Archive for January, 2008

Jan 31 2008

Karneval in Cologne

Murray Crewe and Peter Sullivan It’s Weiberfastnacht in Cologne—the day the women take over the city in the events leading up to Shrove Tuesday and Lent. I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, but the atmosphere seems the same. It began at eleven minutes after eleven this morning, with a countdown and balloons and confetti. Two […]

Jan 31 2008

Bierbike in Cologne

Watch the Bierbike It’s Carnival time in Cologne. Here’s a video of the Bierbike (Beer bike) — part bicycle, part beer garden. Look carefully, and you’ll notice the occupants pedaling.

Jan 30 2008

Amsterdam and Mayor Ravenstahl Love the PSO

Concertgebouw at night Over 800 concerts take place each year at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. A morning concert on the schedule meant the Pittsburgh Symphony needed to rehearse at the Old Stock Exchange, near the train station at the edge of the red light district. Amsterdam canal In the afternoon, the Pittsburgh toured the city […]

Jan 29 2008

When you Stay in the Monkey

Jim with bicycles Even in winter, everyone rides a bicycle in Amsterdam. It’s in the 40’s and gray today, but whizzing in front of the hotel are the cyclists who ride single-speed bikes without wearing helmets, and talk on their cellphones while pedaling. They’ll be coming to Pittsburgh this summer as part of the Keystone […]

Jan 28 2008

Adios to Spain

concert poster Jose Maria Pratt is the man in charge of Ibercamera, the presenting agency that brought the Pittsburgh to Spain. He’s been organizing concerts for the agency for thirty years. After the final concert in Valencia, he told me he was delighted with the Pittsburgh Symphony. There’s a very convivial atmosphere at a small […]

Jan 27 2008

Café Life in Madrid

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is just one of the books along for the ride on this trip. The New York Times best seller, subtitled One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, is in the hands of several musicians. Someone else is reading a book on spirituality by Pittsburgh’s Abraham Twerski, […]

Jan 25 2008

Where The Kings Are Buried

We woke up with a gigantic Spanish ferry boat in the harbor next to the hotel in Barcelona. I never had a minute to walk around the back of the hotel for a close look at the water but it was a stunning setting. Right next door, a red cable car like those you see […]

Jan 25 2008

Rambling on La Rambla

Three hours on the bus from Castellon to Barcelona with a 15 minute stop at the Autogrill, where I noticed the wine fruit treat Sangria in a bottle shaped like a guitar – or you could purchase a bottle in the shape of a bull. There were familiar faces in the lobby of the Eurostars […]

Jan 23 2008

Castellon on the Mediterranean

Castellon The rain in Spain has so far avoided the Pittsburgh Symphony. An hour by plane from the chilly north to the sunny south and we’ve arrived in a city that almost no one in our tour group knows anything about. We flew this morning from Vittoria to Valencia and then another hour to Castellon […]

Jan 22 2008

Wellington’s Victory

Statue in Vittorio Napoleon Bonaparte didn’t lose very often, but when he did Beethoven wrote a piece of music about it. It was in Vittoria, Spain that Duke Wellington defeated Napoleon and there is a statue in the center of town commemorating the event. Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory is one of his few cheesy pieces with […]

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