MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012 – LEAVING GERMANY:
Ever just had “one of those days”? I did today!
Went to bed at 1:30 am and got up at 3:30 am. Rough!!! Some of the guys decided to sleep on the bus but forgot to leave their hotel room keys. So we were scrambling at 4 am trying to figure out who was in their room, who was on the bus and where to find keys. We finally got everything sorted out but one guy’s alarm didn’t go off, so we were a few minutes late departing. I tried to go back to sleep in my bunk, but it just didn’t happen. Slept for maybe 30 minutes in the 3 ½ drive.
We actually arrived at the airport early and it was a good thing we did. The line for the guys flight to Nashville via Dulles was extremely long and moving very slowly. I decided to go ahead and check in so I could get rid of my luggage. When I went to Lufthansa to check in, the nice lady could not find my reservation. She sent me to the United check-in counter but they couldn’t find it either so they sent me to the Delta counter since my international ticket was on Delta. They couldn’t find it either and sent me to Brussels Air which is the airline I was flying on. Finally, the agent found my reservation only to tell me it had been CANCELLED on March 17th on the same computer that had booked it. I tried calling the travel agent but the only number on the print out of my reservation was their office number where I got a recording saying call back during regular office hours!
I had no other option but to purchase a one-way ticket to Berlin at a cost of approximately $1,000. Was not happy about that!
I walked back to see if the guys had worked their way to the check in counter but they still had quite a way to go. They finally started getting checked in and were down to the last 3 who had the excess pieces to check. Then an agent for the airline stopped their line and said they were only going to check in passengers going to Chicago because they were all going to miss their flights. Didn’t seem real fair since we arrived 4 hours before our flight time and these passengers show up 15 minutes before their flight and expect to be accommodated. Getting them checked in took 45 minutes and then my guys finally got up there. One of the guys didn’t hear my “instructions” when I told them to each check ONE piece of excess. So his first bag was free, his second bag cost 50 Euros and the 3rd bag cost 150 Euros!
Got everyone checked in and then I headed to the Lounge for several cups of coffee. My flight left on time and was uneventful until we started to land in Berlin. The wind was blowing really hard and it was a turbulent landing! Both pieces of my luggage arrived and “Frank” our driver in Berlin was there to meet me. A really nice guy and I enjoyed talking to him.
The hotel is really, really “FUNKY”. It is a very, very old building that has been remodeled. It was a Hospital in World War I and then when the war ended, was home to the KGB. Google Lux-11 and read the history. Tell ME this place isn’t haunted. The room is very “artsy” and totally non-functional. There are no shelves and no drawers! The shower and sink is right next to the bed and there’s no wall between them….just the glass for the shower. Was hard to get both my bags open at the same time but I finally managed to get everything out of the suitcases and placed “somewhere” in the room. I do have a dishwasher, toaster, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, water pot, and stove top!
I was able to answer a few emails then walked over to the “Galleria” to buy some coffee filters and water. I didn’t get lost walking over but did go past the hotel when I came back. I know this area pretty well because I was down here shopping a couple of times when I was here in July.
Iris arrived at a little after 7 and we went to dinner shortly thereafter. Went to some “steak” restaurant where we both ordered salmon! J It was really good food though. We got back to the hotel at around 10 pm and I’m still trying to answer emails.
Day “off” tomorrow but looks like I’ll be working most of it!!!!
BERLIN, GERMANY – BELLAMY BROTHERS AND D J OTZI PROMO TOUR:
Not a lot to report today thankfully. Got up early and worked out with my DVD and “bands”. Met Iris for breakfast at 9:30 am. We ordered egg white omelets and have NO idea what we received. It was very “yellow” and looked more like a pancake!
We shopped for a couple of hours but really couldn’t buy anything because our bags will be so far overweight on Air Berlin! We found the gym that the hotel said we could use for 20 Euros per day. But when we went in, we learned that this is “Fitness Week” and we can use it all week free of charge! Stopped and had a quick lunch at one point and also figured out we’re only a couple of blocks from where we stayed at the Radisson in July!
