DALEN, NORWAY TO OSLO, NORWAY TO INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND – MONDAY, JUNE 21ST:
Eating at the restaurant and the internet were the two major challenges at this hotel. Last night, the guy that I had the altercation with on the first day about the internet was taking our order. Seems the “restaurant” is also under his territory. Could be he’s the manager of the hotel. Don’t know. Anyway, there were about 7 out of the 11 people there and he got our choices. Then he said he could not turn in the order until everyone was present. I reminded him that he told me the cook prepares everything fresh so it must be cooked individually and thus did not matter if he turned in the entire order at one time. He argued with me that it was the way the “cook liked it”. I finally told him to go tell the cook that we are Americans and we are the only customers he has in his fine restaurant tonight and we want our orders prepared NOW. I won. JDavid said he couldn’t get on the internet at all in his room last night. Susan tried to call me but my phone wasn’t working. I had told David to go to the computer room and use the DSL line but he wasn’t sure how to do it. He went to the front desk to ask them and the little receptionist said, “Do you know You-Dee? She knows EVERYTHING!”. So now my tour title has changed from internet Nazi to “You-Dee”. LOLSlept pretty good except for waking up listening for ghosts. No time for a long run today but will catch up in Switzerland, I hope. Breakfast with the gang and now we are leaving for the Oslo airport – probably 5 hour drive.We have a great bus for this trip. Only 2 years old and totally decked out. We made the drive in 4 hours because we didn’t stop once. I was able to talk a nice lady with SAS into checking everyone in as a group and believe it or not, we paid less for excess charges than we did when we left Nashville! Wally and I were both very surprised. Plus, she let everyone go through the “Fast Track” lane for security which was great because the line was about an hour wait in length! We had a couple of hours to kill and the gate had not been announced, so we went to our favorite Olso airport cafeteria for lunch. By the time we went through to the international departures, the gate had been announced. But, it changed 3 times before we actually departed. We spent most of our time walking up and down the terminal to the different gates!Plane was pretty full but flight was only 2 hours and we landed in Zurich on time. All our luggage and gear made it and our bus driver was waiting for us. He remembered me from a couple of years ago when he drove my group around at the Grindelwald Festival. We dropped David, Susan, Howard and Jennifer off at the Swissotel about 10 minutes from the airport. They will stay there until Friday so David and Howard can do media interviews all over Switzerland all week for Universal Music to promote their new duet cd with Swiss Pop Star “Gola”. The hotel where they are staying is fabulous…huge high rise with a Starbucks in the lobby, McDonald’s across the street and a train station across the street. When we arrived at our hotel, I didn’t even recognize it. It has been totally renovated since I was here last year. Can’t believe they changed so much in such a short period of time. Really nice! Jrene met us and had all the passes for the week. I went to my room and knew not to unpack until I checked to see if the wireless was working. I had an excellent signal but could not get online. Spent an hour going back and forth to the front desk but never not it working. Hotel is sold out, so I can’t move until tomorrow. Wally came in and he’s on the floor above me. His internet will not work either. So, there is something wrong that needs to be corrected first thing tomorrow! I’ve been sitting in the lobby for 2 hours working but I need to work from my room so I can use my printer and Skype. I’m taking the early train to Lucerne to meet Susan for a day of shopping and sightseeing. I’ve been there so many times, I can give tours of the city. But she’s never been and is pretty excited to be going.Signing off now and grabbing a couple of hours of sleep.Jude
TUESDAY, JUNE 22ND – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND:
Ever had one of those days where NOTHING goes as planned? Well, this was my day.
Got 2 ½ hours sleep after fighting with the internet connection all night. Got up at 6 am, showered and was ready to go to breakfast at 7:30 am. Then I got a text message from Susan saying she’d been sick all night and wouldn’t be able to meet me in Lucerne. Went down to breakfast and then started begging the front desk to move me to another room. The fact that the internet works out in the hallway and in the hotel lobby means there’s nothing wrong with my computer. The only “strange” thing was, my wireless said I had an excellent connection. The tech for the hotel came and worked on things and I was able to get on line. I left for a few minutes and went shopping for a few items I forgot to bring with me. When I got back about an hour later, internet was down again.
The hotel would not move me to another room until I agreed to call the toll-free number and talk to Swisscom and see if they could fix it. Because I’m in a “new” (I think that means remodeled room) in the hotel, they said it was just a problem with Swisscom. So…I called and spoke with someone. He wanted to try something and call me back in 10 minutes. We did that four times and the fourth time, he finally fixed the internet. Has been fine (knock on wood) all day and night.
Also had to get my fan from the front desk. Even though this room now has air conditioning, they have not turned it on yet. Said it’s too early in the year for them to turn it on…hello, end of June is too early?
Bought some chocolate to take back to Nashville for “gifts” and will buy some more before I leave here. Always a good gift.
My friend who is the pilot sent me an email saying he was having to fly to London today. Couldn’t tell from his email if he is going to make it back to Switzerland while I’m here or if I will miss him entirely this time.
