It is a perfect fall day. Kathy and I took a morning walk to see the Festspielhaus, the Wagner Opera Hall and Grounds in Bayreuth. Inspiring! Although he lived before Nazi German history, Hitler claimed Wagner as his favorite composer and used his music to glorify the Nazi vision. Unfortunately, some of the Wagner heirs were sympathetic to the Nazi cause, and the Festspielhaus became part of the Nazi propaganda machine resulting in the oppression of Jewish musicians, in particular. Today, in the beautiful gardens that surround the Festspielhaus, large memorial plaques with pictures and script tell the story of each individual musician who had a tie to the Festspielhaus, who was persecuted,exiled, or murdered in a Nazi camp. There were many. It is amazing that a small city like Bayreuth has two of the world’s most important music halls, the other being the Margravial Opera Haus, a Unesco World Heritage Building.
Our walk was delightful. It was a cool crisp morning with bright sunlight. We walked along tree-filled spaces, with autumn colors taking hold. We then boarded our train to Dresden.
Trains are wonderful in Germany, indeed, in Europe. This train ride was a three and a half hour direct trip to our destination, with only a few short stops. We headed deeper east into Germany. Austria is to the south, and Poland and the Czech Republic are further east. This train goes through fields and at the ridge of hills. Corn fields are so close that the wind generated by the passing train causes the leaves to flutter. Farmers on tractors are laying down silage. It makes bright green rows. Other land has been filled, and the rich dark soil stands in sharp contrast to the green fields and forests that surround it. Suddenly, the train climbs altitude, and from my window seat I can look directly down into the sweeping valley below. The train is hugging the ridge of the hill. I feel isolated, yet, peaceful. We go by barns, many vine-covered, the vines turning bright red in the autumn air, and through small villages. Usually, trains are in proximity to highways. Not so on this line. The forests surround us, then rolling hills and farm lands. Horses and cattle seem content in the green fields on this sunny and cool day. WEG