Friday, July 18, 2008 – Day 9
Man what a night. Could not go to sleep. Tossed and turned all night long. Around 12:30 AM knew something was wrong. To quiet, then I figured it out. I’m right next to the airport, some of the gates are less than 200 yards away, and they quit flying in to Oslo about that time. So the peace and quite kept me awake more than ever then. It was either that or I was hungry and I was thinking about the free breakfast that comes with the room. Free in Norway, take advantage of it.
There are a few things about hotel rooms in Norway that are different than in the states. Your key card is also the on/off for all your lights. When you open the door you place your card in a slot by the door and all the lights come on and then you adjust. When you leave you pull the key out and the lights go off. Very efficient for the hotel.
No matter what size bed you have, each person has their own comforter. When you arrive and you look at the bed each one is folded in 1/4 laying on your side of the bed. There are no bed sheets just the comforter. It keeps you extremely warm and is comfortable. Not to heavy. Sure it is of down material.
In the bathrooms your towel racks are heated, that is cool. Boy I tell you, you can take the boy out of the country but you can not take the country out of the boy!
Breakfast time has arrived. I take a shower, look out and see it is going to be a beautiful day and head for the free food. As I told you they really lay it all out. Must be at least 7 kinds of cold cuts, 4 different types of potato’s and bread of every kind and then eggs, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled and of course vegetables that I thought were served only at dinner. Sweets galore, cereal, and lets not forget pudding, jello and yogurt, soft and liquid. Sausage of at least 3 different kinds as well as hot links. There are also a lot of pickles and relishes and some red stuff and green stuff. I debated on taking down my little carry bag and filling it up for the rest of the day as well as tomorrow. I’ll show them how we do it back in the states! Thought twice, and just sat down with my coffee and eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, and some red stuff. Do not know what it was but it tastes good on my toast.
Thought seriously about going back to the room and taking a nap, but have some paper work to do before we leave this afternoon. However I must tell you I am having a $5 coke as I write this. Sorry Lindsey.
I meant to tell you that 90% of the tv shows are in English. That has made it nice also.
Met up with Lynn and her band at the airport as well as Frode the promoter. Got checked in and boarded the flight on time. 1 hour and 25 min is all it took to get here. We are in Harstad Norway, which is above the arctic circle.
The flight was a smooth one. The only problem was I think the band and I were the only one not carrying a kid. Air pressure has a way of making babies cry and they did all the way here.
Harstad is known as the land of the midnight sun. It is midnight here now and it is as bright as noontime back home. People are out jogging and riding there bicycles and has to be a few parties going on close by. It is very strange.
As we approached the airport all of the snow capped mountains and the beautiful lakes came into view. It seems that in between each mountain range is a big beautiful green lake. Can not wait til tomorrow to do a little walking around and take some pictures. It is my understanding that 12,000 people live here in this area.
Upon arriving they had some sandwiches for us I have had it made today with the food. Shrimp/mayonnaise sauce, Salmon and egg, cold cuts and tomato were the sandwiches. They were all good.
We leave for sound check and load in at 10 AM and will get back to the hotel around noon. Will not have to be back to the venue till around 10:30 tomorrow night. Lynn goes on at 11:30 and plays till 1:00 AM. It will be like playing an afternoon show.
Ok that is it for me today. I feel like I’m getting older. Oh I am tomorrow is my B’day.
Saturday, July 19, 2008 – Day 10 aka MY BIRTHDAY!
Got up early this morning and went down to have my FREE breakfast and FREE coffee. The coffee over here is kind of strong, but I have gotten use to it.
Before I get started I have to tell you that last night was a trip. I cut off the computer and TV and was going to lie down. My window was open as it was hot in the hotel. As I was getting ready to dose off all I could here was the music of the 50″s and 60’s coming from the 2 bars across the street. The people were just getting ready to party. On top of that Harstad is right on the water and there are sea gulls every where. They argue with each other in a very high and loud shrill tone. They seemed to like the music or something for they chatted all night long. The hotel window has no screen and I laid there listening to the music just knowing that any minute one of the birds was going to fly into my room, or much less I would wake up with one sitting on my chest.
My bed is the size of a cot, with the same type of comforter. I mention to Brooke, the wife of Fred Newell, Lynn’s steel player) about the comforter and the problem that Cheryl had, you know not opening it up, and she told me she had done the same thing. LOL!
The FREE breakfast was quite good. Eggs, toast, cold cuts, yogurt, sausage, and reindeer meat, and of course something red and green.
Left the hotel for sound check. The venue is only about 10 mins away in the mountains. Looks like a lot of people came in for yesterdays shows, as there were a lot of tents, and motor homes all around. Sound check was good. Lynn has brought 4 Norwegian musicians with her so it went a little longer than usual, but should be a good show. They really love American country music over here.
After sound check, we came back to the hotel had lunch and then went to walk around town. It is a small and quaint town. Right on the waterfront so there are a lot of old boats in the harbor.The water here is emerald green. Some of the clearest and cleanest I have ever seen. Also very cold. The mountains nearest to town are not as high as the ones in Sandane as they have no snow caps, but you can see some in the distance. The stores all close at 3 on Sat so we did no get to go into many of them. A lot of the Historic places are about 30 min. away, and we do not have a car at our disposal, so I will have to catch them next time. One is the oldest church in Norway( built in 1250) and the other is the The Adolf Gun which is the largest land based gun, built by the Germans in WW II. It was built there facing the water to stop any infiltration by water. You can also sail on the “Anna Rogde” the worlds oldest sailing schooner(1868).
