… It took about 6 hours to reach Sankt Goarshausen’s train station from Bruges. The station door open into the middle of a small street. As soon as I took steps out of the train, I understood that I had arrived in a very strange place. The city was very silent and no living creatures were in sight; you could only hear the sound of the leaves dancing on the trees. It was as if Zombies had taken over the city. There were even no signs or directions to guide tourists. It was very disappointing since I had spent the previous week partying and enjoying a great time in Belgium. However, I put my luggage on the floor and went to make some inquiries. I knew I could leave my luggage behind without any worries, for hours, since there was no sign of life in that neighborhood. After looking around for a few minutes, I found a way to the main street, so I came back, took my things and started my four day journey in a place I had dreamed of my entire life. Yes, I had come all this way for only one reason: to attend the most renowned progressive rock festival in Germany and to meet my most beloved band, Camel.
The streets were very clean and beautiful, but the silence was suffocating. I was wondering if this beautiful place harbors any inhabitant! You could see beautiful houses and some cafes, but they were all closed, like an abandoned city, reminding me of the song Lonesome Town by Ricky Nelson.
After minutes, I reached the main road and found myself before one of the most famous rivers in the world: the amazing Rhein. My hotel was quite far from my current location and I needed to take a taxi. But, there were no sign of any transportation either. I looked around and noticed some cafes beside the pavement. There were some people sitting outside enjoying their meals, and of course they were silent. If I hadn’t seen them I wouldn’t have noticed them. I asked the bartender if he could call a cab for me, and he did so. In the meantime, I thought to take advantage of the situation and take some photos of the river, sky, and the mute locals.
My hotel was located right in front of the river. A very pretty boutique hotel, with fantastic atmosphere. I entered, met this sweet lady at the check-in who welcomed me to their cozy residence. And, I need to say that she was the only sweet person around. She guided me to my room, and gave me all the required information regarding the hotel and the concerts. After all, she knew that no sane person would ever stay a night in Sankt Goar, unless their main destination is Loreley, where the festival takes place.
…Sankt Goar is very famous for its vineyards. They produce quality German wines. My hotel produced its own, so guests could benefit from hotel’s exclusive drinks. The next day, I went to explore the area. I walked along The river for hours, enjoying the breathtaking view of Rhein, boats, and the castles from medieval era. After relaxing for a while, I went back to the hotel. I got my book and went directly to its restaurant. All the tables were empty, and only one table was occupied by an elder couple, so I had lots of seating choices. I sat beside Rhein, ordered a salad and a glass of red wine, and enjoyed a nice afternoon reading The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. After all, I was going to attend Camel’s live performance, a band which had produced one of the best albums in entire music history based on this touching short novel.(The novel is out of print in many countries and I was very lucky to have found it in Shakespeare and Co. in Paris).
…Then I met the most bitter person I have ever met in my life. He seemed to be the manager of the hotel, but he was everywhere, even took orders in the restaurant, yet everybody seemed to be under his supervision. He was very polite though, but so serious that you would regret talking to him. There is one thing in common among most Germans, at least the ones I have met, that they lack a simple human expression: a smile. I bet that everybody I met during my trip to Sankt Goar never knew what even a smile was and how one could do it. From the taxi drivers, to bartenders to any regular person in the streets. Also, they really lacked a sense of humor, a great deal.
Nevertheless, I really loved their beverages and cuisine; honestly,they were very good at serving their guests. I even had my private entrance to my room. However, time was passing very slowly since nothing remained for me to explore and there were no souls to make any connection with. However, it provided me the opportunity to finish my book and make some sketches of the cruise ships sailing on Rhein. The only thing that could keep my enthusiasm alive was the amazing festival that was going to happen the next day, and what could be more exciting than dedicating the entirety of four days of my life listening to great live music in the most beautiful hill above Rhein.
To be continued…