Had to work for several hours before going out to dinner with Brix…the Producer on the project. Had a fantastic meal at a restaurant where he took us in July. Lots of music industry people eating there and an anorexic model were there, too.
Our funky showers are not very functional either. The water is scalding hot and neither Iris nor I can figure out how to fix it. I told the front desk to send someone up to work on them while we were out, but I don’t think they did. L
Bellamys arrive about noon tomorrow and the “work” begins!
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21ST – BELLAMYS ARRIVE IN BERLIN:
Woke up to a BEAUTIFUL morning – about 48 degrees at 7 am. Decided to go for a jog and it was great. I made my way down to where I jogged when we stayed here in July. I sort of got “lost” coming back though. There is a huge tv tower that is “round” on the top and that’s my landmark to get “home”. But I managed to get on the wrong side of it and ran about 1 mile more than I planned.
Met Iris for breakfast and she was wearing her sunglasses. She went to a party last night after I came back and stayed out until 4 am this morning. I stay up that late all the time but it’s answering emails…not partying. J
She had better luck with her omelet order today. It was just egg whites but it was huge and really “fluffy”. I tasted of it and it definitely tasted strange but better than yesterday.
Showered and we walked over to the UPS store to make copies of the revised, revised, revised, revised itinerary! Then we met the Bellamys when they arrived at the hotel and got them checked into their rooms. Had a quick salad with them and then Iris and I walked down to this great Mall that I never found when I was here last year. I only found it today because I was lost when I was jogging. LOL. Four stories of great shops. I got the kids some cool swim suits and shoes. Iris had to buy new shoes because she ruined her 5 inch stilettos last night at the party. Hmmm….
I was looking for a bag to take to the Echo Awards event tomorrow night but didn’t find anything. Thought I’d find something at the Galleria which was out next stop but nothing there either. We had been walking for so long that Iris had to buy some flat shoes. I was getting worried about fracturing the top of my foot again. This is where that happened in July and I do NOT want to go through that again. Berlin has these cobblestone streets that are really brutal to walk on and even worse for jogging.
I sent Iris back to the hotel and I hiked back down to the Media Mart (the great Mall). Went in every store on every floor and finally found a bag in the last store I went in. By the time I made it back to the hotel, it was almost time to go to dinner with David.
We went to a Hausbrau (German Beer Hall) with picnic tables and a loud German band performing. Iris and I got the weiner schnitzel with German potato salad and David had White Wurst and Kraut. It was great food but HUGE portions. I didn’t even make it through half of mine while Iris ate all of hers. Then she ate the rest of mine! She is the tiniest thing you’ve ever seen and it really ticks me off that she can eat like that and not gain weight. She thinks it’s because she smokes. Guess I’ll never be tiny if that’s the reason.
Got back to the hotel at around 8:30 pm and have been working for hours now. Have to get up early tomorrow. Bellamys have interviews all afternoon and then we have to go to the Echo Awards and Party.
THURSDAY, MARCH 22ND – FIRST DAY OF PROMO IN BERLIN:
Busy day today! Worked out with the bands in my room because I just didn’t have time to walk to the gym! Had breakfast with Iris and then we walked across the street to have some clothes pressed for Howard and David. The lady working at the cleaners was not nice and definitely not helpful. Thankfully Iris speaks German and was able to “sweet talk” her into pressing the clothes – except for Howard’s. He had a leather jacket and a suede jacket and she refused to steam those.
While this was being taken are of, we walked back down to the Mall so I could exchange some shoes I had purchased for the kids yesterday. Their feet must have grown a size since I left!
Most of the interviews and photos took place in the “bar” in the hotel today – which Universal rented for this purpose. Only negative was the fact that it was a “smoking” bar and definitely smelled like it. We had one little break for a 25 minute lunch and then more interviews. We drove to a radio station to do two interviews and then to the Pre-Show Party with Universal Records. Howard and David walked the Red Carpet and then we all stayed at the party for about an hour. It was a really nice party but we only knew a few people attending. We left at around 7 pm, and instead of sitting through 3 hours non-stop of the Echo Awards, we went to the hotel to change clothes and then out to dinner at a great Italian restaurant. It was big, crowded and very loud – made even louder by the fact that the trains passing by seemed to be running over the top of the restaurant. The great food was worth the noise though.
