THURSDAY, MARCH 26TH – PORSCHE OLDIE NIGHT – STUTTGART, GERMANY Got up and dressed to go work out.  Ran into Howard and Jenny in the breakfast room when I was looking for the stairs to the basement.  Guess our talk about “spirits” had Jen spooked all night.  Howard said she was scared to walk between the two rooms of the suite.  He also told me that he considered going outside and banging on my window in the middle of the night.  Ten years ago, neither of us would have hesitated for one second to do that!  I told him I was so jumpy, they would have had to pick me up en route to Stuttgart the next day if he had scared me in the middle of the night.  I had opened the drapes in the sitting area because it was freezing in my room and the “heating unit” was located behind the drapes.  Didn’t allow for any heat to go out into the room.  He missed the perfect opportunity to scare me! I had checked with the lady in the lobby before going to bed about any possible “hauntings” in the building.  She assured me that she was alone in the lobby all night long and never heard anything.  Then as I was halfway down the hall, she said “except for the thing in the ceiling”.  I did a quick about-face and went back to talk to her.  But, she said it’s just a “ferret” that has gotten trapped in the ceiling and runs around at night.  Whew! Nothing in the exercise room except an elliptical trainer and stationery bike but that was fine with me.  Did an hour on the elliptical and then went to have an eggbeaters omelet.  Only they covered the entire top of the omelet with cheese! Oh well, the English muffin and coffee were great. Then came the “challenge” of the shower.  It’s actually a bath tub and there are separate knobs for the hot and cold water.  The hot water knob would only turn about 1/8 of an inch and just a few drops would flow out of the facet.  When I switched it to the shower head, there was plenty of hot water coming out but again, the knob only turned 1/8”!  Was hard to get the proper mix without scalding myself.  Then there was the shower curtain!  It was sheer fabric and BILLOWED when the shower was turned on.  Had a couple of little magnets on each end which did nothing to hold it into place.  So, you step into the shower and it immediately wraps around you from all sides!  Thought I’d never get my hair washed.  We departed on time and Susan’s ankle looks 100% better.  The name of the herbal pill she takes is BHT, I think.  It’s a miracle drug as far as I’m concerned. We stopped at Tietze’s favorite truck stop for lunch and I had grilled veggies – eggplant with artichokes, mushrooms, carrots, purple cabbage with apples, and cauliflower.  It was really good.  But that put us arriving the hotel an hour later than expected.  Said a sad good-bye to Tietze.  Has been so much fun hanging out with all my buddies from tours I did in the 90’s! Hotel is great.  They had all our keys ready and it’s a beautiful, new Hilton Garden right next to the venue – the Mercedes Venue which is next to the Mercedes museum.  As I said, this is the Porsche “Oldie” Night and Porsche gives away most of the tickets to local car dealers.  There are lots of acts performing each night and the Bellamys only have to do one 45 minute set per night. The hotel upgraded Howard and David to nice suites.  They are a long way from our rooms though.  But, there is a SAUNA in their bathrooms!!!  I’m happy with mine because the wireless and wired internet both work. J I answered emails for a little over an hour then went to the lobby to meet my friend – Diggs Brown – a soldier stationed here in Germany.  Actually, he is Karri Turner’s friend.  She “introduced” us via email.  I’ve stayed in touch with him for years but never met him.  He was deployed to Afghanistan which is where Karri first met him.  He wrote this awesome book while he was over there and send me a case of them to give to the artists who participate in my tours for the troops.  If you get a chance, pick up a copy of “Your Neighbor Went to War” by Diggs Brown.  He’s a Green Beret and lives in Colorado.  Met our promoter from Florida and his wife while we were waiting for Diggs.  We took a taxi to Old Town and ate at a restaurant that Diggs selected.  It was one of the oldest buildings in the city and was beautiful.  The food was excellent.  I’ve been “saving up” all week to blow my diet tonight and I did a good job of it….Weiner Schnitzel with Pomme Frites and mayonnaise plus what I’ve waited for all week – the most incredible apple strudel with ice cream and whipped cream.   Ummm….I’ll pay for that at the gym tomorrow.  Had a great time chatting with Diggs and hearing about his adventures in the military.   And we had quite a few “Bellamy” stories to tell him.  Think he’s glad he chose the military instead of the entertainment industry as his career.  J Actually, the gym was disappointing because they had cardio machines and one “weight machine”.  I told the front desk they needed free weights and they gave me a bag of “personal exercise equipment”.  Has weights, a jump rope, exercise ball and some other things in it.  Pretty cool. After midnight and I need to get in bed soon.  Need to go to sound check with the guys at 10 am tomorrow and then to the bank with Susan.  Her foot is really looking GREAT! Jude

