Last summer, I had an amazing time participating in Bremen’s first organized Instawalk — and it was so successful that several more have been organizing since then! Last month, I was thrilled to join the group for a behind the scenes look at Theater Bremen. I have to admit that in all my years in Bremen, I have never seen any of the productions put on by the theater, but after seeing all the hard work and artistry that goes into a show, it’s definitely on my list of things to do.
We saw where they store the sets, walked through the carpentry and painting workshops, marveled at the texture and colors of the costume department, visited the rehearsal stages, and went backstage while they were setting up for a production. It really was an Instagrammer’s dream! So how about I stop rambling and show some photos already? If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll recognize most of these, but I’ve also included a couple outtakes just for fun…
We rounded out the tour with a drink at Noon, one of my favorite Bremer coffee shops, in the theater’s Kleines Haus. It was a perfect mix of being able to chat with familiar faces and get to know “new to me” Bremer Instagrammers. For more on the Instawalk, check out this link. And many thanks to the City of Bremen’s social media channels for organizing the walk!
Did you know that one of the largest jazz festivals and trade shows in the world — jazzahead! — happens every year in Bremen? Admittedly, I definitely did not — but now after attending the jazzahead! 2017 clubnight, I’m already marking my calendar for next year! The clubnight features jazz performances across the city in over 40 venues late into the night. Sorting through the sheer number of shows was a bit overwhelming — so my friend and I came up with a couple criteria, like new (to us) venues and innovative styles of jazz. Here is what our night looked like:
We started off in the Neustadt in the very relaxed atmosphere of Kokoon. With drinks and snacks in hand, we settled down into comfy armchairs to enjoy the music of Noahs Boat. Purely instrumental, the music combined the best of both analog and electronic sounds in a way that I really enjoyed. I would definitely go see Noahs Boat perform again, and since they’re from Berlin, that shouldn’t be too hard!
Kulturkirche St. Stephani – Continuum – 9:00pm
From Kokoon, we had about half and hour to make our way to the St. Stephani church to hear a jazz reinterpretation of songs by Martin Luther, just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation coming up later this year. A very fitting location for such a show, the trio Continuum has adapted their music and style to fit the acoustics of the large cathedrals of Germany. Although the music itself wasn’t really my thing, I liked the idea behind it.
Courtyard by Marriott – Mathias Heise Quadrillion – 10:30pm
Although not on our original list, we spontaneously decided to add the Mathias Heise Quadrillion as our last show of the evening. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the four, very young Danish guys take the stage — but they killed it with an energetic and edgy set highlighted by a soulful-wise-beyond-their-years harmonica. Also in between the songs, Mathias Heise offered sarcastic and very funny commentary. I loved it!
If had more energy, I would have made my way to the next venue with more shows continuing into the wee hours, but I called it a night at this point. I really enjoyed the eclectic mix of both music and locations that the jazzhead! 2017 clubnight had to offer — it was a great way to spend a relaxed Saturday evening! Now I’m off to enjoy the rest of my long weekend…
Are you a jazz aficionado? What are you up to this weekend?
Something I really enjoy about Spring in Germany is the four-day weekend we have over Easter. It kind of makes up for the fact that I’m always working over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. ;) This year I didn’t have anywhere to be, so I enjoyed a laid back weekend, catching up on all the little corners of my life that have been neglected lately — I cooked, I baked, I cleaned, I went running (multiple times!), I went to the art museum, I slept a ridiculous amount, I became addicted to this series on Netflix, I balanced my checkbook (figuratively speaking, since no one uses checks here), I Instagrammed up a storm, I started listening to the new podcast S-Town — it’s been glorious!
I’ve also been doing some planning — I came up with my training plan for September’s Berlin Marathon. Yes, already! I’ll be using a 18-week plan — starting towards the end of May — that has me running four times a week, plus one day of cross training. The mileage will stay about the same as last time, since my body seemed to handle that fine, but I will exchange an easy run for some speed/tempo work and will do a total of two 20-mile runs (instead of just one). Let’s see if I can run it a little faster than I did in Hamburg!
Other than that, I’m just happy to see that Spring has finally arrived, even if it’s still a little chilly. It makes me excited for all the big and little adventures I have planned for the next few months!
Yes, most people do their year-end travel roundups at year’s end — but hey, better late than never, right? I figured that I finally have a free moment and I should make the most of it. So let’s get started! The past year was full of travel to unexpected places…
First up in March was a work trip to this former Soviet republic in Central Asia. I spent most of my time in Bishkek, the capital city, and visited Ala-Too Square, the State History Museum, Panfilov Park, as well as Ala Archa National Park. I really had no preconceptions of what Bishkek would be like, and found it all to be super fascinating. Which is great, because it looks like I’ll be heading to the eastern part of the country in mid-2017!
Istanbul and Sanliurfa, Turkey
Like with Kyrgyzstan, I really wan’t expecting to head to Turkey even once, but somehow ended up there three times in 2016! The first visit was a week-long trip in June for a conference, which included lots of sightseeing and good food and coffee, plus a day trip to Heybeliada Island. A few weeks later, I spent another couple of nights in Istanbul, but this time didn’t really have a chance to escape the meeting location, but did thoroughly enjoy my 31st floor room with floor-to-ceiling windows!
Finally, in November, I spent a few days in the south eastern corner of Turkey in Sanliurfa (known as the hometown of Abraham) and visited a container city for Syrian refugees near the shared border with Syria. Unfortunately, the security situation in Turkey has been slowly, but surely declining for awhile now. Although I didn’t have any issues on my trips, each visit seemed to be bookended by explosions or attacks. In other words, I cherished the time I was able to spend in Turkey, because I don’t know for how much longer it is going to be safe to travel there.
New York and Washington, DC
This trip had me back in my old stomping grounds with a close group of friends from my grad school days in New York. In addition to our mini-reunion in DC, I also visited some new-to me sights: like the MLK Memorial, the Library of Congress, and the Wonder Exhibit at the Renwick Gallery. In New York, I mostly just visited my old haunts and spent time with friends. Both places are so familiarly comforting, and I always feel immediately at home in them.
Perhaps one of the most entertaining travels of the year was my trip to Stockholm. The work portion of my time in Sweden involved a formal dinner with the King of Sweden in the Parliament building, shaking his hand during a coffee break, a Smörgåsbord at the city hall, and mingling with ambassadors, military advisors, and NATO officials. Not my typical professional milieu, let’s just put it that way. Even more fun was the few days of free time with a colleague and friend afterwards, exploring the city up and down, an amazing meal at Fotografiska’s restaurant, and a drink at a bar made entirely of ice. Stockholm definitely won my heart!
Of all my adventures in 2016, my trip to Nepal and trek along the Mardi Himal trail in the Himalayan mountains was probably the most rejuvenating and came at just the right time for me. Not only did I get to spend quality time with a good friend, I also made wonderful new friends in those mountains. It was so wonderful to strip away the hectic pace of everyday life and focus in on what matters.
And finally, what year would be complete without a trip to Seattle for the holidays? My hometown is still my favorite place on the planet and I am always a little sad to leave my family behind afterwards.
So that’s it for 2016! If I can manage half as many adventures in 2017, I will be more than happy.
How are your travel plans shaping up for this year? Any place I should add to my travel list?