A really cool thing happened while we were in there. These two girls came by and were offering neck and upper back massages while diners were waiting for their dinner. Trust me, in Germany, that wait can be endless! I chased them down and Iris and I got the massage. It was HEAVEN. Then we just paid whatever it was worth to us. I want to start a company like this in the U.S.!
So, DJ is on a diet and has lost 5 kilograms. His lovely wife was telling David about it and David asked “which” diet DJ is on. She replied, “It’s the Gerry (his real name) diet”. She had told us previously that he has given up sugar. Iris purchased these cute little chocolate Easter bunnies wrapped in gold foil to give to the folks at Universal signifying “we want a GOLD album with this project.” J She held up one of the bunnies to show DJ and he said “Give me that” and unwrapped it in 1 second and popped the entire thing in his mouth while his wife wasn’t looking! Howard said his cheeks were all puffed out! LOL
Back at the hotel by around 11 pm and still working. Want to go to the gym tomorrow so hoping to get in bed real soon!
FRIDAY, MARCH 24TH – PROMO DAY IN BERLIN:
WOW. Was just too sleepy to write my report before falling asleep last night…so here goes…
Got up and walked to the gym with Iris. This is Fitness Week and the gym is offering free admittance for one week only. Usually they charge 20 Euros per day, so this is a real bargain for us! Iris went earlier this week and learned that you have to wear different shoes when entering the gym and carry your gym shoes with you. It’s an “okay” gym – nothing special but very big. Had a great 50 minute workout then came back and had breakfast with David. The hotel is getting a little better on making their egg white omelets but they are still so big that Iris and I split one each time.
We left the hotel at 12:30 pm and went to a radio station for the first interview. From there we went to the TV station where they will perform on the popular “Carmen Nebel Show” on Saturday night. There was an interview with DPA (a large PR company) and then rehearsal for the show. We were standing in the hallway and a man walked by, then turned around to talk to the Bellamys. He looked really familiar and when he walked away, the Bellamys said it is Barry Manilow! Have to get a photo with him tomorrow. Boney M featuring Liz Mitchell is also on the show.
By 2:30 pm, we were all starving and catering at the studio was shutting down. We all ate a really horrible pizza….only because we were so hungry. Then everyone felt bad afterwards. Bellamys and DJ did their rehearsal and we left to go to the “Flashmob” at the Alexanderplatz by our hotel. I had never even heard of a “Flashmob” until a couple of months ago. Evidently a group of people gather and dance to a song and video it for YouTube. Universal arranged to have a Flashmob in Berlin, Zurich, and Vienna – all taking place at the same time today. We had over 500 people in Berlin and maybe more than that in Zurich. Don’t have the figures yet from Vienna. The Zurich Flashmob is already on Youtube at:
Check it out. But, it was also a little frightening because there was no “crowd control” and people were shoving and pushing as close as possible to get photos and autographs. The actual line dance was amazing though. Gerry found these “trailers” and climbed on the back bumper of one and Howard and David attempted to do the same thing. There was no “floor”, only beams so it was a little on the dangerous side. Getting down was even more fun.
This might be the first Flashmob where the crowd line-danced and probably the first time three took place simultaneously in three cities. One minor problem was the fact that the trolleys travel through this Plaza and several times we had to be pulled out of the way of one approaching! No injuries to anyone as far as we know though. J
After the Flashmob, we stopped by the hotel to pick up the show clothes to go back to the TV studio for a dress rehearsal. The Bellamys and DJ are lip-synching a “medley” and it’s been a challenge to get it right. DJ will ride out on the stage in this amazing pink vintage Cadillac. It is in immaculate condition. He is supposed to have beautiful girls sitting in the back and they will jump out and distribute cowboy hats to the audience. Bellamys will ride off stage with him. It’s a really cool stage, too.
