SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23RD – AUSTRIA TO SWITZERLAND:
We arrived at the Zurich airport exactly at the time planned and dropped Sandro off. Then we continued on to our hotel right outside of Basel. We’ve stayed there many times.
Peter met us with a van so we could load all the equipment onto it and not have to store it in the hotel – great plan! The hotel could not find our reservations, so I had to have Peter come in and chat with them in German. The festival had booked the rooms for arrival yesterday so that we would be able to check in early this morning. Only the hotel marked all 9 rooms as “no shows” when no one checked in yesterday and they canceled our rooms. Peter got everything sorted out.
We all had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and it was a great buffet. Plus they would cook omelets or fry eggs for guests if they wanted. I had lots of work to catch up on and didn’t make much of a “dent” in it! I showered and went downstairs at 4 pm to meet Gola and his family for about an hour. Dinner is scheduled for 5:30 pm and then we have to depart to the show. Going to be a “short night” tonight as we won’t get back from the festival until after midnight and have to depart at 6:15 am to the airport!
Lukas, Gola, Heidi and the two beautiful little girls came to the hotel at 4 pm. The girls have grown so much and are adorable. We had a great visit with them in the restaurant as well as had dinner. Gola brought us all copies of his new CD.
The guys left for the show at 8:00 and we followed at 8:30 pm. There was a “meet and greet” with our dear Swiss friends – Bridget and Marcus, Heidy, and Yvonne. Then there was a TV interview and afterwards, it was time to go on stage. I don’t know how many the Festtent holds but it’s got to be more than 5,000 and it was packed. It was so full, I couldn’t even go from the stage to the front of house. I had to walk all the way around the tent just to get photos from the front. They only had time to do one encore because there is a curfew and there was another act on after them. Also, Wally was not feeling well and needed to get off the stage.
The staff at the festival are awesome and our good friend Peter always takes great care of us!
Going to be a short night with about 2 ½ hours to sleep. ☹
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH – ZURICH TO NASHVILLE:
I can confirm that 2 ½ hours sleep is definitely NOT enough. Ouch!!!
Everyone was in the lobby early for our 6:15 am departure. Of course, there was a different person working at the hotel front desk and he knew nothing about the festival paying for our rooms and dinner. I had to get our drivers to come inside and “negotiate” with him. It took much longer than I would have liked to sort it out, but we did get it straight!
Took about 45 minutes to drive to the airport and no traffic on a Sunday morning. The line at the Delta Counter was already long and just as we stepped up to check in, the lady had computer problems and shut down her terminal and left. Actually it turned out to be good for us as we got a really sweet lady who had checked us in before and remembered us. You know you’re spending a lot of time in Switzerland when the Delta Check-in counter staff remember you!
We had time for breakfast at the airport but no time to go into the Lounge and work any. At least things are slower on a Sunday. We had to clear security, then clear passport control and take a “tram” to the next terminal. The flight was delayed slightly due to late arrival of our aircraft. I was able to check everyone in last night except for Howard and I kept getting an error message saying he had to check in at the airport. Right before we started boarding, he was selected for additional security screening! He spent about 20 minutes with that process and joined us just as we were boarding.
The direct flight from Zurich to Atlanta is on one of the older aircraft and the toilets are between business class and coach sections. It’s always a challenge to find a toilet open because even though coach passengers are told to not use the toilets in the front section but to use the ones in the back, that never happens. Howard’s phone slid into the seat sometime during the flight and a flight attendant had to retrieve it but at least she was able to find it.
I watched a really weird movie called “Split” about a man with 24 personalities. Skipped the meal and just had the appetizer since we had just eaten breakfast a couple of hours ago. I was able to sleep for about 4 hours, not uninterrupted but at least I slept. We had a salad before we landed and then arrived Atlanta on time.
By the time we cleared immigration, picked up all our luggage and equipment and cleared security, it was time to go to the next gate. Atlanta is so convenient as far as flying back to Nashville but their security process has become a nightmare. They have a line for “priority members” but it is never open. When it is open, it still feeds directly into the other lanes. There’s never enough lanes open to accommodate all the arriving passengers. I spent over 30 minutes just standing in line. By the time I cleared Security, we only had 30 minutes to take the tram to the gate and board. Glad we had a long enough connection to make it. Last time I came through there, I complained and the attendant at the security entrance told me that we would automatically be booked on the next flight if we didn’t make our connection. I asked her how she “KNEW” there would be enough seats available on the next connection and how she knew where we were going. She was rude and had no answer to that question!
For years, I have asked this question: Before everyone boarded the flight from overseas to the USA, we went through intensive security scanning (just ask Howard). We have been on the aircraft for anywhere from 7-15 hours. Once we come off the aircraft, we are in a secure area where we must clear immigration. There’s no way we could have picked up anything “dangerous” while on the flight or in Immigration. So “why” do we have to go through another security scanner when we arrive. After we leave the arrival area, we again go into the gate area where everyone there has already been scanned. Are we just “making jobs” for TSA so they can have more employees to work at a job that is obviously not necessary???
We departed on time and arrived Nashville on time and Lindsey, Zac and Zoe were waiting for me. I think they have grown a foot!!! Good to be home even if it’s only for a few days before heading to Japan!
It was a great, very successful tour for the Bellamys in Norway, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. We had really wonderful promoters and fantastic fans at our shows! Win/win for everyone and we’ll do it again in 2018! Working and traveling with the Bellamys is always fun, easy, and something I still enjoy immensely after all these years and “miles”. Off to South Africa and Sri Lanka in November over Thanksgiving!