It’s been a while since I last saw a German library from the inside: having submitted my dissertation in August 2016, and having since focused on lecturing and getting well after a quite persistent illness, it was not until this month that I finally returned to good old Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. There are several reasons why I planned a visit to Berlin from 9 to 21 November 2017. I wanted to treat myself after some long weeks of editing and working on my monograph proposal; I wanted to make progress with a new project (Beethoven’s chamber music within the context of the Viennese salons); I wanted to meet up with some colleagues in and around Berlin; and I wanted to spend my 30th birthday in the wonderful surroundings of the Spreewald. My birthday was spent almost entirely in one of the many Brandenburg forests, while the weekdays of my stay were devoted to Berlin city life and library research, more specifically the photocopying of carefully pre-selected material on nineteenth-century Viennese culture. It’s been an enjoyable and successful trip on many levels, and it especially occurs to me how blessed I am for time and flexibility when I get to travel and spend time abroad like this. The many hours in my Brandenburg home have gained me nerves and patience for this website (which, in my case, is no mean feat!). This blog is intended as a platform for myself to share thoughts on academia, research, and life more generally with anyone who might have an interest in what I’m doing day in day out.