FRIDAY, MARCH 27TH – 1ST SHOW IN STUTTGART: Made coffee in my room and then went to the “gym”.  The cardio machines look nice but I needed to work out with weights.  I used the one “machine” and it was pretty adaptable to several different types of exercises.   Then dug into my little “bag” that the front desk gave me.  Found enough equipment in there to finish the workout.  Stopped in the restaurant for breakfast and a couple of the guys were in there from the band.  We were all going to meet in the lobby at 10 am to walk over.   Me and a couple of the others were there at about 9:45 am but no one else showed up.  I called Wally the road manager and learned that they had gone over earlier with all the band gear.  He had no idea how to get back to the hotel and had to wait for someone to walk him over.  It truly is a “maize” just to get there.  It’s a beautiful venue and there is a Porsche sports car on the stage!  Big open area in front of the stage and then lots of tables set up for dinner.  Around the edges of the tables are bleachers.  The lineup tonight is Joey Dee, The Crystals, 10 CC, Nazareth, Boney M and the Bellamys.  I met several of the groups in the lobby but I didn’t have a clue who any of them were!  The female singer with Boney M was really nice.  Our promoter was in the lobby and I talked to him and his wife for a while.  Then Susan and I took a Taxi to Old Town to a bank that the hotel recommended as somewhere we could exchange money.  The band refused because we didn’t have an account with them.  We found another bank across the street that was able to help us.  I can’t believe how hard it is to change money over here now.  The hotel refused to accept any U.S. bills larger than $20 denominations and would only change $200 in U.S. to Euro.  Never had this problem in the past. Had lunch at the hotel with David and Susan and it was pretty bad.  I just had soup and a salad (penance for my apple strudel last night!)  and it was pretty bad.  We ate at noon and at about 1 pm, the restaurant brought out this fabulous buffet! Not sure about their meal “times” here. Worked on email most of the afternoon because the weather is too ugly to go outside.  I’m hoping for nice weather tomorrow so I can go down to Old Town.  We could see the shopping street from the bank today and I’d really like to go there before we leave on Sunday. Walked over to a Shell Gas Station near the hotel with David to buy water and room snacks.  When he came into the lobby, he was surrounded by “fans” with stacks and stacks of old album jackets and single jackets – yep, not cd covers but single and album jackets!  He signed for quite a while and then we headed to the Shell Station.  I was walking up to the register to pay when some lady stopped me and started speaking in German.  I apologized for not understanding her and told her I speak English.  She asked me if I smoke.  I said no and I wish no one did.  She responded that a lot of people would be out of work if no one smoked!  My response was that a lot of people would still be alive if they hadn’t smoked.  Her response was not if they didn’t have jobs.  Hmmmm….told her I’d rarely heard of someone dying because they no longer had work in the tobacco industry.  Left it at that before we got into a hair-pulling contest. J Fans were waiting for David when he came back to the hotel, too.  One asked when sound check was and was disappointed when I told him it was already over.  I know he was hoping to catch Howard for his autograph when he went to sound check.  I’m sure they will be waiting for us in the lobby when we have to leave to go to the concert and probably after the concert as well.  Bellamys are always very accommodating and sign whatever they request. Met my friend Diggs in the lobby of the hotel and we were all going to walk over to the venue together.  There was another group of fans waiting for autographs and by the time the Bellamys finished signing, we had a van there to drive us over instead of walking.  Bill and Marianne – the club owners where so many of my artists perform (about 1 hour from Munich) – were waiting for us when we arrived at the venue.  The place was PACKED.  Bellamys only performed for 45 minutes but had the crowd on their feet dancing.   Diggs and I walked out to the merch table to help Susan during the show.  Not many people were buying cds or t-shirts though. Finished up by midnight and said good-bye to Diggs, Bill and Marianne and came back to the hotel.  Hoping to get to bed soon.  Can’t believe there is only one more day left on this tour.  Really went by fast! Jude

SATURDAY, MARCH 28TH – LAST DAY OF THE TOUR Hard to believe the tour is OVER!  It went by so fast.  Love traveling with the Bellamy Brothers.  J Went to the health club and used the elliptical trainer for an hour while watching CNN.  I am SOOOO thankful that I won’t have to watch CNN any more once I leave Europe.  Wally was having a problem getting our bus confirmed for tomorrow, so I worked that out with the promoter.  Had breakfast, a shower, answered emails and met Diggs downstairs for a day of sightseeing.  David and Susan bailed on lunch because Susan wasn’t feeling good.  Howard and Jenny didn’t go and Wally decided to go to the Mercedes Museum instead.  All the soldiers stationed here in Germany seem to purchase either a Mercedes or a BMW because they get such great deals on them and can ship them back free of charge.  Diggs was no exception.  Picked me up in a snazzy little BMW convertible.  Said it tops out at 150 on the Autobahn.  My kind of car.  J Diggs was a great tour guide.  We went to the “plaza” downtown Stuttgart.  