SUNDAY, JULY 20TH – GERMANY:
Got up early to work out in the great gym then had breakfast with Iris and some of the guys. Iris’s boyfriend was coming from Interlaken to pick her up, so I showered quickly and then met them for coffee. We “re-lived” the wonderful visit the Brooklyn FD had to Switzerland a few weeks ago.
We departed via tour bus from Switzerland to Untermeitingen, Germany. Remember me being concerned about getting the tour bus down the mountain? Well, we pulled out of the hotel drive and you have to make a very sharp left turn at the bottom. Right in front of the road is a cliff. The bus slammed on the brakes just as it was going to make the turn because he had pulled forward too far and was about to go over the cliff. Our promoter was sitting up front and almost had a heart attack. But, the driver was great and got us down the mountain safely.
We stopped at a truck stop once we reached the German border and got some “snacks” for lunch. German border police really made the drier jump through hoops to cross into Germany this time. We arrived at our hotel 4 ½ hours after we had departed Switzerland. I stayed at this hotel last Summer with Chely Wright and the front desk staff had been extremely nice and helpful. An older gentleman even put a fan that I had purchased together for me.
There was one lady working behind the counter and she had a hard time assigning our rooms. We were two rooms short when she gave me all the keys – one for Ray Benson and one for Jim his tour manager. She finally found Ray’s key and gave it to me but just shrugged her shoulder when we asked for Jim’s key. She explained that the key was not there and turned her back on us! The promoter told her to give him a different room if he had too. Again, she said no. Basically, she was resolved to the fact that there was no room key for the room assigned to Jim and nothing she could do about it. You can imagine how well that went over with me! We asked if the “manager” was there and she had he would be back in a few minutes.
He had actually gone to the train station to pick up my friend Silvia Joiner who is meeting me here. I met her in Bosnia in the early 90’s and she has been a dear friend since that time. Haven’t seen her in two years though because we are both always so busy. She looks terrific, too! I hate her. J
Silvia and the manager arrived and we explained what was happening with the room. He walked over to the rack of keys, pulled it out of the slot where it had been the entire time and handed it to Jim!
Silvia and I sat in the lobby and chatted for quite a while and then we all walked over to the club where Asleep at the Wheel is performing tomorrow night and had dinner. It started to rain again just as it was time to walk over but the promoter brought us umbrellas. The restaurant there always has great food and way too large of portions for me…but not for the boys! Had a nice meal with everyone and the food was definitely up to standard. Then Silvia and I sat and talked for hours just catching up on our lives and the lives of our troops. She is with MWR in Schweinfurt and has worked with the military for 27 years. She is an amazing woman and such an asset to the MWR program. Ray and his band actually jammed for a while in the room where they will perform tomorrow night. On the way over to the club, I noticed a nice gym where I had worked out last year. But, it doesn’t even open until 10 am! If it’s raining tomorrow, I’ll hit the gym though.
Got back to the hotel at around 11 pm and booked a massage for tomorrow. Hopefully, they can get this “kink” out of my neck! Really looking forward to that. So, Nick, it is 12:15 am here in Germany on Monday morning, July 21st – 6:12 pm in DC on Sunday night, July 20th. Want me to tell you what’s happening in your “future”? J
MONDAY, JULY 21ST:
Had breakfast with my friend Silvia and then we decided to go jogging. Weather was fantastic. Cool but not cold. We were going to run for an hour but of course we got lost and ran for 1 ½ hours. Ray saw us out the hotel window and was laughing because we were gone for so long. J I had booked a massage through the hotel to try and get the stiffness out of my neck. Was supposed to be for 30 minutes but when she showed up, she thought she was doing two people – me and Silvia – so I ended up getting an hour massage. She was terrific and my neck is 100 times better!
Silvia and I walked over to a little shopping area next to the hotel and bought a pretzel for lunch. We were going to look at a shoe store but this is a funky outlet mall and is only open on Friday and Saturday. Will have to save our shoe shopping for Munich tomorrow. We sat in the lobby for hours and talked and talked and talked!
We all walked over to the venue for dinner and it was excellent again – just way too much food! The Mayor of the City came after dinner and took photos with Ray. Back to the hotel until 9:30 when it’s show time. The club is small but was packed full. Ray and the band did a great 90 minute set. Only negative was the smoke. I’m losing my voice already from breathing it in. Ray couldn’t even stay and sign autographs because the smoke had really gotten to him too. But the audience loved the show and I know they were happy.
