I've just eaten another huge breakfast and then gone out for a walk so the maids could clean my room, not that that takes long. There's an attractive park and stream right behind the hotel and I just discovered that it leads fairly directly to downtown.
Jaunty piano-bar music is playing in the lobby -- something by Gershwin. The music I had running in my head my first days here: Rigoletto, 4 Saints, and Strauss's orchestral songs. But I woke up this morning with the Grail music in my head, and it's all Wagner from here on out. (Underneath the cocktail tunes I just heard, from another room, a blast of Brunnhilde.) The music I hear from passing cars or coming from apartments: the same crap pop you hear everywhere. And some of the very elaborate graffiti I've seen touts old school hiphop. A lot of the tagging (and I'm sort of surprised by the amounts I've seen) is in English.
I realized this morning that I've been gone almost five days. I have no idea what's happening anywhere, since I'm not even opening AOL because I have such limited access (I'm curious to see how many emails pile up in my absence and how many I can delete without even bothering to open them). All I know is that something has happened with Gunter Grass, something connected, of course, to the war. Even over half a century later it is still an overwhelming presence, at least to me. One tag I saw looked like a swastika until I realized it was a swirly "z" with a slash through it. The local beer, Meissel's Weisse, has a logo that looks like a star of David, so I see those all over town. (The breakfast room here has a statue of King David in it, which is one of the oddly medieval touches that crop up in what otherwise look like American buildings.)
The piano music has stopped, but I can hear snatches of Wagner -- there must be a lecture in one of the conference rooms. I'm off to read the libretto of Tristan, which I'm hearing tonight.