He took me in this “market” and I went crazy buying figs and apricots stuffed with all kinds of things like walnuts, cheese, marzipan, wasabi nuts, etc.  Then I found a counter with all kinds of antipasto and purchased enough for Howard and David to have “dinner” on me.   We walked around and saw some churches and then had a great Italian lunch.  It was the same kind of restaurant where you pick your pasta and they prepare it as you wait.  Diggs told me to order him the same thing I got but I eat so “healthy” I wasn’t sure he’d be happy.  I had a wheat pasta cooked in olive oil, garlic, and peppers.  Guess he liked it because he had a “clean plate”.  J Other than getting caught out in the Plaza in a “downpour” which gave me really beautiful hair (NOT!), it was a fun day in Stuttgart.  So glad I got out and saw something other than my computer screen. I gave the guys their “goodies” when I got back to the hotel and then walked down to the Shell Station to buy water and a coke for Susan.  The “cigarette lady” wasn’t there, so no excitement this time.  LOL. Still can’t believe I’m getting ready to go to our last performance on this trip.  Or that I’ll only go home for a few hours before going out of town all next week (U.S. trip, so no road reports from that one). Then home for a week and back to Iraq with Charlie Daniels.  Then home for a week and back to Europe with the Bellamy Brothers for two weeks.  Life is hectic….but good.  J The last show of the tour was great.  Wasn’t so sad this time because I’ll be coming back over with them in one month.   That one is going to be much more “challenging” travel-wise than this one.   We go to Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and the Faroe Islands!  So, we lose an hour tonight.  Got to get in bed NOW or I won’t get any sleep at all. Jude

SUNDAY, MARCH 29TH: Got up at 6 am and was in the lobby by 7:30 am.  Bus arrived at 8 am and it was the small 30 seater that they promised.  The bus bays would have held about 4 suitcases total.  Fortunately, they had the trailer on the back as I requested.  We left on time and it was a short drive to the airport.  The line to check in for Delta was almost empty and our group moved along quickly.  We got there at a good time because dozens of people came in right behind us. Our flight left on time and was FULL.  I was hoping Susan would have some empty seats so she could put her foot up, but no such luck.  I watched a really bad movie and had a fantastic meal – I’m telling you, Delta is “restaurant” quality food!  I fell asleep and woke up as the cart was coming down the aisle.  I thought I had slept the entire flight!  Wrong, it was the “snack” cart and I didn’t “participate”.  J  We landed on time at 3:30 pm and I went through the Global Access line.  It worked like a charm and I didn’t have to stand in any lines.  It took almost 45 minutes for our luggage to come out though.  Susan’s foot is pretty swollen from the flight, too.  I had to leave the Bellamys because my flight was departing to Nashville before their flight to Phoenix.  I thought.  I met a guy in Baggage Claim who is a retired Air Force Pilot.  He saw my dog tags and the Bellamy Brothers and started asking questions.  He is headed to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama (my home town!) for a conference on Africa.  He was impressed with all the places I have visited and especially surprised that I knew all about Djbouti.  My flight to Nashville was supposed to depart at 5:30 pm but it was showing a 7:16 pm departure.  I called the “Delta Help Line” and was told it was delayed due to “weather”.  I told them there were no “weather issues” in Nashville as I had just spoken with someone there.  Then they said it was weather in Atlanta.  I assured them that I had just landed in Atlanta to beautiful, clear skies!  They gave up at that point and said they had no idea why it was delayed.  Great. I was walking towards the escalator to take the tram to my departure gate and this group of people from Ireland – about 12 people of all ages were walking that way as well.  One lady was going “full tilt”.  She tried to step onto the escalator that was coming “up” instead of getting on the one going down.  Someone in her group grabbed her before she fell.  Then I got on the Tram and she came running up as one of her group boarded.  The doors closed and she threw herself into them and was almost crushed before they re-opened.  Then she herded the entire group onto the tram.  The tram started moving and none of them were holding on, so they sort of ended up in a “pile” at the back of the tram.  I was just happy to get off the thing without being crushed underneath one of them.  J Sitting in the Delta Crown Room waiting for info on my flight.  Really hope I don’t have to rent a car and drive to Nashville — but I will rather than being stuck here!!!  Finally boarded the plane at 7:30 pm and then sat and sat and sat.  Something about two planes taxiing at the same time and we had to wait.  It was the strangest plane, too.  I was in “first class” but there was only one seat on my side and two on the other side.  The plane was LONG!!!   I had this little cabinet up above my seat with a sliding door.  It was about 1 foot by 1 foot and NOTHING would fit inside it.   We took off at 8:15 pm and landed at 9 pm.   Lindsey and the “Z’s” were waiting for me and are staying with me tonight.  She wanted me to see them before I leave again tomorrow!  Glad to be home…even if for just a few hours. Jude