Grabbed a cup of coffee and gave the sweet lady at the desk who gave me my “air conditioner” yesterday a cd.  Went to the gym right behind the hotel to work out.  It’s a really nice gym on the second floor of a building but I don’t think they ever turn on their air conditioning.  You perspire regardless of how “hard” you’re working out.  Had a good workout though then showered and met the bus.  It’s a nice bus for the 6+ hour ride.  Got quite a bit of work done en route.  We had planned to stop for “lunch” in Zurich and that was about 3:30 pm when we made it there.  It was a great truck stop where we stopped, too.  Really good, fresh food,  I had a caprese salad, some antipasta of eggplant and zucchini and an Asian vegetable soup with tofu and a broth.  Also had a glass of pure, fresh apple juice.  We drove from Zurich toward Interlaken which as most of you know, if a second home to me.  Only our German bus drivers were following the route laid out by the GPS and it was NOT the route they should have taken.  First of all, they got lost.   Not sure how that happened with a GPS.  The route they took winds up the mountains and then back down for more than an hour.  Makes everyone “nauseated” because of the tiny hairpin turns and steep drop-offs along both sides of the bus.  I’m sure it added another hour to our journey. It quickly went from “bad to worse”.  The bus took a route up a snow covered mountain.  There were NO other vehicles on the road and I expressed concern about this.  The driver was going much too fast for the small, winding roads that didn’t even have guard rails on them.  Again, he was following the GPS which obviously had no idea we were in a BUS and not a car.  He was not using a map and had not talked to anyone about the route he should take.  As we neared the top of one alp, the road split and the GPS told him to take a left.  Only, the road was blocked by a large sign and rail that had fallen over.  The sign specifically said “Do Not Enter. Road Closed”.  He had the other driver get out of the bus and move the barrier so he could take the road.  I tried to tell him “NO” but he wouldn’t listen and didn’t speak enough English to understand my concern.  You would not believe the road he took us on.  There were snow banks 8 feet tall when there was a shoulder to the road.  Otherwise, there were sheet drops onto a frozen lake below.  There was a huge dam right in front of us.  Both lanes of the road were never usable as one lane was always covered with snow.  I was totally freaking out.  Then, a black SUV came towards us from the other direction.  As they got close, they slowed and rolled down their window.  The bus driver was going to ignore them but we yelled at him to stop.  They were speaking in German and I could tell he was arguing with them.  We walked up to the front of the bus and thankfully the couple spoke English.  They said there was no way we could travel that road and needed to turn around as soon as possible!  I didn’t have any idea if the bus driver understood or was just being stubborn so I called our buyer in Germany and told him he had to talk to him.  He did and while I was still on the phone with him, we arrived at a very steep incline where there was a side road to turn around.  We told the driver to stop because we were all going to get off the bus while he tried to turn it around.  He refused!  I started yelling at him, “Stop! Stop!”.   He finally stopped and kept spouting off German to us.  We made him open the door and motioned for him to turn around.  Howard had to sit behind him on the trip back down the alp because he kept driving way too fast for the road conditions.  Again, he had NO CLUE where to go and was going to take us another 3 hours around Lake Lusuanne to get to Brig.  I called my friend in Interlaken as we were getting very close to Interlaken.  I put her on the phone with him and she gave him directions on where to go.   When I took the phone back, her comment was “He’s a f….ing idiot”!  Yeah, I agree and he was endangering our lives.  We were supposed to travel about another 45 minutes to a town where there was a train that our bus could get on to travel to Brig.  I did this years ago but we were in a van, not a huge tour bus.  I was concerned that the bus wouldn’t fit but my friend checked it out and said that there was one special train that departed at 10 minutes before the hour each hour that took buses and trucks through the pass.  We finally arrived at the train station and the train looked much too small for our bus.   The train car was very narrow and had a “top” on it that we had to drive under.  It was a very close fit, but it fit.  The train ride was short – about 15 minutes – and then we drove and drove again to get to the hotel.  The driver was driving much too fast again and at one point, we noticed two deer on the side of the road.  