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Saturday, 11 June 2011 – Travel to Bremen

Holiday Inn in Fulda totally fooled us with one of the best buffet breakfasts we’ve had in Germany.  Our local Holiday Inns in America could certainly learn a few things from this place.

On our way out of town we passed a thousand year old Gothic church – wow, a thousand years old!  We tried to find a place to park but it was Saturday, the first day of Pentecost and the parking lots as well as the church were filled with people, so Mari and Sumi just took a few shots out of the car window as we left town.

One Thousand Year Old Church

Tourists Heading For The Church

Heading North, we drove through all four seasons, rain, sun, wind, clouds and shine.

Sunshine, Clouds And Windmills

More Clouds

Traffic Backing Up

 It was a four-hour drive, so about half way Jean-Daniel had mercy on us and pulled into a roadside café.  Like the church, the parking lot and the café itself were packed out.  We had to park two blocks away from the restaurant, but Mari had her trusty umbrella and I put the hood up on my sweatshirt.  Inside it was a zoo.

Pit Stop

The girls miraculously found a table for five while JD got our coffee.  Mari and Sumi always make up a few sandwiches from the breakfast bar – just bread, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, maybe some salami, whatever they can rustle up, so they pulled the sandwiches out of their big girlie purses and we had a great feast for the price of five cups of coffee.

Any One For Coffee

Then it was back on the road to Bremen.

Bremen Straight Ahead

We pulled right up to the front door of the very hotel we stayed at two years ago.

Checking In

Our View 

Mari and Sumi got their wish as the shopping mall stayed open until 8 p.m. that evening.  So after unpacking, we all headed over to the mall.  For John and I it was really just to have a little exercise after the long ride.

Four Happy Strollers

Almost There


Then we drove off to Mike and Rosie’s house.  We met Mike last year, but Rosie was away with her daughter, so it was really a treat this time to meet the woman behind the man.

Barry, Rosie, Sumi And John
Old Friends

They had booked us into a seafood restaurant right on the river at the Ring hotel Fahrhaus Farge

Our Restaurant

There were two wedding parties going on at the same time, so the parking lot was jam-packed.  JD squeezed our van in at the very end of the lot, but how fortuitous it was, because from that perspective, we caught a glimpse of a real German rainbow!

Look A Rainbow

Our Table

Our View

So, What Looks Good?

While we were waiting for our food, John, Sumi and I struck up a tune.

Tootle, Tootle, Toot, Toot

I ordered some kind of shrimp that really didn’t work for me so Rosie very kindly traded with her dish of broiled fish with spinach and new potatoes with me – absolutely yummy!!!

Yummy Fish

After dinner I went for a stroll around the restaurant.  The room was filled with maritime museum pieces and model ships

A Fishing Trawler

A Three Masted Schooner

The Titanic

By the time we were ready to leave, two very lovely ladies came over to say goodnight.

Please Don’t Go

By the time we left the restaurant, we were stuffed to overflowing and ready for bed.

Sunset On The River


Our Restaurant

So it was goodnight to all as we waved goodbye to Mike and Rosie when they turned off the autobahn.

Driving Home


Friday, 10 June, 2011 – Fulda


Another German breakfast buffet.  It pains me to say that my weight watcher’s points have fallen by the wayside.  This German food is more than I can resist.

Will This Do

A Twenty Point Breakfast

Our drive to Fulda was without photos as two of the photographers were asleep in the back and JD was driving.  Mari woke up just in time to grab this shot of us pulling into the underground parking lot of the Holiday Inn here in Fulda.

The Parking Garage

Didn’t We Just Do This?

These hotels are full of surprises – stairs, stairs everywhere you go – upstairs, downstairs, spiral stairs, marble stairs, wooden stairs, old stairs, new stairs, everywhere are stairs, stairs.  That’s why you want to travel light!

Up I Go


Do You Have Wi-Fi

A Very Friendly Elevator

Had a great room with floor to ceiling windows that opened out on the city.

Our View

All too soon we were back in the van heading for the venue.  It was a bit of a wiggle and a wrangle driving through the crooked streets of the inner city.  We were lost.


We actually reached a point where we could see the building we were looking for but we couldn’t figure out how to get our vehicle from where we were, to where we needed to be, so Jean-Daniel abandoned us. He just left the four of us just sitting there, and off he went, through the crowd in search of Mini, our host for the evening.

Jean-Daniel Abandoning Us

Ten minutes later, to our great relief, the two of them came walking back out of the crowd with Mini by his side.