It was after 8:30 pm by the time we left and several of us went to a great shushi bar near the hotel. I liked what I ordered with the exception of the raw onions they put in my crab roll. Didn’t recognize that ingredient on the menu! But, it was still good once I picked those out. We all ordered too much so we took David a “to go” plate back to the hotel. He had opted out because he needed to make phone calls back to the states before things closed down.
I worked until around 2 am and was just too tired to type my road report. So, I probably left out some things from this one. J
SATURDAY, MARCH 24TH – TV SHOW IN BERLIN:
Woke up to perfect jogging weather so I did 5 miles. As I was running back towards the hotel, I passed someone who looked a lot like Marcel from Universal who has been taking such great care of us! I turned around and yelled “Marcel” and he turned around. He didn’t recognize me with my ball cap and sunglasses.
Ate breakfast with David and then showered and dressed for the day. Iris went to the gym again and met me at 11 am to walk to the Media Mart to purchase another duffle bag for our “excess”. Berlin Air will only allow one bag at 20 kilos – 44 pounds U.S. Then if you wait until you get to the airport, they charge 20 Euros PER KILO…..we went online and paid for just one extra bag for two flights and it cost over $800! Such a rip-off!
Went back to the hotel to answer some emails and then called Iris to see if she was still out shopping. She said she was back because she got so lost. She and I should not travel together. It’s pretty frightening.
We walked over to the Galleria and had lunch at the “Gourmet Restaurant”. It was amazing. We had Thai Curry and sat at the “bar”. We watched them making pasta for the Italian Restaurant and wishing it was open tomorrow. I mean, NOTHING is open on Sunday here – our only day off.
Walked back to the hotel and it was time to leave for the show…2:15 pm and show isn’t over until 11 pm. We had a rehearsal at about 3:30 and then had to rehearse the Finale at around 5:30 pm. After that rehearsal, we got “permission” to leave the venue and drive to the Galleria for dinner at the Italian restaurant. J I had the Caprese Salad and the tomatoes and mozzarella were so fresh. Also had the spaghetti olio e aglio and it was some of the best ever. They used chili oil instead of lots of chilies and was it hot….but great.
Back to the venue for makeup at 7:30 and then wait until 8:50 pm for the Bellamy’s and DJ’s part on the show. Then sit and wait until 10:55 pm for the Finale.
FINALLY came time for the Finale. Howard and David were standing on the side of the stage waiting to go on and David was sort of right on the edge. He was holding on to this wire and the wire was attached to the ceiling and seemed to be holding up a large part of the top of the stage. It looked like he was pulling on the wire and it was shaking. Iris and I were laughing because if he had pulled the whole “ceiling” down on Barry Manilow, he would never have realized he did it. He would have been thinking, “Man do you know how lucky we are that we weren’t on the stage”! LOL
I really wanted to get a photo of the Bellamys with Manilow but he escaped before I could corner him! Gerry had ordered two huge trays of sushi and brought it back to the hotel for everyone. I was just too tired to even think about eating it.
We lose an hour tonight but thankfully our “lobby call time” tomorrow is 5 pm. On Monday morning, we have to BE at the TV station by 5 am, Bellamys and Gerry perform “live” (THAT won’t be easy at that time of the day), leave immediately for the airport to fly to Grand Canary Islands via Madrid, arriving at 10:30 pm. Very long day!
SUNDAY, MARCH 25TH – REHEARSAL IN BERLIN:
Lost that hour last night, so it was a pretty “short sleep night”. Iris and I walked over to the gym and got in a good “last” workout. Then we had breakfast, showered and worked for several hours. Had to get everyone checked in on Iberia Airlines and pay the excess — not an easy process. She broke the news to me that Iberia was on strike last week. Glad I didn’t know it at the time and hope it’s over now! From the internet news, looks like the strike is partially over but airport will be operating at “minimum” work force. Not good…
Iris and I walked over to the area behind the Radisson where we stayed last time and had a salad for lunch. Then it was back to the hotel to work for several hours before leaving for the rehearsal studio at 5 pm. Bellamys and DJ rehearsed with DJ’s guitar player – Michael – for their acoustic performance tomorrow morning. They will sing “Crossfire” and “Like a Star” two songs that are in the highest keys. Musicians will relate to the fact that this is going to be HARD to do at 5 am in the morning! I’m sure there will be “humor” involved!
