I plan to make brief trips to Philadelphia more often. Philly is the nearest large city to Williamsport. I’m not sure if local residents visit Philadelphia very often. There are no bus trips to Philly. The James V. Brown library, Penn College of Technology, and the Community Theater League sometimes offer bus trips to New York City, but never to Philadelphia. I suppose this could be because everyone prefers to drive to Philly. Personally, I don’t like to drive to that city because I always get lost.
I plan to explore Philadelphia as thoroughly as I explored Paris, from a tourist’s perspective. When visiting a city in your own country, you tend to make a trip for a specific reason and only visit one museum or cultural event. But when visiting a city in a foreign country you’ll try to see as much as possible to get a sense of the nation and its culture. I’ve bought several guide books on Philadelphia just like I bought many guide books on Paris. It definitely helps to make your trip more successful when you do your research ahead of time.
I want to make weekend trips that do not use any vacation time. For my first weekend trip I’d like to see a play at the Walnut Street Theater. This will probably be “The Producers“since it is playing until July. I would also like to eat at a French restaurant, Caribou Cafe, which is nearby. I don’t think Williamsport has any French restaurants or café except for maybe Le Juene Chef which provides job training at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport for their culinary arts students. I’ll have to read my guide books to find something else to do in Philadelphia.
I don’t think Philly is a particularly interesting city, but it is more affordable than traveling to Europe. I really can’t afford to do that very often! But I would like to visit Berlin next. I don’t think many Americans vacation in Berlin. From what I can gather, the Germans are thrilled to meet American tourists, unlike the French. Maybe Americans are put off by the fact that Germany was our enemy in World War II and we bombed them a bit.
But I don’t want to explore German culture as deeply as I’m exploring the French culture. I don’t want to watch a lot of World War II films or read books about the Nazis. That and the communist East Germany make the country seem grim and harsh. I’d rather stick to modern Berlin and the German music scene. My favorite alternative music is very popular in Germany so I’m familiar with many German bands like Rammstein. I’m also heavily into Lacrimosa but that is a Swiss band who just sing in German.
I do know a surprisingly great deal about German culture from my general study of world art and literature. I reviewed German literature on Wikipedia and discovered that I’ve read most of the major German writers and their most famous works except for Thomas Mann. I am also familiar with German art movements like Bauhaus. Otto Dix is my favorite German artist. Speaking of Bauhaus, I believe Germany has been rebuilding their country with a spectacular variety of modern architecture. I remember seeing some evidence of this online a long time ago.
I do have more of a connection to Germany than France because my mother’s side of the family was German. Her last name was Reustle and today I confirmed that this is a common German surname. Maybe it is the German in me that is responsible for the mystical character of my imagination.
I’ve bought a book to learn German but I only want to become slightly familiar with the language. Life is too short to learn every language and I’m only committed to learning French. I bought a massive French dictionary which should help me to translate obscure words and recently I’ve received some workbooks for the high school textbooks I plan to read. Learning French is a lot harder than learning a computer language but it may prove to be a valuable skill for my career and make for a more interesting career path.