FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23RD – CROATIA TO GERMANY:
No time for a workout this morning. Got up and showered, dressed and finished packing. Howard and I walked off the ship at 10:30 am and went across the street to eat at a little restaurant where the crew eats. There were shuttle buses taking folks into Dubrovnik, but we didn’t have time to go. The food was really good and it was a very old, quaint restaurant. Our “barometer” for good food is if anything is better than the cruise food!
We were back by noon and I got things in order – I thought – for us to get off the ship. Went down and picked up our passports and the Customer Service Desk said there was no reason for us to come to Deck 5 but we should go directly to Deck 4 and disembark. I called for someone to help with our luggage and when no one had arrived 15 minutes later, we started down with it ourselves. Of course, we met the guys coming to help us about halfway down the hallway.
When we arrived on Deck 4, Mischa told us we couldn’t get off there but had to go to Deck 5. I told him what Customer Service had said but he said we would have to carry our heavy bags down a long flight of stairs because the only “ramp” to roll them down was on Deck 5. So, we all went back up to Deck 5 to disembark. And guess what….we had to carry our heavy bags down a long flight of stairs because the ramp was located on Deck 4.
Our bus was waiting for us and we left on time. We drove for about 10 minutes and then STOPPED. We would move a few feet, then stop again. Our driver didn’t speak any English, so we didn’t know what had happened. He called someone on the phone and we could tell from his hand motions that there was a wreck ahead. We literally sat in traffic for 40 minutes and I was beginning to get worried about missing our flight. I tried to check everyone in yesterday but the Lufthansa website wouldn’t let me.
When we finally started moving again, we saw the cause of the delay – a motorcycle wreck and didn’t look like there was any way possible the person could still be alive! We had watched the motorcycles flying about us when we were stuck in traffic. It’s a little two lane road up a very steep mountain, too.
Finally arrived at the airport a little less than 2 hours before our flight and there were some really great guys waiting there for us to assist with our luggage and check in. Check in was relatively painless but we did get nailed for excess. And, the person checking us in gave me 21 bag tags but we had only checked 20 pieces. Not sure where the extra tag came in. Wally paid the excess and then we went through passport control and security to the gate. We were supposed to board in about 30 minutes but actually had more time there than expected.
Flight from Dubrovnik to Munich was about 1 ½ hour. I had a family sitting behind me with a little boy that ran rampart throughout the cabin, chattering at the top of his lungs the entire flight. Parents were just oblivious.
We landed and all our luggage and equipment made it – 20 pieces total. Was glad to know we hadn’t checked someone else’s bag with ours. The zipper to Wally’s suitcase was broken and we were going to file claim to have it repaired. However, he was able to get it zipped and he decided not to file a claim.
Peter – the promoter – was waiting for us with a cargo van and two nine passenger vans. Peter said that all the rental cars and hotels are full now because of Oktoberfest. We were on the autobahn and Galen clocked our speed with an app on his phone at 109 miles per hour. Thank God a tire didn’t blow or we would have been history!
It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the hotel. We got checked in and drove for about 5 minutes to the venue where there was a restaurant for dinner. The hotel looks very nice and rooms are spacious. Will check it out more thoroughly tomorrow. There are LOTS of channels on the TV but not one new channel in English. L
I had the Wiener schnitzel and a caprice salad at the nearby restaurant. It was good – better than the “cruise food”. It was 10 pm by the time we made it back to the hotel and everyone was so tired. Of course, I’m still working at 1:30 am!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH – PERFORMANCE IN BAD FUSSING, GERMANY:
Had breakfast with some of the group and then decided I would definitely go jogging. The weather is gorgeous and the perfect temperature. I KNEW I would get lost because of all the little “roundabouts” and I did. I planned to jog for 40 minutes but in the end, was gone for about an hour. I actually had to log into “Google Maps” on my iphone to find my way back to the hotel. And this is a SMALL town. J
Saw some beautiful hotels, fountains, churches and parks. Also saw a little of Oktoberfest and shot a short video of one of the groups.
I was able to get everyone checked in for the flights tomorrow and it is a FULL plane. Delta is offering travel vouchers for anyone who wants to take a later flight but I KNOW all my guys just want to get home…and me, too!
After showering, I spent the rest of my time working until time to go over for sound check at 2:50 pm. The performance area is a small theatre – about 850 people – with a balcony. The promoter said he is sold out AND he even had to put some seats around the FOH position for people. Great problem to have!
I figured out everything I needed to know in about 20 minutes and then walked back. It is a short walk and the weather is still gorgeous. Worked again until dinner at 6 pm at the hotel. The food here is really good. Left at 7:45 pm to go over to the venue.
