FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3RD, 2017 – IRELAND TO FAROE ISLANDS (ALMOST!):
Got up at 6 am and was still nauseous. I can’t even drink coffee and as my friends know, I survive on coffee! I managed a few sips of an old diet Sprite and then went downstairs to see if maybe trying to eat something would help since I still haven’t been able to eat. The waitress told me to eat a piece of dry toast and drink peppermint tea. It was a life-saver.
Said goodbye to everyone – lots of new friends (and old friends) in Ireland – and loaded up for the 1 hour plus drive to Dublin. David, Howard and I rode in the range rover with Kieran and the guys rode in the van. We arrived right on time and check-in was easy. We didn’t even have to pay any excess baggage costs which was a miracle because it was SAS.
We boarded and everyone had seats near the front of the plane. Jim and I had an entire row all to ourselves which was awesome. Landed Copenhagen on time but there was a very low ceiling and lots of wind. We located where we had to pick up luggage. Once we collected everything, we had to go to the check-in counter and re-check in Atlantic Airways. Fortunately their check-in counter was right outside Customs. The lady made us wait while she checked in a group for a “ski trip” and then checked us all in as a group. Our promoter in the Faroes had cleared our luggage so that we didn’t have any excess to pay.
We went to the gate and I started worrying. I had been watching the weather all day for both Copenhagen and Faroe Islands and Faroes were having wind gusts of up to 45 mph! When it came time to board, they delayed our flight for a half hour. I was talking to the promoter in the Faroes and he kept saying everything was going to be just fine and we would just land late. I didn’t think so because none of the bags were being loaded onto the plane and the plane was “dark”. Finally at 7 pm, they canceled the flight and told us we would fly tomorrow. They told us to go to the transfer desk and pick up coupons for a hotel room and dinner and a taxi! I literally ran all the way so I could be first in line but the Atlantic Airlines reps were there yet. We waited about 15 minutes and I was expecting the process to take hours after what I had gone through with United Airlines in Kuwait a couple of years ago.
Amazingly enough, it took only a few minutes. They put a sticker on our boarding pass that allowed us a free hotel room and dinner and gave me coupons for 3 taxis round trip! We picked up our personal bags and the airline said they would keep the equipment and load it on the plane tomorrow morning.
We took a 10 minute taxi ride to the hotel and I stood in line for the hotel rooms while the guys had dinner. It didn’t take nearly as long to secure the rooms as I expected. The food at the hotel was a buffet but excellent. Either that or I was just glad that I finally felt I could eat something!
Everyone got settled in before 10 pm and we have a 4:45 am lobby call tomorrow. I’m going down at 4:30 and arrange the taxis.
Really enjoyed our performances in Ireland and “kudos” to Phil and Kieran for taking such good care of us. The Irish are probably the friendliest people I’ve met on my travels around the world. I hope we don’t have to wait another 10 years to perform for them again!
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH – COPENHAGEN TO FAROE ISLANDS – FOR REAL THIS TIME!
It was a short night…2 ½ hours sleep. L I am still suffering from “morning sickness”. LOL. I was finally able to drink my first cup of coffee at the airport this morning.
I was in the lobby by 4:15 am and there was a line of taxi cabs out front. But, since no one was taking them, they began leaving. All but a couple of my guys were down by 4:30 am so I started calling the others and asking them to come on down before we lost the one large van that had arrived. An elevator came down and a guy started throwing his bags out the door and then Howard stepped out. He said they had been stuck in the elevator for several minutes!
I decided to take Howard and David and a couple of other guys in the van and gave Wally two taxi coupons to get a couple of taxis for him and the other guys when Tim came down. I called his room again and still no answer so I assumed he was on his way down.
We arrived at the airport and in a taxi right in front of us, Wally and 2 of the guys hopped out. I asked where Tim was and they said they thought he was with us. David called his cell phone and finally reached him and told him to take a taxi over. I told Wally to meet the taxi and pay with the other coupon while I got everyone checked in. Only he had given one coupon to Galen (who rode in the taxi with Wally) and Galen paid the taxi driver with the coupon and Wally gave him one, too. I got everyone checked in and sent them to the gate while Wally waited outside for Tim to pay for the taxi. Only Wally waited in one area and Tim came in from a totally different area. They both finally convened where I stood in line and I gave up my spot and left them to get Tim checked in. Typical morning for folks with only a couple of hours of sleep and so many different time zones in 3 weeks!
