Monday, August 08, 2011

Oregon Arts Orchestra - Munich

This summer Kip and I got the opportunity to go to Austria and Prague with the Oregon Arts Orchestra. The tour was from July 8th to the 17th. We were lucky to get both my parents to come out for the first half of the time and Kip's mom and sister Tasha to come out for the secong half of the time. My parents arrived on the 6th of July and settled in. I spent the 7th packing and getting everything ready, and then it was time to go.

We flew out of Portland on July 8th. We met at 11am, checked in and then went our separate ways for lunch. Our first flight took us to Chicago. I got a headache on the way into Chicago that lasted through most of the next flight--from Chicago to Munich. About 3 hours before landing in Munich, it dissipated and I returned to feeling normal. The plane from Chicago to Munich was pretty cool. It was a Lufthansa flight and the plane had a downstairs. It had 5 bathroom stalls and a lounge area for the flight crew. I loved it. It was super fun to climb stairs on an airplane, something I've always wanted to do. Well, I've wanted to ride a double-decker airplane with seating on both levels. This was pretty close.

We arrived Munich at 12:30pm. It was hot and we were worn out and there were no drinking fountains at the airport. We found our bags, well, most of them. Hunter's never came out. And it had most of the programs. We got our passports stamped (mine was stamped so poorly you can't even read it. What's the point of traveling out of the country if you can't even show off your passport stamps!) and headed out of the airport with our kind and lovely guide, Julia (pronounce "you-lia"). She led us to our bus and driver, the amazing Martin. Kip and I claimed seats on the back row and settled in for a drive to downtown.

In Munich, we went to Hofbrauhaus, reportedly the best-known beer hall in Germany. Mihail, the third member of the flute section, a sweet, tiny, Jewish recent-grandfather, joined me and Kip for lunch. We walked through the majority of the restaurant and then settled for seats right in front of the entrance. The picture above is of the ceiling in the restaurant.

We ended up sitting next to the table with Guy, Kip's percussion section-leader, and Lou, 1st clarinet and Wind Section lead, and Jae, Lou's wife. Guy kindly posed with us for a picture after we shared our English menu with him. I ordered a half chicken with potato salad (German style--sugar and vinegar). Kip and Mihail had sausages. Everyone who had beers really enjoyed them, and beer with lemonade got special praise. After our meal, we walked around a little with Cara (bassoon) and Emily (her daughter) to look for water and think about souvenirs. Our water quest was unsuccessful but there were many possible souvenirs.

Julia then led us around the city to see some of the famous sites. It was Gay Pride parade day, we saw the end of the parade march by. There were some crazy costumes and LOTS of people. We went to a church surrounded by scaffolding and could have gone in to look around. I'm not sure what church it was because I was tired and distracted by thirst. Kip and I asked Julia to help us find water. We went back to the square where the parade had been and asked some of the people there. They finally directed us to a little hot dog and soft-serve vendor who had water bottles – small ones. We found an ATM and bought a small box of water with "no gas."

With our prize of gas-free water, we rejoined the rest of the crew and got back on the bus to ride to Salzburg. Kip and I had chosen the back row of seats hoping for leg room. Kip sat in the middle seat with his legs in the aisle. Yvonne (concertmaster) sat on the left (drivers) side and I sat on the right. There were 3 of us and 5 seats, so I got to stretch out and sleep. I think most of us fell asleep on the drive. It had been a long day already.

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