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Easter Eggs and Bluegrass

April 3, 2004


Dear Friends and Families,


Part 1, Michelstadt and the Easter Eggs


Our goal for the first full day of Spring Break was the Second International Bluegrass festival in Bühl (or Buehl) Germany, just a couple hours drive south from Frankfurt. Marianne’s brother Tom was playing and we looked forward to seeing him in action.

However, it seemed a shame to waste the drive by just hitting the autobahn, so we decided to take back roads. Germany is a great place to do back roads, as long as you don’t want to get anywhere quickly. Marianne had heard that the town of Michelstadt was cute, so we headed into the “Odenwald” (Oden Forest) and proceeded to get thoroughly lost! I swear we passed the same intersection two or three times.

Eventually, we found Michelstadt and it was indeed as cute as we had been told. On this Palm Sunday, we were treated to an Easter Egg Market and enjoyed both the art and the conversations with the artists. Fortunately, even our small car has space for a few eggs.

We finished our Michelstadt stay with a typical German lunch at the Hausbrauerei, a typical German microbrewer restaurant. Already, we could tell this trip would be hard on our low-carb diets but we vowed to just do the best we could


One of many cute old buildings in Michelstadt.
This was our surprise treat.
The selling arrangement was simple, with each artist required to only sell his or her own work.
These colorful eggs seemed to us to be the most traditional.
This artist produced what we considered the most complete paintings on each egg.
We could even have egg messages done on the spot - German only!


Part 2, Bühl Bluegrass


Seven hours after leaving home, we reached our “two hour” destination. We found Kohler’s Hotel with little trouble and dropped off our bags. Then we hurried “downtown” for the first set of the Bluegrass festival.

Now, going to a Bluegrass festival in Bühl probably is not the same as going to one in America. First, the crowds were not too big and just finding the concert hall was a problem. Eventually, we did spot a few cowboy hats and followed them to the Neue Markt Halle.

The place was pretty well filled with German-speaking Bluegrass fans and we actually felt out of place without Western clothes. True Bluegrass fans are quick to point out that there is a difference between their music and “Country and Western”. Bluegrass, based in the southeastern part of the U.S., certainly isn’t generally “Western” but such nuances may be lost in the translation from Appalachian English to German. No matter, the show was going on and what we heard was fairly authentic, given the varied countries of origin.

We had missed two or three groups by the time we got there but the Bluegrass Boogiemen from The Netherlands were just firing up. Marianne and I are not all that knowledgeable of Bluegrass, but these guys seemed pretty god to us. They definitely put on a good show and there was little indication they were flatland Dutch and not from the hills of North Carolina.

Marianne’s brother plays in the Kathy Kallick Band and they were the closing act at the Buhl Festival. It is geographically a “Western” band, from the San Francisco Bay area, but the music is pure Bluegrass. Tom is a mandolin player with a little fiddle thrown in and he’s been with this band for eight years and two or three CDs. Kathy is the lead singer and guitar player while little Ami plays the big bass and sings. Avrum and his banjo complete the group. Their music is great and everyone should rush out to Amazon and buy their new album! “Walkin’ in My Shoes”.

But we are prejudiced.


Take care and stay tuned for our 2004 Spring Break next.


John and Marianne

Bluegrass Boogiemen from The Netherlands
Kathy Kallick Band from San Francisco
Brother Tom
Tom signing autographs

(The photos are not too good. I discovered that my new camera does not work with my old flash so I was left with the small built-in flash or the yellow stage lights. Yet another learning event!)


Websites to visit:
Kathy Kallick Band: http://www.kathykallick.com/
Bluegrass Boogiemen: http://www.bluegrassboogiemen.nl
Buehl Festival: http://www.schuettekeller.de/bluegrass04/Bluegrass-Festival-Buehl-2004.html
Kohler’s Hotel: http://www.kohlers-hotel-vimbuch.de


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