THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, JULY 28TH AND 29TH:
Well, I “sneaked” home for FOUR WHOLE DAYS. And, yes, it was worth it. Laundry is done and bills are paid. J
Left this afternoon for Norway. Rodney Crowell will be performing one show at the Seljord Country Music Festival on Saturday. Then my next event will be in Sweden with 8 artists from the U.S.
Flight was on Northwest and I never thought I would be saying this, but they are the best and nicest airline I’ve flown this Summer. I connected through Detroit and my flight to Amsterdam had an empty seat next to me. Loved that. The airplanes are that strange configuration where the lavatories are located right in the middle of the galleys. First time I tried to access one of them, the food cart was “parked” in front of the doors. It took about 5 minutes for them to get things cleared away so they could move it. Then next time I went back, one of the flight attendants had all his suit bags laying in the aisle in front of the doors “repacking” everything. I finally gave up and just waited until he finished. When I finally got to the door of the lavatory, the female flight attendant that had served me dinner and heard me “talk” several times, asked me if I was from Spain or Portugal! Do I look Spanish? Surely she heard my heavy Southern accent!
The Lounge at the Amsterdam airport in this “wing” is excellent. Never been in this one before. I didn’t eat breakfast on the plane because I was still full from dinner. The lounge actually has Cappacino, cereal and yogurt (among other things) AND WIRELESS INTERNET CONNECTION. I didn’t sleep at all on the flight over, so I will be “fried” when I finally get to the hotel in Seljord tonight around 10 pm. I have about a 4 hour”wait” in the Oslo Airport to meet Rodney’s group. But, last time I had a 6 hour wait for Dwight, so I know what to do! The minute I got to baggage claim, I got another migraine headache. Don’t understand the frequency of these. Usually I only get a couple a year!
Got on the fight to Oslo and even thought my office called yesterday and re-confirmed that NONE of my seats were bulkhead – it was bulkhead. I think that the ONLY way I can be assured of NEVER getting a bulkhead seat is to REQUEST a bulkhead seat. Then I’m sure they won’t give me one. Not only was it bulkhead, but it was one of those seats where there is NOTHING in front of you. Great, you think. I can really stretch out my legs. HA! It’s right where everyone walks on to the plane. And, the toe that is broken is on my right foot which was “exposed” to all the passengers as the boarded. I had to lean over as far as I could into the seat to my right AND put my foot in the seat to keep from being trampled. At one point, the flight attendant decided to carry a bag on for one of the passengers., It has a strap on it and she caught my fanny pack with is as she went by and nearly pulled me out of the seat. This couple sat next to me and the woman has on a huge, full skirt. When she sat down the skirt covered my lap and she didn’t bother to remove it. The man put his briefcase and sports coat in front of him and the woman put her purse in front of her. AND THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT LET THEM LEAVE THEM THERE DURING THE ENTIRE FLIGHT! Now just last week, I was forced to put everything in the overhead and even had to take off my fanny pack and put it up there. Go figure.
By the way, I went to doctor to see if my broken toe is healing while I was home. I was convinced he was going to yell at me because I still have no feeling whatsoever in it and can’t bend it. Didn’t think it was healing at all. But, the x-rays showed that it is healing. I don’t have to wear the walking shoe cast UNLESS there is pain….just “sturdy” shoes. Can’t jog for 2 more weeks and then only if there is no pain. But was delighted to learn that I’m healing. The break was not straight across the top of my toe as I thought. It runs the length of my toe diagonally. At least now I know what part I have to be extra careful with!
Rodney and his group arrived pretty much on time and we began the 4 hour bus ride to Seljord. They aren’t nearly as tired as I am since they have been in the U.K. touring for the past week. The scenery on the drive from Oslo to Seljord is absolutely breath-taking.
Got checked into the hotel and my only request was that I be given a room where the wireless internet works. Of course, I wasn’t and the hotel if full. So, here it is at 1 am in the morning and I’m sitting in a private “dining room” working so that I can get on-line. Such is my glamorous lifestyle. J
SATURDAY, JULY 30TH:
Woke up to beautiful weather. Had breakfast of yogurt and granola and showered to go to sound check. I’m walking stairs ALL the time in this hotel. Last night when we checked in, the road manager and I got stuck in the elevator. It stopped between floors and wouldn’t move. There wasn’t a telephone to call anyone and I finally found a little button with a “bell” symbol on it. I pressed on it for several minutes and could hear it ringing. Assumed someone would come rescue us but the elevator actually started moving. I KNEW I was having a panic attack but thought the road manager was handling it well….until we stopped and he said, “I’m never taking the elevator again! I will not risk being stuck in there”. Guess he was a little more scared than I thought.
