Basel on Fire

I arrived in Basel this morning after a very tiring (and very expensive) 2 days in London. I’ll return to the English capital on better terms in a few weeks before I head back to the States, but I couldn’t have been happier to leave it behind today. To make a long story short, Kel and I drove into London hoping to stay with a friend near Paddington station, but I didn’t plan ahead very well and ended up getting stuck in traffic for hours and struggling to find a phone or Internet to contact him. Eventually, after paying 6 GBP to park for half an hour to find WiFi (unsuccessfully), we had to give up and find a hotel, which is where the really expensive part comes in. Everything in the city was either booked or way out of my price range, so we ended up heading towards Heathrow airport in search of something cheaper. Mind you, Kelleigh was not my biggest fan round about this time, because I lead her to believe it would all work out easily when I first contacted my friend about crashing at his place. So with stress levels high, we pulled up to one hotel after the next only to learn they had no vacancies. Finally, I got a room at the Marriott for a somewhat reasonable price. We got up early the next morning to find a DHL shipping center to send some books and my tent home, but we got lost and ran out of time because the rental car had to be back by 10:30am. We dropped it off, got charged 100 GBP for a nail in the back tire, and parted ways with apologies, her for not being patient with me and I for not preparing for London more appropriately.

Anyways, my short story is getting longer than I intended. Suffice it to say that I’m very glad to be in a cheaper bed in Basel listening to the rain and the fireworks (just so happens to be Swiss National Day).

I got in early and my room hadn’t been cleaned yet, so I decided to drop my bag at reception and take the 45 minute tram ride south to Dornach to visit the Goetheanum. It was a blisteringly hot day, and there is no A/C and only small ventilation windows on the trams, so by the time I arrived, I was drenched in sweat. Most of the locals here speak a Swiss dialect of German and little English, which made it difficult to find the bus to take me up the hill to the Goetheanum from the tram stop. But I found the right route with a little guesswork.

One of Steiner’s mystery dramas was being performed today, and I walked up the path passed the archive to the front of the building just as the intermission was beginning. The building itself is surrounded by high grass, wild flowers, and several small trees. It is snuggled perfectly into the hillside overlooking Dornach. I made my way through the talkative crowd of German, French, and English speakers to the main entrance and stepped inside. It is truly a magnificent structure, built with the closest attention to detail imaginable. I’ll take pictures to share when I return for the first day of the conference tomorrow.

The biggest speaker this week is Sergei Prokofieff, and I decided to purchase one of his books on the Christology underlying Steiner’s “Philosophy of Freedom.”

I’m exhausted and want to get a solid 8 hours in for the first night in a while, so I’ll have to wrap this update up. Expect a reflection on the day’s activities tomorrow night. Gute Nacht!