MONDAY AND TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21-22, 2015 – NASHVILLE TO NORWAY:
And I am off to Norway and Switzerland AGAIN! Met the Bellamy Brothers at the airport today at 10 am and our “friend” at Delta checked us in. I can’t believe I only have one suitcase with me. Feel like I definitely “forgot” something. We are only gone for a week but it will be a “non-stop” week — land on Tuesday, perform in Norway on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday then fly to Switzerland on Saturday and perform that same day. Fly home on Sunday!
Flight to Atlanta was delayed by about an hour after we were already on the plane. But, we still landed on time. How is that possible? My guess is they padded the “flight time” because they showed it as two hours. Everyone knows it’s less than an hour flight to Atlanta from Nashville. But, this way, they can still claim to be the “on time airline”! J
We were able to spend a couple of hours in the Lounge in Atlanta and then boarded the flight to Paris. It was an Air France aircraft and crew. The plane had been recently refurbished and was nice inside. But it was unbelievably HOT and never cooled off. There was no Wi-Fi and the food was barely edible. Flight attendants were nice though. I asked if I could have a bottle of water since normally business class is given one without having to ask. That seemed to completely “stump” the flight attendant. He finally pulled out a half-full bottle of Evian and said no one had drank out of it. I took it.
Watched a movie with Hugh Jackman that was pretty good and then read. Sleep was not an option because of the “heat” and the fact that I was in the second row and three men in the first row who were apparently from Nigeria decided to stand up the entire flight and chat loudly. I could not believe the flight attendants never asked them to sit down – even when we had some pretty frightening turbulence several times.
We landed a few minutes early and had almost a 2 hour layover. We had to take buses from the aircraft to the terminal and that took about 10 minutes because I think they toured the entire airport. Unloading the buses was even slower because they would only let one bus unload at a time. Then they had two sets of doors opening into the terminal but they locked one set so dozens of people were all trying to crowd into those two small doors. Once inside the terminal, there were signs directing you upstairs for certain gates and to the right through a security check point for other gates. There was absolutely no “screen” to tell anyone what terminal we were departing from. Fortunately, I have an app on my iphone that told me the terminal we were departing from! I asked one of the workers and he said I had to go upstairs but the signs clearly stated that I need to go to the right. I waited and asked another employee who told me I needed to go to the right! Three of the guys were on a bus about 10 minutes behind me so I sent them on ahead. I waited over 20 minutes for 6 more guys to arrive and another 10 minutes for the last two to arrive. By that time, I was getting plenty nervous about missing our flight because I knew we all had to clear security and get on ANOTHER bus to take us to the terminal where our flight was departing. We finally made it through security and waited another 10 minutes for a bus to take us to our terminal. Once we arrived, our gate wasn’t even posted so we had to go into a “waiting room”…and as soon as we walked into it, they announced our flight was boarding! We were on some little “puddle jumper” jet called “HOP” airlines!
After we boarded and got seated, one of the guys I had sent ahead walked onto the plane. He had just gotten there. They had put him on a bus that made a “connection” and he had to change buses! He had been riding around all that time.
Air France had changed my seat to bulkhead and I was unable to get my boarding pass reprinted in the USA. All the aisle seats were supposedly “taken” but when I boarded the plane, only 2 other people were in business class and they were both in window seats. I moved! Flight attendants were really nice. It was a 2 ½ hour flight and we landed on time in Oslo. This time we had a jetway – no more buses, thank God. But, the flight attendant decided to go to the toilet after they pulled the jetway up to the door. We were all standing up waiting to get off and the person in the jetway was knocking on the door so it could be opened from inside. He finally came out of the toilet and opened the door for us. Air France is NOT going to be an option for future tours unless there is just no alternative!
All our luggage and equipment made it and the bus driver was waiting for us. It was a short 15 minute drive to our hotel in Jessheim. The hotel had caused me days of consternation even before we arrived. First clue that it might not be a 4 Star hotel was the fact that it has 11 rooms, no TV’s, no hair dryers, no 24 hour “manned” reception desk, no refrigerators or mini-bars and the final insult – the internet only worked sporadically! I had insisted on being moved to a “business” hotel but Kjell worked with the hotel and promised that it would be up to “my” standards. J
The hotel put in new fiber optics for their wireless and so far, we all have reliable internet. There are TVs in a few of the rooms but in my case, I can’t plug in the TV AND my computer at the same time, so you know which one won that battle. They brought a refrigerator for Howard’s room but it is so big, he had them put it out in the hall way. The front desk was able to give us hair dryers. The rooms are nice….just “bare bones” as we say in the U.S. but at least they are “spacious”. I have a grand total of 2 clothes hangers in my room and no one at the front desk to ask for more until tomorrow.
