PHOTOS (Courtesy of Impulse Communication – Joe Burki)
PHOTOS (Courtesy of artphotogstaad.ch)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH – DAY OFF IN ZURICH:
Pretty “uneventful” day for me. Had the breakfast buffet, “ran” for 45 minutes on the Elliptical, showered and took the train into downtown Zurich. I walked around the streets just window shopping since everything was closed. Then went in to the train station shopped there where they have most of the same shops. Took the train back to the airport and shopped in the stores there. Found some cute clothes at the New Yorker – one of my favorite shops. Had dinner at the Radisson and have been working for hours. Getting a lot done and feeling better about “catching up”.
I have a 12:15 lunch meeting with Albi, the promoter for the Albisguetli Schutzenhaus in Zurich. Then more shopping and more work!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH – ANOTHER DAY “OFF” (MOSTLY) IN ZURICH:
Got in a good workout with weights in the hotel gym, had breakfast, showered, and met Albi for lunch at the hotel. Was great to see him again. He gave me the name of a good camera shop where I might be able to replace my camera. I want one exactly like I had and may have to wait until I get back in the U.S.
I shopped my way down the main street of Zurich and found a few of the items on my “list”. I did find the camera and purchased it, making sure to ask if the instructions were in English. The sales clerk assured me that they were in “multiple” languages. However, when I got back to the hotel and turned on the camera, all the language on the camera is in Swiss German. Have to take it back tomorrow to see if they can set it to English. If not, I have to return it.
Had to cut my shopping short and get back to the hotel because there is lots going on “work wise”. Have been sitting at this computer for 7 hours working non-stop.
I know, another boring day in Zurich. I’ll go ahead and post yesterday’s and today’s reports and hope I have more interesting news tomorrow. J
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH – ZURICH TO GSTAAD:
I forgot to mention that I found a shop in downtown Zurich that had merchandise from Qatar! So funny. Also, the Radisson Airport is the one with the wine bar in the center of the lobby and it goes up about 5 stories. At night, a shapely female in a white cat suit is strapped into a harness and “flies” up to pull bottles of wine for customers. She does all kinds of twirls and flips on the way up and down. If I ever stay at this hotel with Bebe and David from Charlie Daniels camp, I’ll know exactly where to find them. LOL.
Also, update on Susan Bellamy….she has not passed the kidney stone! She is scheduled for surgery on Monday. Need lots of prayers that she passes it before she undergoes the surgery. Not a pleasant process, during or afterwards. L
Got my 3 hours of sleep with hopes I can sleep on the bus ride to Gstaad later today. Showered and had breakfast and stored one of my bags with the Radisson. I’ll pick it up when I fly home on Sunday. Walked over to the airport and Elsi and Toni were already there from Gstaad. She had gotten up at 3:30 am for the drive so I had to quit whining.
Josh Turner and Kellie Pickler were on American Airlines and Ricky Skaggs was on United. As luck would have it, the American flight landed late and the United flight landed early so that both flights were on the ground at almost the same time. We waited for what seemed like a very long time, so I sent a text to see if there was a problem with bags arriving. Evidently, one of Josh’s guys had put a piece of equipment in the overhead inside the flight. Then “someone” (probably a flight attendant) moved it to another area and didn’t tell anyone. He thought someone else in the group had gotten it off the plane so he went to baggage claim. When they learned that it was left on the plane, they were not allowed to go back and collect it. The airlines found it and said they would bring it to him. Almost an hour later, they delivered it.
I’ve worked with Ricky a few times in the past – Japan and Bosnia – and it was great to see him again. Have never worked with Josh, but good friends with his management. Have also never worked with Kellie. Great group and I was amazed at how many musicians I have worked with on various other festivals with different artists throughout the years! Great to reconnect with everyone – some from 15 or more years ago!
I did sleep most of the way as did many of the other passengers. We made a quick stop at a “truck stop” and lots of people ate lunch there. I was going to wait until we got to the hotel. Of course, we arrived at the hotel just as the restaurant had closed for lunch. So, it was cheese and nuts in the room for me.
It’s a FABULOUS hotel!!! We stayed here last year. Definitely 5 Star. Josh’s group is at an even more fabulous hotel that we “toured” last year – the Alpina. That’s the one where their top suite is $25,000.00 U.S. per night. Oh, but you get to drive a Range Rover free of charge when you rent that suite. They would have to GIVE me the Range Rover if I paid $25,000 a night for a room! They have a very limited number of rooms, so only Josh’s group is staying there. But, we are perfectly happy at the Grand.