A Guide For Our Guide

JD climbed back behind the wheel as Mini scooted me over to the middle seat as he climbed into the passenger’s seat beside me.  After that it was a quick shift as Mini told us exactly where to turn, this way and that, passing the old gate in what’s left of  the wall, that in ancient days went around the entire city.

Older Than America

And then, wouldn’t you know, we drove right by our hotel… was too funny.

Soon we were where we were supposed to be.  Mini Jumped out and guided us into a very old cobblestone courtyard.

Turn In Here

This Way

Unloading our equipment, and then voila, more stairs…..down, down, down into a 400 year old subterranean cavern.

This Must Be The Place

Andreas, Our Sound Man

The Back Door

Going Down

 The MUSEUMSKELLER was originally built as an underground coal storage chamber. Then along came Napoleon on his way to Russia, and used it as an underground barracks where his soldiers could sleep.

Hello My Friends

Our Green Room

The Main Room

Then during WWII it was used as a bomb shelter as the allied forces were destroying Germany.  And now, it’s been turned into an underground nightclub.

Setting Up The Stage

The set up was quick and the sound Andreas produced for us was absolutely beyond compare.

Dialing In The Sound

Mari’s Store

The Tables

Ready For The Folks

Then it was up to a lavish restaurant that looked like a King’s ballroom or reception area for lavish events. 

Our Dining Room

Mmmm, Hot Soup

Having never performed in this city before, John and I were a bit apprehensive about who would come to see the show, I mean, they don’t know who we are or what we do.  Some of them may have vague memory of a Barry McGuire from forty years ago, but they had no idea what I was up to these days.

We’ll Just Have To Wait And See

We do have two friends who live in this city, Dieter and Klaus who are actually the ones that convinced the owner of the club to book us in.  I think between the two of them, they must have brought along more than a dozen people. 

The advanced ticket sales had really been slow, but people just kept showing up at the door.  With Just 15 Minutes to show time they started to bring out extra seats for the unexpected overflow.

15 Minutes To Go

Even with the extra chairs there were people were left standing in the back of the room.

Mari, Telling Him All About It

I know this sounds redundant, but the show just keeps getting better and better.

Show Time

Focused in Fulda

Get Down And Boogie

Hopefully, we’ll get to come back to THE MUSEUMSKELLER. next year.

A Happy Crowd

A Happy Crowd

 The atmosphere of this hallowed ground that had such ancient stories to tell, seemed to add to the magic of the evening.

Thank You So Very Much


Thursday, 9th June – Calden

After our check out at 11 a.m, JD decided to hit the country roads and stay off of the autobahn.  What a magnificent drive, and we passed through Bischhausen, a little village that is celebrating the One Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty Fifth anniversary of the day it was founded.

One Thousand, Two Hundred And Twenty Five Years Old

Heavy Traffic

Happy Boys

Then we drove on through the industrial town of Kassel.  This city had been obliterated during the 2nd world war, and among the thousands of structures that had been lost forever were the memories of the thousands of victims who didn’t survive the war.  How stupid is war, how utterly stupid!!!

Still Rebuilding

Berthold had us booked into the Waldhotel Schaferberg.  We’d been there before and it was like walking up the driveway to grandmother’s house.

Waldhotel Schaferberg

C’mon Sumi

Taking Care Of Business

Oooh, Coffee In The Lobby

Two hours later we were pulling into the parking lot of our venue for the evening. The Konzertscheune,

The Konzertscheune

 We parked around back where we were met by our host, Berthold Braun and a chorus of canines wagging their tails and appreciating every scratch they could get.

Parked Around Back


Mari made friends with an outdoor cat that lived in the barn.  It jumped up in Mari’s lap where she spent some very happy minutes scratching it and brushing the long winter hair out of its fur.

Mari’s Cat

Berthold showed us around, and one of the great moments for us guys was discovering the Rolls Royce. Berthold’s father told me he purchased it from King Farouk, the Premiere of Egypt back in the thirties.

The Roller

Of course, we had to try it on for size.  I mean, how many times do you see a 1933 Rolls Royce, let alone get to sit in it. 

Off To See The Queen

The room was just the way we remembered it, big and beautiful.

The Big Room

Sumi’s Ghost

After a quick sound check we climbed up some very steep stairs to the dressing room.

La,La,La Laaaah

Our Green Room

Looking out the dressing room window, I spotted Mari’s kitty heading out through mouseland, looking to catch a mouse.

Mouseland For Kitty

Off To Catch A Mouse

 We made ourselves right at home with me shining my shoes and John tuning his guitar.

Shining And Tuning

John’s Green Room Toys

Then up came dinner, Scampi Alfredo – yum, yum!!!  After dinner I grabbed my usual pre-show nap, while John continued tuning his guitar.

