WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, JUNE 25TH AND 26TH – NASHVILLE TO SWITZERLAND:
Left this morning for Interlaken, Switzerland – a place that feels like a “second home”. I am flying “solo” as Her & King’s County are on US Air and I’m on Delta. They are flying into Frankfurt and then driving in a van to Interlaken. I am flying on Delta into Zurich. Darryl Worley and his group and Danni Leigh and her group arrive Interlaken on Friday.
I met up with Monique with “Her & King’s County” at the gate and handed off their itineraries. My flight departed on time and landed on time. I had about 2 ½ hours layover in Atlanta which gave me time to have an egg white omelet for lunch. The flight to Zurich was one of the newer Delta aircraft. I was in a single window seat in row 6A. Then there were 2 seats in the middle together and another single window seat on the other side of the plane. It was a very full flight!
The head purser came down the aisle and asked each person what they wanted for lunch. He was getting the orders from both sides of the plane and when he came to me, he stopped and walked to the other side of the plane and took their orders. He worked that entire row and then started at the back of my row taking orders. By the time he got to me, there was nothing “left” on the menu that I wanted to eat. See how much “respect” being Diamond Medallion with over 2 million miles will get you….NOTHING. I also did not have headsets and walked up front to ask for a pair. He was very nice and said he would bring them right to me. He came down the aisle and dropped them in the lap of some other lady. I’m waving my arms and saying, “Uh, Helloooo!”. He looks at me and says “oh” and goes to get another pair. I watched a horrible movie about a Budapest Hotel because I had already watched all the good movies on the flights to Manila a couple of weeks ago. The meal was atrocious and I didn’t eat anything but the salad and had some cheese for dessert. After the meal, the flight attendants all disappeared. Didn’t even give us a complimentary bottle of water for the flight. Much different from the service we had on Delta to Asia. Since there was no internet, I slept for about 4 hours because I was “sleep deprived” from trying to get ready for this trip.
I landed Zurich a little early and was supposed to take a train at 10:40 am to Spiez where the promoter would have me picked up and driven to Interlaken. I found out there was an earlier train at 9:40 am, called her and she was able to change my “pick up” in Spiez. Since I have NO sense of direction, I assumed I would get lost and not arrive until an hour later anyway. But, wonder of wonders, I didn’t get lost. Of course, there was no change of trains which helped a lot. And, I only had my carry on and one bag of clothes even though I’m over here for 20 days. BUT, I packed my duffle bag for Kuwait and Afghanistan and David Corlew will be bringing it to me next week.
Iris, our promoter and dear friend, met me at the hotel and we had a great salad sitting outdoors at a little restaurant by the hotel. Jrene (handles all the logistics during the event) stopped by to say hello. The festival has made a great change in the way they provide the “dinners” this year. The vouchers can be used at the hotel restaurant, Mercado (Italian next door) or a really great Indian restaurant across the alley from the hotel. In the past, the vouchers could only be used at the hotel restaurant which, shall I be kind and say, wasn’t “great”.
“Her” arrived at the hotel at around 3 pm and I gave them their passes. We didn’t have any commitments until the Sponsor Party later this evening. I walked down to Migros and purchased cheese and fruit then answered lots of emails. Showered and dressed for the Sponsor Party and we left the hotel at 8 pm. It was really nice to see all my friends again and it was a “fun” party. The food was excellent, too! The entertainment was a very young Swiss man singing to tracks. He had an amazing traditional country voice and if you didn’t know he was from Switzerland, you would think he was an American country music singer. There was also a “duo” — man and woman with the man on banjo and the woman playing some strange instrument I’ve never seen before. We were told that they also did “acrobatics” and they did! It was pretty remarkable. Thankfully when the guy held the girl upside down and she did the splits in the air, she had shorts on under her dress.
Marcel came over from Gstaad and plans to come back and see Darryl perform on Saturday night. I’ll go to his event this September with Kellie Pickler.
I think my first commitment – other than jogging – tomorrow will be to meet Darryl’s group when they arrive. The weather here is absolutely perfect…not brutally hot as it has been in years past. But the bad news is, it is supposed to start raining on Saturday evening. Hope that forecast changes.