Everything was set up and ready for us at sound check. This year, they have built a new, much larger stage and there are a lot more people attending. They pitch tents and camp on the grounds of the festival site. There’s a little village set up outside the main stage area where they sell western wear and local food delicacies (liquorish – YUCK – and some kind of fried meat). Two years ago this is the festival where the drunk girl was walking through the audience wearing one ski and last year as we were leaving, we saw a girl wearing chaps with no pants underneath! Seems to be a little bit “classier” crowd this year but tonight’s show will determine that.
The electricity went out in the hotel this afternoon for several hours. I thought one of our group must have plugged in something without a converter and blown the circuits. Then I remembered that I’m the only female in this group and the guys know better!
I asked about the drunk driving law in Norway because these people start drinking at 10 am – that assuming they have even been to bed and stopped drinking the night before. He explained that they always have ONE designated driver AND when they leave the festival, they have to take an alcohol breath test before they are allowed to drive. Now, I think that is a wonderful idea that we should instigate in the U.S.
Rodney and his group said this is the best “gig” food they have had on their entire tour. Of course, their other dates have been in the U.K. where the only thing I’ve found edible is the Indian food.
We are departing right after the show tonight to drive to the airport by the Oslo airport. Rodney won’t come off stage until 1 am and it’s a 4 hour drive to Oslo. They have a flight to the U.K. at 10 am and a show that night.
When we arrived at the venue, I knew it was definitely the largest crowd they had ever had attend. And, they didn’t seem to be quite as “falling down drunk” as in year’s past. After Rodney went on stage, I decided to go out front to the sound board so I could watch the show in a “safe place”. But, I had to get from the backstage to the front of house – which was no easy feat. The drunks think nothing of touching you inappropriately – whether accidentally or just because they are grabbing you to dance with them. I put my fanny pack around my waist and hung it pretty low, crossed my arms across my chest and only left the backside “exposed”. Made it all the way across with only a couple of guys grabbing my arm. I stayed out front and watched several songs and it was an awesome show. There were about 5,000 people all gathered as close to the stage as possible and singing along. I decided to make the trek back across the grounds to the backstage area so I could spend some time talking to the promoter and a couple of other promoters who had driven up to meet with me about shows next year. I made it to within 20 feet of the “gated backstage area” when one of the fans who had been drinking a LOT, fell over on me. He would have taken me down with him had another guy who was a bit more sober had not caught me. I didn’t leave the backstage area again after that!
We left the showgrounds at around 1:30 am for the drive to Oslo. I sat up front because I like to talk to the driver and make sure he doesn’t fall asleep. No need to worry this time because it was the same driver we had in Vinstra a few weeks ago and he was excellent. I began to notice that there were LOTS of RATS all over the highway – live one scurrying across in front of the headlights and smushed ones that cars had recently hit. It was really gross, especially since I do NOT like rats. But, the driver said he thought it was rats, too, until he asked someone after his drive up to get us. He said that they are “lemmings” (SP??) Sure looked like rats to me. There was no way to avoid running over them and I could hear them “crunch” under the tires. That certainly kept me awake.
We arrived at the hotel at 5 am and I laid down on the bed – clothes and all – and fell asleep.
SUNDAY, JULY 31ST:
Up at 8:30 am to see the boys off on their flight. Then a very quick workout and shower to go meet my friend Patricia. She landed right on time. I got a late checkout at the hotel so we took her bag to my room and had a nice lunch in the hotel restaurant. It had been raining and really ugly all day, so we didn’t try to take the shuttle into Oslo. Checked our bags in for our flight to Trondheim and I was very apprehensive about flying in the horrible weather. We didn’t get to sit together and she passed out immediately from her long flight over from LA. I, on the other hand, was praying, crossing myself and issuing Hail Mary’s (and I’m not even Catholic) because I thought the plane was going to crash. It was really, really turbulent. But we landed safely and as we were walking through the terminal, I mentioned how scared I had been on the flight. Her answer was, “Oh, was it bumpy?” I wanted to choke her!