The Napster

Mari put away her camera and set up her CD table while Jean-Daniel and Sumi were off taking pictures everywhere.

Soon people started filling up the courtyard lounging area.

Here They Come

By 8 p.m. there was no place left to park and the room was packed out.

No Place Left To Park

Packed Out

We love German audiences.  Most of them had already consumed a few beers before the show began and were ready to sing.

Show Time

Is This Fun Or What?

Callin’ Out All Around The World

After the show we spent another hour just meeting new friends and signing CDs.


Looking forward to a return engagement in 2013


Barry, Berthold And John


Wednesday, 8th June 2011 – Gotha Show in the Londoner Pub


Even though today was a show day, we got the whole morning off so Sumi and Mari went out shopping while John and I worked on a new tune.

How About This One?

Girls got home about 11.30 a.m.  Sumi had two pairs of new shoes and Mari had some gifts for the grannies.

Sumi’s New Red Shoes

We were waiting for Jean-Daniel in the lobby at 12.30 p.m.

Waiting For Jean-Daniel

We had just enough time for a couple of glasses of sparkling mineral water when along came Alex, and Ute with three of her students.  They shared some history of Gotha with us in English. 

An Exercise In English

It was good for them to speak English and also they’d learned things about their own city that they didn’t know.

Not An Easy Thing To Do

Then we were off on a little mini tour, meeting different students at different historical points throughout the city.

Here’s Where We’re Going

Of course everything in Gotha is just around the corner, so off we went.

Off We Go, Just Around The Corner

There were kids waiting for us at every stop along the way, and they read their researched history to us in English.

First Stop

Second Stop

Who’s That Guy On The Left

Third Stop

Inside The Third Stop

Martin Luther’s Own Pulpit

The tour seemed to go on and on. Even though we had a show that night we loved every minute of it.

Off To The Next Stop

Of course it was very hard for me to not stop and look in every window along the way.

Sidetracked Again

The kids from each stop would tag along with us to the next stop, so the gang just kept getting bigger and bigger as we went.

The Plaza Gang

By chance one of our tour guides met his grandfather along the way, so he introduced us to each other.

A Chance Meeting

We were both born in 1935 just about a month apart. It turned out I was a few weeks older than him. So we both lived through the war years together, with him in Germany and me in California. I know his childhood story is way different than mine, but there we were, just a couple of old grandpas sharing a magic moment together.

Two Grandpas

While we were smiling and communicating with each other through his grandson, John was across the plaza taking bowing lessons from one of our young guides.

John Learning How To Bow Before Royalty

Our last stop was in front of the Castle – 365 rooms and over 2,000 windows.  Sounds like a steady window-cleaning job for somebody.

The Gotha City Gang

We had a group photo shot in front of the Castle garden and then we all headed off in different directions.

Off In Different Directions

A Nice Way Home

When we got back to our room, for me, it was a quick nap while Mari caught up on her internet emails.

Before we knew it, it was time to assemble in the lobby. We loaded up and drove to the Londoner Pub.  Alex was there waiting for us as we pulled into the parking lot.

Alex Our Host

Alex is only 31 years old, but what he’s done to the interior of this 200-year-old building is absolutely spectacular.

The Lounge

The Bar

The Smoking Room

The Décor
We met Pete. He was our soundman the last time we were in Gotha so it was like shaking hands with, and hugging. an old friend. When Pete hugs you, you know you’ve been hugged!

Pete Our Sound Man

He knew what we needed and gave us what we wanted.  Then he and JD set the lights.

Dialing In The Sound

It was time to eat, so we went downstairs for our afternoon meal, prepared by none other than Alex, himself.

Waiting For Our Meal

Alex’s Food

After our meal, we had a couple of hours to kill waiting for the folks to show up so I had a bit of a quiet time while John went upstairs and tuned his 12-string.

Quiet Time For Barry

It’s always an amazing thing to see people fill up a room, who’ve all come to experience our show.

Show Time, Here We Go Again

It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re a part of something so meaningful to so many people.  And as the show went on, it was plain to see that the songs we sing mean as much to them as they do to us.

Yeah For Us…!!!

Two and a half hours slammed past us like a freight train runnin’ down grade.  Zip, zap the show was over and then came the painful goodbyes.  Smiles, hugs and tears and a promise to return in 2013!

Our Gotha Family

How absolutely beautiful!


Tuesday, 7th June 2011 – High School Assembly in Gotha

Well, today was laundry day, so right after breakfast, Mari and I piled in the van with JD and four plastic bags full of dirty clothes.  There was a Laundromat “just around the corner,” but we drove because we didn’t want to carry four bags full of dirty clothes across town.