FRIDAY, JULY 27TH – FIRST PERFORMANCE IN INTERLAKEN:
The beautiful weather is still with us. Perfect “jogging” weather. I ran my usual 3 mile route down by the river and could have gone much farther if time permitted. I have “knots” all in my neck and shoulder and would love to grab a massage. I did have a 15 minute neck and shoulder massage on Wednesday at the Nashville airport. It helped a little but the masseuse wasn’t that great. I looked off my balcony and there is a place to get a massage right beside the hotel. Now all I need is “time” to go there.
Had breakfast and Monique and Caleb were already there. Mary came down just as I was leaving. I think everyone slept in trying to catch up on not getting much sleep on the flight over yesterday.
Had time to run out to the local “toy” store and buy the Z’s some gifts. Darryl’s group arrived at about 1:45 pm and we got them checked in. Then it was time to go to sound check with H&KC. They were allocated 2 hours but finished in less than an hour. Went back to the hotel to learn that Steve – Darryl’s musician – had a message from his wife saying she had a stroke. Thankfully, she is at Vanderbilt and says everything is okay and nothing permanent. My heart goes out to him because I know he needs to be home with her.
We all rode over to the press conference at the venue. Ray Scott is here to perform as well, but I didn’t book him. It lasted about an hour and then it was back to the hotel again. Got to see Danni’s little boy when we got back and he is so grown up. I haven’t seen him since he was just a toddler and now he’s 4 years old. When he was little, he clung to Danni non-stop and now he is really outgoing!
Rednex arrived at the hotel and were just as vulgar as I remember them being years ago. None of their luggage or equipment was on the flight with them and they were telling Jrene that they needed 2 guitars, 2 violins, a banjo, clothes, makeup and a wig! Now, these are all guys…most with really long, nasty dreadlocks. Then one of them tells her that he has been working out really hard with Tae bo and kickboxing and he was very sore. So, he would not be performing. Jrene was so patient with him. Me – I would have popped him in the jaw – and said, now that’s “sore”. Get your a.. on stage or I’ll give you something else to complain about”! Jeez. Plus all the other times I’ve seen them, no one plays or sings. They just lip synch!
I walked over to the Indian restaurant and had Susan’s favorite – butter chicken. Only that’s all I had – no rice and no bread. Very sad. The employees at the restaurant kept coming over to me and asking me if they couldn’t get me something else.
Went to the radio station with Darryl and as usual, he was great on air. Came back to the hotel with him and left for the venue with Her and King’s County. Rednex were just coming off the stage and everyone who works for the festival were just shaking their heads. All I heard is, it was a disaster. Country Sisters were backstage and they went into the “cubicle” where Rednex were. Then they came out giggling hysterically and looking at their cameras. Pretty sure one or more of them dropped his pants for them. So disgusting.
Jimmy Weber is here with Ray Scott. Jimmy was with Jolie Edwards on our first tour to Iraq back in 2003. That’s still one of the best, most memorable tours ever.
Her and Kings County were amazing – as usual. They had everyone in the entire tent on their feet after only about 20 minutes into the show. I had to walk over to the office during their performance and on the way back, I stopped at one of the vendor booths. I had looked everywhere in Nashville and on Amazon before I left trying to find a “patriotic” shirt to wear on the 4th of July in Afghanistan. NOTHING. It has to be a shirt with sleeves, not low cut, not short cropped. Found exactly what I was looking for in Switzerland, imported from the U.S. Paid about 3 times what I would have paid for it in the U.S. I also went back to a store today where I had found a pair of pants that “look” like jeans but are actually made of linen-like material and would have been perfect for Afghanistan. Tried them on and was going to pay for them when I realized they cost $100. They weren’t “that” great!!!
Her and Kings County signed autographs and sold merch after the show and it was almost 2 am when we got back to the hotel. I was a really great show and great night.
Danni and Darryl perform tomorrow and H&KC goes up to Schilthorn (where a James Bond movies was filmed years ago). Sure hope they are wrong about the “rain”!
It’s 2:30 am and I HAVE to get some sleep. J
SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH – LAST SHOWS IN INTERLAKEN:
Got 3 ½ hours sleep, worked out with “bands”, breakfast, shower and walked over to post office to mail post cards to the Z’s. Then I went “shopping” for butterfly earrings for Zoe. She just got her ears pierced and asked me to bring her back butterfly earrings. Found a really beautiful pair for her.
We left at 12:30 for sound check with Darryl and it went pretty quickly. By the time we arrived back at the hotel, I had less than an hour left before going back out there for sound check with Danni. Her little boy is a sweetheart. We walked out into the booth area and bought him a cowboy hat because he wasn’t able to bring his with him. Danni finished her sound check early and we ate dinner backstage since there wasn’t time to go back to the hotel.