Today is Larry’s (pedal steel player) birthday, so I gave him a box of my favorite chocolates – made here in Interlaken. I went to dinner with Iris and also saw her new office/house. It is fantastic. I would love to have something like that as my home. Very open and fantastic views. Guess I’d need to live in Switzerland to have the view though. I could do that! J
We had fabulous Italian food – Caprice Salad and spaghetti with garlic, tomatoes, and chili for me. Talked and talked and talked – mostly about “men”!
David and Howard had their first day of interviews — 8 total all over Switzerland today — and they said it went great. Gola was with them as well.
Going to bed now so I can get up and work out at Iris’s gym tomorrow. Missed my workout today because I thought I wouldn’t have time because of the trip to Lucerne. Will be taking the train to Zurich tomorrow to have dinner with the Bellamys, Gola, Iris, and Universal Music staff. Will spend the night at the Radisson Airport hotel and meet Bomshel early Thursday morning when they arrive.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23RD – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND:
Got up early to go to the Grand Hotel and use Iris’s “free pass”. It’s the most beautiful (and exclusive) hotel in Interlaken. The lady in the Spa informed me that the pass was only good in July and August. She was very nice and made a few phone calls. I asked her if I could just pay and use the gym but that wasn’t an option. Another nice lady came to talk to me and said I couldn’t use the pass until July 1st. Oh well. Went back to the hotel and changed into my jogging clothes. Weather is perfect – around 50 degrees and sunny. Had a nice long run, a quick breakfast, showered, answered emailed, packed for one night and headed to the train station.
So far, I’ve gotten on all the right trains. J I don’t have to change trains again so I should make it to the Zurich Airport Station by 2:15 pm. Will check into the Radisson and then get on a train to meet Susan for a couple of hours of shopping.
Had forgotten how NICE this hotel is. Wish I was staying here more than one night. Met Susan and we got on the right train. Had a hard time finding our way out of the train station though. There is a LOT of construction and it was difficult to find the shopping street. But we did and manage to shop for a couple of hours.
I came back to the Radisson to freshen up and then met everyone at the Bellamy’s hotel. We went to a fantastic Italian Restaurant. I had another Caprice salad, tuna steak, grilled eggplant, corn, mushrooms and “green cauliflower” PLUS topped it off with a cappuccino and an apple strudel with vanilla cream and pistachio ice cream. YUM! There was also a tiny shrimp appetizer and amaretto cookies. Sure glad I didn’t have time to eat lunch today. Dinner was fun. Gola, his bass player, Lukas (manager), Jean-Marie (Universal Music), Sandro (photographer), Iris, Daniela (Universal Music) and the Bellamys were at the dinner and it was such a fun time. Except everyone around me was smoking and now I’ve lost my voice.
Bellamys had another busy day with interviews. Howard’s chair collapsed when they were at lunch today but he doesn’t think he broke anything. Guess he’ll know tomorrow. Sure he will be pretty sore!
We went back to the hotel for a little meeting regarding the December tour and then I took the train back to the airport hotel. Meet Bomshel at 8:30 tomorrow morning and go to Interlaken with them.
THURSDAY, JUNE 24TH – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LINDSEY:
Bomshel’s flight was arriving on time, so I had to shower and get over to the airport before 8:30 am. All their luggage and equipment arrived as well. Had a “surprise” though because one of the musicians brought his wife. Hotel rooms have one tiny twin bed in each room and the hotel is sold out. Wasn’t sure what they could do for him, if anything.
Our driver this year is “Mike” as opposed to “Spitz” who we have had for years. Definitely an improvement. We made the trip in about 2 hours with one stop for gasoline and “snacks”. Hotel had the room keys waiting for us and I went up and started answering emails….for hours and hours! Finally took a break at about 5 pm and went for a short 30 minute jog. Need to better than that tomorrow. Had too many problems with flights for upcoming festivals to be out any longer than that though.
Met Bomshel in the lobby at 7:30 pm and we went over to the venue for the Sponsor Party. It was a “traditional” Swiss meal with lots of unidentifiable meats. The best part of the meal was the desert bar. I had several friends there from other festivals and the staff working for this event, so it was a very nice evening. Bomshel was “fading” fast by 10 pm, so we left for the hotel. I’ve been sitting in here answering emails again for about 2 hours.
Lindsey is in Germany today with Aaron Tippin and it’s her birthday. Know they will take good care of her over there. I think the most exciting thing that has happened to her is she said she went into the bathroom and the door locked behind her. She was trapped in there for about 45 minutes trying to figure out how to get out. Better her than me!
Very, very busy day tomorrow with Bomshel, Aaron and Bellamys. Going to bed real soon, I hope. Jude
FRIDAY, JUNE 25TH – FIRST SHOWS IN INTERLAKEN:
WHEW! I earned my money today. Taking care of three artists and making sure everything runs smoothly is a challenge. Really glad I had Lindsey there to help me!
