Corinne is one of the most eclectic bloggers you can follow. Her blog, Reverberations, focuses on a wide range of topics that include travel, tea, and food. She has an affection for German culture and also helms German Every Day, a website for German language learners. In her interview with The Flat Circle, Corinne discusses her travel through Munich, her love of Sumo, and important travel spots in Philadelphia.
Flat Circle: What inspired you to start a blog?
Corinne: I kind of transitioned into blogging. In my teens, I started a music website that focused on lesser known and up and coming musicians. After more than a decade of working on that site, I stopped updating it. I didn’t have enough hours in the day to meet the demand of submissions and just burnt out.
I really enjoy writing and I became interested in photography. So starting a blog just sort of organically developed from there. It’s my creative outlet.
TFC: What are your biggest challenges as a blogger and do you have any advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
C: Time. Bloggers are usually more than just writers. We wear a lot of hats. I write, I photograph, I develop my site, I act as the site administrator, I do the SEO, and so on. I think that having enough time to develop ideas the way that you want while sticking to a schedule and still maintaining a full-time job and a life is really difficult.
I would tell any blogger just starting out to follow their own instincts and their own voice. There are a lot of people who portray themselves as experts that will tell you things have to be done a certain way. But you have to make yourself happy and satisfied. Be your own biggest fan first. Everything else will fall into place.
FC: You have also written on music. What inspired you to focus on travel instead?
C: I wrote more than 500 reviews of music albums and dozens of interviews. I’m still a big music fan but in a different way than I used to be.
It took me a while to find my path to travel writing. I think some of the change in focus was due to age. When you’re a teenager, you have enough pocket money to buy CDs (I just aged myself) and concert tickets. But by the time you’re in your twenties and thirties you can more easily afford plane tickets and travel. When I was writing about music, I never dreamed I could be traveling. The music scene also changed a lot over the decade I was writing in.
C: I live in the Philadelphia region so I do focus a lot on the area. It’s where I was born and it’s the only place I’ve ever lived. I love exploring my own backyard, so to speak, and seeing things that people may overlook. But sometimes you have to hit the popular spots, too.
Much of the time my focus is the artistic and the historic. And I can never pass up a pastry and a good cup of tea.
Recently, I’ve been trying to do more traveling with my dog, George, too. That’s part of how I ended up in Cape May and Coney Island as dogs are allowed on beaches during the winter offseason.
FC: What are the most important destinations for travelers visiting Philadelphia?
C: I think Philadelphia is highly underrated for its arts scene. There’s public art throughout the streets. The city’s murals are renowned. The collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and the Rodin Museum are, genuinely, some of the best in the world. The quality is remarkable and it’s not as crowded as, say, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. It makes me a little nuts when people just want to run up the Art Museum’s steps but never bother going inside.
For example, there are only five versions of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings still in existence in the world. Philadelphia has one of them.
FC: You have a particular interest in Munich and Germany. When did Munich first interest you and what do you enjoy about the area so much?
C: My interest comes via language, I think. I studied German in high school and enjoyed it but I was never very good at it. I knew the basics. Then in 2009, my then-fiance and I did our first trip abroad to Berlin. It was so difficult: everything seemed so different and we pretty much sustained ourselves on food from street stands selling sausages. For some reason, I bought a German translation of Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero as a souvenir. I’m still not sure why I bought it because I definitely couldn’t read novels at that point.
Eventually, I started taking German lessons again and eventually I was able to read that book I bought. My now-husband and I decided to give Germany another try, this time in Munich.
I’m not a big city girl. For me, Munich is a major city that doesn’t feel like a big city. It has a historic center. The buildings can’t be taller than the Frauenkirche, a church in the downtown, so you aren’t enveloped by high rises. There’s so much green space throughout the city. The pace of life is laid back, the people are kind, and the food is delicious.
FC: You recently traveled to Munich again. Were there any new sites that you checked out on this trip, or do you like revisiting a lot of familiar spots?
C: I’m very fortunate to say that this was my fifth time in Munich. There are spots I have to go to every time like Hirschgarten, the world’s largest Biergarten, and Nymphenburg Park. I’m just a creature of habit like that.
I used to focus a lot on day trips that took hours on the train to reach. I’ve really cut back on that. When you only have a few days, it doesn’t seem like the best use of time.
My favorite part this time was probably visiting Kloster Andechs. Beer fans might be familiar with the monastery’s brewery. It’s a fantastic trip because you can take the train from Munich and then you get an hour hike through these beautiful, pristine woods and across a rolling meadow to the cloister. It’s a pilgrimage church. The hike is fantastic. You pretty much have it all to yourself. And this is less than an hour outside of Munich.
FC: What is your top bucket list travel destination?
C: Tokyo! I’m hopeful that my husband and I will be visiting early next year. We’re big sumo fans and I’d love to see Yokozuna Hakuho compete before he eventually retires.
FC: If you were marooned on a desert island, what book, movie, TV box set, or album are you taking with you?
C: “Or?” So I only get one? I’m tempted to say something in the German language because it would keep me busy and focused the longest trying to understand every word.
I’ll go with Mark Lanegan’s “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost.” It’s a firm and longtime favorite.