Couplet 1: Across Friesland to Hamburg
Donald:
By the time Detleff is ready to go we see that it's too late in the day to head out. So we spend one more night in Haarlingen, but not, finally, in the garage parking lot, but in town, right in front of the café/bar/restaurant,
de Lichtboie. It's actually mostly in Dutch around here. Proof that we actually are in Holland.

Ani took this picture of Mackie, Detleff and I in front of the de Lichtboie from a little bridge across the canal.

We feel chastened by the force of the gusts and winds that blow us here and there, before we've even moved a hundred kilometers. We are a bit worried at the reception of our first attempts at busking. The people seem so cold and rigid. Has Europe changed so completely? Well let's move on to a bigger town and see.

And we are amazed at the angels who looked after us: breakdown right in the middle of the longest dyke in the world, an old dyke authority maintenance man with a VW pickup who pulls us to the garage that has a parking lot where we can sleep in the van and try to busk in this lovely little port town where nobody seems to care about us when we play, like we were cast out of our tribe and were now invisible to the people. But with a stern righteousness and moral fervor of embarrassment that we come among them and do this. And among these we find a little bar where the people are very kind and friendly, insist we play and pass the hat among themselves. And in the meantime we finally find what's wrong with Detleff and she's fixed and paid for by BW in Amsterdam!

So we are are ready to head out for Hamburg.

Through the culture shock and physical and emotional exhaustion that can only be recognized in retrospect, we do notice a few things about our lives: for example, We are in a place for a while, then we are on road in Detlef, trying to drive and navigate and get to another place. Hmmm… is this an emerging pattern?

We arrive in Groeningen, on the border with Germany. We head into the city but Donald freaks out with the traffic not knowing where to go and nor where to park. We see a sign pointing out of the city towards Germany, passing more windmills old and new, and continue towards Hamburg

At some point we stop in a little Rastplatz and I do the dishes. We have a sink in Detleff but can't remember how to start the waterpump.

We reach Bremen and things do go a bit better. Just follow signs to Alt Stadt or Zentum. And pray for an outdoor Parkplatz. There's plenty of Parking Garages, Parkhaus, but Detlef is just a bit too tall for them. Though, I'm happy to say, Detlef is no longer than a regular full size car. But we find parking and we set out to busk in Bremen. The city is centered on big Squares, it's the Saturday Market and there are many many people.

And many other buskers, much to our naive consternation! These are not your run of the mill guitar-playing and folksong singing buskers: these are jugglers on monocycles buskers. And the weather has changed! We actually need to find a pitch in the shade.

We get some small crowds, their appreciative smiles and even some coins. We are asked about our music, instruments and where we're from. And it's all in German! And I can speak with people in their language. Well, no wonder they are friendlier than Herrlingen. Even Mackie enjoys special notice.

Thirty Euros the richer we leave Bremen and continue our way to Hamburg.
The Bremen Stadt Muzikanten
How far back does Felix aka Salaam go back? Even further than our (Donald and Anicet, that is) wedding night when Salaam shared our pup-tent with us in the backyard garden on the Rosebud Hill in Budapest.

With his lovely friend Viola (sweet and a Mac Lady web designer as well!) we quickly find that Hamburg is light and green and beautiful.

If it weren't for Salaam we'd have virtually no photographs of those days just before we married. Not only did he capture their fleeting beauty, but he bound these photos in a little book and gave them to us.

We have this album in a box with other treasures, including the four volumes of little pictures we made of the four years we travelled. Those and thousands of photos of our lives as the boys gree up, are the real source of the mosaic tiles made of captured moments that we need to show on our Prologue Page.

Twenty-eight years before when we had no where to stay in Aachen, Gesine gave us a lovely little room. She is even more beautiful now then she was then!
In my imaginaton Hamburg was always shrouded in fog and resembled the Turn of the Century (1900) London of Brecht and Weill's 1932 version of Die Drei Gröschen Oper. A port city with bad neighborhoods and tough sailors. It's not like that.

And we are eager to do somebusking. We go into the Zentrum to case the place.: see where we can play, where the people are, check out the competition. This scouting out a good pitch has the excitement the ancient bands of hunter-gatherers felt when they picked up the scent of their prey. Actually it's more like pirates with telescopes scanning the horizen. Wait, maybe it's just beggars looking for a spot to beg.

Carrying the instruments in their cases is much much harder to do than twenty-five years ago. Either the instruments have grown heavier, or gravity seems to be stronger in Europe.

We start off sure we will impress the Hamburgers and be showered in Euros. Mostly people ignore us. Not like in Herrlingen, who were ashamed for us, but igoring us because we are not at all important. They have important things to do and they're busy doing them.

What is missing from the Publicum is mothers with strollers, old people, couples strolling along as the beautiful Spring day sets off their hormones and thoughts of Romance…

If we may be permitted a bit of intrusive hindsite, it is clear that we've still alot to learn or remember about busking. We're trying to play in what any New Yorker could tell you is the Financial District. No wonder this is not the right audience!

When we finally give up we see that we have actually earned less than our bus fare to get there and back.

We go "home" to Salaam's beatiful little apartment. We have only slept in Detleff a few times and now we are very comfortable at Salaam's. There we have a kitchen, bathroom, and a peaceful haven where work on this neww website begins. The basic organization and look of this website that you are now looking at are created.

The week-end arrives and we perform at the Festival: Kinder Brauchen Musik, organized by Salaam's friend. There, we are indeed a great hit.

Before leaving Hamburg we try busking in an other part of town: Altoona. It's much less fancy there: more of a basic German feel to it. Mackie, it seems, can tell f someone is drunk or otherwise giving off strange vibes. He barks loud and strong if these people come too near. Everyone around understands why he's barking. as far as the hat goes, it's not great but at least we made more than the U-Bahn fare to get there and back.

All the week in Hamburg we are trying to repair some sort of electrical problem with Detlef. The guys in Amsterdam actually send the Hamburg garage a new generator, but still there's something not right. So it's at the last minute, literally, that we change our plans: we shall no longer travel south through Germany, but head back for Amsterdam!

Detlef is still the strongest wind as we are blown about. Just as we cross the border from Germany to Holland, and start to see little old Dutch windmills again, Detlef breaks down on the side of the Autobahn, two hours short of Amsterdam. The batterey is dead. We know that a tow job off the Autobhan will cost most of what we have left. There is nothing to do but pray.

And our prayers are answered. Let's try one more time. This time the motor starts! and we make it to the BW Campers garage in Amsterdam!