I forgot to tell you about the cows in the road yesterday. Was driving with Bomshel out to the venue for the Sponsor Dinner and the entire street was blocked off and being directed by security cops. There were about a dozen cows all wearing huge bells around their necks and flowers on their heads walking down the street. A couple of men and women who were dressed exactly like what you think a Swiss farmer would wear were “herding” them. It was amazing. Turns out each Spring the cows are “walked” to their pastures on the Alps and then each Fall, they are “walked” back down. Trucking them just isn’t a concept here. So cool. If you are on Facebook, I’m posting my Road Reports there WITH photos. Check it out.
Anyway, back to today. Woke up at something around 4 or 5 am because the Skype was ringing on my computer. Since it was a handsome Texan fighter pilot calling, I was very forgiving. J Went back to bed at around 6 and slept until 8 am. Got in a little “weight” exercise in my room this morning then had breakfast. Kenny with the Bellamys isn’t feeling well so I shared my Mucinex with him. Worked until I got a text from Lindsey saying Aaron’s group was arriving. Met everyone in the lobby and gave them their room keys. Then I went out to the venue with Bomshel for sound check. Everything was set up and ready for them and took them less than an hour to finish up. By that time, Aaron’s musicians were on their way over with Lindsey. I went back to the hotel for about 30 minutes and then rode back out with Aaron for sound check. We all went back to the hotel for an hour but had to eat dinner during that time period.
This is the first time I’ve eaten in the hotel restaurant. In the past, it’s been great food but not so this time. Some of Aaron’s group were already seated when we walked in so Susan, Jenny, Lindsey and I were going to sit at a table near them. The waitress wanted to know what group we were with. I told her Lindsey and I were with every group and Susan and Jenny were with the Bellamys. She insisted that we sit all the way across the room where the Bellamy’s band had been sitting all week for dinner. Like I said, there was no one else in the restaurant so I told her we were sitting by Aaron’s group. We all have coupons for our meals so it’s not like she needs to keep an eye on us. Howard and David walked in a few minutes later and she refused to let them sit with their wives! David just sat down anyway and told her he WAS sitting with his wife. Usually don’t encounter rudeness like that in Switzerland. The only good part of the meal was the chocolate mousse dessert. Service was slow, so I barely got to eat even part of the meal before leaving for the Press Conference. Bellamys had a video interview at 6:45 pm and all the other artists were joining them at 7 pm. Bill from Germany, Bill and Susann from Switzerland, and Ernie from Zurich were all there and I got to talk to them for a few minutes. Our dear friend Jurg who has had some serious medical challenges had planned to join us. However, I did not know that he was 3 ½ hours drive from where we were and he had not reserved a hotel room. All the hotels in the entire town were sold out. So disappointed that we didn’t get to see him. L Hopefully we will see him when we do the 2 week tour of Switzerland with Gola in December.
Gola was in fine form at the Press Conference and you can tell he is a “super star” in Switzerland. Going to be fun to tour with him. Sorry I’ll miss his performance on stage tonight with the Bellamys. After the press conference, Lindsey stayed with Bomshel, Bellamys went back to the hotel (and ate Indian food at the restaurant across the alley which is one of my favorite places to eat!) and I went with Aaron to do a radio interview. As we were exiting the festival, there was a line of port-a-potties and right beside them a long line of urinals. The urinals were not enclosed and there were several men standing their utilizing them! We all wanted to take a photo but thought better of it. LOL!
After the interview, Aaron went to the hotel and I went to the venue with his musicians. Bomshel performed first and had a great show. Audience was lighter than normal because Switzerland was playing for the World Cup in Soccer. Right before Aaron took the stage, the score was zero to zero and Switzerland lost because that game had to be a “win” for them. At least the crowd tomorrow night will be bigger since there’s no game to compete. I walked over and picked up the payment for Bomshel and Aaron while Bomshel was finishing their set. Kristy climbed about 20 feet off the stage on one of the lighting trusses and played her fiddle during the encore. Audience went wild. Bomshel signed autographs while Aaron’s guy got set up and then I got them back to the hotel.
Aaron also had a great show. Since this is a “trucker” festival and Aaron has a “trucker” cd, it worked out really well. Aaron brings this huge truck horn with him and the venues provide an air compressor so that he can blow it during the show. It is so loud, seems like it blows the audience back 10 feet. Problem is, the “connector” between the compressor and the horn are never the same size and his guys spend a lot of time trying to find a hose that will work. They did get it working for this show and it was a big hit.
After Aaron signed autographs, they were all hungry and we couldn’t find even a gas station open. Our driver – Mike – who was great, by the way – found a little café that was open until 2:30 am. The hotel was only a few blocks away so I walked back to the room so I could pack and get up at 5:30 am. Was 3 am before I laid down. Having lots of problems with sneezing, coughing, and congestion here because of the smoke. I don’t think Americans realize how much we have gotten away from smoky atmospheres until they come to Europe. Even with smoking being banned in most European countries, they still seem to find ways to smoke and blow it in my face. L
Off to Italy tomorrow morning. First time I’ve worked with this event. Should be fun!