Welcome to my travel blog! Over the next 10 weeks I will be travelling throughout Europe and will share my adventure here. The name of this blog is a Latin phrase which translates roughly to mean 'to gain, understand, perceive'. It explains perfectly what I hope to experience in this trip; a sense of understanding and appreciation for life all around the world.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A note on European winter... and the Magic Flute!

Yesterday I had planned on spending the day sight-seeing, however I have not been feeling very well since I got to Europe nearly 2 weeks ago, so on the advice of mum and dad (who are the ones to tell me to take a rest when I am at home also!) I stayed in at the hostel during the day and rested.

The beauty about being at the hostel during the day when no one is in my room is that I can finally turn the darn heater down to an acceptable level. With the exception of Holland (where my family remains sensible about these kinds of things), every place I've been keeps the heaters on at a ridiculously high level. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret here that no one tells you when you plan a trip to Europe and people tell you what a fool you are for going during the winter months. Ready?

Here it is: it's not that cold.

Really, it's not. If you have a decent jacket and cover up your extremities, the cold is perfectly tolerable. And that's outside. If you're inside you could move around in a bikini. What is not tolerable, however, is the decent to the fires of hell I have to go every night because someone lives in fear of not being able to move around the room is anything less than their underwear. It's really driving me nuts because the constant change from being out in the cold and then in the searing heat is ruining my sinuses and head. Again, with the exception of Holland, every morning I've woken up with a blinding headache and vision distortion (which I only get when I have a migraine) and had to drink my own body weight in water due to sweating it out every night.
I simply do not understand why people here can't just be more active and teach their bodies to heat themselves – the way people complain about the cold here you'd think it was a new phenomenon. But winter happens EVERY YEAR. Toughen up.

Anyway, I think you get the idea – just spare a thought for me and my sinuses!

Getting back to yesterday, I spent a thoroughly enjoyable day in my room with the window open and actually getting some decent sleep. Then last night I went out to see an opera at the Berlin Staatsoper (the State Opera theatre) – The Magic Flute. It was simply brilliant – the music arrangement was perfect and the voices superb. As you can see from the photo below, the effort in the production's costumes and set design was enormous. I actually have the sheet music for a flute arrangement of the opera (a few movements which I learnt when I had lessons) and it was so wonderful to hear it played by a superb flautist.

By the way, the photo was perfectly legal – it was at the applause part at the end when we were allowed to take pictures :)

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