THURSDAY, AUGUST 21ST – FRIDAY, AUGUST 22ND:
Off for almost a “month” in Norway, France, Germany, Switzerland and Qatar with the Bellamy Brothers. Then they fly home and I go back to Switzerland for the Gstaad Festival. Kellie Pickler, Josh Turner and Ricky Skaggs are performing there this year.
Off to a good start at the airport. My friend at Delta checked us in and we didn’t have to pay any excess. We stopped by Noshville for a healthy breakfast and then departed to Atlanta. I went into the lounge to work and had a “notice” that our flight was delayed and we needed to find alternate flights. Called my office and they said our travel agent said there was nothing online about this. And, the monitors were still showing an “on-time” departure.
We boarded the flight a few minutes late, but nothing significant. BUT, they had an aircraft change and everyone had to stand in line to get their new seat assignments. Delta didn’t even bother to seat Susan and David together. Just told them to ask someone to switch with them. Very helpful, huh?
While we were waiting to board, an “older” gentleman approached Susan with what he said was a “weird request”. He said he told his friend in Russia he would get a photo of “Natasha” and Susan looked just like her. So Susan posed for a photo for him! Strange, strange, strange. I think he was probably just a dirty old man. LOL
The aircraft was nice – business class was full – and there was lots of turbulence all the way up the East Coast. Turbulence was so bad, the flight attendants had to quit serving and take their seats. Finally smoothed out once we got out over the ocean.
The food was excellent and I watched a good movie – State of Play – with Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe. Slept for about 2 hours and then we landed about 30 minutes late. We had about an hour to get to the next flight from Amsterdam to Stavanger before boarding. Everyone made it with a little time to spare. Flight to Stavanger took off on time and was only a little over an hour. However, I am sure we were “shot down” instead of landing. We hit so hard, I thought I was going to lose a tooth. David said it must be a pilot from the Faroe Islands.
Our driver was there to meet us with a large van and trailer as promised. The drive from Stavanger to Flekkefjord took 2 hours and was beautiful. Any time you see the word “fjord” in the name of a city/town, you can be assured it is on a Fjord and breathtakingly beautiful. It is a quaint little village with all the buildings painted a bright white. It was raining most of the drive and continued after we arrived. The hotel is a Maritem and we’ve stayed in them before. Nothing fancy but “functional” and the internet works and is free. Rooms are very small. My view from the second floor is a white block wall of the building next door.
Went down to the hotel restaurant and had a salad and chatted with our promoter….Henrick. Very nice man and thrilled to have the Bellamys here. Wants to do anything he can to make their visit “fun”. I think “fun” this afternoon meant getting some sleep. I had purchased a new plug for my laptop from Panasonic because the one that came with the computer shut down my power outlet every time I plugged it in on a flight. I asked if I could use it “any time” and not just on a flight and they assured me I could. I have been using it for a couple of weeks at home. I plugged it in here and fire shot across the room! It doesn’t have a “ground” and I guess the outlets in this hotel don’t either. Sure glad I brought my backup!!!!
I worked all afternoon, slept for one hour and then went down and had dinner. None of the other guys were in there but Wally came in while I was finishing up. Then Howard and Norwood wandered in. The food was excellent. The buyer said people drive from all over Norway to eat at this restaurant because the food is so good. He also said people are driving in from as far away as Olso to attend the Bellamy’s concert and all the hotels are sold out. Cool.
The promoter warned me that there was a wedding on the second floor tomorrow and it would continue until 2 am in the morning! Of course, most of us are on the 2nd floor. They only had one vacant room and I got Howard moved into it on the 4th floor. It’s almost 1 am now and I’ve been listening to HORRIBLE music from the bar which is right below my room for over 4 hours. Not very happy with my accommodations right now. Thankfully we are only here for 3 nights and I’ll be out late tomorrow night with the Bellamys performance.
Going to put in my ear plugs and try to sleep for a few hours!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 23RD – PERFORMANCE IN FLEKKEFJORD, NORWAY:
Rain had finally stopped when I got up this morning. It was a beautiful day to jog but since I had not “investigated” the town, decided to wait until tomorrow and take a LONG run. Worked out with “bands” in my room and then went down for breakfast. For a hotel famous for its food, the breakfast buffet was very disappointing.
