THURSDAY, JULY 6TH: got in bed at 1:00 am with a wakeup alarm set for 3 am.  As soon as I closed my eyes, an alarm went off somewhere outside.   I heard doors opening and closing and looked out to see if there was a fire but could see anything.  Went back to bed, but didn’t sleep because the alarm would stop for about 5 minutes and then start up again.  Finally got up and hiked over to the Reception Desk (about a 10 minute walk!) to check everyone out.  No problems with the check out.   Jeff (road manager) had to knock on Charlie’s door 3 times to get him up. And then the nightmare began….as I anticipated.  We were flying Alitalia Airlines….the only way we could get to Greece.  It is ALWAYS a nightmare and Italy in itself is as well.   One lady was trying to check all of us in and she couldn’t find anyone’s “eticket” except mine.  It took us 2 hours to get checked in.  The flight to Rome was only 1 hour long, so no one got any sleep on that one.  We started boarding in Rome for the flight to Athens and everyone in Cowboy Crush was told they could not board the plane because their eticket numbers were not on their boarding passes.   Good Grief!!!  I guess Naples just got frustrated and let us board and decided to let Rome deal with it.  I thought we were going to miss our plane and it was actually 1 hour late departing because of us.   It made no sense to me because we had boarding passes and ticket stubs.  All they had to do was write down the ticket numbers and enter them into the computer at any time.  Which is what they finally did after bringing in 3 different “suits” and discussing things for an hour!  Italy is NOT CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTED.   And if one more person had shoved in front of us in line for anything, we were going to take them out! Had a really, really bumpy landing in Greece because of the wind.  But Nikos our promoter, his entire family, and his staff were all there to meet us.  We are staying at a different hotel this time…much newer and beautiful.  My really cool little park that I ran in last year is no where near here BUT there is a 24 hour gym in the hotel!  AND THERE IS A DSL LINE IN MY ROOM FOR INTERNET. We are going out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant where we went last year and then walk around “Old Town”.  The Acropolys is up on the hill above us and we will go there tomorrow.  Too bad that we have to leave here so quickly! L We all met in the lobby and went to a great restaurant for a fabulous Greek dinner.  Everyone in Cowboy Crush kept saying it is the best meal they have had since we left home.  I think they are right!  After dinner, we quickly walked through the shopping area and then went to Nikos nightclub for “coffees”.   They make this iced Expresso that is to die for.  I only had one glass and may not sleep again for a couple of days.  J Went to Nikos’ radio station where the girls were on the air with him for over an hour.  A television station also came in and filmed and that story will air tomorrow.  Got back to the hotel at around midnight and I am going to bed so I can get up and go to the gym tomorrow!  Yippee. Jude

The gym was awesome.  Several “all-in-one” machines but they all WORKED!!!  I managed to work every muscle group twice to the “burn” point.  Afterwards, my arms and legs would actually tremble when I relaxed.  It was so fabulous to work out in a gym again.   This hotel is really beautiful.  It’s new and the décor is all whites and light woods.  They are overly friendly and accommodating. We met in the lobby and rode out to the venue for sound check.  The venue is called a “theatre” but it is an outdoor amphitheather set in an old stone quarry.  A beautiful natural backdrop.   When we arrived, we learned that the truck with all our backline had NOT arrived.  So, plan B.   I left the production manager and we all went to the Acropolys and Parthenon to sightsee and then down to the “shopping street”.  Everything in Greece shuts down from noon until 2 pm and that is an enforced “quiet time”.  So, we couldn’t come back and sound check until 4 pm.  The girls loved the sightseeing.   Looking at items from 400 B.C. is pretty amazing.  We did a little power shopping and then headed back to the venue.  We had a great guide – Magda – that Nikos provided for us this year and last year. I have decided that I am opening an office in Greece.   The men here are GORGEOUS.  And they are all so friendly and extremely sexy….very “touchy”.  Of course, the women are beautiful and sexy, too, so the competition level will be high but I’m up for the challenge.  J  ! We finished our sound check and met Minnie Murphy.  She is Jamie O’Neal’s younger sister and is performing a few songs with a local band on the show tonight.  Even our sound techs were gorgeous.  Took lots of photos at sound check.  Penny and Lindsey are constantly trying to fix me up with someone so they need to come to Greece with me.  I would appreciate their efforts here. Went back to the hotel to shower and pack up for our flight to Norway immediately after tonight’s show.  We had another amazing meal at the hotel.  Absolutely the best food in Greece of our entire trip.  The girls go on at 10:30 pm and perform until midnight, quickly change clothes and we get on a flight to Amsterdam (3 hours 30 minutes), 1 hour to change planes and then an hour and a half flight to Oslo and a 3 hour van ride to Vinstra.    Sound check that afternoon, show that evening and drive 3 hours back to the Oslo airport for about 3 hours sleep before flying HOME. Nikos said that they sold more tickets this year than last year but the venue isn’t full yet.  I have a feeling a lot of people will come in later just to see Cowboy Crush.  I wore the shirt that he gave me last year that says “Wild Girl” on it.  It’s a great top but I don’t think I can live up to that title.  Even though this is only the 4th Greece Country Music Festival and the 2nd one that has had entertainment from the U.S., it is one of the best.   Some of the festivals that have been taking place for years could learn a lot from this organization.   They treat the artists like visiting royalty and are so organized.  All of the “staff” working for Nikos are volunteers but they do a better job than some of the paid staff at other events. The crowd loved Cowboy Crush.  But we were over 30 minutes late going on stage and since we had to fly out after the show, they did not get to perform for 90 minutes.  They performed for 75 minutes but did not have time to sign any autographs.   It was a shame because a lot of people wanted an autograph.  They also didn’t sell much merchandise because the people buy AFTER the show and we had to pack up and depart. But, did I mention how GORGEOUS the Greek men are???  J