After they rehearsed, the guys sat around and jammed for a while on Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, and lots of other “legends” hits. It was really fun watching them.
We all went back to the hotel and our separate ways for dinner. Think the Bellamys had “Gourmet Burritos” at a restaurant by the hotel. Iris and I found terrific Indian restaurant about 2 miles from the hotel. Some of the best Indian foods I’ve ever eaten AND on Sunday evenings – it’s two meals for the price of one.
It’s about 10:30 pm now and I’m hoping to get in bed by 11 pm so I can sleep until 4 am. Tomorrow is going to be a brutal day – early morning tv show and traveling until 11 pm tomorrow night!
Have not put this information in my road reports because I wanted to wait and see how he was doing. George Lindsey – my lifelong friend and Lindsey’s Godfather – had a stroke last week. It was very bad but he has made it through the crucial time and is doing much better. Everyone please keep him in your prayers!
MONDAY, MARCH 26TH – LAST DAY IN BERLIN:
Talk about a brutal day! I got up at 3:30 am and we left for the TV station at 5 am. It was pretty disorganized when we first walked in but they got things together after about an hour. The performances were much better than we hoped for…so hard for the guys to sing that early. They ended up doing 3 songs instead of two songs, too. We didn’t get out of there until 10:15 and had hoped to arrive at the airport at 10:30 am. Didn’t happen. It was almost 11 when we arrived and our fight was at 12:35 pm. The line was really, really long but I noticed a lane for “bag drop only”. Since we had checked everyone in online and printed our boarding passes, we were able to check in relatively quickly.
The flight was delayed by at least an hour, so we had time for a quick meal. Food was sort of funky. I had a Caprese salad and some soup.
We flew Iberia Air and the seats were the smallest I’ve ever seen. I was lucky to have an aisle exit row seat and no one sitting beside me. Bellamys were not as lucky nor was Iris. They were “packed” into their rows and it was miserable. Iris and I had purchased neck pillows at the Berlin airport but the seats on the plane curved forward at the top and made for a miserable sitting position. Right after take off, the guy in the window seat poured an entire beer all over his pants, shoes, etc. Barely missed my mobile phone on my purse under my seat. If there hadn’t been an empty seat between us, it would have been all over me, too. But I had to smell beer the rest of the 3 hour flight.
We had a 4 hour layover at the Madrid airport and we were in the terminal that did not have any good lounges or restaurants. We were able to get everyone into the Priority Plus Lounge on our Platinum American Express cards but it was pretty antiquated. They gave us cables to hook up to the internet but the prongs on all their cables were broken and kept popping out of the computers. I finally managed to log on long enough to download email.
We walked down towards the gates to try and find something to eat but several of us ended up eating at McDonalds because the food every where else looked “suspect”! Went back to the lounge for a few minutes and I got locked in the Ladies Room! Another lady was on the other side of the door trying to help me get out. I finally got the door unlocked and we left for the gate.
This plane is just as small and I had paid for an exit row seat on this one, too. But, it turned out to be the row in front of the exit row. There were only 2 seats in my row and a man was sitting beside me. I cannot believe how uncomfortable that seat was. My knees hit the tray in front of me (there’s no seat pockets…just hard plastic), the arm rests were non-existent, and the seat back curved again. Plus there was a group of young teenagers that filled all the rows behind me and they were very loud the entire flight. I was so happy when we finally landed.
Marcus had flown over earlier today and was waiting for us. The drive from the airport to the hotel was only about 30 minutes and Marcus had our rooms ready for us. We were all starving and nothing was open. The hotel arranged to have cheese and meat sent to our rooms though. Internet works pretty good, which is what I care about the most.
