Guitar Festival Nordhorn 2011

On a beautiful spring day… - no, I will not continue with the lyrics of a famous song by the Dutch cabaret artist Leen Jongewaard On a beautiful Whitsunday – I left my ‘big girl’ behind at home (my ‘little’ girls already left home) and got into the car for a little drive to Nordhorn, just over the Dutch/German border.

It was great weather and all trees and plants had just discovered in the week before that is was high time to become lush green. The sun painted a beautiful palette of colours on the leaves in the woods along the road.

I followed the route of the ancient E8, the highway that took many trucks right through crowded town centres. Since then the road numbering has changed – the E8 now is between Turku in Finland and Tromsø in Norway – and there is the A1/A30, the new highway to Germany and beyond.

I passed Oldenzaal with its roundabouts (one of them is notorious for sideslips) and headed for Denekamp along the Paasberg. At that point, you are on the dead straight road that seems to connect the church towers of Oldenzaal and Denekamp. Dead straight? Not quite. Just before Denekamp I met the consequences of modern town planning, thoroughfare is prohibited in the centre of town and you have to follow a long and winding bypass.

I reached the old canal between Almelo and Nordhorn and passed the deserted customs offices at the border (this peace and quiet is caused by the Schengen Treaties). Only the cigarette booth and the international supermarket seem to reflect the motto Ueber der Grenze scheint die Sonne.

Wilkommen in Deutschland.... My sense of excitement became stronger, compare it to what you feel just before the school outing as a kid. I was on my way to the first edition of the Guitar Festival Nordhorn.

I drove straight ahead, crossed the railway and went right in the direction of the old NINO, the long-declined imperium of textiles tycoon Niehues in Nordhorn

Nordhorn is no unfamiliar place to me. My mother in law used to go there to buy cloth at the NINO for her sewing class participants. Besides Nordhorn used to be an attractive destination when the petrol was still pretty cheap in Germany.

We went there, often with my mother in law and the kids, for refuelling, some shopping at Kaufhalle and Klaas und Koch, and coffee with sandwiches at the Vechte Restaurant. At times, we gave the children a dime to operate the Rotamint (a well- known German gambling machine), provided the old lady was not there that trusted all of her change (?) to the machine’s hungry slot.

Unfortunately, now in the United Europe everything is equally expensive everywhere, so our petrol trips are past.

In the distance, I saw a remnant of the NINO imperium, a high factory building with two towers that has a new name now: Kompetenzzentrum Wirtschaft. In its neighbourhood Kulturhaus NIHZ was situated in a quiet street. This would be my destination for the next three days.

I found a free (!) parking place for the car and walked with guitar and bag half a block from there.

Finally, I felt quite prepared for the very first Guitar Festival Nordhorn!