CARA Autumn Tour Blog 2014 – The Final One!

We’re just about to perform the last Cara gig of 2014, and the autumn tour has been populated with many enjoyable gigs, friendly audiences and a whole range of literal highs and lows – both underground and at height. It’s strange how time goes; some moments in gigs, when I’m hyper aware, seem to pass so slowly, and yet the three week tour seems to have gone by in a flash. Ive certainly been meaning to write this blog for several days now…

Here are some of the highlights for me since I’ve last been in touch: my first visit to a Tropfsteinhhle – a cold, damp opportunity to see stalactites, stalagmites and stalagnates up close – some of them looking pretty scarily like wet, functioning internal organs. I really didn’t like the sensation of going underground in a small lift (that’s straight out of a recurring nightmare of mine) but the spectacular views in the caves more than made up for it. Here’s one of my favourite/less scary photos from down there above.

I was intrigued when we stopped for a coffee at the spot where the Loreley is reputed to have enchanted sailors on the Rhine by brushing her long blonde hair and singing, causing them to crash their boats and die.

Is it wrong for me to view her as a kind of role model? My hair’s a different length and shade, and I’m not intent on the death of listeners, but a little bit of enchantment along the way wouldn’t go amiss… 😉

We were made very welcome and enjoyed great hospitality from Gudrun’s mum and dad on one of our days off, and I felt completely pampered when Gudrun’s dad made me warm milk and honey to help with a cold which developed mid tour – this was a comforting taste revelation! I’m bringing the concept back to Scotland.

Gudrun’s dad also gave us a tour of a restored mill which was fascinating. The mill equipment itself was truly beautiful, and I particularly liked the hammers on this machine, which was used to beat all of the flour dust out of empty sacks returned to the mill by customers – and then the dust was gathered and resold again as food for animals. Very thrifty.

Yesterday, we made the most of the continuing beautiful weather on our last day off by walking up one of the hills at Oberlenningen. The hike was fairly steep (a bit of a challenge after three weeks of snoozing in the Cara-van), but the views from the summit were spectacular, there was so much sky, not to mention the splendid autumnal colours from the surrounding Swabian Alb. The journey up the hill prompted discussions on the merits of valleys and hills of the south versus the flat open landscape of the north. And if you could only choose one forever, would it be the sea or mountains? Forever indecisive, I’d want both. But if I had to choose: the sea.

There’s much more to say: Gudrun and Juergen’s first Cara-oke experience in Kaiserslautern for Gudrun’s birthday was a hoot, and it also finally provided a chance for Rolf and I to have a wee disco dance together after talking about it for over a year. We enjoyed our live TV performance on Kaffee oder Tee which was quite different from our usual gigs, and the staff team there were lovely – we even ended up sampling Halloween ghosts which were highly calorific on camera! I decided to bite the head off mine and leave the rest…we had another amazing therme/spa experience which included a salt water floating pool with underwater party music and psychedelic visuals projected on the ceiling and a ceremony with honey, menthol, salt scrub and lavender that finally kicked my cold away.

Reflecting on the whole tour experience this autumn, the depth and height of things seems to be a recurring theme, not only in physical terms, but metaphorical ones too. As a band, I feel we’ve been getting to know each other better, with late night philosophical discussions including what elevates us, or what elevates life for us, and touching on the edges of things that we find difficult to discuss or bring up into the light. We’ve also been using the travelling time in the van to understand each other better by listening to the music that moves and excites us as individuals.

I know that time will perform its strange stretching and bending again, and soon we’ll be back on tour in January, but already I’m looking forward in anticipation to the Cara collaborative week we’ve planned in May to work towards our next album. Hopefully well be finding new depth and height in our music, too.