Showered and worked for a few minutes before walking over to the venue with the guys for sound check. First “surprise” was the fact that the performance is NOT inside the Flekkefjord “Hall”. It is an outdoor concert and it’s supposed to be COLD tonight. They were still rigging the stage when we arrived so the guys had to wait a few minutes before they could star. I asked the promoter to show me the green room/dressing room and he asked our driver from yesterday to show me. The driver asked if I wanted to ride or walk which I thought was a very odd question. I said we should walk since I only wanted to see the Green Room. We walked away from the venue, back past our hotel and then another 2 blocks farther away from the stage. Hmmmm….obviously “that’s” not going to work! I’ll just bring Howard and David over when it’s time for them to walk on stage. Supposed to go on at 11 pm but there is a “rock” band on before them and the production company only allowed for a 15 minute set change. I’m guessing both acts will go “over” and the guys will start performing between 11:30 and midnight. The stage is set up at one end of a large grocery store parking lot. Then there is a tented area at the very back of the parking lot. I assume the open space is intended to encourage people to dance. However, it’s been raining off and on all day and my bet is most of the people will crowd into the tent.
There is another large festival taking place on the hill above the village but found out it is a “children’s festival” for ages 16 and under.
I left and went into the grocery store to buy water and fruit. Walked over to a very small shopping center and picked up a fleece since I really didn’t bring clothes for cold weather. Checking the weather before leaving is pretty useless especially when you’re gone for a month and the forecast can only be given for 10 days out. I did find two cute toys for Zac. As much as I hate to carry them around for 3 ½ weeks, I was afraid I wouldn’t see them again. Plus I plan to “store” a bag at the Zurich airport Radisson before we depart to Qatar, pick it up when I stay at there between Qatar and Zurich and store it again while I’m in Gstaad. I had to bring 2 suitcases only because I decided I HAD to bring my travel printer and all the plugs and print cartridges with me at the last minute.
It started pouring rain on me as I walked back to the hotel with my purchases. I had several hours to work before going down for dinner. Tonight I had the “fried” Turbot that I didn’t order last night because the menu said it was fried. Some of the other guys had it and said it was actually grilled. It was and was excellent.
Couple of more hours to print out the set list and work then over to the show.
The rain had stopped by show time but looked like it could start again at any moment. Crowd was exactly as I anticipated – tents around the sides and back were overflowing with only a few brave souls dancing in the front when the Rock band was performing. At least there is a crowd there.
Bellamys went on about 20 minutes late and the crowd was much larger for their show. It was a great audience even thought it was very cold and sprinkled off and on throughout their 90 minute set. They had encore after encore after encore! It was a great night and we were back at the hotel by around 1:30 am. It’s 2 am now and I’m about to go out into the hall and remind the wedding party about the 2 am curfew!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 24TH – DAY OFF IN FLEKKEFJORD:
So, I went out in the hall to “speak” to the wedding party crowd but they were all so drunk, I decided against it. Tried to walk down the stairs and two females were sitting on the stairs and taking the entire width of the first step…also almost passed out drunk. I managed to hang on to the rail and skip the first step where they had their drinks and cigarettes blocking my way and get down the stairs. The internet had gone down just before I left my room, so I wasn’t in a very good mood when I approached the front desk clerk. I told her my “grievances” and she agreed to take action immediately. She did and the hallway was quiet within 10 minutes and the internet was back up. On my way back up the stairs, I said “excuse me” several times but the females just stared at me. When I tried to step over the first step, I lost my balance and managed to step on their pack of cigarettes. Oops. J
Weather was beautiful when I got up this morning. Had a very light breakfast with some of the group and then went for a run around the town. The lady at the front desk said there were jogging trails over by the gas station (only ONE in town) but I never found them. I just made loops running around the streets until I got in 40 minutes. Ran into Gregg at the end of my run and he had found a path along the water and went most of the way around the port.
Showered and worked and then walked over to the little convenience store to buy water. That and the gas station are the only things open in the down. I was talking to the front desk clerk from last night (who works ALL the time) and she said she moved here 3 years ago from Romania. We discussed how everything shuts down on Sundays in Europe…even Zurich! The only place open on Sunday in downtown Zurich are the shops in the train station. It’s just a much different lifestyle. People work specific hours and then that’s it. They are through. Not like Americans who work 18 hours a day 7 days a week!
The promoter was supposed to come have dinner with me but it was taking him longer to tear down all the stage and equipment than he anticipated. He called at 6:30 pm and said he would try to come by the hotel in a couple of hours. It’s almost 9:30 pm, and no word from him yet.
Had dinner with some of the group and tonight they had a grilled veal on the menu. It was amazing and I had it with “boiled” vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, snow peas, broccoli, etc.) and no potatoes. Potatoes (usually BOILED) are served with most meals in Norway.
The van/trailer will be here at 8:30 am tomorrow to take us on the 2 hour drive to the Stavanger airport. I was able to check everyone in online today but Air France site would not allow me to print the boarding passes. Stavanger is a small airport, so check in should be pretty smooth, I hope. Looking forward to a couple of days off in Paris!!! Only it is supposed to rain both days and be colder than we anticipated. Same with Germany.
Promoter came by at around 10:45 and we talked for a few minutes. Really great guy! It’s 11:30 pm now and I’m going to get in bed by midnight. Woo-Hoo!