Back here answering hundreds of emails. Leaving at 8:30 am tomorrow to drive to the Munich airport. I’ll get them off and then Silvia and I will take the train into town to our hotel. We will shop tomorrow and then I’ll fly to Norway on Wednesday to meet up with Dierks Bentley and the Amazing Rhythm Aces.
The weather has turned very cold. The high in Munich tomorrow is supposed to be 56 and Oslo won’t be any warmer on Wednesday. Can’t believe it’s this cold in JULY!
It’s 1:30 am here and I’m going to bed soon.
TUESDAY, JULY 22ND:
Had a very quick breakfast this morning then a one hour drive to the airport. Nice bus provided by the buyer again today. He said there were 191 paid customers and 25 comps last night – full house. The band stayed and jammed until 3 am this morning!!! Buyer had to clean the club after they left, so he didn’t go to bed at all. Poor guy.
Yesterday when we were jogging, I was talking and not looking where I was going. A lady on a bicycle was coming straight towards me and she was furious that I didn’t see her and she had to slow down. She yelled at me in German. I had no idea what she said but Silvia speaks German so she answered her with a very loud “Bitch”! I was laughing so hard. Guess you don’t need to know Germany to answer some things.
While we were “lost”, Silvia stopped to ask this little old lady with a walker where we were. When she jogged back to meet me, she ran right in front of a “driver’s education student” vehicle. Thankfully someone in the car knew how to stop quickly. Maybe the two of us shouldn’t jog together on a regular basis. J
Got Asleep at the Wheel to the check-in counter and gave big hugs and kisses all around. What a wonderful group they are! Will really miss them. Silvia and I got lost trying to find the place where I could store my luggage but finally located it. Left the bags and headed to the train terminal. The train into town only took 45 minutes and our hotel was about a 2 minute walk from the train station. Of course, it was noon and much too early for us to check in. We left our luggage and walked to the shopping street. Had a bowl of soup and then shopped for hours.
I made the mistake of having bangs cut in my hair before I left. Of course, they have grown so long, they are driving me insane (more so than I am normally). I had tried cutting them with manicure scissors which did not work very well. We found a shop and I let the lady cut them. Always scares me to let someone in a foreign country cut my hair even if it is only bangs. But, she did okay and now I can see again.
We also visited the world’s most famous “Beer Hall” in Germany today. Very impressive.
Came back to the hotel and I answered emails for about an hour. Our room rate included a free welcome drink so we stopped in the bar for that. Then we walked to an Italian Restaurant that the hotel recommended. We “think” our hotel is in a nice part of town but the street is filled with Sex Shops! I was a little concerned that we would be walking back from the restaurant after dark.
The restaurant turned out to be very unique. This really loud Italian man in an apron, shorts, and crocs met us at the door and literally pulled us inside. He was making all sorts of comments to us like “why do you have on long pants. It’s summertime and you should be wearing short skirts”. He also told us not to leave because we were “making the men nervous”. At one point, a couple came in and he picked the girl up and threw her over his shoulder and carried her to the bar! Don’t you just love the Italians? The place was packed – a good sign that the food will be great! We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table and then in typical European fashion, we were seated at the table with lots of other people. Not exactly what we wanted since this is mine and Silvia’s last night together and we still have lots of talking to do. We had to yell across the table at one another. But the food was good. People at the table behind me had a rolling bag shoved next to the table, so I was barely able to move. Of course, people at the other tables needed to get up constantly and go smoke and I’d have to get up to let them out. As we were leaving, I realized that the chair I was sitting in had a “straw” bottom and slivers of the straw were sticking in my bottom. I went in the toilet and pulled out as many as I could see. But, on the walk back to the hotel, I realized there were still lots more in there. So, here we are walking down a street filled with “sex shops” and I’m trying to discreetly pull straw slivers out of my bottom. Very nice. Silvia was laughing so hard she drew even more attention to us than I was already attracting.
Finally made it back to the hotel and I took tweezers and removed the rest of the slivers.
Going to try and get in bed by 1 am this morning. Have another early call, train back to airport and fly to Oslo. Only 3 more weeks in Europe. Yippee!