As with everything, I've figured out how to put that in a story.
I went to bed last night without any dinner, being overcome with "I really don't want to try to speak German again" and being undercome with hunger. I had breakfast on the plane yesterday, stopped for a croissant and the Best Hot Chocolate Evar in Bad Homberg, and later at 2PM, the little snack cookie that I got with the hot chocolate, and I was literally not hungry for the rest of the day. I even wandered around a gas station while buying maps and decided against buying chocolate, which is like the FIRST thing I do when I arrive in a foreign country. It's all about the chocolate.
(I did get a diet Coke, or Coke Light--opened it--and it smelled like gasoline. I forced myself to take a sip because I needed to down a pill and hadn't thought to buy water even though that should have been an obvious thing to buy--clearly not running on all cylinders yesterday. It didn't TASTE like gas. But then I just... well, I tried to drink more of it later, but had the same experience. Threw it out. I may kick the DC over this holiday...)
Anyway, got up--still wasn't hungry. But I was super thirsty, as you can imagine. It did not occur to me to use the cup and sink in my room, but hey. Did I mention my cylinders? I thought so. I went to breakfast at 9, local time, after sleeping through my alarm at 7. Which wasn't bad, considering it was 3 in the freaking morning at home and I was nowhere near adjusted. Isn't it a day for every hour?
I forced myself to eat heartily at breakfast nonetheless. Well, medium heartily. I started with cereal--Muesli, I think--had a lovely, crunchy roll with cheeses and meats, a fantastic clementine (far better than any I've had in the States in three years or so--why do clementines suck so much at home now? Because they got popular and now we import crap clementines to keep up with demand?), and as much sparkling water and OJ as I could down (there was no stillwater). And tea. And toast with a Nutella type spread for afters. Oh, and a hard-boiled egg. I was working on the protein.
Chatted with my innkeep a bit more during breakfast, came upstairs to prepare for a day out--and promptly laid down and slept for an hour and a half. I was in No Shape for Anything Else. A concession to getting older, perhaps. I don't know. I do know that five years ago, this degree of time change was more of a big deal than it had been, but it all hit me coming home, not arriving in Europe. (And ten years ago, I was all, "Jet lag? I guess that's a myth!" Ah, youth.) I hoped I wasn't screwing with my biorhythms by that concession, but anyway.
When I got up again, I headed off to the local museum to see their Hildegard exhibit. And their Roman doctors' gravegoods exhibit--we've loved us some Roman doctors, we do, thank you Gillian Bradshaw. (And I saw the other stuff, too, but most of the other stuff didn't have anything written in English on the placards like the first two exhibits.) I was struck by the way information was presented in the exhibit versus the info that's been presented in the two biographies I've read of Hildegard thus far. Is that the difference between a museum presenting itself as an authority and a book trying to explain what's not fully known, or something about German and English access to sources, or something else? Or maybe a third thing, wherein the museum was trying to present a different picture, somehow? Don't know! But I learned more than I'd eked out of two English sources (names and occupations of her siblings, more of what life was like in Disibodenberg, that there was a second little girl put into Jutta of Sponheim's care...)
Wheels clicked. Ideas formed.
I wish there were more English books available at the museum--there was 1. One. I bought it. I also bought a children's book about Hildegard (in German).
I walked along the Rhine for a while, as well; that's my favorite thing, I guess. That river is full of stories, like rivers are. Then I drove up higher to a place called the Hildegard Forum, run by the Holy Cross Sisters Hildegard. I missed their famous lunch, but bought postcards, some amazing bread, jam, apples, and chocolate covered gingerbread. And some fennel tea--there was a whole section of medicines "prepared per Hildegard's prescriptions," only everything was in German and I wasn't about to buy medicine without knowing what it was. Not even for novelty. But I could figure out what fennel tea was--helped that there was a picture of fennel on the box.
I took more pictures from atop the Forum's hill. Tons of vineyards around here.
Some more doodling around--hunted down the (closed) tourist office, for example--bought some stillwater for goodness sake--and then it was beginning to get dark. Had another chat with my innkeeper (would you believe he's only 20 years old and he owns and runs a hotel?), then headed upstairs. I started writing, looking up only when the church bells from two different churches (by the sound of it) started an amazing racket (competitive peals?), and went back to it. Got about half a short story settled before deciding I missed the internet... and that I'd also missed dinner.
I am feeling like I've found my groove by not being in full on tourist mode. (One museum does not a tourist-mode afternoon make.) I am seriously considering canceling my trip to Aachen and hanging out a few more days in this area. There's a lot to see, and I don't know if I can happily cram it all in tomorrow, when I enjoy the pace of today so much. (Well, I don't want to totally replicate today's pace--I really can't sleep all morning. But getting in some good cafe writing and soaking in the atmosphere, as well as getting up to lunch at the Forum, driving out to Disibodenberg, taking the ferry across the Rhine to Rudesheim... That's a lot to do tomorrow, and is further complicated by tomorrow being Sunday, so the Forum lunch may well not happen.) Hm. The hotel in Aachen has no cancellation fee, and the thread of the research for the book there was actually quite small... I'll have to consult my travel guides some more.)
Okay. Time to attempt sleep!