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Tour Preparation and our first destination: Degenberg

The preparation time was full of hard work, little complications, funny surprises and some chaos… We found our caravan at an RV-Shop in Heidelberg and it we fell in love with him immediately!

We felt that he would be our perfect partner for this journey. He convinced us with his special colour, modest apparition and cosy interior that invites you to stay inside when it rains… He succeeded even in our most important request: we can practice inside! Just exchange the table with a music stand, so playing my cello I can perfectly use the whole bow, the distance from the window to the fridge offers just enough space!

Maybe with closed eyes and a bit of imagination the feeling is like in a concert hall!

…oh: where Ivan plays? The bathroom, that measures approximately one square meter should be enough to play the small violin. To use the whole bow (which is not always necessary I suppose…) just open the window...

Anyway we plan to practice outside in the nature whenever it’s possible!

So we fell in love with our caravan, for us he is so perfect that we didn’t realize that the RV dealers felt their big chance to hide some damages and to ask way too much money from us...:-( Never mind, we are musicians and not business people, we felt a little bit stupid but very happy and took our new partner to his first destination: home to Kaiserslautern. He didn’t feel good in the first time so we had to take him to the RV doctor that had to operate him on a couple spots.

We got him the perfect licence tag “KL-E(urope)-2017” which made him feel better immediately! Soon he recovered from his sickness and he is now in a perfect condition, ready to start the big trip!

In the last week before we left, we did a couple dozens of orders, promo material, technical equipment, music sheets, instrument equipment, for sure the Kaiserslautern post office was on the border to explode working without interruption. Every hour the postman rang the bell and brought us packages in every possible size! I really like getting packages, it felt a little bit like Christmas, but this was too much, even for me. Every room of our flat share was covered with paper, cartons, mountains of plastic trash... If you want to have an idea what REAL CHAOS means, you should have come to visit us…8-)

One of the orders that we made, were the stickers. Four big ones for our RV (again a really big package...) and normal ones for my cello case and for fan publicity. …as we are still musicians and not mathematicians, we confused cm and mm (which I think can happen to everyone 8-), so the result was quite disappointing… We stayed positive and realized two great things about it: it was a small package AND we can use it anyway, for nail and bow decoration and many other things!

One day before our debut concert the RICCIcarbon instruments arrived! We were really excited and I decided to play the debut concert immediately on my „new cello “. I „played“ a proper goodbye to my beloved wooden instrument which I won’t see for three months! (it actually never happened to us to be separated for such a long time!). It took a while to get used to the new technique that demands the carbon instrument. The way to find a perfect sound needs some experimentation and discovering… In the meantime, I found a lot of possibilities to find my personal cello sound and we already became friends!! :-)

Our first concert in Kaiserslautern was very successful and emotional, a lot of great friends came to hear our goodbye and we are looking forward to coming back and tell them our stories!

Two nights and days of packing, organising, ordering the chaos… finally got us to the point where we could move into our new home, the caravan!

THE day came and we were ready to start!!!

Our first destination is the castle of Degenberg in Bavaria. The drive was 600 kilometres. As we were late to start off in the evening we split the drive in two parts and spent the night just on the side of the highway A6 where we parked on the last free spot between two huge trucks (our RV seemed like a mouse between two elephants!). This was not exactly like we imagined our first night in the caravan: no nature, no birds, no lake, but the regular noise and squeaking of the highway and first what we saw in the morning opening the window: the big sign of MCdonalds…. Aaaahhhhh!!

After a good and healthy breakfast at …(ok: let’s say it: MC…), we did the last way arriving in Degenberg on the border of Bavarian Forest!

