THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22-23RD – FLIGHT TO ZURICH, SWITZERLAND:
Left Nashville today on Delta airlines via Atlanta to Zurich, Switzerland with the Bellamy Brothers. They perform at a big festival in Schupfart, Switzerland (about an hour from Zurich) on Saturday night. Then we have Sunday off (when all the shops are closed, of course) and fly to Denmark for one show on Tuesday evening. Be back home late Wednesday night for a few days.
Check in was relatively smooth but “lengthy” at the Nashville airport. It was nice to be flying on a big jet for a change instead of one of the little puddle-jumper jets that United and American fly out of Nashville. We boarded the plane on time and the flight attendant came on the speaker and asked if the person leaving a duffle bag on the jetway would return and pick up the bag! Then another flight attendant comes walking down the aisle with a large duffle bag asking if it belonged to anyone. Now, you tell me, how does that make ANY sense at all? With all the security checks they put us through, then they walk onto the plane with an “unidentified” duffle bag? How did they know an explosive hadn’t been planted and left intentionally? Jeez!
Next, our pilot came on the speaker when it was time to depart and said we had to wait for a printout of our “load and weight distribution”. Since that is something that is required on every flight, you would think they would have had that ready for our departure, right? We received it and taxied out onto the runway where he said we had to wait for a new flight plan. They actually delivered that to him on the runway by handing it through the cockpit window. Then we had to wait because Atlanta Air Traffic control was delaying landings! We finally took off and landed about an hour late. Fortunately we had a 2 hour connection so we didn’t miss our flight. The pilot had told us the weather was sunny and beautiful in Atlanta but it evidently changed because it was raining and the flight was very turbulent when we began the dissent.
Only had time to grab a yogurt in Atlanta before we boarded the flight. Business class was sold out. It was one of the old Northwest Airlines planes too. So old that coach class didn’t have individual video monitors. The passengers had to watch a screen in the front of the compartment! The meal was excellent though as Delta flights usually are – unusual for airplane food. I watched “Bridesmaids” and laughed my head off. Wendi McLendon and Michael Hitchcock – comedians who go to Iraq with me every year – were both in the movie and they were hilarious.
We landed an hour early and all our luggage/gear made it. And they didn’t destroy my expensive Rimowa suitcase this flight. Our driver – Peter – was waiting with two large vans and a trailer for the short one hour drive to the hotel in Pratteln. I thought we were staying at the Marriott in Basel so was disappointed to learn that our hotel is not near anything. But, it’s a really nice hotel. Wireless works great but costs about $30 U.S. a day. Rooms are large and clean. Only the Bellamys rooms were ready when we checked in at 8 am but we expected that. We all went into the restaurant and by the time we finished breakfast, our rooms were ready as well.
I worked on emails all afternoon while everyone else slept. Walked over to the COOP at about 4 pm and got some bottled water then met everyone in the restaurant for dinner at 6:30 pm. My friend Iris from Interlaken arrived at 6:00 pm and had dinner with us. Albi from Zurich arrived at around 7 pm and joined us for coffee. The food in the restaurant and service was good, too. It was a fun meal. Iris will be here until Sunday morning and I’ll help her sell the BB&G merchandise tomorrow night. Susan Bellamy didn’t come with us as her grandmother is still not doing well and she went to Texas to be with her. Sure miss her on these trips, too.
I’ve been working all evening and still have hundreds of emails to do. Had a very successful benefit for Stars for Stripes at the Palm this past Tuesday night and have lots of “thank you emails” to send.
Tomorrow is sound check and concert.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH – SCHUPFART FESTIVAL:
Was able to get in a decent “arm” workout in the health club at the hotel. Since I’m still in my “walking boot” (because I took it off a week before I was supposed to and then didn’t follow the doctor’s instructions – so I’m back in it until next week!), I’m limited on some of my regular exercises. Had breakfast with Iris and the hotel has a really great breakfast buffet with lots of healthy items.
