GWO in Europe 2010 – The Adventure Begins

Posted on January 22nd, 2010 by

Day 1

From Cavafy’s Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge …. But do not hurry the voyage at all, (and you will arrive) rich with all that you have gained along the way.

Day 1 began bright (well, maybe not so bright at 4:00 a.m.) and early as the Gustavus Wind Orchestra began to arrive at Schaefer Fine Arts to load the buses for the drive to MSP for the flight to Chicago. Even given the early hour, the mood was upbeat. For many, this is the first trip abroad and anxiety accompanied expectancy to make this move to Minneapolis and beyond. With the load and final check of the area surrounding the rehearsal studio, the journey began.

A few minor wrinkles of missed communication between United and Lutfhansa were the only distractions as the entourage moved through check-in, security and on to the gate. The next few hours passed with loading, unloading, waiting and loading again for the major flight to leave Chicago. Once again, we were in the air with the full anticipation of our adventure before us.

Eight hours later, almost to the minute, the plane touched down in Frankfurt and the ensemble transferred to the final flight into Prague. A short time later, the flight arrived in Prague, the jewel of central Europe and one-time home to the Hapsburg dynasty.

It’s difficult to explain how quickly everything is different. It’s not just the signage, although it is in a different language, or the announcements on the public address. It simply feels different and the visual cues of architecture and the passing automobiles enhance the experience. It is older, yes, and it is wonderful to have arrived.

A familiar face greets us as we leave the airport. AnnaMaria, a native of Budapest, has toured with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra in 1994 and 2006 and she is, once again, our lead guide. Together with Carmen, AnnaMaria will be our Mom away from home for two weeks.

Following the challenge of loading the suitcases, instruments and miscellaneous cases onto/into the two buses, we leave for the hotel, unload the luggage into and head back into the city for an afternoon

GWO at Jan Hus Memorial, Prague

GWO at Jan Hus Memorial, Prague

in the Old Town Center. Fighting the effects of jet lag is less challenging as we walk into the brisk winter afternoon in Prague. The sky is overcast but the clouds can not dampen the enthusiasm of the group as it scatters to discover the city. Some walk the winding, cobblestone streets, others visit shops filled with world-famous Czech garnet or amber, or glass shops filled with deep-blue Czech crystal. Others find a place for lunch and a hot bowl of traditional Czech potato-mushroom soup and a cup of wonderful coffee. Farel & Vetter Interview in Prague

Late in the afternoon, we make our way to the hotel for dinner and, finally, give in to our jet lag and finish a long and exciting Day One.

 

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