A Bolivian orchestra is stranded in a German castle surrounded by wolves

A Bolivian orchestra is stranded in a German castle surrounded by wolves
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The pace at which lockdowns happened around the world has led to some unconventional – and sometimes downright annoying living arrangements.

For tourists who weren’t quick enough – or didn’t have the money to get back to the country they live in – some have been stranded in countries that they only intended to spend a week in, such as this couple who have now been in lockdown together in Rheinsberg since March.

But none of them are as unlucky as the Bolivian orchestra who travelled to Germany to play in a castle, and have been living there since March.

It sounds like the plot of a fairytale – or even a particularly zany episode of Scooby Doo – but it’s been an ongoing situation since 10th March, according to a BBC report.

The orchestra had touched down in Germany on the 10 March, and they were originally expecting to spend only about two weeks touring different concert halls in eastern Germany.

Soon after they arrived, Berlin imposed a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in response to the pandemic, and the performances that the orchestra had were cancelled soon after.

They tried to get on flights back to Bolivia, and the German foreign office and Bolivian embassy reserved seats on one of the last flights out of Germany, which was going to Peru. But they were told soon after that the plane wouldn’t be allowed to land in Peru, and so they weren’t able to travel.

Soon after, a full lockdown was imposed in Germany, so the musicians, who had already arrived at the Rheinsberg Palace (two hours north of Berlin) were only allowed to go as far as the outer edges of the castle’s woods.

The palace used to belong to a German aristocrat called Frederick the Great. Camed Martela, one of the younger members of the orchestra, told the BBC:

We all joke that Frederick’s ghost is following us and trying to trip us up. I don’t usually believe in such things but it does feel as if there are ghosts on the grounds.

Other members of the orchestra have also spotted wolves, although they said that they’re not worried.

Since then, the orchestra has maintained a strict schedule of practising in the Rheinsberg Palace’s guest house – almost nine hours every day. Many of them provide for their families financially, and others have barely been able to speak to them because of difficulties with Internet connections.

The foreign minister Karen Longaric suggested on the radio in Bolivia that the orchestra left Bolivia with full knowledge that the borders were set to close (although no cases have been recorded), and many members of the orchestra are worried that they’ve been forgotten.

A German musician called Timo Kreuser, who stayed with them in Bolivia, has been helping to smooth over their stay, but they’re worried about the rising costs of accommodation as well as food and other expenses.

But for the Bolivians themselves, they’ve been getting Facebook messages from people they’ve never met.

One of them, called Carlos, told the BBC:

People back home think we're in a fairytale land.I've had hundreds of messages telling me to stop complaining, and that I'm living like a princess in a German castle.

So it maybe isn't too bad after all.

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