Highlight of my London week was definitely my night at the theatre on Monday. I saw Disco Pigs, a dark comedy featuring Evanna Lynch, who you may know as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. It was my second time at Trafalgar studios and I was riveted once again. Their blackbox-style theatre puts you within ten feet of the two actors, who spend the whole 170-minute performance onstage — no set changes, no costume changes, no intermission. It’s a really intimate experience.
Then came another weekend away! On Saturday I jetted off to Germany, where after almost 13 hours of trains, planes, and automobiles, I arrived in the quaint town of Forchheim. It was absolutely charming.
My mother’s dear friend Kathrin was born and raised here, and still spends a few weeks every summer at home since moving to the U.S. She was so incredibly kind as to host me and share with me the tradition she’s participated in since a child — the annual Annafest!
They dressed me up like a local and we were off to drink mahs, giant liter-sized beers served in the traditional jugs, from a few of the 27 total pop-up bars or “kellers” (cellars) that appear for the festival. They also had a parade of young girls who were crowned Queen of different traditions – Beer Queen, Kraut Queen, you name it. The coveted spot is won by knowing the most trivia on the history, varieties and most importantly, how they are made. This was likened by Kathrin to the Miss America pageant in prestige and career prospect. I only wish our pageants back home could involve beer-drinking… I might even have a chance then!
Sad to leave but excited for my next destination, I bid farewell to my new friends on Sunday morning and hopped a train to Nuremberg.
On my way to Germanische National Museum, I stumbled upon this adorable eco-friendly goods market in St. Mark’s Square. Wandering there was a great way to learn about what kind of goods and foods are popular with the Germans, outside of what is offered to tourists.
This detour cut into my itinerary a bit, but I still found time to explore the art and scientific instruments at Germanische’s National Museum. What I most wanted to see was the world’s oldest surviving globe, created by Martin Behaim in 1492 — before worldwide knowledge of the Americas. To my dismay, it was out for restoration until November 2017, but I got to see the box it occupies. Close enough…
Luckily the museum’s main attraction is a pretty permanent one. The Way of Human Rights lines the museum entrance with giant pillars listing the articles of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights in multiple languages. This monument was created in 1993 to embody Nuremberg’s commitment to champion international justice and equality in the modern era.
My exploration of he city’s history continued at Doku-Zentrum, a museum established on the former Nazi Party Rally grounds. Its various rooms go into detail on the psychological strategy of Hitler and the Nazi party to create a cult-like sense of community and power in their movement, which these Rallies and structures played a large role in at the party’s peak. They also brought great pride to the city of Nuremberg, which was honored with the title Reichsparteitagsgelände and grew to an unprecedented prestige. After all the grandeur and brainwashing faded, the city was redefined as a world leader in human rights when the Nuremberg trials yielded the first ever conviction of political figures for international crimes. It was a surreal experience.
On a lighter note, I had friends from Atlanta visit me on Friday as they stopped into London during study abroad — I delighted in showing them some of my favorite areas, like the local I am – or wish I was!
London treated me well this week. I had to stop by the wildly popular Duck & Waffle, which sells almost exclusively — you guessed it — duck and waffles.
Then Carissa and I had a little taste of home at Bird, which does fried chicken arguably as well as we do in the south. It didn’t hurt that they put bacon and American cheese on there too.
And of course, I had to have me some traditional German food over the weekend – I went for a Saurkraut stew with assorted sausages mixed in. Delish.
Last week I visited FleishmanHillard Fishburn for a few days and tried my hand at some PR research. It was simultaneously a lot harder and a lot less advanced than I thought it would be — basically, a lot of elbow grease. I think that may be the first time I’ve ever gone past the second page of Google search results….
Still, very educational stuff. It will be interesting when I actually get to take classes on this kind of thing in the next year of school, having already experienced it, and I wonder if it will differ then!