Our call time was supposed to be 1:30 pm tomorrow but they changed it to 11:30 am. Gerry is supposed to land at around 1 pm and go straight to the tv taping which begins at 2 pm. We “should” be through by 4:30 pm tomorrow. Sure hope so. I need some “rest”!!!
TUESDAY, MARCH 6TH – TV SHOW IN GRAN CANARIA:
Really wanted to go for a jog this morning but it was dark when we arrived last night and I wasn’t sure if there would be a good place to run. Worked out with the rubber bands in my room instead because their gym doesn’t open until 9:30 am every day! Met Iris for breakfast and it was a HUGE buffet bar. Really great food on there, too.
Showered and we all met in the lobby at 11:30 am to drive to the site of the tv taping. It was about a 40 minute drive and I was very surprised by the scenery. I was expecting something similar to the Bahamas…not so. It is “desert” with palm trees. Only grass we saw was on a golf course and it was pretty “brown”. It’s pretty here, but not somewhere I would choose to vacation.
The site of the TV show was on the harbor and there were lots of boats. The harbor is lined with little tourist shops and restaurants. There are LOTS of other artists filming the show and it will film for 3 days total.
Iris had a text from Volker this morning saying Berlin airport was on strike and he and Gerry were running late getting here. They were supposed to land at about 12:50 pm and come straight to the tv taping as call time was 2 pm. He made it just in time! The taping was very long since they taped in 3 different segments with the Bellamys and Gerry ending the show. It won’t air until April 8th. Got the news today that their cd sales jumped from the 40’s in the download charts to #4 after they appeared on the TV show yesterday!
We had lunch out at the site of the tv taping and it was NOT good. I had swordfish which I like because it doesn’t taste fishy. But this one definitely did. Back at the hotel at around 7:30 pm and working ever since. Air Berlin has been on strike and it’s impossible to reach anyone on the phone and the website is all screwed up. Have I mentioned that I HATE AIR BERLIN?
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28TH – CANARY ISLANDS TO VIENNA:
We were told breakfast didn’t start until 8 am so we knew we’d have to eat at the airport. Iris went downstairs at 7 am and they were already serving. Actually nothing this hotel has told me has been accurate, so I should have known to double check. Our escort from Universal got a text message at 2 am saying the shuttle to take us to the airport at 8:00 am wasn’t available until 8:30 am! So, he had to hire taxis to get us there on time. You never know what kind of lines and problems you’ll run into in a foreign airport (or U.S. airport, either!), so it’s best to arrive a minimum of 2 hours prior to flight time.
Fortunately, there wasn’t a line at Air Berlin and since we had printed all the boarding passes except mine, it went fairly smoothly. I got my boarding pass and we managed to not be charged any more excess fees. I’d say after paying over $1,000 in excess, we shouldn’t be charged any more! We couldn’t get Howard’s seat changed and were told we would have to wait until we got to Hamburg.
The flight was delayed, so we had time for breakfast at the airport. Flight was very full and I had a very large lady beside me. There was also a crying child two rows in front of me on the other side of the plane. It was a very miserable 5 ½ hour flight. This aircraft did not have a business class section, only very small coach seats. Can’t believe it takes that long to fly from the Canary Islands to Hamburg!
We “slammed down” (seriously, didn’t know if we landed or had been shot down!) in Hamburg pretty much on time and had a 2 hour layover for our flight to Vienna. We weren’t able to move Howard’s seat because there had been an aircraft change and the seat he originally had reserved was no longer there! There were only 2 seats I his row instead of 3. He and David switched seats which put David in a window seat but no one sat in the middle seat, so he was fine.
Our landing was very much like the previous flight. I assume Air Berlin trains (or lack of training!) their pilots to land that way! Our escort from Universal Austria was there to meet us. We’re staying at an artsy hotel again – Das Triest – but it is a little more “business” friendly than the Lux-Eleven in Berlin.
Tomorrow is a full day of TV Talk Shows and Radio interviews. Can’t believe I fly home in just 3 more days. Can’t wait to see the twins!
THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH – PROMO DAY IN BEAUTIFUL, HISTORIC VIENNA, AUSTRIA:
Got up to perfect weather so decided to go jogging even though I did not have a CLUE where the hotel was located. I asked the front desk where to go and they pulled out a map and started giving me directions. I told them I needed to run in a straight line. The lady told me it wasn’t “scenic” and kept pushing the “park route”. I assured her if she ever wanted to see me again, I needed to jog in a straight line. She said, go out of the hotel and take a right. I did and it was a great run. J
Had breakfast with Iris and the buffet is really good. Great Museli and eggs. Showered and we left for a full day of interviews. All the interviews were in this “Saloon/Restaurant” inside a huge shopping mall. Cruel to make us sit in there all day and not go shopping though. My wonderful, “I feel great from my jog” lasted only until we got inside the Saloon. It’s a “smoking” bar…something I rarely encounter any more. Smoke really does bad things to my head and lungs and the Bellamys have as many or more problems with it as I do. We finally got the smokers moved to another section but it was still pretty bad all day long.
Bellamys did lots of TV Talk shows and radio interviews from about 11 am until 6 pm. We did break for lunch and I walked over to the Mall to purchase a printer cartridge so I can print the rest of flight boarding passes tonight.
Universal took us to a restaurant that Gerry suggested and it was terrific. It’s a local specialty – boiled meat! Iris and the Bellamys had it and I tasted it and it was delicious. But Jenny and I had the Wiener schnitzel and it was great, too. Reminded me of the schnitzel at Bill and Marianne’s club in Germany – very thin, light breading and so tender it can be cut with a fork. We all had great plans to eat just one bite of apple strudel as dessert….only they didn’t have strudel! L
It was raining when we left for the restaurant and the temperature had dropped. But the rain stopped and we walked back to the hotel – about 20 minutes except I kept stopping to take photos. Vienna is beautiful at night as well as in the day.
Tomorrow is another full day of interviews but they take place in the hotel until 4 pm when we depart to a TV station. Immediately after the TV interview, we have to go to the airport for our flight to Zurich.
Just can’t believe the tour is almost over!!!
FRIDAY, MARCH 30TH – LAST DAY IN VIENNA:
Iris and I checked out the “gym” in the hotel last night and it was pretty much “non-existent”. So it was the rubber bands and DVD for me again this morning since it was raining when I got up at 7 am. Met Iris for breakfast, showered, and went down to the lobby to meet the Universal reps for the interviews. They were supposed to rent a suite for the interviews but said the hotel didn’t have one available. So they planned to do them in the bar. I walked into the bar to check it out and knew immediately it would not work. It’s a smoking bar and smelled very smoky. I told Howard when he came down and he suggested doing the interviews in his Suite. That’s exactly what we did and it worked out great.
Volker (Gerry’s manager) walked in and he had no idea Howard and Jenny were staying in the suite. He thought it was just one the hotel gave us for interviews. He walked into their bedroom with Jenny yelling at him not to go in. Think she had her underwear hanging all over the room. It took Volker a while to figure out what he had done. J
The internet went out in the hotel and I spend every free minute trying to tell the hotel how to fix it. There was a big meeting with Microsoft in the hotel and they all had their laptops. I think the wireless was just overloaded!
We checked out at 4 pm and made a quick stop by a beautiful church right in downtown Vienna. Sure wish we had time to do some shopping while here. It was still raining so we didn’t spend much time taking photos.]
Next stop was the TV studio for a quick interview. No performance, this time, just a talk show. We arrived at the airport at around 7:30 pm and there was no line at the Air Berlin bag drop. The agent couldn’t find our records where we had pre-paid the excess bags so check I was still slow. After we got checked in, we had time for a quick dinner.
The flight left on time and I had an entire exit row all to myself….Finally a seat I won’t complain about! Landed on time (again felt like a combat landing!) and our Universal reps met us with our ride. We are staying at the Renaissance in Zurich and will drive to Lucerne tomorrow for the TV show. I stayed at this hotel in December, 2010 when we were here with the Bellamys and Gola tour. Nice hotel! Front desk agents aren’t the sharpest but very nice.