This place is like in a fairy tale! From the road, you can see it only in the last moment as it’s hidden and surrounded by trees. The old building is made on stones and surrounded on walls that are hundreds of years old. May I tell you the story of this very special place which is actually very connected to the Land Lady Christine, a wonderful elderly woman who is a doctor, violin player, painter, artist, spiritual nature lover…

30 years ago, she and 15 of her Berlin friends travelled through whole Bavaria and Austria to look for a house to create some kind of spiritual hippie flat share. They fell in love with this castle and bought it immediately (although it was in bad shape...), restored the walls, planted flowers, renovated the inside with many colours, decoration and pulled it back to live! They had a great time, children came and it became a family house... During the years, some moved out, some others moved in, people from every possible country contributed to the colourful story of these walls… Christine is the only one that stayed all these years and during the time she became the land lady. Every room is different and tells the story of her knowledge, art, travels, spiritual and colourful life… The warm golden, red, yellow velour and glitter style makes you feel at home immediately, forgetting time and problems: it’s surreal! In her music room for example, there is a big variety of instruments from India, Greece, Asia… On the walls, her paintings fit perfectly and bring nature inside the castle… There are so many different rooms that you can easily get lost …or discover something new: for example, the Afghan room of art and literature from this interesting culture, her homeopathy praxis room, the private cinema with a stage for smaller concerts etc etc… In the garden Christine transformed a barn into a wooden private concert hall with 300 cinema chairs, a dream of comfort for the public... And the most important: Christine has Magic Gardens! When you go to take a walk, you feel like reading a great romantic novel. Little gardens in one big garden, rose trees, bamboos, fountains, special flowers, walls that you can climb to see the most beautiful sunset with the coulisse of entire Bavaria…

By the way now I’m sitting under a tree in the Magic Gardens of the castle writing this blog There is no internet connection in the castle, just in a couple spots on top of the wall you can reach the “rest of the world”. The neighbour Peter has WIFI, so sometimes we took a half an hour walk to his house to be connected again (“Internet Connects Europe” …?) It’s actually quite an unusual but very good feeling to forget the modern run of time for a couple days..

This week, my trumpet college Otmar is here, he is of course musician but his heart is even more beating for photography and cooking…; he cooks us dishes every day in artistic variations and with perfect wine accompaniment! Nature, music, food, wine: we have everything here so it was the perfect condition for a great density of work this week!

Our concert on Saturday in the wooden hall was great fun and a very special atmosphere! Sometimes you could hear birds singing with us from the garden outside... We played in addition to our ICstrings-Duo-Program the Bach double concerto with Christine and a cembalo lady. As the very special happening we were lucky to have two Persian musicians (a singer and Lyra player) in the public that spontaneously came to the stage and improvised with us. An outstanding experience of musical connection, for us and I guess, for the public as well…

The last two days of our stay in the castle were dedicated to (audio) recording two pieces for the music video: IMAGINE from John Lennon that will connect all the countries in one video and which will be the main result of our trip! And as the second recording the medley of SWEDEN where we will go and make our next video containing Swedish folk songs and of course…ABBA! The recording session was well prepared, the microphones were switched on, the freshly arranged version of IMAGINE was printed out, the instruments were tuned, we were ready to start in the early morning to use the whole day… when a tiny incident changed the plans…: The small cigarette box with the SD cards were still in our RV, no problem just to pick them up… you think…but “it’s not like this” (how our friend Achmad would say 8-)). The keys were missing! We started to search motivated (as it’s not the first time they hide and would be found...), but this time it was incredibly difficult! After a few hours running back and forward in the gardens, climbing the walls, looking in every room of the castle (don’t tell anyone: but I even emptied the fridge to be sure…). In the meantime we rehearsed to change our thoughts but we played in the “wrong key” so we stopped, running around stupidly again… In the late afternoon Ivan had his “Magic Thought” of the day: The USB-key that we put “conveniently” on the RV-Key in order not to lose it, were stuck on the computer the whole day carrying the new version of IMAGINE…

Anyway… the recording went fine and we stayed one more day in Degenberg before heading off to our next destination to the capital:

BERLIN ….coming soon…

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