I worked most of the afternoon and then met Ricky, Kellie and her husband Kyle, and Josh and his manager Renee in the lobby to go to Marcel’s home for dinner. He has a fabulous house. His little boy – Nico – has grown 2 feet since last year and has LONG white/blonde hair. As beautiful as his Mom – Tina. As expected, the meal was amazing – salmon as an appetizer and veal with mushroom sauce as the main entrée. Then berries and cream with chocolate mousse for dessert. At least I could have the berries and cream. All Marcel’s staff were there – Christa, Elsi, Nadine, and Nicolas – such super nice folks!
I left with Ricky when everyone went outside and started smoking cigarettes and cigars. Both of us are extremely allergic to smoke. I actually get a respiratory infection if I am exposed to it for very long periods of time. Can’t afford to get sick when I’m this close to going home.
Tomorrow is a trip up the glacier. I haven’t been to this one, so looking forward to that!
THURSDAY, SEPT. 11 – SIGHTSEEING DAY IN GSTAAD:
There is a great gym in the hotel and I managed to get in a much-needed workout by cutting back on my sleep hours. We all departed the hotel at 11 am for the trip up to the Glacier — www.glacier3000.ch.
I was surprised that around 20 or so people made it! First stop was a very old house and church. Great photo ops. Then on to the glacier. The ride up was in two separate gondolas and the view was breathtaking. I’m not a fan of “air travel” but this wasn’t “too” bad. At the top, you had multiple choices of what to do. They have a “sled run” that goes down metal ramps. Good news is, you can control the speed with the brake. Some of the group just “inched” their way down. Then there was a chair lift that took you to the edge of the glacier and you could actually stand out on a small portion of it. There were a couple of “viewing stations”, a gift shop and a couple of restaurants. We spent a couple of hours there and then headed back down the alp. On the ride back to the hotel, we stopped to see a building where all the farmers in the area “store” their cheese to let it age. The cheese is all in huge round “cakes” and have identifying numbers on them for each farmer. We all had to put on the little blue “booties” over our shoes to go inside. Each round of cheese has to be taken out every day and rubbed with salt for the first few weeks. Then it drops to 3 times a week. Not a job I would want to have. We were able to “sample” the cheese on our way out.
I think everyone “rushed” downtown as soon as we got back to the hotel. I ran into most of the folks who had been to the glacier with me. I was on a mission to find “toys” for the kids but struck out once more. Have to “google” the Zurich airport and see what they have. Then there’s always Amsterdam which is a shopping mecca. Problem is I’ll be running for my flight there.
Sponsor party is tonight and that was a fun time last year. There is a spread of food that is overwhelming and a dessert table that will put 20 pounds on immediately!
Got everyone in cars and headed towards the Sponsor Party by 8 pm. They had the usual amazing “spread” of food. First there were tables and tables of salads/soups/appetizers. Then came the hot food with carving stations for beef and veal. And, finally, there were tables and tables of dessert. It was great to see some of my “old friends” at the party. There was a really good band performing, too.
I left at around 11 pm after Josh and Ricky had left. Doubt that Kellie stayed much longer because she is going paragliding tomorrow morning!
Sound check starts at 9 am for Josh’s group. OUCH!!! Going to bed NOW.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH – FIRST PERFORMANCE IN GSTAAD:
No “work out” time today. Just a quick breakfast and walked down to the venue for sound checks. Josh’s group only had 2 hours for their sound check and everything ran late. Kellie’s group started almost an hour late but the production company had built in a “lunch break”. They just skipped lunch and ate sandwiches as they worked. We got somewhat back on schedule with Ricky’s group. Gstaad uses a first class production company so there are rarely very many issues to correct with any of the performers. Great crew as well.
Elsi took me and Renee to her “ski shop” in the little village next to where we are staying. It’s a beautiful shop with really unique clothing and other items. Renee purchased a bag made of Swiss Army Blankets and I found a “hoodie”. I had to rush back to the Park Hotel to meet with Bill and his friend who had drive over from Germany. Had a nice chat with them and “wolfed” down a tomato mozzarella salad before rushing to my room to shower and dress for the show.
Left for Ricky’s performance at 6:20 pm. The Swiss Highwaymen and Kirsty Bertarelli (the wife of the Formula One racecar driver) were on stage when we arrived. Ricky took the stage and of course, the audience loved his bluegrass show.
Kellie was next up and about her 4th song into the set, she sang a Tammy Wynette classic. The applause afterwards went on and on and on and on. I think they would still be clapping if she hadn’t started talking. She quickly changed her set to include even more of the “country classics”. I had told all the entertainers that the audience wants “country” songs. They don’t care for some of the new “pop” songs that are being played by the popular entertainers in the U.S. Kellie was thrilled to realize she can perform the songs she grew up on and still loves and the audience will appreciate her music.