Bellamys had a few people to see before the concert and a couple of radio liners. The theatre was packed with very enthusiastic fans which always makes for a great show. Ninety minutes and 2 encores later, our September European Tour was complete – except of course for the long plane ride home tomorrow. But tonight was a great way to end the tour. Peter and all his “associates” are great hosts and we look forward to working with them more in the future!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH – GOING HOME!!!!
So very glad we decided NOT to change the time of our departure this morning. After a couple of “challenges”, we departed to the airport at around 6:15 am. It should have taken us 1 ½ hours but there was a lot of fog which slowed us down. Peter drove us and as I mentioned, he was driving a rental van. First he couldn’t find the button to “defrost” the front window. Howard was sitting up front with him and tried to assist him. But, we lost some time in the process. Then, he just can’t figure out how to apply the brakes without slamming everyone and everything to the front of the van. We were pretty beat up by the time we arrived.
Our van arrived before the guys van and equipment van. Peter and the other 2 drivers just dropped us off and left. We realized that the luggage carts required Euros (coins) to rent and no one had any coins. That delayed us further. We finally made it to the check in area and it was an unbelievably slow process. Then, the Delta agent said we had to pay for excess! I had printed out the “rules” for Million Miler Diamond Medallion flyers and handed it to her. I am allowed to check 3 bags weighing 70 pounds each and anyone traveling with me is allowed the same courtesy. There is never, ever a problem when we depart the USA. Well, this lady said because I am the only one in business class and everyone else is in coach class, we had to pay! She charged 90 Euros for one bag and 240 Euros for the other bag. I’m definitely going to call Delta as soon as I get back.
We had to take all the musical equipment cases to another area to check in. At first, they told us we had to “match” the baggage claim tags to each case — 20 tags to sort through for 9 pieces of equipment! I explained that we were going to miss our flight if they enforced that rule, so they didn’t make us. BUT, we could only put one case on at a time, wait for it to be weighed, then it went “into” the tunnel, stopped for about a minute, then came back OUT of the tunnel and then finally went back in again. We had to do that with 9 cases so by the time we finally got everything through, it was time to board the flight. I was STARVING by that time and didn’t even have time to stop and buy a bottle of water much less a snack. It was a full flight and Delta was asking for volunteers to give up their seats but not many people were agreeing…especially not any of my group!
When I got to my seat and lifted the “overhead hatch” to put my bag in, it was already full! There was a family (not Americans – guessing Egyptian or Turkish) across from me – man, woman and little boy. They had filled FIVE bins with their carry on pieces and the Delta flight attendants didn’t say anything to them. Everyone getting on was complaining that there was no where to put their bags but the flight attendants just ignored the complaints.
The male flight attendant started taking the “orders” for dinner and he started on the opposite side of the plane and worked his way down. Then he started down my aisle. When he got to me, he looked at me, turned around and went back to the other side and took orders from people who had just gotten on. Then he started at the BACK of my aisle instead of starting with me, where he left off. By the time, he got to me, of course they were out of what I wanted to eat. I made a smart remark about how it pays to be a Diamond Million Miler and can’t even get the food I want for lunch. He came back a few minutes later and said he had been able to “move some things around” and I could have my meal. Ha…if I had only known….
The meal service started and it took forever for them to serve people. I finally realized, they had served everyone in First Class and they had all finished eating but never gave me any food. I went up and told the flight attendant and she looked at me like I was lying! Eventually, she brought my meal and said that the “ovens” had quit working and that’s why my meal took so long. I said, “Really, the ovens worked for all the people sitting behind me and in front of me but not for me?”. I filled out the “online survey” on my tv monitor before getting off the flight and trust me, I gave everything the lowest mark possible.
I watched 2 bad movies and slept for 2 hours. First flight I’ve taken in a long time where there was NO turbulence!!! We landed in Detroit a full hour ahead of schedule. I have now figured out that Delta is “padding” all their flight lengths so that they can claim to be the “on time” airline. Instead of 3 ½ hours layover in Detroit, we had 4 ½ hours! We could have easily taken an earlier flight back to Nashville had we known. At least we weren’t rushing like this morning in Munich! Got to be a balance here somewhere. Maybe on the next trip in October to Japan.
Everyone went into the Delta Lounge to “kill time” and eat and drink their free food and beverages. Howard actually went to get a “chair massage” too. I called home and learned that Lindsey and Zac are both sick with colds. L Will be so very happy to see Zac and Zoe in a few hours!
Flight to Nashville departed on time and again it was a full flight and Delta was trying to get volunteers to give up their seats and take a later flight. I slept most of the hour and a half flight. We landed and all our equipment and luggage made it. Most of the guys wives/girlfriends won’t arrive until almost midnight tonight from Venice.
Even with the personal problems (my stolen wallet), it was a great tour. The promoters were happy because the shows were sold out. The fans were happy because they were entertained by two great singers and a stellar group of musicians and sound tech and our group was happy but tired!