Vicky, Patrick and Vicky's friends Tanya and Erkran (I'd met Tanya when I lived in Munich).
Next stop, Düsseldorf, where I lived for a year in high school. I see my host family there every year but it was their first introduction to Enrique. (They approved, but Felix the dog did not. He was scared because Enrique is tall and has broad shoulders, says my host mom.) Düsseldorf, too, was about museums: the excellent K20 and K21 collections of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. I'd never been to the K21 before, which first opened in 2002. It was great. We saw Volkmar, my dear friend from school and beyond.
Today, we are the featured people on the home page of my favorite bookstore! Müller & Böhm Literaturhandlung have featured our pic on their site! Rudolf and Seelinde have been friends of mine since 1993–they put on dozens of events a year and now have moved into the Heinrich Heine Haus. Rudolf wasn't there my first visit because he was on the jury for the German book prize. I'm delighted to see their success.
We took a night train (in a private compartment, no less, which was cheaper than the 6-person compartments) to Copenhagen, saw an old friend there, repacked our goods, said goodbye to our hosts at ReD and our great apartment near the Kongens Have, and headed to Kastrup airport. The smooth good luck continued when we requested seats and actually got upgraded by SAS — the one nice thing the airline has done for us.
We are rested, we are in the US, but the travel continues. Enrique heads to Texas tomorrow to see his family. I go to Minneapolis tomorrow, then to SAN FRANCISCO on Thursday. My stay there will be long — at least 10 days — and then I'm trying to decide about whether to go to Burning Man.