With over 2000 Lakes the Mecklenburger Seenplatte, a couple of hours drive north of Berlin, should have been the perfect place for a weekend of what Germans call ‘Musse’, a kind of languid idleness, preferably in ‘die Natur’, and which can, but doesn’t have to, lead to some creative musings.
Plauer See, where we stayed, is the third largest of the Lakes, and lapping gently at its grassy banks, is home to Cranes, Cormorants, Sea and Fish Eagles, as well as the usual croaking complement of Moorhens, Coots and Mallards amongst the bulrushes.
In the surrounding mixed coniferuous and deciduous woods are oaks up to a thousand years old for the woodpeckers to enjoy and in the grounds of our hotel there was a magnificent Tulip tree, like many other of the oft pollarded mature trees, just coming into bloom.
Having struggled up a kilometre of hillside away from the Lake, up the bumpy cycle path with the wheelchair, we were rewarded with close up views of an eagle, sweeping and wheeling over a field of wheat. The field’s green wheat fringe littered with the bright red drops of Poppies, and blue of Cornflowers in the bright June sunshine.
But something wasn’t right. And the seed of suspicion of what wasn’t right was there in the hotel lobby. A glass case of exhibits featuring broadly politically left texts and photos. Now I don’t have a problem with broadly left texts, indeed I’d read a few of them, but why in the hotel lobby? We’d also noticed a gathering crowd of people who maybe weren’t hotel guests around, wearing just the occasional, ‘told you so’ Marx T shirt. When we asked, we were, smilingly, told.
‘Oh, yes, they’re here for the Island festival tomorrow. We have one every year.’
Oh, yes, the Island Festival. Along with the disabled friendly accommodation, one of the reasons we’d chosen this hotel; a chance to learn about the history and traditions of the people around the Lake.
And ok, at the festival the next day, the sun shining down, there was pony riding, archery and children’s games. But as well as the entirely innocent Johanissbeere jam, and the home made cakes, there were songs containing vows to protect the environment sung by the kids, and many of the books for sale were, as we were told, the classics, of Lenin and Mao Tse Tung and a stall gathering signatures to support the SMPD. The SMPD?
(These aren’t the right initials but then the party doesn’t really need publicity from me)
So it turned out (five iphone minutes later) we were enjoying the summer fete of an extreme left political group of, in our limited experience very nice people, but who are officially under observation by the State for activities contrary to the German Constitution. None of which we had a problem with except they might have mentioned it and then we’d have known not to come. Doesn’t Marx write somewhere about how proud the Communist is about being entirely open about his activities and intentions? A strange end to the revolutionary road, to be a party half heartedly imitating a village fete.