FRIDAY, JANUARY 27TH:
Got up early to get everyone to the airport. Dierks and his guitar player and record label rep drove to Cologne for the release of Dierks cd in Germany. It was such a great tour and both bases were so happy to receive the entertainment since they are usually passed over. I flew to Zurich, took the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and checked into the Intercontinental. This is a “new” hotel for us as we usually stay at a Sheraton by the venue. But the Sheraton has closed down. The hotel has a beautiful lobby but the rooms are SMALL….as small as the rooms in Japan! Also, the room smells bad. Definitely got to buy a candle. The good news is, there is high-speed internet connection and a fabulous, state of the art health club. My “hotel services” book was missing all the pages and only had some envelopes and hotel stationary in it. I called the front desk and asked for another book. After being put on hold several times, I was told that the hotel no longer provides a book with hotel services listed. Any time I want to know ANY THING, I have to call the front desk! Stayed up until 2 am answering email…..
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28TH:
Went to the Health Club first thing and worked “legs”. Lots of people in there working out who live in Zurich. I was getting a bar ready to do these bends, when this man came up and started talking rapidly in Swiss German and making all kinds of hand motions. Evidently, I had put a 10 pound weight on a bar where a 5 pound weight should have gone. Nothing is written in English in the health club, so it is definitely a “challenge” just to work out. Then, I was doing my bends when the trainer for the health club came up and started telling me to keep my back straight. Said I was going to injure myself, etc., etc. I let him talk for a while and then I asked him what muscles he thought I was trying to work. He pointed to the back of my legs. I told him I was working my butt, not my legs, and then he apologized and left me alone! My friend from Curb Records flew in today. She has never been to Switzerland, so I’m going to give her the “quick, 3 day tour”. We took a tram into downtown Zurich and walked around for a while after she arrived. Then we had dinner at The Bellamy Brothers favorite Italian Restaurant. I’ve eaten there many times and it is excellent. Truffles were in season, so I had the homemade noodles with white truffles sauce and topped with black truffles….ummm!!! We couldn’t figure out which Tram we were supposed to take back to the hotel but finally just jumped on one. Fortunately, it was the right one. Then we couldn’t remember what stop we were supposed to get off on. Figured that one out and then didn’t remember which street we had walked up from our hotel. But, we eventually made it back and I stayed up until 2 am again answering emails!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29TH:
Today we went to Interlaken (where I have the festival every year) and met my friend who is the promoter. She had arranged for us to take a helicopter ride up to the top of an alp. Compared to the choppers I usually fly in, this one was really small. No one would sit in the front, so I sat up there with the pilot. It was strange to be in a helicopter that didn’t have guns pointed out the windows! And, we didn’t have to worry about getting shot at!!! J It was windy and so the ride was a little bit bumpy. He gave us the “scenic tour” and flew right up to the face of the Alp…so close that I was afraid the rotor blades were going to touch it. Then we landed and had cheese fondue at a great little restaurant filled with skiers. It reminded me of my “sled trip” down the Eiger. What a nightmare that was. My friends didn’t like the helicopter ride and the one from Nashville kept her eyes closed most of the trip. They both thought it was “bumpy” but it was nothing compared to my flights in Afghanistan and Iraq. I had to sit up front again for the ride back to the city. We walked around Interlaken and I purchased a LOT Of chocolate to take to Korea for gifts and for Valentine’s Day. We made it back a lot quicker this time on the tram and then had dinner at the hotel restaurant…which was not very good! I don’t have to work here in Switzerland until the Bellamys arrive on February 1st. Tomorrow I am taking my friend to Lucerne to SHOP! Jude
MONDAY, JANUARY 30th:
The “state of the art” health club doesn’t open until 8 am on weekdays and 9 am on weekends. The front desk has been opening it up for me earlier and I have it all to myself. It’s great! Today we went to Lucerne to sightsee and shop. We took the tram into Zurich and somehow missed our stop. We’ve only done this for 3 days now and I don’t know how we messed up. So, we rode around for quite a while and finally came back to the train station. I realized I had forgotten my cell phone, so my friend got off at the train station and I rode all the way back to the hotel. Yesterday, my friend had forgotten to bring the train ticket we had purchased the day before and she had to buy another one – over $100. So today, she brought the “duplicate” back for a refund. She got the refund with no problem. I made it to the hotel and back to the train station WITHOUT GETTING LOST FOR ONCE. Lucerne is beautiful and one of my favorite cities in the world. We walked around for a long time and then decided we were really hungry. Every restaurant we found was either closed, ALL SMOKING, or not serving “dinner”. We finally found an Italian Restaurant at about 5:30 pm….we had not eaten anything since breakfast. Managed to get in a little more shopping after dinner. My friend leaves tomorrow to fly back to the U.S….just a quick little visit to Switzerland. I think I showed her all the “highlights” though! Bellamy Brothers don’t arrive until February 1st so tomorrow is a “work/catch-up” day for me! Jude
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31ST:
Got up early again (after 4 hours of sleep!) to see my friend off. Then went to the gym because it was FREEZING again outside. Worked most of the morning then went into Zurich for a little power shopping. Found the coat I had looked all over Switzerland for….and it was on sale! Met with the promoter to go over last minute details for the Bellamy Brothers. They arrive at around 9 am tomorrow morning.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1ST:
Bellamys arrived at the hotel much earlier than I expected them. The rooms were all ready –except for the drummers – go figure! The rooming sheets that I had prepared and brought with me were all incorrect because everyone has their own room and my copies had the musicians doubling up. Thankfully, I have my computer and printer with me and was able to re-type these fairly quickly. The Bellamys’ rooms were so small that they could not even open their suitcases without putting them on the bed. Got them moved to suites. Everyone went in the restaurant to have breakfast and then went to their rooms to get some sleep. We were meeting back downstairs at 2 pm for a radio station interview with the Bellamys. When I walked into the lobby, Howard’s wife met me and said she left her purse in the restaurant that morning. The restaurant said no one turned it in. We checked with the promoter to see if she left it in the car, the first room they were in before they moved to the suite, everywhere we could think of…but didn’t find it. Finally the hotel told her to come look at their surveillance cameras. While she was looking through the footage, the hotel clerk spotted a “thief” that had been in the hotel before. They watched him and he walked past her chair in the dining room, dropped his coat over her purse, and left with it. Now, WHY the hotel allows a “known thief” to continue to come into their hotel and restaurant, I will never know. This hotel is advertised as a 4 star hotel but they did not warn anyone when we checked in that there were a lot of thieves in this area. We were all sitting at a couple of tables and someone was at the table at all times. Can’t believe he just walked in and took it. I have left my purse hanging on the back of the chair all week in the dining room. Can’t believe I didn’t get hit. She had her passport, all her road cash, her medicine – everything in the bag. I have a copy of her passport with me and she has to go to Bern tomorrow to get a new passport. The airlines changed their “weight restrictions” on international flights. Bags cannot weigh more than 50 pounds! Bellamys got stuck with $700 in excess ($330.00 ONE WAY PER BAG!) for 2 bags. This has not gotten off to a good start for them. David, Susan and I went downtown Zurich and had dinner at the Italian Restaurant where I ate earlier this week. Truffles are in season and I ordered the same thing again – homemade noodles in white truffle sauce with black truffles. Came back to work on emails and Howard’s wife wants me to go with her to Bern tomorrow. She had to get passport photos taken today and go to the police station to fill out a report. Fortunately, I carry copies of everyone’s passports with me, so at least we have that. The passport agency is only open from 9:00 until 11:30 tomorrow and closed on Friday! Unbelievable. So, we have to leave the hotel by 7:30 am tomorrow. And, it’s a show day!!! Going to be a fun day for me. Just hope we can get her passport with no problems. Definitely bed time so I can get my 4 hours sleep. Jude
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND:
Got up in time to have a cup of coffee before leaving for the U.S. Embassy in Bern. Driver was late picking us up and we had problems parking once we found the Embassy. There were 6 people in front of us and the waiting room was packed with “undisciplined” kids. We sat and waited for more than 3 hours for the new passport. While we were in there, we talked to lots of other U.S. citizens who were there because their passports had been stolen, too. A lot of them were “hit” at the airport terminal. Got to be really careful when we fly home. Today is Howard Bellamy’s 60th birthday. When David turned 50, we hired a stripper off the internet when we were in Denmark. Now THAT was an experience! So, I had to top that for Howard. I’ve been searching for a transvestite for several weeks and wasn’t able to find one. I finally got one of the concierge’s in our hotel to agree to dress up like a woman and come sing Happy Birthday to him. A friend of mine who is in the Army that I met in Korea in 2001 and have seen in Switzerland, Kuwait, DC, and Iraq since then drove in to visit. He just got out of Iraq and is heading back to his home base in Italy. So, he got to witness the birthday celebration and see the performance. We all had dinner at the venue and then I had the “transvestite” come in with the cake and sing happy birthday! He was all dressed up in a red dress, with huge breasts, high heels, long black wig…he looked perfect. I also gave Howard a walking stick with a bell and flask on it and a bottle of “something” that says “HYDRATE AND PERFORM” on it. Keep in mind that Howard’s new wife is 25 years old. The show tonight was a private party for Harley Davidson. They gave Howard some gifts as well but not a Harley! L My blackberry went down and I’m being told that there are “issues” with AOL. AOL has gotten really bad lately! So tired. Going to bed now. Jude
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3RD:
