Bolivian orchestra stranded at ‘haunted’ German castle surrounded by wolves

A Bolivian pan flute orchestra has been stuck in quarantine on the grounds of a grand 15th century palace outside of Berlin for two months. Over 20 members of the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos have been stuck on the grounds and buildings of Rheinsberg Palace, a castle, complete with moat, which has housed generations of German royals, according to the BBC.

The group arrived in Germany on March 10 expecting to perform at the MaerzMusik festival — the same day Germany announced its ban on large gatherings, swiftly followed by a full country lockdown. A week later Bolivia closed its borders — and the group was stranded at the 600 acre estate surrounded by 23 packs of wolves and haunted by the ghost of Frederick the Great.

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

Tracy Prado, who just joined the orchestra in December, ran into wolves during one of her walks.

“I froze in fear but they were just play fighting and moved on,” she said.

To pass the time, the group practices up to six hours a day, takes walks (looking out for wolves) and plays soccer.

Locals have donated food and clothing but the stay is getting expensive. Berno Odo Polzer, the director of MaerzMusik, estimated to the BBC that costs have exceeded $35,000 a month – and while Germany is allowing international flights, Bolivia’s borders are still shut.

The Bolivian embassy told the BBC it is trying to get the orchestra out by early June via Madrid, although they didn’t comment on how the musicians would get from Rheinsberg to Madrid.

In the meantime, “there are worse places to be trapped,” Miguel Cordoba told the BBC. “When I wake up, I watch the sun rise over the forest and the lake. Back home, I only hear the sound of traffic.”

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