Reading My Way Around the World

Monday 19 October 2015

Camp Base Bonn

Bonn Folk Club meets on the first Friday of every month.   IT's mainly a platform for local acts to perform and then if a touring artist is in the area and free they'll do the main guest spot.
Their normal venue was busy on 2nd October when we visited so they had to move for the night and ended up in this place - Camp Base.

If you are ever looking for an unusual place for Bed and Breakfast then this is it.

Take one abandoned aircraft hangar, fill it with caravans, camper vans, railway carriages, a couple of buses, bits of planes and a few other ingenious sleeping places - tart them all up - and hey presto, beds for the night.

To sing in acoustically, this place was a nightmare - I had a proper hissy fit when we first went in to the stage and then I just shrugged my shoulders and said "whatever, let's get on with it".   You couldn't hear people talking from the stage beyond the first couple of rows, but you could plainly hear their guitars and hear them singing at the bar at the other end of the building!

But it turned out to be a great night and I met a lot of people that I have only met before either on email or Facebook or blogging.

So here's a feeling of Camp Base, Bonn.

 This railway carriage has 30 or 40 beds in it ... there's another one outside the hangar as well.

A ski lift carriage

And the best of all .... a Trabant with a tent on top!!   Two beds in it - the cheapest price for the night - just €24 per person per night. There used to be an Irish traditional band called Upstairs in a Tent - I wonder had they been here.

 The view from the stage at the end of the night when the audience were starting to leave.

Lecker the lamb - Take 2!!

I have no idea why why this post is in my draft folder - I distinctly remember posting it and noticed the other day that it has comments on it - so if you think you're experiencing deja vu, rest assured you're not.  
We were having a wander around Hanswarft on Hallig Hooge before our gig in the Cafe zum Seehund when we spotted this man walking in front of us.   Is that sheep following him? we asked each other!!!!  And sure enough he was. That's a chain around the garden, not a lead on him...
Man and sheep made their way to the front door of our abode for the night and Jörg, our host, came out to see what was going on.  
The guy told the sheep to wait and it obediently did and then told it to go the other direction and off it went!!!

Roars of laughter and oohs and ahs followed. 
What's he called Tom asked.   Well, I don't want to give him a name cos he's going to be a sausage some day - OH NO!!!!!  You can't do that!
So Jörg very helpfully named him Lecker.  Do you know any German?   Lecker is the German equivalent of Yummy!!!!  Oh dear....  The poor wee sheep.  

The previous night we walked to a session on Lorenzwarft and some more of Lecker's pals decided to follow us too - they must have been into the music.  

At the session - the first Irish type session every held on the Hallig run by Barney (in the green T shirt) and it was  a huge success.  All with German songs - lots of fun.   People here in this picture from Austria, Cologne, Bavaria, Dusseldorf, Kiel and Ireland.

Odd shoes found around the dyke which surrounds the island - they stink but there's something fascinating about such a collection.

Arriving on to Hallig Hooge at sunset.

The Hallig is a very unusual place  - not quite an island, more like a silt deposit in the ocean without protection.  It's a nature reserve and the Canada Geese land here both in May and October.  The houses are all built on little hillocks, and the whole island is surrounded by a dkye.  Still, there are occasions when a storm hits and the place floods - then the houses look like they're sitting on the water.  There are other halligen - including Sylt, Langanesse and Amrun ... excuse the spellings if I've got them wrong.   In total 10 off the North West Coast of Germany.
If you're interested in reading more you can check out   Hooge now has 85 inhabitants.

Thursday 15 October 2015

On the way home

Saying goodbye to Denmark,
Molly thought we were there to play with her!!
After nearly a month on the road, we're nearly back home.   The ferry gets back in to Ireland in another couple of hours, then it's one more concert in Co. Cork and up to the North on Saturday.

We've driven almost 6000 kms (about 3,700 miles), been through France, Germany, into Denmark, back down into Luxembourg, had lunch in Belgium on the way to the ferry and now back to Ireland.   Not once did we spot another right hand drive car until we pulled up at check in last night.

We've played 13 concerts in churches, theatres, clubs, pubs and houses and even in an aircraft hangar - met old friends all over the place and made many new friends.   Practised our French and Germany, learned a few words in Danish and were impressed by the Luxemburgers who as a matter of course speak 3 languages, oh and plus English naturally!   Many of them speak 5 languages seamlessly.

We've kept company with cats and dogs as well as friends and sold lots of CDs.   All the concerts were really well received and we're well pleased with the tour in general.

Got her to sit down this time - with Kanne from Sommersted, Barney from Kiel and Tom and myself,
bags packed and ready to head down into Germany again
But 3 1/2 weeks is a long time away from home and 6000 kms is a long time sitting down.  We're so fed up with all the roadworks on the German motorways - what a pain - it felt like the whole country is getting a new road surface. I'm looking forward to emptying the suitcase and various bags and seeing what treasures I've brought home - goodies :)   And also to getting a bit more internet time - I've missed reading all your stories and seeing your photos - roaming charges are way too high to be indiscriminate about logging in each day and in people's houses you want to chat rather than work.  

But most of all I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed - a different bed each night, even though they were all comfy and lovely beds, checking the layout of the room before going to sleep in case I need to get up in the middle of the night without tripping over something, becomes a bit unsettling.  However we are now experts on both showers and beds and mattresses  - so if you need any advice about the best ones to get, I'm your man!!

I'll be back with some pictures from the trip in coming weeks - memories for my own historical records department ...

Monday 5 October 2015

September Scavenger Hunt

I love this Scavenger Hunt challenge - thank you to Jill (Greenthumb) at Made with Love for setting it up.   It's a lovely way to reflect on a period of time just  past.  

September is always a hectic month, and looking back through my photos here it's also been a long month for us.   All regular activities start up again with the start of the school term.   So my singing group began again, tour planning for later in the year kicked in full time and then we headed off on the road.   So we've been through France, starting the tour with a house concert just outside Paris, and then in to Germany where we're now into our second week and this month's photos are reflecting that.    We head up into Denmark for a day then back through Germany to finish the tour in Luxembourg before taking the ferry back from France to Ireland. 

It's very hard on tour to get time to just play with journals and blogs and photos.  We've been staying with friends, old and new, and the constant being in company, although it's wonderful at the time, is exhausting when there's no time to be on your own.  

So I'm grabbing a quick half hour here and there to get these photos lined up and linked up.  Right now I'm sitting in a cafe on Hallig Hooge - a little island off the coast of Germany.

So without further ado, here are my pics for the September prompts list. 

Saturday 3 October 2015


An iconic image - the Berlin Wall after the fall of the wall in 1989

Today, 3rd October is German reunification day.  And this year is the 25th anniversary of when the two parts of the country became one.  It's not actually the day the wall came down - that was some 11 months earlier.  Can you remember what you were doing that day?  We were playing at a small gig in Strangford - I remember stopping playing and watching the TV - it was such an emotional event.

So today was a national holiday here in Germany and like every other country in the world, when there is a big holiday, what do people do?   They head out onto the motorway to go somewhere!   We were driving from Bonn to Kiel today - a journey that should have taken us about 5 hours maximum, but which ended up taking nearly 9 hours!   Every car in the north of Germany seemed to have been on the road.   Plus there were roadworks the whole way... Aaarrgh - why couldn't they just stay at home and watch the tele.

Anyway I just wanted to mark this day.   And I am half in jest - we got to where we were going - had two lovely gigs on either side of the journey, enjoyed the sunshine and  are safely tucked up in our hotel before tomorrow's journey.

Let us know where you were back then - do you remember it?