As every where else in Norway they all speak English and the streets and homes are spotless. The town has nothing spectacular about it’s looks but you just feel it would be a great place to raise a family and to live….If you can stand the drastic change in the weather. As I told you it never gets dark here except in Jan when they will go for a while with only 2-3 hours of sun light a day. This usually happens around 10 am.
My mother ask me last night if the people here look like us. I laughed and said sure they just talk funny. I have noticed that the females are not exactly like I thought. The women here seem to be extremely pretty with beautiful features and smooth skin. They have very athletic bodies. They all seem to be small but very tightly built. They are really nice looking. The only lady that I have seen that matched what I thought I was going to see was the room service lady in Oslo.
We leave the hotel at 10:30 for Lynn’s show at 11;30. It looks like the weather is going to beautiful for the show, and I do know I will not have to use my flash on the camera.
Will talk about the show tomorrow. Right now I’m headed down stairs to see if I can kill me some birds.
Saturday, July 19, 2008 – more of Day 10
After having dinner of pork chops, potato’s, mixed veggies, bread and of course some red and green stuff we left for the venue. This is the first time for the festival in Harstad, but not new for the area. In the past it was held a little more north and on one of the islands.
This years venue is located on a harness racing track, and with Lynn being a professional rider, she came on to start the show riding one of the local horses. She road around in the crowd and needles to say they loved it.
It is very strange doing an outside show at midnight and it being as bright as noontime. The sun disappears for a while and the light would remind you of it being around dusk at home.
Lynn did a 90 min. show and the crowd absolutely loved her. The buyer and the promoter were extremely happy. The crowd was more into listening to Lynn than dancing. They sang along with each song. Lynn is a fabulous entertainer and really knows how to keep the crowd going. She did three encores and ended the show by singing Amazing Grace and the crowd joined in. It was an awesome sight.
Lynn’s band is made up of some great pickers and singers. Mentor Williams has been with her the longest.(26 years). He has written some very big songs for the group Alabama and also a hit for a lot of people, like Drift Away. Carlton Moody is on electric guitar and lives in Paris, but still plays a lot of studio work in Nashville and is an original Burrito Brother. Fred Newell on steel is one of the most respected guitar players in Nashville and has played with a lot of the greats like Waylon, Porter and Jerry Reed. They are not only great musicians but supper nice people. It has be a delight to be over here with them.
After signing autographs for about an hour we made it back to the hotel a little after 2 am. On the way back we had the driver stop so we could watch the sun rise over the mountains. It is very hard to explain this occurrence. It is now 3:20 am and people are outside parting in the street, jogging and riding bicycles, with the sun shinning bright. And yes the dang seagulls are out also.
It did turn a little cold tonight, and I did have to wear a coat, but then you have to remember we are above the Arctic Circle. The festival was a huge success and we are already making plans for next year. I’m most hope full that I will be able to return as there are a lot of things I would like to see.
Have a wake up call in a few hours as we fly back to Oslo tomorrow and I start my return trip to Tenn. on Monday. Lynn and Mentor head back to New Mexico where they live, Carlton to Paris and Fred and Brook to Nashville, I hope it will not be a year before I see my new friends again.
I will write one more time tomorrow as I will be sitting in my motel room remembering my visit to this beautiful and friendly country.
1 more day left.
Sunday, July 20, 2008 – Day 11
After getting into bed at 3:30 am and rising at 6:30 am for FREE breakfast, it has been another long but very nice day, despite the rain.
We left the hotel at 9 am and arrived at the airport. I believe I told you that the trip to and from the airport and hotel takes you through some beautiful country side. Everything is green and you see no signs of vacant houses or uncut grass. The road goes along some of the waterfront and as usual the water is an emerald green.
At the airport we find out that Lynn and Mentor’s flight to Copenhagen has been canceled, but they re-routed them on another flight, only problem is they have only 45 min upon arriving in Oslo to make the connection.
The flight is on a 737 and is very smooth. In taking off it is a lot better to see the many lakes that are in the area. Islands all around and many with houses on them. It has to be tough during the winter months. You have to wonder how these people can have such a great disposition and attitude. All sunshine, cold, darkness for 24 hours at a time, snow, and of course those dang seagulls. You would think they would be cranky etc, but as I said just the opposite, just super nice people.
Flights tomorrow began at 12 Noon here and if all goes well I will be back in Tenn around 10 pm tomorrow night. I hope you have enjoyed traveling with me. It has been an experience that I will not forget, and I have had a blast trying to paint a picture of this beautiful, but friendly country.
As far as business goes both Festivals were huge hits. One set a record and one is starting to create its on identity. The Whites are a super family that enjoy creating good family entertainment for all, and Lynn Anderson who has not lost one bit of her magnetism with the audience and her voice is as strong as ever, even at 1 AM in the morning and in broad daylight.
The band members who were looking at the beautiful surroundings and was amazed as much as I was, and yet the people were staring at them thinking how great it was to have the musicians in there hometown. I will never forget that.
The cleanliness, friendliness, the lakes,the museums, snow cap mountain tops, and of course the people that I was fortunate to come over with will always be remembered.
I guess the one thing that I’m most proud of is the fact that my ex wife can ask me to do these trips for her and I have a boss who will allow me the time. They are both the BEST.
Love to all,
( I hope she reads this report and remembers it when she OKs my expense account)