The days are getting longer! Today we have eight more seconds of daylight than yesterday. We celebrated the solstice with a visit to a Chinese ice sculpture exhibit. We entered a freezing building to check out the frozen art. We saw a scale model of the Brandenburg Gate, taller than I, a Santa and sleigh, many icy replicas of Chinese bridges, pagodas, and towers. Each piece declared how many ice blocks of what sizes it comprised, and how many days the artist toiled over it. The highlight was an enormous ice slide. Over and over we climbed the ice stairs to the ice platform from which we could survey all the sculptures below. Then we zipped down the slide, an experience that pulled forth rolls and rolls of irrepressible laughter every time, no matter how many times we slid.
Back home, we mulled wine using a traditional Bavarian recipe (it’s half red wine, half black tea, plus citrus and spices). I completed my solstice festivities with Sir Ernest Shackleton’s account of his Antarctic exploration. I can’t decide if the dead of winter is the best or worst time to read this. But I definitely do not want to go on any Antarctic explorations. Those guys are miserable all the time. It’s been two years and they’ve given up on ever even landing on the continent. Their clothes and sleeping bags are always wet, and they had to eat their sled dogs!