Going to bed now so I can get up and work out tomorrow before leaving for Lucerne…my last day in Europe on this tour! Jude
SATURDAY, MARCH 30TH, 2012 – LAST DAY IN EUROPE:
Couldn’t remember what the gym looks like in this hotel and was surprised to find that it is a great facility. I worked out for over an hour and then had breakfast with Iris. She arrived in the restaurant after me saying, “OH MY GOD”! Evidently, she had knocked on the wrong door thinking it was my room. Turned out to be the big guy from Universal Music. She said the door was opening really slowly and she was wondering what was going on with me. Then he was standing there. I don’t know if she thought he had spent the night with me or realized that she had the wrong room. Regardless, she was horrified and speechless. Thinks she woke him up, too. J
Breakfast buffet really wasn’t very good. Food had been sitting out for a long time.
Showered and met everyone in the lobby for an 11:15 am departure. It took about an hour to drive to Lucerne (one of my favorite cities in Switzerland). First stop was a quick rehearsal…only, of course, it wasn’t quick because it’s a TV taping and those are always late. The stage is outdoor, covered and facing Lake Lucerne. Weather is fantastic here today. After the rehearsal, we went to a hotel about 5 minutes away. The Bellamys and DJ have “day rooms” there and we got them checked in and then had lunch. Lunch was really great…I had the spinach salad and some goat cheese with eggplant. The Bellamys went to take a quick nap and I sat and talked with Iris. Jean-Marie from Universal Switzerland who we worked with on the Gola project had driven over for lunch with us. We love him, so it was great to see him. And, he has a couple of more exciting projects that he wants the Bellamys to do with him. Sybil – Gola’s former girlfriend and mother of his son – is an executive with the TV company filming this show, so it was great to see her, too.
We had to go back down to the site for a “dress rehearsal” at 4:30 pm only they weren’t ready for us until 6:30 pm. Running very late. It is live to tape and I can’t understand how they can be so far behind! Finished up about 7 pm and went back to the hotel. Bellamys rested and Iris and I had dinner…which was good but not great. It is “spargel” season (asparagus) and that’s always great.
We went back to the hotel where the green room was located and were supposed to go on stage at 9:15. They kept bumping our time slot because they were so far behind. Bellamys finally took the stage at a little after 10:30 pm. The production team had given the audience sparklers to hold during “Like a Star” and it was a beautiful backdrop with the lake in the background. The show will air later in April and has 600,000 viewers, so the wait was worth it.
Arrived back at the hotel at midnight. Have to pack and get a couple of hours sleep. Can’t believe I’m finally going home tomorrow and get to kiss Zac and Zoe!
APRIL 1, 2012 – FLYING HOME FROM EUROPE:
Got up at 5:30 am so I could have a quick breakfast before departing to the airport. Weather is perfect again…a little cooler. We left the hotel at 7:30 am and were in line to check in by 7:45 am. There was a “bag drop” line but it really moved slow even though we had already checked in and printed out our boarding passes.
I stopped at Sprungli –– my favorite chocolate shop – to buy some Easter candy for the twins. Flight was on time and packed full. It is one of the old planes again. I had a nice guy sitting beside me who was very “chatty”. But, I did watch 2 movies – “Red Tails” which was totally awesome since I know the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and “Iron Lady” about Margaret Thacker which was interesting. Even slept for a couple of hours. The pilot’s crew rest seat was across the aisle from me. An elderly lady had a medical emergency about 45 minutes before we landed and they moved her to that seat. I think it was probably her heart. Paramedics met the flight when we landed and she seemed to be doing okay when they took her off.
All our luggage arrived and I said goodbye to the Bellamys and headed to my terminal. We had landed an hour early, so I went into the Delta Lounge to answer emails. But, once again as it was on departure, the internet was overloaded and I couldn’t log on – even though I am a T-mobile customer! So frustrating! Spent my entire time there just trying and finally gave up and went to the gate.
I think I slept the entire 25 minute flight back to Nashville! Landed on time here, too, and both bags made it with me. I am home for almost THREE weeks now before I go to Afghanistan with Darryl Worley.