I talked to the gate agent and made sure our musical equipment was put on the plane. The airline changed all our seats AGAIN and when I tried to get everyone the seats they wanted, the agent told me there were only middle seats left. Which wasn’t true and some of the guys were able to switch once everyone boarded.
I do have to say, Atlantic Airlines was superior when to US Airlines when it comes to the cancelation policy. If a flight is canceled due to “weather” in the USA, you are totally on your on to pay for a hotel, meals, taxi, etc. Rarely are you able to pick up your bags and if you can, you wait a couple of hours for them to be brought in. Only when a cancelation is due to “mechanical” issues will an airline cover any expenses. Maybe it’s because Atlantic Airlines has to cancel flights almost every week due to weather, but they sure have the process down to a smooth transition.
Other than having assigned seats (which you can’t select!), Atlantic Airlines is like Southwest Airlines. The “food” was a piece of hard candy. LOL. But it was only about a one hour and forty minute flight and they did serve beverages.
We landed and everything made it – gear and luggage. Allen was waiting for us with a big bus….which he had just commandeered. He said they sent a small bus and having dealt with us before, knew all our stuff wouldn’t fit. It was about a 45 minute drive to the hotel through the most beautiful scenery in the world. I forget how breathtaking it is between visits – my 3rd and the Bellamy’s 4th. If not for the rain and wind, we would have gotten some great photos. This is the only country where you can have all 4 seasons in one hour! And the Faroes have progressed a lot since our last visit. There is a nice “Duty Free” section in the airport when you land now. Still just one runway (which is why we couldn’t land) and one baggage claim belt. When the Bellamys first visited 20 years ago, they had to take a ferry from the airport to the main city (Thorshavn) and there was a kerosene heater in the middle of the ferry! Now they have a nice tunnel which makes the trip much faster. My favorite are the “black and white” sheep. Cutest little things ever.
We arrived at the hotel and got checked in by 9:30 (gained an hour due to the time zone, too) and rushed up for breakfast before they closed at 10 am. Then I and a few of the guys went “shopping” for items made from local Faroese wool and we found what we wanted. Things are expensive in the Faroes though compared to the USA.
Went back to the hotel and worked until time for sound check at 4 pm. Allan arrived and said that there had been a handball tournament in the venue and the production company was just beginning to set up. The decision was made to move sound check to just before the doors opened and the guys would just stay there until show time. We did all have to eat as a group at 5:30 pm because there was a large group coming into the restaurant at 6:00 pm.
Before dinner, Allan picked me up to go see his wife and daughters and the brand new little girl…their first grandchild. She was so beautiful but slept the entire time although I quietly tried every way possible to wake her up. His 1½ year old nephew came in and he had the largest, most beautiful eyes I have ever seen on a child. He just stared at me like I was a very strange person (I am!) and would not give me the time of day. Guess I am losing my touch as a “grandmother” after being away from Zac and Zoe for 3 weeks. L Allan on the other hand is a hopeless cause when it comes to his new granddaughter. He kisses her constantly. So sweet.
Back to the hotel and this time to the best meal of the tour. It was a buffet, but they grilled the meat you selected – steak, lobster, fish, mussels. Amazing food and the biggest meal I’ve had since being sick. Now I’m paying for it but it was worth it.
At 9:30 pm, I took Howard and David upstairs to the ballroom to say hello to the guests who had booked a “package” for the concert. It was just a quick hello from the stage and a few photos with some of the guests.
I made the mistake of posting a comment on Facebook that I knew going in was controversial. What amazes me is how several people who appear to be on my friend list (yet I have no clue who they are!) didn’t really read the comment and made truly obnoxious and vulgar responses. I’m fine with everyone who is my friend posting an opinion but I do not want “strangers” post vulgar comments. Good-bye to those “unknown” friends! One stranger who lives in Nova Scotia posted a comment that I need to “learn to show respect to our troops” and my comment was not even remotely connected in any way to the military! As if “I” don’t respect our military??
We left for the show at 11 and it had started raining yet again. There was a big crowd there but not as big as when we played here about 4 years ago. Allan’s brother was there as were lots of our other friends. Allan said the crowd would have been bigger if the show had started later! It didn’t start until almost midnight as it was. He originally wanted to start it at 1 am! Actually, the crowd did fill in once the Bellamys took the stage.
