Saturday, June 16 (Osnabrück)

A nice quiet day with walks and not much else! Mark and I practically slept in (until 8 am), had a very light breakfast (yogurt instead of rolls) and then went for a walk. The original intent was to go back to the Botanical gardens, but they are closed on Saturday mornings, so we went along other familiar paths for an hour and a half—across a very nice park and farmland area called the Westerberg towards my mom‘s former home, and then back through some of the lovely residential streets near here. We were curious about the renovations at my mom‘s old house, but it was hard to see what the new owners have changed without trespassing! We then hung out at home for a while until Kai was ready to walk downtown with us. We had lunch at Bottled, a cafe/bar with lots of outdoor seating where we have had lunch many times. But it was pretty lame (sort of fake American—burgers and tacos) so I think we won‘t be back. We picked up a few minor things we needed and also went to the historic market square, where we happened on a wind band from Osnabrück’s academy of music performing. That was Kai‘s thing, of course, and we stayed for the 20-minute concert and had a good time. We also briefly visited the exhibit in the Erich-Maria-Remarque house—he is the author who wrote All Quiet on the Western Front, the famous anti-WWI novel which was later burned by the nazis. Kai read it last semester for history class and really liked it, so it‘s finally something special that this author, who later emigrated to the US and then to Switzerland, was born and raised in Osnabrück.
We came home at about 3:30, and Imke, who had had other plans, was home by 4. It was lovely and sunny, in the 70s, and we sat in the garden with our books and papers and read. Very relaxing. After a typical German meal of bread, cheese, and cold cuts, Imke, Kai, and I went to a nearby cafe to hear an old friend of my mom‘s and former high-school teacher of mine, Detlev Brandt, speak about Chopin, with musical examples. Kai really enjoyed this, while I mostly enjoyed his enjoyment, and got a bit frustrated with this meandering style. He didn‘t get nearly as far in Chopin‘s life as he had planned, and had an overinvolved expert‘s tendency to dwell on sideline ideas. But he played several pieces by Chopin on CD and had a young pianist there who played one of the Nocturnes live, so it was somewhat interesting. The audience (mostly regulars, Imke said) was mostly in their 60s and up and are apparently used to his digressions. We only chatted a little bit, but he said he‘d invite us all to dinner (he lives just around the corner) after we come back from the Baltic. He was always an interesting if completely eccentric man (my family has known him since the early 1970s), and I think that a dinner with him and his husband will be highly entertaining.

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