Danni was the first act on stage and the tent was really full. It still had not started raining. She performed an amazing show and the audience screamed for an encore.
Ray Scott performed next and I went back to the hotel to ride back over with Darryl and his guys for their show. Ray was really good and was using a band from Poland for his backup musicians.
Darryl was as fantastic as I knew he would be. There were even more people in the tent than with any of the other artists. He performed for 90 minutes and then signed autographs for 30 minutes. I walked over to the Sponsor Tent before he took the stage to see Marcel. He was going to watch Darryl’s show but he left before I could find him afterwards. Maya, the travel agent, came up to me after the show and said Darryl was great. The owner of the sound company stopped me and said it was the best act I’ve ever brought to Interlaken! Great compliments. Joe told me that the lady at the radio station last night said that the audience would not relate to his “patriotic” songs because Switzerland has never been in a war! I didn’t know this until he had already gone on stage, but thankfully he didn’t believe her and performed his patriotic hits. Half the audience had on shirts with American flags on them. And one guy held up a huge American flag while Darryl sang “Have You Forgotten”!
It started pouring rain right before Darryl finished his performance. Supposed to rain all day tomorrow, too. But, we will still go to Jungfrau because everything except walking out on the glacier is indoors.
Going to bed. 3 am…. Ouch, again!
SUNDAY, JUNE 29TH, 2014 – LAST DAY IN SWITZERLAND:
Another very “short” night! Got up and worked out with bands again because it is still pouring rain. Then showered and went to try and find Danni to see if they still wanted to go to Schilthorn today. Those are cable cars and the only reason to go is for the view. With the rain and clouds, there is no “view”. Couldn’t find her in the restaurant so decided to eat first and then look for her. They were out of eggs when I arrived and I asked for more to be brought out. Since I can only eat eggs, cheese and meat, I sort of wanted my eggs. Twenty-five minutes later when I needed to leave, still no eggs. I was to the point of going into the kitchen and telling them to let me cook them myself. I mean, really, we’re not talking about a huge quantity. They bring out one little container that is about 8 inches by 8 inches so the eggs are gone as soon as around 8 people go through the line. Some things NEVER change at that restaurant.
I found Danni and her group at the restaurant upstairs and they are definitely not going today. I came back to my room to get our tickets and the things I need together for our trip when one of Darryl’s musicians called me. Danni had told him and several others that the trip today is canceled. She didn’t know they are going to Jungfrau – not Schilthorn. So, I had to go wrangle all those guys who though the trip was off. J
We all met downstairs except Darryl and I knew he had said he wanted to go. Joe went and knocked on his door and he was sound asleep. Had set his alarm for 8:30 am and just turned it off when it alarmed. We waited for about 5 minutes on him and still made the train we were scheduled to take.
The train trip up through Grindelwald is breath-taking. Even with the clouds and rain, it was still possible to see everything. It takes a little over 2 hours to go up and same amount of time to come back down. When we arrived, first thing on the agenda was lunch. Took them to a buffet that I always visit and we had a nice lunch. I had a bratwurst and some cheese.
Then we took “the tour”. As soon as we had walked off the train, several of the guys started feeling light-headed and short of breath. Of course, it’s the altitude. We started walking through the first tunnel and Joe said he had to go back. Soir turned around, too. For some reason Steve wasn’t with us either. We started out with 8 people and were quickly down to 4 total. I’ve been up here so many times, I know that all it takes is walking slowly and drinking lots of water to overcome the lightheadedness. First stop after a brief stop to watch a video was up an elevator to the very top of the tower. While you couldn’t see for miles and miles because of the weather, the view was still spectacular. Didn’t spend long there because it’s outside and the wind was howling!
Next stop was the Ice Palace – my favorite. Ice tunnels are hollowed out inside the glacier so you are completely surrounded by ice. There are hand rails which are definitely needed to keep you from slipping. Beautiful ice sculptures are carved every few feet. Darryl and the guys even went inside a tiny tunnel carved out inside the bigger tunnel. And it is COLD in there. We had brought jackets but it was still freezing.
Last stop was to hang on to ropes and walk out onto the snow covered glacier. Since I’ve done that many times (and even gotten struck by lightning), I stayed inside and watched the guys slip and slide around.
