Currently, I am trapped in a tiny apartment above a very loud taco shop with a roommate recuperating from unexpected shoulder surgery, surrounded by a thousand empty cans of PBR. I would much prefer to be at Rheinsberg Palace in Germany, permanent home to ghosts and wolves, and now the temporary home of several dozen members of a Bolivian orchestra. That’s right—ghosts and wolves. The Joan Aiken novel of my dreams!
The BBC reports that the Bolivian orchestra in question is the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos, whose members were scheduled to perform at the MaerzMusik festival in Berlin in early March. We all know what happened next: a raging pandemic, canceled mass gatherings, and, eventually, a full lockdown, hence why the orchestra’s trapped in the palace.
Honestly, it seems great:
Germany’s ban on mass gatherings was swiftly followed by a full lockdown, meaning the musicians are only allowed to roam as far as the forest that lines the perimeter of the estate.
So their free time is spent rehearsing in the nearly 600-year-old palace grounds and exploring the surrounding woodland, home to 23 packs of wolves.
Unfortunately, Bolivia closed its borders and still hasn’t tried to get the orchestra out. Some of the musicians say they feel “abandoned” by their government—whom among us—but at least they’ve made some new friends!
One of the palace’s former inhabitants was Frederick the Great, who was given ownership of the estate by his father in 1736 before he ascended to the throne, and described his time at Rheinsberg as his “happiest years”...
...“We all joke that Frederick’s ghost is following us and trying to trip us up,” says Camed. “I don’t usually believe in such things but it does feel as if there are ghosts on the grounds.”
And, of course, they have the woodland to explore. Tracy says she spotted three wolves while out walking recently
“I froze in fear but they were just play fighting and moved on.”
Meanwhile, the only wildlife I’ve encountered over the last three months are the pigeons that taunt me from my fire escape, and so far I’ve found NO ghosts. Happy to trade.