We took the bus to the hotel but the driver didn’t announce any of the stops in English. We saw our hotel out the window and ran up to tell him to stop. He looked at us like we were insane since it was a regular stop on the route. Got checked in and then we went for a walk around Trondheim – a beautiful little seaside village. Only problem is, Pat has no better sense of direction than I do. At one points, we stopped an elderly man and asked for directions. He was a sweetheart, but definitely was in need of companionship. He must have talked to us for a half hour. We did a little sightseeing and then found a beautiful Italian restaurant on the water. Pat wanted some “traditional” Norwegian food, so I told her to order the ravioli with the salmon in it! The weather had turned so cool that we couldn’t’ eat outside.
Back in the room by 9:30 pm and she’s going to crash! Lindsey told her to be sure and get her own room at the hotels because I would keep her up all night working on the internet. J
Tomorrow we get on the cruise ship and travel through the fjords to Bergen. Hope we have pretty weather.
MONDAY, AUGUST 1ST:
Got up to ride the bike in the “exercise room” (what a joke!) at the hotel. It was a tiny little room right beside the swimming pool. It didn’t open until 6 am, so I was dressed and ready at 6. There is a separate elevator that goes down into the pool area and when I got in and pushed the button, nothing happened. Thought I was stuck again for a minute, but I pushed the button for the 1st floor and it opened up. I went to the front desk and they had to have someone take me out the back stairs, down the fire escape and through the kitchen area. I told them I was pretty familiar with that area since that’s usually the area we have to go through with performers.
We left the hotel at 9 am and boarded the cruise ship. It’s a really large ship with 7 decks BUT it is sort of a glorified “ferry”. Nothing like the cruises I’ve taken in the Caribbean. Also, other than the little kids on the ship, we’re the youngest people on board. Pretty scary. The cabin is nice and spacious for a ship, though. There is a little “shop” but it was closed until 7 pm! We quickly learned that the ONLY thing to do is eat and sit around….not my kind of day. They advertised that they have an internet café but when I asked where it was, they said that it won’t be hooked up until we get to Bergen, which is, of course, where we get off! At least my IPAQ worked for most of the trip or I would have gone crazy.
We stopped in a little village called “Kristiansund”…not to be confused with “Kristiansand” which is a large city. We had 30 minutes, so everyone jumped off the ship, walked down one street, and then ran back on the ship. No time to do anything except buy a bottle of water. Our next stop was at 8:30 at night in Molde and ALL the stores were closed. We had an hour there but there was NOTHING to do since everything was closed.
It is really, really cold outside and even colder on deck. Much too cold to sit out there. The scenery has been pretty but not spectacular. I am hoping that once we leave Molde, we will go through the fjords and it will get better. Otherwise, this was not a great idea. There’s no swimming pool or “games”. They advertise that “nature is their entertainment”. Hello. Entertain me!
They give us these little ‘day sheets” that tells all the highlights of the cruise. Each one lists the ports where we will stop – and none of them are for longer than 30 minutes. Several of them happen throughout the night. Of course, it doesn’t get dark, so I suppose there are people who will stay up and do another “run through” those towns, too. But, some of the other BIG highlights are “passing a Methanol Factory” or passing one of their other cruise ships. We missed the announcement about the methanol factory and didn’t get to see that one, darn it. J
TUESDAY, AUGUST 2ND:
I got up early and hit the little “gym”. At least there were some free weights in there and I was the only one in the room.
Had breakfast and then we “sat around” until 2:30 when we docked in Bergen. But, there was a surprise “highlight” – there was a refinery on the Starboard side right before we reached Bergen!!!!
We took a bus from the ship to the airport and got checked in on time. Short flight from Bergen to Oslo and then another short flight from Oslo to Stockholm. Kjell – my promoter – was there to meet us. We waiting for a couple of hours for one musician to arrive and then we drove to the hotel in Furuvik. Now it’s almost 3 am and I’m still up working. The big group from Nashville and Texas arrives very early tomorrow morning. Guess I’d better try to grab a couple of hours sleep before they get here.