Among vultures in Bad Segeberg

Before we left Denmark last Saturday I had said that there was still a holiday highlight ahead of us: the Karl-May-festival at Bad Segeberg!

For those of you that do not know the German writer Karl May (*1842, † 1912) though his books are translated into 33 languages, here some facts about him and his work. He is famous for his adventure and travel novels. Especially the tales about the fictive Indian chief Winnetou, head of the Apaches, and his white friend Old Shatterhand as well as the orient tales of Kara Ben Nemsi are very much liked. Karl May thought himself to be Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi though he had his knowledge about America and the Orient and the people living there from books and it was decades after he wrote these books that he acutally visited the places he wrote about (and did not like them so much as he had thought). Nevertheless his stories are still very much liked by young people (and they keep a nostalgic love for them all live long).

Therefore the Karl-May-festivals are also well liked and visited. In Bad Segeberg, where we were, the festival is held since 1952 in an open air theatre built into an old chalk mine. There is another festival in Elpe since 1958 where I visited as a child (and even saw the late Pierre Brice as THE Winnetou as he played it in the movies).

This year we had a wonderful summer day with temperatures around 30°C even after dark. This year’s play was „Among vultures – the son of the bear hunter“ which is quite a free adaptation to the original book „Among vultures“. Five years ago we saw another adaptaion „Among vultures – the ghost of the Llano Estacado“ which was quite different. It is always with more humour than the book with allusion to other films (i.e. this time the bear hunter had a farm and met Mrs. Ingalls and sent greetings to her husband Charles) or to other roles that the actors have played (i.e. the main female role actress had been part of the jungle camp which was alluded to).

And next to the usual horses and big birds of prey from the Hellenthal bird sanctuary there was also a real skunk! Which did not stink but charmed the audience.

Usually the Saturday evening show ends with fireworks but due to the long period of hot and dry weather this had to be omitted. But as there had been lots of torches, fires and explosions during the performance we were not the least dissappointed. It was a fantastic show and we are looking forward to next year’s „oil prince“.

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