FRIDAY, JUNE 26TH – FULDA, GERMANY TO INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND
The “mean” guy at the hotel actually had breakfast waiting for everyone at 5 am. Our bus driver arrived early and we were ready to go except missing Wally and David. I knocked on Wally’s door but could not get an answer so Tim went up with a pass key and got him to respond. David was ready but we had changed our departure time from 6:15 am to 5:30 am and he was still looking at the old times. We still departed at around 5:45 am and arrived at the airport at close to 7 am.
I checked with the Lufthansa Counter on “where” we could check in as a group and they sent me to the “bulky baggage” check in counter. We already had our boarding passes printed but the guy at the counter tried to send us to the “group counter”. I told him we had been directed to him because of all the large equipment cases. He “reluctantly” agreed to check us in but was “clueless” as far as what to do about all our excess. Check in was a fairly slow procedure considering we already had boarding passes. Then the real problems started. He had to scan each boarding pass and charge 1 piece of excess to Wally’s credit card each time. The first credit card machine he used “broke” and he had to go find another one. This took about an hour!
We finally made it to the gate only to find that our flight was delayed by about 20 minutes. Once we boarded, it was a 30 minute flight. Their business class section is the same as coach but they “block” the middle seat between the aisle and window seats. A man got in the window seat and I had already put my purse in the space in front of the empty seat because there wasn’t enough room in front of my seat. He, on the other hand, had a huge empty space in front of his seat. Instead he tried to cram his briefcase on top of my purse. I stuck my foot out and said “No!”. Did not make for a pleasant flight so was glad it was short. He then proceeded to hang his coat on the empty seat and use the seat for a stack of newspapers he was reading. So arrogant. When we landed, I refused to let him get off in front of me. Boy, I bet that really showed him, huh? LOL
All our luggage and equipment arrived and our driver was supposed to meet us outside baggage claim. He wasn’t there. But, we saw a bus with “Oberland Tours” on it and I ran out to make sure he was ours. He was and we loaded quickly and departed. I was absolutely a zombie by that time. At one point we stopped at a truck stop and I was so sound asleep, I didn’t even realize it. I woke up shortly after we stopped and ran in to get water. Ran into Wally and went looking for Howard and David but never found them. I went back to the parking lot and the bus was “gone”. I hiked around and around and could not find it. I called David and he said they were still parked in the same place. I had to go back inside and go to the opposite side of the building to go outside. Wally found me and said he had done the same thing. One side only lets people who are departing Zurich in and the other side only lets people who are going to Zurich in. Crazy.
I had a text from the JMM group saying they had landed. I told them where to find the bus and they were on their way. We arrived at the hotel at around 2 pm and Jrene was waiting for us. Rooms were all ready and we got checked in. First thing I always do is make sure my internet works. It didn’t! I was connected but had not internet service. I tried everything and nothing worked. But, I could log on through my ipad and iphone so I knew I had problems with my laptop. It had worked fine that morning when I left Germany and I had no problems with the internet there.
I tried reaching Greg in Nashville but we couldn’t find him. I called Randy in the Bellamys group and he worked on it for hours with no luck. During all this, the JMM and Stephanie groups arrived and I got them checked in and taken care of. There are no refrigerators or mini-bars in the hotel and Howard and David have medication that has to be refrigerated. Jrene sent over a “cooler” and they are using it with ice from the hotel ice machine.
I was so stressed over not being able to do any of my work without internet. I left Randy working in my room and went to the Press Conference at the venue with all the artists. Iris looks great as usual and Lorenz has lost a lot of weight. Saw lots of my friends at that event. The DeRailers stayed there and ate because they perform at 9 pm tonight. I went back to the hotel with BB and JMM and grabbed a really quick dinner with Wally at the Indian restaurant next door.
Then it was off to the radio station with JMM for his interview. The BB had an interview after him and I left them there with Wally and went to the venue to see the DeRailers perform. I also got to see my friends from Gstaad as they were there as well. The festival has added a “Western Village” this year and it is really cool. It didn’t seem to be as “crowded” this year but I think it was a lot bigger and more spread out!
The tent probably had the most people in it I’ve seen for an “opening act”. The DeRailers gave a great performance and the audience loved them. While they were performing, I finally heard from Greg (my computer guru) and he was in California. I went back to the hotel once the DeRailers come off stage and got on the phone with him. Randy had continued to work on it but had no luck at all. Greg tried everything he could think of but could not log on remotely since I had no internet connection. We finally agreed to go to a “restore” point and see if that helped. It did as far as I then had internet connect and availability. But still could not log on through a browser. The wireless device I rented for the trip was also not working properly so I couldn’t use it. I could have logged on to the free internet on my iphone but I needed to keep that “open” to try and log on with my laptop. It does not allow but one device to log on at a time. Very inconvenient. So, my T-Mobile bill will be really, really high this month. Greg and I hung up several times and then he would call back and we would try something else. At one point, he had me log on in “Safe” mode with internet connections and I actually got “on-line”. He tried to log in remotely but still wasn’t able to do so. He suggested I purchase a wireless remote USB stick tomorrow to see if I could log on that way.