We made our way back downstairs to meet up with the guys and grab the train back down. Steve said he went to the bathroom and we left him. So, he followed the signs for the “tour” and went on his own. Good for him!!!
The train back was down the other side of the mountain with a completely different view. The guys snapped off dozens of photos. We were back in Interlaken by 5:30 pm. It started raining really hard on the way back but eased up by the time we arrived. As Darryl said, there’s just no way to explain to anyone how incredibly beautiful that area was today.
I had time to change clothes and meet Iris for dinner. We went to a restaurant by her condo and had a terrific meal. But best of all, we had time to chat and catch up a little bit!
I went back to the hotel and Bill (promoter from Germany) had arrived. I went to the lobby and talked to him about an hour and then told him I HAD to go to bed. It is now after midnight and I have to get up at 4 am to take the train to Zurich and then fly to Kuwait….just in time for Ramadan!
Switzerland was fabulous this year and all the entertainers were wonderful – off and on stage!
MONDAY, JUNE 30TH – INTERLAKEN TO KUWAIT:
Was up at 4:30 am and downstairs at 6:20 am. It is still raining! Iris was right on time and it only took about 15 minutes to drive me to the train station in Spiez. We had time for a cappuccino – which I desperately needed. She helped me get on the train but this time, all the luggage bins were upstairs. I had to lug that 53 pound suitcase up a flight of stairs. I had an assigned seat — #151 – but there was someone sitting in it. I asked her if it was her seat and she said, “No” and moved.
It was a really full train, filled I’m sure with people commuting to work in Zurich. But, it was less than a 2 hour trip and I arrived exactly on time to check in for my flight on Lufthansa to Frankfurt and then on to Kuwait. Went through Passport Control and Security and then bought some Sprungli chocolates for friends in Kuwait and Afghanistan. Hope it doesn’t melt on the trip over. L
I went to the Business Class Lounge and got some work done. I knew my flight was at 11:25 am but totally spaced that they would board an hour before flight time. Ended up running for the gate. Flight left on time and was one of the smaller jets.
We landed in the “A” gates at Frankfurt and I had almost 2 hours to make my connection. Glad I decided to go straight to the gate because it was in another terminal, which meant a tram ride. Then we had to go through Passport control and Security again! Crazy. I walked up after they had started boarding. I scanned my boarding pass and started walking towards the plane. The female gate agent stopped me and said I would have to “gate check” my rolling bag. I told her I’d just take it apart and make 2 bags if it didn’t fit and kept walking. She yelled at me and told me to come back and gate check it. Then she asked to see my boarding pass. Her comment was “Oh, you’re in Business Class. You can take it on”. DUH! And, she was “rude” about it. When I got on the plane, I showed my boarding pass and the flight attendant told me to go to the right. I was in seat 4C and the seats began at 10A! Had to back track through everyone and go to the left.
The business class section was pretty empty and the flight attendants gave us the option of moving to another seat. I did that immediately and didn’t have anyone beside me. I had planned to sleep the entire flight but noticed that they had wireless on the flight. I ate lunch/dinner – whatever it was and watched a great movie with Kevin Costner. Then I tried to buy a couple of hours of internet. I got to the log in page and put in all my information but then there was no button to click to make the purchase. I had all the flight attendants trying to help me figure it out and no one knew what to do. I switched from Internet Explorer to Google was able to log on that way. Then I tried to log into my AOL and it was blocked!!! This happened last time too. I was able to log on through the AOL website which takes me twice as much time through there. But, I got some emails answered.
We landed on time and just as I stepped off the flight, I realized I had left the bag of candy that I purchased under the empty seat beside me. The flight attendant wouldn’t let me go back on the plane but she went on and got it for me.
My bag arrived and Wally was there to meet me. Walking out into the heat reminded me of Qatar and holding a hair dryer on high speed right in front of my face. Brutally hot here.
Wally drove me to the hotel and we got stuck in some traffic but it wasn’t too bad. Got checked in then he and I went to Chili’s for something light to eat. The restaurant in the hotel only has the buffet and I definitely didn’t need that much. Wally’s wife is flying home from Orlando and is on the same flight with Vertical Horizon from DC to Kuwait.
Have been staying n touch with David and Lindsey and so far everything is going well with Vertical Horizon. Fingers crossed they don’t have any problems.
I have a massage booked for 12:30 pm tomorrow and hoping that helps with the knots in my neck and shoulders! Then I have to leave for the airport at 4 pm to meet Vertical Horizon.