Off To The Laundry

This Must Be The Place

I waited outside while JD went in to work things out with the laundry lady.

The Laundry

Negotiating A Price

Waiting Outside

While I was waiting, Mari had a little snoop around the block, and wouldn’t you know it, she found a pair of red sandals in the shoe store and I must admit, they are really cool.

Queen Mari’s New Red Shoes

Then Jean-Daniel and I went looking for Mari and I found a new hat.

The Wiz Kid

 Alex came by our hotel about 2.30 p.m. to walk us over to the high school, which was just around the corner, and it really was only half a block away.

Walking To School

There were about 50 or 60 teenage kids waiting for us in the assembly hall.  They’d been working hard because they wanted to sing us a song in English.  The song they chose was “Blowin’ In The Wind”.  I swear if Bobby had been there to hear it, it would have brought tears to his eyes.  How incredible to hear German kids in East Germany singing from their hearts a song that Bob Dylan wrote so many years ago.

Blowin’ In The Wind

The Next Generation


We were all wiping away tears when they finished.  Then we did a couple of tunes for the kids and opened up for questions.


Striking Up A Happy Tune

Questions And Answers

Then the Kids gifted us with some little ceramic figures.


Gifts From Ute’s Kids

When Alex was in high school Ute was his teacher, and their friendship has lasted through the years. Ute and Alex led us down a couple a flights of stairs to her Ceramic Arts classroom.

More Stairs

Ute’s Ceramic Classroom

Ex-Student Alex and His High School Teacher, Ute

One last Photo At Ernestinum

Saying good-bye, we nipped around the corner to our hotel.  Mari took off with Sumi to find her some new red shoes and I worked on these blogs till I fell unconscious on the bed.

Thinking it was just around the corner, Sumi was going to walk to Harald and Ute’s garden for an afternoon bbq.

Follow Me

But not wanting to walk we talked her into the van.  What would have been a long walk became a short ride.

Harald And Ute’s House

Welcome To The Garden

Sausage, hamburger patties, pork chops and fish with all the salads and fresh vege dishes to go with it.

Harald The Cook

Ready To Eat

The Spread

I Found My Spot In The Corner

We finished off the meal with chocolate and red wine – just sitting out in their little garden under their covered pergola, laughing about silly things and just bathing in the warm friendship that was felt by all of us.

Warm Friendship

Harald, Ute And Mari

Ute And Mari’s Private Joke

Don’t Toucha Da Mustache

As we were leaving, Ute showed us through their house.  She’s an art teacher and her house is filled with wonderful, and unique pieces of art.

Ute’s Art

Ute’s Glass Work

Art Everywhere You Look

Her two sons also create, and her husband loves to build and is involved in an ongoing restoration of their eighty year old home.

Harald And His Two Sons, Florian And Phillip

While we were saying goodnight it started thundering and raining again, so we got a bit wet piling back into the van and drove home with the windshield wipers keeping time. Sumi was really happy that we didn’t walk.


Monday, 6th June, 2011 – Drive to Gotha

After last night’s show we had a late call for breakfast.


It was a four-hour drive heading back up North East to Gotha.  There was still some heavy weather hanging over us, but at least the road was dry.

Dry Road, Dark Sky

After a couple of hours it was time for a break. To use the toilet you have to buy a coupon, but when you’ve finished you can turn it in to the cashier and apply it to your purchase. So you leave a little and you take a little.

Coffee Break

As we were sitting there drinking our coffee the weather closed in on us and it started to rain.

Here Comes The Rain

We piled back into our van and hit the Gotha road.

Gotha Here We Come

It wasn’t that long before the clouds broke and it started to clear up a bit.

A Silver Lining

We’re On The Right Road

The Answer My Friend

We have discovered East Germany to be a very beautiful part of the world and we were nearly there.

Nearly There

We pulled right up in front of the Hotel am Schlosspark  where we were met by Alex, our host.

Alex Our Host

While JD was checking us in, Sumi got lost in the German art.

Checking in

Wow, Look At That

It just took us twenty or thirty minutes to get settled into our rooms

Our Window

Our View

Just over the trees was a school playground filled with children. What a universally joyous sound is the cacophony of children at play

Children At Play

Alex was waiting for us in the lobby and he took us “just around the corner” to a fantastic Italian restaurant.  According to Alex, everything in Gotha is “just around the corner….”

Walking To Dinner

Ducks Walking To Dinner

Pavarotti’s, We Made It

Ute and Harald, friends we made the last time we were here, met us on their bikes and joined us for dinner.  Their sons showed up about a half hour later and the ten of us just sat around the table catching up on the last 18 months.