Every day I think it’s going to be warm enough to run outside and it never is. I hate running on the treadmill but this is especially painful because I can’t even watch tv. So boring. But I did my 5 miles. Also hard for me to convert kilometers into miles! Went downtown with my soldier buddy – Mark – and we ate at a great German Beerhouse. It was huge and the food was authentic. Then we went shopping for a while. I felt bad making him come into all the “girl’s shops” but he assured me that he enjoyed watching the “girls shop”! J He left to drive back to his home base in Italy and I met up with David and Susan for hot chocolate. It is so cold here!Went over to the venue for dinner with the band and then had the performance. There were more people there tonight than I have ever seen in that hall. They had to set up extra tables all along the walls and then there was still a lot of people standing in the back around the bar. The Bellamys did 4 encores and even then they didn’t want to let them leave the stage. Promoter is extremely happy. I already have an offer from another festival in Switzerland for them to perform there in September, 2007! Late, late, late….almost 3 am. Got to get some sleep…. Jude
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH:
I don’t like to eat breakfast but I do like a cup of coffee first thing every morning so that I don’t turn into an axe murdered. You have to “beg” for coffee in the hotel restaurant. There are two huge coffee machines but they have signs on them saying, “we will be happy to bring coffee to your table”. Then they ignore you. I found the coffee pots one morning and started pouring my coffee and the waitress saw me and actually come over and slapped my hand and told me to sit down! So now I take my coffee cup and chase them around the restaurant until I can get a cup. This morning she came by 3 times which was highly unusual. So, each time, I would gulp down my coffee so I could get some more. Went to the gym to work legs afterwards and thought I was going to have a heart attack. My heart was racing so fast. The coffee over here has about triple the caffeine as the coffee in the States. The Bellamys had to shoot a video for BMG Germany for a duet they did with a famous German artist named Tom Astor. It was supposed to take a total of 2 hours. Sure! The first part was shot in a club near the hotel. When we arrived, nothing was set up. So we wasted an hour waiting for the camera crew to get set. Then they started filming and this group of people in the club started talking loudly. I asked them politely to please be quiet and they got mad at me. I can’t believe the club didn’t even close down for the video shoot. Then the camera crew had to change locations to set up for a green screen at the hotel. They finally finished filming at around 3 pm. I did some last minute panic shopping but it was snowing and freezing cold, so I didn’t spend very long out there. Had to buy some gifts for the friends in Korea for the tour in a few days. Venue was packed again tonight which is good for the buyer and good for the Bellamy Brothers. I had a nice meeting with the manager of the venue and everyone was happy all the way around. He and I have never had time to just sit and visit and we talked for about an hour this time. I learned all about his family and we got into quite a heated “discussion” about politics and the war. Bellamys did several encores again tonight. He said he will want them back in 2008 – skips every other year. So now we have Switzerland bookings in 2007 and in 2008! The internet went down in the hotel this afternoon. Figures. I get my Blackberry working again and it goes down in the hotel. It’s 1 am and they still don’t have it fixed. Nice that we can’t check our email AND we have to fly all day tomorrow and not be able to check it then either. Going to bed. EARLY morning flight tomorrow. Glad to be going home. Jude
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH:
Tough looking group this morning. Some of the guys never went to bed and those of us who did, had eyes that looked like road maps. After a couple of cups of that coffee, I was okay though. The waitress finally seemed to be “trained” and brought us refills regularly. The mini-bus and trailer arrived right on time. I had no problem checking in and the Bellamys – although it took much longer – got checked in on time as well. Delta changed ALL their seat assignments and crowded them together in a group instead of the seats we had confirmed. IF the internet had not still been down at the hotel this morning, we could have checked in on-line and avoided that problem. I hope we NEVER stay at that hotel again. I couldn’t go up the check-in counter with them because of a security desk that only allowed Delta passengers access (I’m on Northwest). While I was waiting for them, a really attractive man came up and started talking to me (just what you want to happen when you look your worst!). He thought that I was from Switzerland because of my accent, which I suppose was fair because I thought he was from Switzerland because of his accent and he is from Mexico! I am sure the Swiss would be horrified to know this. Flight from Zurich to Amsterdam was fine. I checked with security about my lost dog tags and they said I could go on the internet and if they found them, I could get them back! There was a period of time on the flight from Zurich where we hit SEVERE turbulence. The pilot had warned us that there was “no where to go to get out of it” but that it would only last about 15 minutes. Longest 15 minutes of my life. Got in line to go through immigration and I ALWAYS pick the wrong line. The line was for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens. There was a couple at the counter and I’ve never seen so many forms. It took about 10 minutes to process and all the other lines were moving quickly. You just never know whether to get out of the line you’re in and try another one. But, usually, the minute I do, then that one stops. The couple finally moved on and the next guy in line stepped up. After about 15 minutes of paperwork, they took him away to another office. I was afraid I was going to miss my connection but was able to pick up my luggage (which was already on the belt) and move quickly to the Customs line. Same thing…I got in the line that STOPPED. I’m always the one in line at the check-out counter when the clerk grabs the mic and announces “Price Check on Aisle 3”! J Got home by 8 pm and get to stay home for a full week before heading to Korea with Diamond Rio for shows with the troops. Jude