They like to drink and dance in the Faroes and they like to drink a lot and dance a lot. J I walked all the way around the outer perimeter of the room just to get to the back and sides to take photos. I was standing near the side of the stage by the monitor console when this couple danced by. There was an amp on the floor and they ran right into it … and you know how large an amp is! The lady fell over backwards and landed right on top of it with her legs up in the air. The other dancers just danced around her and she eventually made it to her feet and danced away with her partner!
It was a lively crowd, to say the least, and a great show. I got some awesome video of Allan’s wife and brother and his wife. It’s 2 am now and we just got back to the hotel. We have to depart at 12:30 pm tomorrow and I’m praying for NO WIND!
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH – FAROE ISLANDS BACK TO COPENHAGEN:
Short night for everyone even though departure time isn’t until 12:30 pm. I didn’t get in bed until 4:30 am! Breakfast closes at 10 and they stop putting out more food at 9:30 am so everyone tried to make it in there before then. We will spend tonight at the Hilton that is connected to the Copenhagen airport. Just walk over from our flight and then walk back over to the terminal tomorrow morning.
Everyone met in the lobby and when Wally walked in, he looked like he had been in a bar fight. There was a huge bump on his forehead and some bruising. He was leading everyone out of the venue last night in the rain and slipped and fell and hit his head. So very sorry for him. He already needs surgery on his back and now this!
We left on time and took a different route to the airport – a route with a lot more curves which is fun on the mountainside on a 2 lane road in the rain! No problem checking in our bags and the flight departed on time. It was pretty turbulent taking off even though the rain had stopped.
It was about an hour and a half flight and we landed on time. This time all our luggage did not arrive. Wally’s new suitcase that he had to buy in the Faroe Islands was missing! We waited until no more bags were coming out and then went to file a claim. That was a direct flight, so no idea what happened. We had to file with SAS since Atlantic doesn’t have a “lost bag” counter. The lady at the counter made me go back and look at every baggage claim belt to make sure it wasn’t on a different belt. It wasn’t.
I had forgotten how difficult it is to get from the terminal to the hotel, even though they are connected. We had to take an elevator up, then walk just a few feet and take a different elevator back down. Then walk across and go through one of their huge revolving doors….and our carts with equipment never fit in those! We finally made it to the hotel and they had our pre-paid reservation which was remarkable. The lady at the desk said everyone had to fill in their home address and sign the form. I said, “No, it is pre-paid and I’ll fill in my address on ONE form and I’ll sign all of them”. She didn’t like it but I really didn’t care. It was ridiculous!
Got everyone checked in and I went back over the airport with our confirmation numbers to check everyone in. For some reason, the KLM website would not allow me to check anyone in online! When I got to the kiosk and input my Reference Number, it also wanted a copy of my passport. I scanned that and it printed out not only my boarding passes but my baggage tags!
I was trying to find a way to get from the hotel to the terminal without going up and down elevators. Figured there had to be a way “outside”. I had to go back to the hotel and collect all the passports and Jim was a sweetheart and collected the guys on his floor for me. Rocky and I are on 7th floor and everyone else is on 3rd floor. Then he walked back to the airport with me and we figured out a way to go outside and not have to take ANY elevators! If it’s not raining, that’s the way we will go tomorrow morning.
We split the passports and started checking everyone in. The first one I did, the printer ran out of paper. I moved to another machine but then Jim’s ran out of paper. We left and when to an entirely different set of machines. KLM had a “flight change” and move all the guy’s seats! And, the flight is full and it wouldn’t let us move them back. It stuck Galen in a middle seat and there was nothing we could do to move him because the ticket counter was already closed for the night. We also realized that we didn’t have Rocky’s passport!
We walked back to the hotel and Jim disbursed all the passports for me while I went to collect Rocky’s. I decided to eat at the hotel buffet before going back to the airport to check Rocky in. It was really good food, too!
There was a check-in kiosk in the lobby of the hotel, so I tried to use it to check Rocky in but it kept getting “stuck”. So I walked back over to the terminal again and got him checked in.
I had messaged Allan in the Faroes to talk to Atlantic Airways there and see if Wally’s suitcase was still there. At about 9:30 pm, he reported that nothing was left in the Faroes and the bag had scanned on the flight! Wally decided to walk back over to the airport to check again but everything was closed. When he got back to the hotel, he asked the front desk if a suitcase had been delivered. It had! No idea why they didn’t call his room and tell him!
Have to walk to the airport at 7:45 am tomorrow, so going to bed.
So very happy to be going home tomorrow after 3 weeks of touring around the world. It was such a spectacular tour with the best group ever to tour with but I’m ready to snuggle with my grandbabies!!!
