I like to think I know where my towel is.

North America » Canada » Alberta » Edmonton July 28th 2013

Home again, jiggity jig! Said farewell to A&KB at the hotel this morning, then headed to the airport to catch our flight back home. Finally found a football jersey, so there is now an official Netherlands jersey added to my collection (Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, and England for anyone who's wondering), although I didn't spot any official Swedish, Danish, or Belgian on the trip (does Belgium even compete in these things?). The best part? It's in my size (Kids' XL) AND it was on sale - which meant I got it for about 25 Euro cheaper than an adult jersey. Wooo! Picked up a couple of last-minute things for myself and for a few other people, as well. The Amsterdam Schiphol is the oddest airport I've ever been to. Not that it was ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam July 26th 2013

Ready to snap. Not at anyone in the choir, fortunately, or our entourage, but just in general. Went to bed shortly after midnight knowing it would be an early morning. Got to sleep around 1. Woke up at 3:30ish to the sounds of a ukulele. Which wasn't so bad in and of itself, but then the ukulele began to be accompanied by rowdy, drunken singing that went on for a good half hour or more - I think I finally fell asleep again partway through the performance, based on what some of the other gals were saying. Also, there is a construction site across the street from the hostel. Not normally an issue as I can sleep through industrial noises that accompany construction - years of living next to the legislative grounds have seen to that. ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Skåne » Lund July 25th 2013

Today was our day trip into Sweden. Given that it's just across the water from Copenhagen and there's a handy bridge to get there, we all piled on board the bus and headed over the bridge (complete with a view of a shipwreck out the right hand side off the bridge) to Sweden to perform first in the cathedral in Lund, another Lutheran church that was undoubtedly something else to begin with - it was the most Catholic-looking service I have ever been to, even if the content and wording was rather more Lutheran (from what we could gather from the English bits and the odd word of Swedish that was similar enough to English. Sadly I did not get to learn much about the Dom, even if I did take a lot of pictures. Our ... read more

Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen July 24th 2013

Began this morning a little later than usual - with breakfast at 8 and our concert at 10, it was worth sleeping in as late as possible, especially given that our room at the hostel overlooks the (rather noisy) street - people gather out there to smoke, chat, and just generally be noisy when staggering back from bars at 3 in the morning and such. We sang a concert at Vor Frue Kirke (which I believe is Danish for the church of Our Lady... Which seems odd for a Lutheran church, which apparently this was, but I'm guessing it probably has a longer history and that the name is a remnant of that) at noon. The acoustic was incredible. The sound lingered audibly for a stunning amount of time before dissipating, and I sincerely hope that ... read more

Europe » Denmark » Region Sjælland » Roskilde July 23rd 2013

This morning we mosied out to Helsingor (Elsinore) to visit Kronburg - Hamlet's castle! It was pretty cool. A large part of the castle was open to visitors, including the chapel, the various apartments, and ... The dungeon. Three guesses as to what was my favourite part? The castle was strategically located at the entrance to a sound, across the water is Sweden, and at various points in history, both sides of the entrance were Danish-controlled, and the Danish charged a toll for ships to enter into the sound to continue their journey. The fee was finally abolished in 1857. Personally, I think they should bring it back. The afternoon was a trip out to Roskilde to visit the Viking Ship museum, but more importantly, to get on a reproduction Viking ship and head out into ... read more

Europe » Denmark » Region Syddanmark July 22nd 2013

We left Lubeck this morning and embarked on a long bus ride into Denmark. It was fine by me, though, as our destination for the day was... Legoland! The original Legoland in Denmark! Woo! We arrived there shortly after noon and proceeded to swelter away waiting in lineups and such for the next three hours. It was fabulous. Only rode two rides (a roller coaster - polar expedition, and a Viking themed water ride), but got to wander around a little and take in the Lego miniatures of various things and shop in the world's largest Lego store and such. Could easily have spent way more time there. First impressions of Copenhagen are great - clean, classic... There's something understatedly Scandinavian about it that I can't quite put my finger on - elegance without ostentation, I ... read more

Europe » Germany » Schleswig-Holstein » Lübeck July 21st 2013

11:00 So in order to soothe our disappointment and to cheer ourselves up after our finish yesterday, we are now on the way to... Bergen-Belsen. Nothing says happy like a concentration camp, eh? A lot of the route has been standard European highway (which is kind of dull), but there have been a few instances where the route has been closed for whatever reason and we've had to detour. As a result we've driven through a city we wouldn't otherwise have seen and also driven past some amazing forested bits. We're obviously near some sort of military installation, as there have been several roads with signs saying "military traffic only" that we've passed (in English as well as German - not sure if that means we're near one ... read more

Europe » Germany » Saxony-Anhalt » Wernigerode July 20th 2013

Competition day 2 - started the morning with our folk song set, which went extremely well. We then changed quickly, and wandered out into the plaza by the conference centre to do a bit of rehearsing of El Hambo on the off chance that we were going be in the Grand Prix competition. As we were rehearsing on the stairs, a small group of Chinese children came over, curious, and EM showed them the score and had them follow along. They loved it. At one point we asked them to sing... But the problem was that they didn't speak English, so they had to run for a translator. Once they did, though, and our request was passed on, they sang for us, and it was lovely. In return we sang "Tell My Ma" and then the ... read more

Europe » Germany » Saxony-Anhalt » Wernigerode July 19th 2013

20:13 Not a lot to say today. It was our first day of competition, so we spent two hours rehearsing in the morning, then headed into the centre of town for our first class - sacred music. The class was in the church of Saint Sylvester, which is from the 1600s, and has an absolutely lovely acoustic. We sang three pieces - Laus Trium Puerorum, Laudi alla Vergine Maria, and the MacIntyre Ave Maria. Heather was pleased with our performance, so I think we might have a fighting chance there. Our class this evening was in the conference centre (which, surprisingly, also has a decent acoustic. Obviously not as beautifully echo-y as the church, but still able to hear everyone and such), and it was the... Whatever... Class. Not sure what the binding theme was, but ... read more

Europe » Germany » Saxony-Anhalt » Wernigerode July 18th 2013

11h00 Crashed hard last night, but got 8 hours uninterrupted sleep, which was lovely. I still don't feel entirely with it, but am currently thinking that might have more to do with lack of caffeine than with sleep deprivation for the first time so far this trip, so yay! So, yes, the hotel is set at the base of a bunch of ski jumps, and apparently used to be the home base for the local ski club. As a result, our after-breakfast rehearsal was held outdoors in the spectator stands, our voices echoing lovely-ly through the hills. BR joked that we should start singing "The Hills Are Alive". Wrong country, but, you know. To Be Sung On The Water is still freaking us out - not because it's the hardest piece, but just because we haven't ... read more

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