He slammed on brakes so hard, he threw us all to the front of our seats.  We finally arrived at the hotel at 11 pm – 11 hours after we had departed Germany.  It was supposed to be a 6 hour drive.  I was so stressed I was shaking.  The hotel reception was basically “closed” but someone checked us in.   The promoter had paid for cables so that everyone could use the broadband internet in their rooms but the hotel screwed that up and made us put up a deposit of 30 Swiss Francs for every cable and they only had 5 cables.  Will get this straightened out tomorrow.  We rushed over to a Pizzeria next door to the hotel where we could have a salad or a pizza.  I went for the salad. Have been in the room answering emails for hours and it’s 3 am now.  We had to cancel our lunch and sightseeing at Zermatt tomorrow because everyone is just exhausted – mentally and physically – from today’s adventure.  I’m just so thankful we made it without a serious accident. Jude

WEDNESDAY, MAY 13th – BRIG, SWITZERLAND: Finally got in bed at 4 am and up at 8 am.  Breakfast was pretty much non-existent at this hotel.  Little bit of cereal, some yogurt, coffee, cheese and bread.  Eggs were long gone if there ever were any.  More than I needed but the others in my group were not happy. Asked the front desk if there was an area where I could jog and was told “I’m not from here.  I have no idea!”. Have I mentioned that we don’t like this hotel.  The room is “bare minimum”…a bed and chair, bathroom with a shower, small closet and a mattress that is almost as hard as the one I had in Kosovo.  At least the “wired” internet is working!!! I didn’t have a “Do Not Disturb” sign and didn’t want the maids to clean my room.  I went into the hall and had a “chat” with them that involved lots of sign language.  Supposedly, they understood NOT to come into my room and they gave me the clean towels I asked for.  I went for a great run, down by the river, then up towards the Alp, then down through the little walking street and down the main street in front of the hotel.  It is really beautiful here and the weather was gorgeous today. As I was finishing up my run, I noticed a truck that said “Live Sound” on the side and knew that is the sound company that will be handling our show (at least, as of yesterday they were).  The building where they were parked looked “vacant” so I decided to investigate.   Yep, it’s our sound company and yep, the building is “almost vacant”.  It’s a very challenging setup.  The stage is in one corner of the showroom and is only 4 meters deep (a little over 4 feet) and that is AFTER my contact had them add 1 meter to the depth!  I measured the show room and the space that is directly in front of the stage is 20 feet by 30 feet!  The room is large and there is also a space on the side where people can stand but there are huge concrete columns separating the two spaces and it’s not possible to see the stage from the side of the room.  Our FOH board took up a lot of the floor space out front, too.  There is another separate room where the bar is located.   There IS not backstage.   No way to get the Bellamys onstage without walking them through the audience.  The buyer has set up a room upstairs as the “backstage” area.  However, that part of the building is still under construction and they are painting in there today.  The smell of paint is really strong. The Bellamys have to do an interview right before the show but we’re going to do it here at the hotel to avoid the paint fumes. When I returned from jogging, the maids had been in my room, cleaned it AND took my clean towels.  I had to go to the desk to request more but it took 3 hours for them to get them to me! I showered and was going to meet David and Susan for lunch but there was a problem at the venue, so I had to run back down there.  Got that sorted out and hiked back up to the hotel.  By then, all the restaurants were “closed” for their afternoon “siesta” so I settled for a weigh-watchers sandwich from COOP (grocery store).  My promoters from Interlaken – Iris and Lorenz – drove over and we had dinner with David and Susan.  Then we all walked over to the performance together.  The small hall was PACKED.  It was another great show.  Talked to several people who had driven over from various parts of Switzerland. Several of them said they went by the area where we traveled yesterday.  They said that the “gate” was open to the road leading up the alp but that there a big sign saying that the road was closed and was only for use of the locals living in the villages at the bottom!  One guy said his experience with some German bus drivers has been that they all use the GPS and never look at a map.  If the GPS directs them to drive into a lake, then that’s what they do! Got back to the hotel at midnight and it’s 1:30 am now.  Have to get up at 5:30 am for a 6:30 am departure to the airport. Jude