Day 1 – August 4, 2005

The travel party is myself, my wife Sandy, Doctor Dark drummer Stephen Chellemi, and his wife Mary Jayne. I’ll save the drama… we all got along great for the whole 10 days so don’t look for any dirt dishing in the ol’ bloggie.

We arrived in Berlin without any drama, but then we had to get our rental car. It needed to haul 4 big Americans, our luggage, and my bass in a flight case. This tunred out to be tricky but we got a 2005 Ford Mondeo 4dr that has a hatchback trunk. We were too exhausted to pack it right the first time so Steve and I rode in the back with the bass case all the way to Bad Doberan. That was a long 2 hours but it was mainly because we were cooked from the trip. I don’t sleep on planes, neither does Steve.

Bad Doberan is a pretty town on the Baltic, and the population must double for Zappanale. They have a small gauge steam train, the Molle (molly), which provides light-rail transit through the town and out to the Ostsee(we call it the Baltic). Being in this lively small town, with the train keeping the time, the cobblestone streets, and the weather providing some daily variety, it might as well be on another planet from home. We find the Arf Society office and meet Enrico. He shows us to our hotel and gets back to the busy preparations for the festival. He is a 30ish guy from Leipzig with a FZ-style imperial. I didn’t have the camera enough, but the next time I go to this fest I am getting a pic of every attendee I see with one. Some were cheezy, but Enrico’s is classic.

We get checked in at the Pagliantini, a pension and restaurant in an Italian style run by a nice Italian man and his family. We hit the beds and pass the hell OUT. Keeping it to a catnap was hard but we had the opening night celebration at the Kamp Theatre to attend. The Kamp is the town green and the site of the town church. The Kamp Theatre is a bar/restaurant/cinema at the edge of the Kamp. They have it all. Good beer, good food, good outdoor tables. After a little walk around town we get to the restaurant just in time for the nightly rain shower, then get a table and order some drinks and food. Their beer is excellent! This might sound like a given, but it was a good way to start things off.

The opening party is very relaxed. A beer wagon is brought in and they close off the street in front of the theatre. Unlike a scene like this back in Connecticut: no yahoos getting rowdy, no idiots with boom box cars, no fights, no sloppy drunks, no shouting…. just a crew having a good chat and some good beer and food. I could get used to this. We meet Peter, from Berlin, and he hangs with us for most of the evening. This is good because we don’t speak enough German to get by, and Peter speaks excellent English. I can understand a little german, and I can order a beer, and I can read some menu-German, but not much else.

Bill Saunders, Nancy Shea, and Travis Moody show up and the party really gets rolling. Bill is the frontman and obstensibly IS Doctor Dark, Travis is one of the two guitar players in our merry band. Bill is immediately hit on for photo ops, handshakes, and hugs from fans. I’ll say that Bill is the third most recognized attendee behind Ike Willis and Napolean Murphy Brock. Joe Nolan is back at the pad, probably crashed out. It turns out that he got there after we left and stayed until 3am, so we don’t need to worry about Joe.

The beer and rumsteck are taking their toll, so we decide to call it a night. The walk back through the town to out hotel is a nice nightcap, but watch out for those cobblestone curbs! Slick!

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