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6TH – FLYING HOME!!!!
Can’t believe we are finally flying home today. In one way, it seems like the time flew by but in another, it feels like we have been gone for months!
Got up at 5 am and was in the lobby for breakfast by 6:15 am. David and Jim were already down there and some of the others trickled in before time to go to the airport at 7:45 am. Since it wasn’t raining or snowing, we took the outside route that Jim and I found last night and it was soooooo much easier. We didn’t have to ride 3 tiny elevators up and down this way. We reached the terminal and David said we left Galen behind! I know he was with us when we left the lobby but evidently there was a discrepancy with a charge at the front desk that he had to clear up. I was NOT at all impressed with the service the provided. Definitely not up to par for a Hilton Hotel. But then, what is anymore?
Was delighted to get a truly nice, helpful female agent at the check in counter and I told her so! She was surprised that this was unusual. She couldn’t believe that KLM had printed out my United Airiness Frequent Flyer Number on my boarding pass either. Since it’s not one of their partners, there’s no way to even select them for mileage credit. She got it fixed and issued new boarding passes for me. She got everyone checked in quickly and efficiently until we got to Galen. She said his flight was canceled from Atlanta to Nashville and he was booked on a different flight from us. She had to call in reinforcements but even they couldn’t do anything. She was finally able to force him back on the flight but couldn’t assign a seat for him. And, she couldn’t check his bags on the correct flight so she checked them under my name at no additional fee. I gave her an autographed cd before we left. J
I changed money back to US dollars and bought a new book since the once I purchased a couple of days ago is awful. Flight from Copenhagen to Amsterdam was about 1 ½ hours and we landed on time. We had to go through Passport Control and they only had one window open with a long line. They finally opened up another lane and then we had to go to Gate D1 to be “processed” for our flight home. That was quick and easy. Four of us went to one agent and several went to another to be asked our security questions. The agent processing the other guys came over and said “I understand you are the manager and you have all the claim checks”. I assured him that I do and he asked to see them. He also asked our agent why he had not asked to see them. When I pulled out the stack of 21 claim checks, he decided the other agent was a lot smarter than he was and said he really didn’t need to go through all those either. LOL.
By the time we finished all that, really wasn’t time to go to the Lounge so we went to the gate. Was delighted to see a Delta Airlines plane instead of that horrible KLM aircraft we had on the way over. Was surprised though since this is supposed to be a true KLM flight. Only a couple of years ago, the opposite would have been true but KLM has really changed a lot and not for the good.
I was the second person to board the aircraft but there were already 2 guys in First Class on opposite sides of the plane. Air Marshalls. I told Howard and David and Howard said, “Good. Now I can just sleep the entire flight”. I watched and neither of them slept the entire flight so I was definitely right. I fly too much not to notice things like that.
I watched “The Girl on the Train” which was excellent and then slept for 2 hours. Now I’m just working away somewhere over the Atlantic. J Also watched “Mr. Church” and loved it. Right in the middle of the movie, there is a “cover band” performing and they were singing “Let Your Love Flow”!
We landed on time and all our luggage and equipment made it. Howard, David and I exited through the Global Entry line and the rest of the group exited through the regular line. They all got pulled aside because Rocky was flagged for “Agriculture”! We still had time to run by the Delta Lounge for about 20 minutes and then went to the gate to board.
We were standing in line and an elderly lady in a wheelchair was waiting to pre-board. She had one of her legs straight out and in a cast. When it was time to board her, they realized she needed an “aisle” chair to get her on the airplane. That took quite a while to secure and then the people traveling with her came back off the plane and said she was sitting on the wrong side and needed to be moved. Again, another very lengthy process!
We finally started boarding and me and another man made it on the plane and then they stopped everyone again so that the injured lady could be taken to her seat. They finally started letting everyone board. Howard and David were right behind me in line but they didn’t come on board. Galen finally came on and said that everyone in the group except for me and him had been pulled aside because of our boarding passes! When we went into the Lounge, the lady at the desk had reprinted everyone’s so I’m not sure what the problem was! They were the last ones to board the flight and even they had no idea what was wrong with their boarding passes. A supervisor finally came over and straightened everything out and let them board!
It was a short flight and not only did all our “stuff” make the flight, the big guitar cases had arrived on an earlier flight.
So glad to be home but it was a fantastic tour – start to finish – with an amazing group of entertainers/musicians!