There was a “bakery” on site where we will have breakfast but it only had sandwiches and salads for lunch. The restaurant in the hotel doesn’t open until 5 pm today. We were all hungry so Howard, David and I walked across the street to a really great shopping mall and had lunch. The food was excellent.
Came back to unpack just enough things for 2 nights here and then began working non-stop. I walked downstairs to eat dinner at 7:30 pm and one of the guys had told me the salmon was excellent. He was right. There were no English menus though. Wally was just finishing up and he had the salmon but said it came with green beans and potatoes. It was actually snap peas and onions. LOL. But, they changed my veggies to squash and broccoli and gave me a salad that was nothing but lettuce and vinegar. But the vinegar was amazing. Tim walked in as I was finishing up and he and Wally headed out to walk around the town. Randy also came in and ordered the salmon as well. I’m having the same thing tomorrow night if they don’t run out. Tonight they had run out of the pulled pork.
Going to try and get in bed at a decent hour tonight since it’s been almost 36 hours since I’ve slept. First show tomorrow in a theatre in Jessheim that is sold out!
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – PERFORMANCE IN JESSHEIM, NORWAY:
Actually got some sleep although I woke up about every hour. Walked over to the Bakery for breakfast and it was pretty “slim” on the selection side unless you eat a lot of bread and pastries. I was able to talk them into scrambling an egg for me rather than eating the soft boiled ones they had available. It is still cloudy and dreary but not supposed to rain any more today.
Came back and showered and had another nice surprise….there was no soap in the soap dispenser in the shower! I pushed a button and the container opened right up and it was easy to see that it was completely empty. Hmmm…..there are 11 rooms and yesterday when we came in, we saw 2 people cleaning the rooms. Don’t you think that when only having to clean 5 ½ rooms each, they would CHECK the soap dispensers every day as part of their regular cleaning? I took the plastic bag out of the container and laid it in the middle of the bathroom floor as a “hint” that maybe I would like it refilled. Last night I took red duct tape and wrote the room numbers on everyone’s door. There are no “numbers” on the door….just “names” which are all in Norwegian.
Walked over to the little mall again and this time I scored on the gifts I was looking for to give Zac anc Zoe. I had purchased little figurines last visit to Norway called “Zomblings”. I asked a sales clerk in a huge toy store yesterday if they had them and even showed her a photo of them. She assured me they did not have them and didn’t know where to look. Today I asked a different sales clerk who ultimately asked 2 more sales clerks who eventually led me to a huge display of them….exactly one counter over from where I had asked the lady yesterday who said they didn’t have them. Always pays to ask several people because you will get a different answer from everyone.
Yesterday when we were in the mall, Howard asked a lady in one of the stores where the Steakhouse was located. She did not have a clue. We walked two stores down and found it. When we went back by, we told her where it is located. LOL
The little room that is supposedly “Reception” for the hotel is always locked. We’ve been walking over to the Bakery and getting the person there to help us. Only there was a shift change and the person working the bakery this afternoon could not speak or understand English. I was trying to get an iron for Howard and David and had to call Kjell so he could call the hotel and take care of it.
I went to dinner with the boys at around 5:15 tonight and it was another excellent meal. Only I made an enemy of the waitress tonight! Frank was sitting next to me and I told him to get a salad like I got last night – just lettuce and an amazing vinegar dressing. They brought the lettuce but also served him just plain vinegar. Then when they brought mine out, it was arugula! Which I HATE. She tried to tell me it was the same “lettuce” that Frank had. I sent it back. Then I tasted of the vinegar and it was horrible. I asked her to take it back and bring me the one I had last night. She insisted that they only had ONE vinegar dressing. I argued – imagine that! She came back out with the dressing I had last night. Amazing that they just conjured up that one since they supposedly only had ONE!
Kjell picked us up and drove us over to the venue for the show. As I said, it was a packed house. I had several friends attending and brought them backstage to say hello to the Bellamys and have photos taken with them.
It was a great audience and a “listening” audience which was nice for a change. The staff we worked with at the theatre were all great and did a wonderful job. Bellamys went back out for 3 encores.
We were back at the hotel by 10 pm but it’s now 2 am and I’m still working!
We drive 1 ½ hours tomorrow to Drammen for hopefully another sold out show at a theatre.