Of library cards and lost graves

Having successfully navigated through odd library hours and a hailstorm, I was finally able to explore the Bingen Stadtbibliothek and seek out print materials for research.  It’s a small but charming place, and though the Hildegard-specific shelf was almost entirely empty, they have quite an extensive collection of local history and lore dating back to Roman times.  Apparently there is a Roman aqueduct still running under one of the streets and a graveyard on a forested hill behind Bingerbrück with Roman and Merovingian headstones – all of which I now have a map detailing.  I sense an adventure coming on…

Speaking of adventure, I’m working on a bit of a side-quest while waiting for my main primary sources to arrive via inter-library loan.  Remember Rupertsberg, the place Hildegard built when she and her nuns separated from the Disibodenberg monastery?   I’m hoping to use a combination of medieval and modern maps and images from the 16th and 17th century to isolate the location of the crypt – and thus find Hildegard’s burial place along with St. Rupert and his mother.  Thanks to the Bingen Stadtbibliothek, I now have these maps and images as well as a very thorough history of the area.  I suspect that I’m not the first to attempt this, and it may very well be impossible, but my first visit to Rupertsberg fired up my imagination and my desire to put my own historical cartography skills and sense of adventure up to the challenge.

………

I’ve been here a week now, and I can certainly tell that my German conversation skills are improving.  I have noticed, however, that I can only process so much German in any given period of time before my mind starts to shut down.  Going to the library today definitely illustrates that.  My landlord had been over to my apartment earlier to try and fix my heating (no luck, I need a new machine installed) and we’d spoken quite a bit, then I spent about three hours at the library reading through local history.  I could tell I was pretty saturated at that point, but I still needed to check out my books.  When I went up to the counter, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to say that I needed a library card.  Awkward.  Then I couldn’t even figure out how to say that my German wasn’t great.  More awkward.  Eventually, with much gesturing and sniffling (my plague is almost gone, but making a valiant final stand) I was able to communicate with the librarian – who seemed simultaneously bemused, baffled, and frustrated.  But…. I got my books!

(die Forschung – research (n.))

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