It's been very cold here and tonight it began to rain. This has not diminished our great fun today. We met Albert at the coffee shop this morning and thus began an incredible encounter. After an immediate liking to him, a man for all seasons and a man of immense joviality, we went to his shop filled with Buddhist and Hindu antiques. We went from one piece to another and he would say, 4th century, 10th century. To the Egyptian pieces sprinkled throughout he'd say casually 1500 BCE, 3500 BCE. Buddhas from Cambodia, India, Burma, Thailand, Korea. Japan does not release its antiques so I don't recall any from Japan. Some of the statues were life size, some the size of my hand. He showed us into his storeroom where he had only a part of a collection of 7,000 pieces that were making their way to Russia to be installed in a museum in Albert's name.
The favorite piece for both Friederike and for me was a small Egyptian statue from 1500 BCE that literally resonated with energy. Albert placed it in my hand and I was thrilled to hold it as I have never touched an art object that old. Another piece he also allowed us to hold was a slab of stone from 3500 BCE which women used for makeup. They rubbed the stone and a color came forth which was applied as an eyeshadow. The collection was truly overwhelming and Albert was an incredible host.
In the evening we went to dinner to a local pub with Albert and his wife. This was a friendly place where people sat at community tables. Huge amount of food, great local beer, apfel dessert, rich laughter, intense discussion on religion and politics. Great evening.
Earlier in the afternoon, however, we also visited the studio of Udo Kaller, a painter and friend of Friederike. Kaller paints in a Japanese style, huge canvases though, and he reinterprets painters such as Hiroshige. He is quite famous and at this point in his career which has spanned 35 or so years, he exhibits in well known museums in Europe. We talked for a few hours in his studio and enjoyed hearing about his life, his painting methods, his philosophy. Right now he is preparing an exhibition for the Berlin Asian Art Museum in 2011, a series 100 views of Mt. Fuji. All in all, a very rich day.
We also walked around Nuerenburg castle and went into St. Sebald's Lutheran Church which had been Catholic for about 300 years. We also entered the oldest bookstore in Europe and visited a meditation room at the top of a community building where Friederike had first become interested in meditation.
On Wednesday the plan is to go sightseeing in Regensberg. However, we'll see whether the rain will change this.