I went to Austria over Easter Vacation.† Here is some of what I did:
I got to the airport at 2:30, but the plane didnít leave until 6:30.† My band leader wanted us there that early because it was an international flight.† I began to read The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison in the terminal.† Itís very strange.† After we boarded the plane I kept reading for a while, but there was a band student next to me with a Game Boy so I ended up watching him play for a while.† I had played the beginning of that game before so helped him when he got stuck.† We saw The Family Man during the flight, and it was OK.† Itís about a man who is an executive of a big company who gets a glimpse of what his life would have been like if he had married his high school sweat heart.
When The Family Man was over I got about an hour and a half of sleep before we landed in Frankfurt, Germany.† Then we changed planes and went on a 35-minute hop to Munich, Germany.† I slept on the bus to Neuschwanstein Castle, and when we got there at 2:30 we found out there were no tours left until 4:15.† It was cold and snowing so the path up to the castle were slippery as the packed snow melted with the pressure of all the feet of the tourists.† It didnít help that my tennis shoes had very little tread left, so I slipped a lot.† The inside of the castle was amazing.† All the gold and marble and wonderful paintings were spectacular.† King Ludwig, who made Neuschwanstein, was running out of money by the end of the construction so all the gems that are set into the walls and chandeliers are really colored glass.† We took the bus to the hotel in Innsbruck, and got to sleep, but because of the time zone I woke up at 2:00AM.
Our parade was canceled because our director thought it was too cold to just be wearing our uniforms, and playing cold instruments is no fun. Therefore we went shopping from 9:30 to 1:00.† It was really boring! The original plan had been to play for part of that time and shop the rest, but because the performance had been canceled we spent the whole time walking around the shops in Innsbruck.† I got ripped off at a bagel shop.† I gave them 30 German Marks, which is about $15, and I got a doughnut and 2 Austrian Shillings, which is about 15 cents.† We took the bus to Salzburg where we checked into the hotel.† We had to wait a long time on the bus while the chaperones went inside to get the keys and it got hot.† We had to wait in our rooms for our band uniforms to get delivered.† We got to see a performance where the singers sang songs from The Sound of Music, which was fun at first, but it went on too long.† It didnít help I had seen The Sound of Music Wednesday before I left on the trip so I already had heard the songs recently.
I didnít get very restful sleep because I had a slight cold and couldnít breathe through my nose.† Today was truly hectic.† This performance was canceled due to cold too.† All the uniforms were loaded onto the busses randomly so no one knew where their uniform was.† I am surprised we got all of them with all the chaos. We shopped and it was cold.† There was a cool crystal shop I got to look through, but I wasnít planning on buying anything there so I felt bad about just staying inside.† In one shop there was a cool clock.† Rather than a pendulum, there was a little lady on a swing that bobbed up and down.† It was in a small store so even though I wanted to get it, I didnít trust the quality.† For all I knew it was already broken.† Once we were back on the bus we got to watch a movie, The Fugitive.† On the way to the hotel we stopped and went inside the cathedral used in the wedding scene of The Sound of Music.† The lights were out so the only light came in through the stained glass windows, which was a cool effect.† There was a euchre tournament at the hotel after dinner, but I didnít participate because I had only played once before.
I got 10 hours of sleep overnight!† We toured the Hall of Musical Instruments, which had promise, but we didnít have enough time to really explore.† There were some really cool instruments with extra twists and turns that I would have liked to look at longer.† Then we went and took a tour of an abbey.† The abbey was cool because there was a hidden door we got to go through.† The guide pressed a book into the wall and the bookcase swung open.† There were also a lot of paintings, and the art on the ceilings was impressive.† We got to play our first performance of the trip, and it didnít go well.† None of us had played since Wednesday the week before so the tone was bad.† Then a different touring band played and they were awesome.† They had been performing the same pieces for a year so they had a lot more practice than us.† However, we didnít hold it against them and after we were all done, there was a rousing game of Duck-Duck-Goose.
We woke up, hopped on the bus, and drove to the site of our next performance.† When we got off the bus we marched to the city center while playing a song called ďNight FeverĒ.† Then we sat down and played a concert.† It was outdoors and windy so one person would hold the music during the gusts so the other person on that stand could keep playing. It was amusing to watch as the music got blown off stands, but overall the performance went well.† We marched out and hopped on the bus and drove on.† In Graz, we went on a tour of the city that was long and boring.† The one good thing was a double spiral staircase.† There were two staircases spiraling in opposite directions and they met once on each level.
Once again we woke up and hopped on the bus.† In Vienna I found a bigger store that had the clock I wanted, but I didnít have enough money with me.† I memorized its location so I could come back the next day.† We went on another tour, but it was mostly by bus so it was more interesting.† We could cover more ground.† We saw one apartment building that had a different type of outside wall on each apartment.† For dessert after dinner we had a strange white gelatinous blob.† It didnít taste very good, even when I drowned it in strawberry sauce.
We did an early performance in front of this cool castle.† There were no chairs or stands so we had to clothspin the music to the bells of our instruments.† It ended up working out fine and our sound was the best it had been all trip.† Everyone was free to do whatever they wanted the rest of the day.† I went with a large group and we toured the inside of the castle we had played at.† It was an audio tour with a tape player shaped like a cell phone rather than headphones.† One of the cool things was all the things in the castle were original.† There had been a King living there recently enough that everything was still in good shape. Then we took the subway to downtown Vienna, and I found the shop again and bought my clock.† It was cool getting to ride the subway because in my French class we had just been learning about the French Metro, and both worked similarly.† Back at the hotel I played one game of euchre and I won.
I just packed and went home.† The trip back was uneventful.
I had a great time even though the trip took a slow start.† I forgot a camera, but I bought a few postcards.† Here is the strange apartment building with each apartment having a different outside wall.†
Here is the castle we played in front of Sunday.† If you look closely you can see stairs on the outside going up the right side of the entrance.† We played while standing in front of them.†
This is a photo of the clock I got.† The lady on the swing goes up and down on a spring and the bird goes back and forth in rhythm.