January 28, 2007

Hell's Bells

Every day of the week, the bells of Saint Adelbero’s church across the street from us begin ringing at approximately 7:00 a.m. Personally, I wouldn’t know, since at 7:00 a.m. I’m already well on my way to Frankfurt for German class, but this is what Kevin tells me.

However, I do manage to catch them on the weekends, when they start an hour later, playing for 15 minutes without end and gradually building into a complicated melody that can be heard all over town. I think their schedule must be a holdover from “the Olden Days,” when at 7:00 a.m., Würzburg’s farmers were meant to be in the vineyards and their wives were meant to be at the first Mass of the day. But although the tradition has long since out-grown its usefulness, the bells continue their daily serenade, and no one seems to mind being awoken at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday because the music is so beautiful. No one, that is, except Kevin.

By 8:00 a.m. on the weekends, I’m usually up enjoying my second cup of coffee and puttering around, but he’s still trying to catch a few last hours of sleep. And when the bells begin their irregular chime (they’re hand-pulled, not machine-operated), I can hear Kevin moaning from the bedroom, like some demented Quasimodo, “The bells! The bells!”

I”ll admit they can be a little loud. Still, I”ll miss them. This weekend was our last weekend at the Guesthouse. Despite the somewhat institution feel (white walls, linoleum floors, standard-issue furniture), it’s come to feel like home. But with heavily subsidized rent and unmatched views, these rooms are in high demand – bells or not. And since there are no vacancies for February, we’re being forced to move to another temporary apartment on the other side of town. So, I’ve record their melody to take with me, much to Kevin’s dismay. You can watch and listen by clicking below. Tell me if you’d mind being awoken by this each day:

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