Josh also had a great “country” show. He had lots of video footage that was aired on the big screens which made for a really entertaining event.
I think it was around 12:30 am when we finally finished. I got to see a lot of my friends from other countries who had driven over for the event. I had planned to go back to the hotel and skip the meal afterwards but since I had also skipped dinner, decided to eat a light meal. Was back at the hotel at around 1:30 am and managed to check emails before passing out!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH – LAST PERFORMANCE IN GSTAAD:
Had a light breakfast, answered emails, and went for a great 3 mile run. Weather is perfect today…as it has been everyday…warm during the day and cools off quickly at night. It rained for a little while early yesterday evening but it’s clear again today.
Tried to get somewhat caught up on “work” and then ran down for lunch before checking everyone in for their flights and getting ready to go to the Press Conference. Trying to check everyone in was a nightmare. The keyboard for the computer isn’t the same as U. S. keyboards plus the screen kept changing to Swiss German. The final straw was when the printer broke. I ended up emailing al the boarding passes to the receptionist and she printed out for me. I could only check in Kellie’s group because I don’t have copies of the other group’s passports. Hopefully their tour managers checked them in.
The press conference ran smoothly and there were a lot of fans waiting for the artists to take photos with them once it finished. Josh had to go straight into another interview but instead of people leaving, more showed up. He had to hold an “impromptu” meet and greet after the interview. Kellie and Ricky breezed through their interviews and I finished with 30 minutes left to try and finish checking everyone in.
Left for the venue at 6:30 pm and Ricky had another amazing show. The audience tonight seems even livelier than last night. Kellie changed her set list and sang more “country” songs, which the audience appreciated and loved. Josh’s songs are all already very country so he was a winner as well.
I was on my way back to the hotel by around 1 am and as soon as I got in the elevator, I realized I had left my bag with my computer in it in the Green Room. I did the very same thing last year only I left it upstairs at the dinner. You’d think I would learn! Thank God for Marco. Called him and he came and got me and took me back.
By the time I finished packing, it was 2:20 am and since I had to be in the lobby by 4 am, no time to sleep. It was a really great lineup this year and I think everyone was happy – promoter and his staff, artists and their musicians/crews and all the fans who attended.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH – I’M GOING HOME!!!!
Like I said, no time to sleep. Was in the lobby at 4 am and the bus arrived at 4:15 pm – right on time. They had already picked up Josh’s group. We were loaded and rolling by 4:30 am – right on schedule. I slept most of the way to the airport.
Got everyone checked in with no problems and then walked over to the Radisson to pick up my bag. They also had the cds that Universal had left for me. I went out into the hallway and “repacked” everything – ending up with 3 bags weighing less than 50 pounds instead of 2 bags weighing 70 pounds each. I had them store everything while I had breakfast and about a gallon of coffee in the hotel restaurant. Decided to walk over to the terminal to see how early they would let me check in my luggage. Surprisingly enough, they let me check in at 10 am for a 2:25 pm flight! The ticket agent did insist that I would NOT have to pick up my bags in Atlanta, but I KNOW better.
I bought some more Sprungli chocolate for the twins and found some cute toys for them….but not a princess in a car that Zoe wanted. Will look in Amsterdam if I have time. If not, it’s Toys ‘r Us time.
So very, very happy to be going home. Although I will only have about 2 weeks there.
Flights left on time and it was a quick trip to Amsterdam. I had to “run” from one terminal to the other because I had less than an hour to make my connection. The plane had already started boarding before I even landed. I got trapped behind the hundreds of Economy Class passengers who were already boarding. When I got on the plane, there was a girl sitting in my seat. I asked her if she had 4F and she said, “no, 4D”. I told her she was in the wrong seat and she just stared at me. Finally I said, forget it, I’ll just sit in your seat! I watched a great movie – “Belle” and got really frustrated with the service on the plane. I had watched the entire movie and the flight attendants had only served the salad. I told her to cancel my meal because I needed sleep more than I needed food! I slept for 5 hours and could have easily slept 5 more. There was a horrendous meal served before we landed so I didn’t eat then either.
Landed on time in Atlanta and I breezed through Global Entry only to have my bags come out on the belt as the very last bags. I was beginning to think that ticket agent was right and I didn’t have to pick up my bags. But, no, they came out last because they were tagged “PRIORITY”, I assume.
Had about 30 minutes to go into the Delta Lounge and grab some coffee. Flight to Nashville departed and landed on time. All my bags arrived and again almost the last ones off.
Sure wish it wasn’t so late getting home so I could see Zac and Zoe. I’m home now until September 30th when I go to Australia for 3 weeks.