January 16th, 2011

if I were me

Back to the Rhine

I've been up and down the Rhine four? five? times this weekend. In pictures, in Wikipedia entries, in bad Google translations from German, in tourist brochures, in maps hoarded from my Germany trip, in maps discovered online...

I very nearly have a working map for my novel. I would even call it "largely accurate." It is more likely to be missing places than to have wrong places added in, I think, so that's cool. So, from Bonn to Bingen, I know my 1133 Rhine valley. Woo. Hoo.

In addition to the map, I have index cards for each place along the way, including founding dates and important happenings and my best etymologies. I have not yet decided if I'm using German names or evocative English translations of German names or some of each. (The problem is that for every "Cloud Castle" there's an untranslatable word like "the Wied River." Wied, apparently, goes back to the beginning of time or something. Because no one anywhere I can find knows what it means. Possibly if I were fluent in German I could find an etymology.... But I'm not. How on earth was Romanian easier?)

And so, that's what I did with my weekend.