The Borderlands

I had a great night in Deulowitz near Guben, just 1 km from the Polish border. I played in a open sided building in a garden.


It was a very warm night, blazing fires, candles, and half the village turned up. At midnight I was advised to have coffee and cake, ‘in Poland it’s a tradition’, not such a bad idea really, it’s an improvement on the traditional midnight curry so popular in England. Another useful piece of advice was, ‘eat bread with linseed oil before you drink and you will not get drunk’. I will have to remember that.

Driving there I noticed a lot of they road signs were in two languages, German and what I presumed was Polish. No, it was a slav dialect, there is a slav minority here with their own language and culture.

I was interested to see how much the east of the country had changed and one thing that had not changed was the warmth of the people. It just felt good to be here. They have a lot to contend with, the population of Guben has declined from 39,000 in 1989 to 18,000. There is very little work and many people commute as far as Berlin, a gruelling 2 hours each way on the Autobahn. As if that wasn’t bad enough, one of the few local sources of employment is a huge open cast coal mine which, at about 15km across takes up half the land between Cottbus and Guben. I drove past it twice. It is operated by the Swedish company Vattenfall who plan to extend the mine up to Gubin, eating up thousands of homes and swallowing whole villages. Have a look at it on Google maps, satellite view, it is probably visible from Mars.

I am now in the beautiful city of Meissen about to play in the old Prelate’s house built in 1509. The room upstairs is meant to have some of the oldest murals in Germany. Stone walls, acoustic show.

Only 3 days into the tour but a lot of new and different impressions. The 6 hour ferry crossing was relaxing, most of the passengers were Polish lorry drivers sleeping. Only 2 dishes on the menu but the helpings were gargantuan.

TrelleborgWe got into Rostock as the rain came down, then I drove an hour to the vicinity of my hotel, followed by another hour driving in circles in the inky black countryside trying to find it. That was a long day.

See Blick

The next day I felt a little weary but was revived by coffee and cake at the Cafe See Blick (Lake View), I never did find out what town it was, it was like finding an oasis in the desert.

The first show was another garden, this time near Altdöbern, right out in the forest. The day had been warm, reaching 24C. Once again blazing fires, wonderful evening and also a full moon. I was informed there was a family of 5 wolves in the area so I half expected to hear some howls in the night. No, they only howl in the mating season apparently. More later.