I started thinking about my “hot spot” on my iphone and decided to try that. I knew it would cost a fortune but getting online was more important than the cost at that point. It worked!!! I called Greg back and he logged in remotely but could not figure out the problem.
SATURDAY, JUNE 27TH – LAST PERFORMANCES IN INTERLAKEN:
I worked until 3 am after having NO sleep the night before.
Slept 3 hours and got up to start the day. Showered and had a quick breakfast with Frank. Then I ran next door and purchased the Wireless USB card. Saved my “life”. I now have internet connection again! I didn’t have time to work because the DeRailers are leaving on the train today to go to Germany and perform at Four Corners. The shuttle took us all over to the train station and I ran inside to check their connections. The drummer had left his stick bag at the venue last night and it also had his wallet in it. Someone from the Festival was supposed to bring it to him at the train station. After they departed, I realized I didn’t know if that happened. Now I have that to worry about!
Was able to get a little work done before going to the venue with JMM’s group for sound check. The shuttle and trailer was waiting for us out front but then some other band got in and they drove away. I had to call Jrene and tell her what had happened. I have no idea who that was but we had to wait for the driver to come back from the venue to pick us up which made us late for sound check.
JMM sound check ran on time and I brought my laptop and wireless with me so I could try and catch up on some of the things I missed yesterday. Feeling very stressed about that.
JMM left and the Bellamy Brothers musicians did their sound check – even finished EARLY! I walked over to see Iris while they were finishing up. Then came back for Stephanie’s sound check. LONG DAY at the venue – from noon until around 1 or 2 am today.
Gola has invited us to come to his house tomorrow for a barbeque at 1 pm. I really NEED to stay at the hotel and work but will try to sneak away.
Ran over to the hotel to grab a couple of things while Stephanie was finishing her set. She had a really great, high-energy performance. She sold merch afterwards but cds don’t really sell well anywhere in Europe. Everyone downloads!
Rode over to the VIP room with Stephanie and her band to show them where to eat. Ran into Iris as I was walking back and she took me and two of her friends up to the top of the old control tower. This used to be an airport. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe how many people are here plus about 5,000 that I couldn’t see inside the FestTent watching the Bellamy Brothers perform. I videoed and will try to post in 3 weeks when I get home and hopefully get my computer fixed.
I went up on stage to take a couple of photos of the Bellamys and a female with the sound company was smoking right behind the monitor console. I asked her to please not smoke there and she gave me a dirty look and took another puff. I told her Howard is really allergic to cigarette smoke and she still ignored me. The guy running the monitor console started yelling at me that it was his “space”. I told him if Howard Bellamy leaves the stage, he’s not going to be so happy about explaining to the audience why. There is also a “no smoking” regulation in Switzerland which prohibits this.
Well, it was a great audience for the Bellamys. They are only allowed to do one encore here because of time constraints.
John Michael Montgomery also had a wonderful show. A few people who are just rabid Bellamy fans left but it was still a really big crowd for his show. It is always “concerning” when the Bellamys don’t close the show because they have so many fans and it’s not unusual for their fans to leave after their show. John Michael held his own.
Got back at the hotel at 1:30 am. No “obligations” until 1 pm tomorrow….other than trying to catch up on the work I put off when I couldn’t use my computer!
SUNDAY, JUNE 28TH – DAY OFF IN INTERLAKEN
Got In bed by 3 am and up at 8 am – so that’s a lot of sleep for me. Had breakfast with lots of the guys from JMM and BB group and then went for a jog in absolutely PERFECT weather. And the trail runs along a beautiful river – green glacier water. Can’t remember how many years I’m been running that path.
At the end of my jog, I stopped at the Victoria Jungfrau hotel to ask about getting a massage tomorrow. My dear friends – Bryan and Alec – gave me Spafinder gift certificates for Christmas and my birthday and I have not had time to use them. The hotel accepts them and has an opening at 1:30 pm.
Showered and then ran down to the train station to change money only to find that they no longer have the currency exchange. I ran into Howard as I as going to breakfast this morning as he was departing. He said he didn’t sleep at all last night and was going back to bed. He didn’t make the trip to Gola’s today. We departed the hotel at 1 pm to drive to Gola’s for the barbeque. I’ve been to his house many times only this time, he took us to the one he is building himself at the top of an Alp. It’s only a few minutes from Interlaken – near Thun – and the drive up the mountain is on a dirt road. I rode with Golan and he has this really cool small van/SUV vehicle that is great for that terrain. The others rode with Lukas in a Saab convertible and Sandro in his car. They struggled up the mountain. We stopped at one point and the guys in the convertible were covered with dust.