After a quick shower, we went to the festival grounds for sound check. I rode with Iris because we didn’t want to stay for the entire 3 hour sound check. I just needed to make sure the dressing rooms and merch area were set up. As usual at this event, everything was set up appropriately. Iris and I left after about an hour and decided we would take the tram into town. The hotel had told us that shops closed at noon but Iris worked in Basel a couple of years ago and said that shops were open until at least 4 pm on Saturdays. The tram ride was about a 20 minute trip and Basel was packed with people. We went into a couple of shops and Iris bought some more shoes to add to her 200 plus collection. I found one of the toys that Zac had asked for and got it. Also found a Sprungli chocolate store and picked up some of the candy I needed to purchase.
We were back at the hotel by about 4:30 and had dinner with everyone at 6 pm. Bill and Susann Loop – our friends from Switzerland – were in the bar having a drink and picking up their passes for tonight’s show so we got to say hello to them, too. The dinner tonight was healthy too – salad, veal and carrots, and sorbet.
We left for the show at 8:30 pm and the Bellamys had 3 interviews prior to their performance. The festtent was packed and the weather was perfect. A famous German band – Truckstop – was performing when we arrived. The Bellamys cut a song with them several years ago titled “Lady Harley” and they joined them on stage at the end of their set to sing it with them. Audience loved it! When the Bellamys took the stage, the crowd increased even more. People were standing on top of the tables dancing and shouting. They played for 90 minutes plus a 3 song encore. I sat out front with Iris for most of the show while she sold the merchandise. We have the new BB&G (Bellamy Brothers and Gola) live cd and dvd on sale now.
We were back at the hotel a little before 1 am and Iris had to leave for the airport at 4 am. She’s flying to Egypt this morning to play golf. Not somewhere I’d want to visit with the current unrest. Told her to be careful because she and I have a shopping date in China in a few weeks! I got in bed around 2:30 am and slept for 8 hours….something that hasn’t happened in many, many years! Sunday is a day off and with the shops closed in Basel, I’ll just work all day. Plus the breakfast buffet is open until 2 pm which means I can work out as long as I want without rushing down for coffee.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH – DAY OFF NEAR BASEL:
Okay, friends, write this one down. I slept for almost 8 hours last night! Not “consecutively, of course, but still! I drank some really strange tea right before going to bed and the last hour of my sleep, I dreamed about Alan Jackson. Never drinking that stuff again! J
I ran for 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer with the metal insert in my shoe. That was my “concession” to doing what the doctor told me to do. Breakfast as served until 5 pm in the hotel restaurant so I joined a couple of guys for “brunch” a little before noon.
Spent the rest of the afternoon taking a shower and working on emails. Feel much better now that I’ve gotten my “thank yous” out for the SFS benefit. We had dinner at 6:30 pm and pretty happy we don’t have to eat dinner at this hotel again. Food sounds good on the menu but isn’t prepared very well. But, free is free, right?
It was really nice to have a “day off” for a change. We’ll pay for it the rest of the tour though. We have to depart the hotel at 6:30 am Monday morning. We fly through Amsterdam to get to Aalborg, Denmark. Since we have to go through Passport Control every time we go through Amsterdam, we’re going to be hustling to make it to our connecting flight.
I got to video Skype with Zac and Zoe today. Lindsey said that after MUCH deliberation, they decided on Thomas the Train and Minnie Mouse as their Halloween costumes. I got a sneak preview of them wearing it. Trust me, the conductor cap and Minnie ears are not going to make the cut. They didn’t leave those on for 30 seconds. J Evidently, they have also picked out about $2,000 worth of toys they would like for their birthday on November 1st. Donations accepted. Hmmm…was I the one who couldn’t wait for them to be able to carry on and understand conversations?
Trying to get in bed before midnight so I can get up at 5:00 am and finish packing. Weather is supposed to be good and with a sold-out concert, it will be a fun visit. Our hotel is located in the center of Aalborg so hope to get in some shopping after we arrive tomorrow afternoon.