Dinner At Pavarotti’s

Then Ute and her two sons, Phillip & Florian, walked us home, and as for the five of us, it was an early night to bed.

Walking Home From Dinner


Sunday 5th June, 2011 - Himmelszelt in Herbrechtingen

Breakfast at 9 a.m., load out at 10.45 a.m. for a three hour drive to Herbrechtingen.

That Was Our Room

Load Em Up

What a drive it was – all four seasons in three hours – summer, fall, winter, and spring.

Here It Comes

It’s Catching Up With Us

That’s 64 F

The outside temp was 17 C so we ducked in through a tunnel, but when we came out the other end it was even worse.

A Dry Moment

It’s Even Worse

That’s 48 F

Even the bikers were holding court under the overpasses as the hail thundered down all around them except for this one guy who wouldn’t stop for anybody or anything – our hero!

Our Hero

As he passed us on the left John Said “Wow these German girls really look tough”.

Passing On The Left

Suddenly the sun came out and we topped the hill heading down into the quaint little village of Herbrechtingen, it was like entering into a wonderland of beauty.

A German Wonderland

First thing we noticed was no one was on the streets – very few cars, and no people….just us driving through town.  We found our hotel, unpacked and checked in.

Our Hotel

Our View

Then it was right back into the van for a five-minute drive to the venue. We drove along the river and there it was, a miniature Barnum and Bailey circus tent surrounded by camper trailers (caravans) dining tents, and a pub tent.

A Circus Tent In Germany

The Himmelszelt

All of this was located just under the lee of a Mill that was built in 1444. 

The Mill Wheel

Our host, Wolfgang met us with a huge handshake.

Wolfgang Says Hello

While the Unicorns grazed across the river, John and I settled in between the Big Top and our Green Room, which was a little caravan set up behind the big tent, Wolfgang’s helper, Miriam, took off to fetch us some drinks and snacks.

Grazing Unicorns

Waiting For Our Snacks

Snack Time

When we stepped into the little circus tent, I was expecting just a bunch of folding chairs sitting on the grass with a little performance riser on one side, but this place was magic land personified. World-class sound and lights, incredibly decorated, with cushioned bleacher seats all around with folding chairs on carpeted floors in front of the stage. 

Magic Land

Didn’t take but twenty minutes to set the lights and dial in the sound.

Sound And Lights

Miriam informed us that our afternoon meal was ready.

The Afternoon Meal


She served up home grown potato gratin, home grown salad, and fresh baked bread followed up with her own special home made yogurt and fresh cantelope.  We just sat there at our table between the mill and the river, dumbfoundedly looking at each other and the scenery that surrounded us.

Really Unreal


Locals On The River

After eating I headed back to the caravan for a nap while John, Sumi and JD took a little walk about and got some great pictures.

The Napster

The Walkers

A Fellow Walker

Meanwhile Mari was setting up her store.

Mari’s Store


Mari met a young man named Klaus and as they were talking, he mentioned Liesel the pig.  Mari said, “Oh do you have a pig?”  Klaus said, “Would you like to see her?”  Mari said, “I’d love to.”  So off they went to see this huge wild pig that they’d found as a tiny abandoned piglet in the woods and raised as a pet.


The crowd started filling up the little big top and it was show time.

Show Time

Packed Out House (Tent)

Green Green It’s Green They Say

The most incredible thing occurred as we were singing ‘Everybody’s Talkin’.  Just as we got to the lines, “goin’ where the sun comes shinin’ through the pourin’ rain.”  It absolutely thundered down on us – I mean cracking, rolling thunder, flashing lightning and torrential rain, but there we were, nice and cozy, not a drop of water got through to the crowd inside.


Sumi Photographing The Wild Life


We finished our show and they wouldn’t let us leave so we did two more encore songs and still they wouldn’t let us leave.

Two More Songs

John and I had been working on a John Denver tune, “Country Road,” so we thought, “hey, let’s give it a go.”  From the first line, “Almost heaven…” the audience came in and sang all the way through.  When they got to the chorus there were over 300 voices singing as a choir, harmony, melody; John and I just stopped playing and stood there thinking, “somewhere little Johnny Deutchendorf has a smile on his face as his song was echoing off the hills and along the river in this little German valley.

After the show it was meeting new friends, signing CDs, and eating Flammenkuchen, which is a very thin-crusted pizza, which must be washed down with German beer. 

New Friends

Flammenkuchen And German Beer

We keep thinking it can’t get any better than this, but then somehow it always seems to get just a little better.

Barry, Wolfgang And John


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