Gola had invited a lot of his friends – many that we have met at past barbeques or during the tours with him. There were also lots of kids there. Gola has two little girls but they were asleep when we arrived. There was LOTS of food available and they began grilling a little while after we arrived. The meal was outstanding!
Gola’s wife Heidi gave me a tour of the new house and it is absolutely gorgeous. Lots of light wood and tile flooring. It is decorated with “souvenirs” from their trips to America – so they have American flags (and yes, the Confederate flag), Elvis memorabilia, country music items, etc. From the outside, the house doesn’t look very large but it is actually 4 stories! Everything is on solar power. He has huge “battery packs” in the basement as well as the generator. One large fireplace powers fireplaces in all the other rooms as well. Very energy efficient. Gola loves to “build” and is really a master craftsman. Because the road is so steep and he lives so high on the mountain, he won’t stay at the new house in the winter time.
Randy broke out the guitar and they did a singalong for a couple of songs. Then we took a group photo and headed back to the hotel – almost. Gola’s road is very narrow and his driveway has a very steep drop. Lukas has only been driving for 4 years. Instead of turning around, he tried to back up the driveway. Not a good idea, especially with a stick shift. He had a hard time not backing into the bushes and rocks on one side and he kept stalling out. At one point, smoke was billowing up from underneath the car. It took quite a while for someone to “guide” him out. When we finally started down the mountain, we all started smelling something fowl – like a dead animal. Turns out it was Lukas’s clutch – he was burning it out!
I walked down to one of the few stores open in Interlaken on a Sunday after we returned and purchased some postcards. Then I was able to talk to Zac and Zoe on Facetime. I swear they have grown since I left less than a week ago!
Around 9 pm, I walked over to the Italian Restaurant and had the first pizza I’ve had in about 2 years and it was sooooooo good! Then it was back to the room to “work”! Ran into some of JMM’s group and Stephanie and her musician. They LOVED the trip up to Schilthorn Piz Gloria today. It is the Alps where a James Bond Movie was filmed years and years ago. I’ve never been but they said you take several cable cars to reach the top. Lunch was provided for them at the top as well. John Michael has been dealing with pain from a tooth that he had worked on right before leaving Nashville. The dentist had put in a temporary and it was rubbing his jaw and making him miserable. So, today, he bought a pair of pliers and went to the pharmacy and got antiseptic and pulled it out!Reminds me of David Corlew (Charlie Daniels’s manager) “filing” his tooth off in Iraq several years ago!. Country boys are some kind of TOUGH! I just hope it doesn’t get a dry socket. I’m hoping he will see a dentist tomorrow because he is in the “woods” once he arrives Norway.
Hoping tomorrow isn’t too busy. I’m just handicapped by my computer and trying not to use my browsers any more than absolutely necessary!
All of these groups have been so easy to work with – and truly “nice” people. Makes my job so much more fun. And, of course, Iris, Lorenz, Jrene, and all the “staff” are excellent. Looking forward to dinner with them tomorrow night.
TUESDAY, JUNE 30TH – SWITZERLAND TO GERMANY:
Sad to leave our friends and the beautiful country of Switzerland today. Was up early to jog, then shower, breakfast and finish packing. Had a moment of panic when the wireless deviced wouldn’t connect, but it finally logged on. Fingers crossed that it continues to work!
We have a 4-5 hour bus ride from Interlaken to Untermeitingen, Germany today. I’m sure it will involve a stop at a Marche along the way. Bill and the bus were right on time and he had his friend Andy with him. It was a long drive but the bus was really nice. We did stop at “Heidiland” and the best Marche in all of Europe. If you don’t know about “Marche” restaurants, all of the food is prepared fresh and everything is great. They started in Switzerland and now are in Germany and Norway and not sure where else.
We arrived at the hotel at around 5 pm and got everyone checked in. This hotel does NOT have air conditioning but I bought a fan years ago and left it with them. Wrote my name on it and told them to have it in my room every time I come back. They didn’t have that particular fan in my room but did have a nice one waiting for me.
So, first thing I did was plug in my computer and see if the internet worked any better here. Guess what? No problems. Logged right on without going through the external wireless I purchased or the pocket wifi I rented and brought with me. Only thing I can figure out is that for some unknown reason, the internet in the hotel in Interlaken blocked my ip address. Can’t believe I went through all that “hell” there and get here and everything is just fine.
I was able to work for a few minutes and then Howard, David and I went to dinner with Bill, Andy, Andy’s wife, and Bill’s daughter. We went to this “farm house” not too far from the hotel. Bill took the Bellamys there in September of 2013 when I was in Gstaad. They loved it. About halfway to the restaurant, I realized that I had left my phone charging in the room. I was pretty bummed because it was a great place to take photos.
The food was superb. I had a salad, steak and sauerkraut and a cappuccino for dessert. Got back to the hotel a little after 10 pm and have been working ever since.
It’s 3 am and I’m closing down for today and getting some sleep!