Blog

Rest Day

Thankfully, having traveled somewhat extensively over the years, I have learned that it’s essential to take breaks when traveling…which I did today.

The hotel I’m staying at in Stuttgart had a nice pool. Took a swim this morning, then got in the hot tub. There was a sweet young girl who was starting back to school on Monday, relishing her last weekend of the summer.  We talked about life in general, and really enjoyed soaking in the hot tub! I wished her well with her studies, and she wished me well on the rest of my journey through Europe. She said she loved Vienna, and reminded me how beautiful the buildings are there…looking forward to all of that!

But today, I really needed to just take it easy, so I took my sweet time getting dressed, etc., then took the underground to the “main square” area of town, the Rathaus (Government buildings), and did some shopping nearby in the Gerber Center, which was quite modern. I ended up getting some lunch at a Subway in an indoor mall, and had to chuckle when they asked me what I wanted in German (!). 🙂 They have a TJ Maxx here also, but it’s called TK Maxx for some reason! Definitely different. But it was fun for me to get a feel for the people in Stuttgart on a Saturday.

There were also protests in the Square. Very laid back, and very interesting. There was a German Arlo Guthrie type who sang some folk songs, and a fellow from Africa appealed to the crowd to help his country (which I was never able to determine, unfortunately).

All in all, I really have enjoyed Stuttgart. So many memories! And I’m glad I got here…finally!

Here are some pix from today. Tomorrow is on to Munich!

Monica

Stuttgart!

Today was filled with lots of memories!!!

I got my train to Stuttgart in the morning, and somehow found the hotel amid a lot of construction in the area!!! I finally got to the Lobby, and my friend (well, actually really my sister Lucy’s friend, but she really has become a friend of the family) Elke, was there!

I had not seen her since she came to visit back in the 80s! No joke! So, it was really wonderful to reunite with her again, and man, did we have a lot of time to catch up on!!! 🙂

My sister and she were friends at the Sorbonne in Paris and have stayed in touch on and off all these years, which is really cool. She came to visit the States twice that I remembered, and each time I remember she was a lot of fun. I was the “little sister” who tagged along back then… :), but it seems we both have grown up now (lol!)…at least I hope so!

The other amazing thing about Elke is that she grew up a few blocks away from where my Mom and Dad lived in Stuttgart after the war! Talk about coincidences!!

So today, naturally, we had to go see where they lived, where she grew up, and we even went to the town where my Dad had worked for the Army, helping to rebuild the phone system in Germany after the war.

It really was wonderful spending time with her, catching up, and seeing how she lives in Stuttgart. Turns out she has become quite an Equestrian, and owns a Riding School outside of Stuttgart. We went there also today and I was lucky enough to see all the wonderful and beautiful horses, her wonderful dogs, all the facilities and where Elke lives on the grounds. Really wonderful!

We talked about how difficult it is to run our own businesses at times, what it’s like to be self-employed, what obstacles we’ve overcome, etc. It was very inspiring to see what she has built there in 15 years! We even talked about possibly collaborating, as she needs music for her horse shows sometimes..how cool would THAT be?? 🙂

After a fun day reminiscing, catching up and having fun, Elke brought me back to my hotel in Stuttgart. No easy task with all the construction! I am now happily writing my blog in a very nice room, looking forward to giving myself a little rest tomorrow to prepare myself for the next part of the journey..Munich, then on to Austria!!!

Can’t wait!!!

Here are some pictures from today’s adventures. Enjoy!

Jazz in Cologne and on to Frankfurt!

So…last night after I blogged about Cologne, I went out again to grab some dinner, and then headed over to the jazz club nearby to hear a Swing Band.

Both experiences were amazing! The outdoor restaurant I chose had excellent food. Had my first Sauerbratten (sp?). Delicious! Turns out the restaurant was where the G8 Summit heads of state went when Clinton was president. They were very proud of this, and had pictures of the Clintons, Tony Blair and others around the restaurant. That was kind of neat! I just stumbled upon it, and it obviously was a “world-class” place to go! What can I tell you…I’ve always had a “high end” taste. Gets me every time…! LOL!

Anyway, I then meandered back to the jazz club, which had gotten very crowded (I had been by earlier, and they said to go get some dinner and come back later). The band wasn’t really playing yet. I found a spot upstairs (was really hot up there!…I’m still not used to the humidity and all the smoke!), and then the guys started playing. They were really good. Called themselves the Jazz Preachers.

I started talking to the guy next to me who turned out to also be another jazz piano player from Bavaria (Baden Baden area). We both said how impressed we were with the piano player. Turns out, he played the bass lines with his feet while he played the piano parts on the keys! Amazing!

He came upstairs to pass the basket (they do that here a lot), and we started talking. Turns out he was an organist for many years, but then turned to jazz! We exchanged cards, and all 3 of us piano players had a great conversation about what it is to be a jazz piano player! Very, very cool!! More possibilities and contacts for the band tour..and it just happened!!!

This morning I got up pretty early to get the train to Frankfurt. I didn’t want to pay too much for the train ticket, so I left earlier in the day. Seems to be a way to avoid that…anyway, I had a very enjoyable train ride “down the Rhine”. There were many families on holiday, or coming back from them. Adorable kids! And so well behaved!

Frankfurt is a much more corporate city than Cologne. I sensed it the minute I left the station. Lots of “suits” and folks in corporate dress. Got there at lunchtime, which was actually perfect. The streets were bustling with folks out and about for their lunch hours. I found a nice Italian eatery on the main drag, KaiserStrasse. Had a lot of fun watching folks walk by. I was also very careful about my bag. I could tell there were some strange folks at the train station entrance hoping to swindle some unsavvy tourists. I immediately got my “New York” attitude on, and walked briskly.

After lunch, I checked in early to my hotel, which is very nice. An Australian chain throughout Europe (who knew?). The room is really a small suite! With a really nice view of the city!

When I got settled, I decided to venture out and sightsee a little. The hotel is a block from the Rhine, which was perfect for me to be able to walk over it to the German Film Museum on the other side.

Interestingly enough, they had a great 50 year retrospective honoring 2001, A Space Odyssey, which I had actually seen the premiere of in LA in 1968! My Dad had a business trip and I was allowed to go with him and my Mom. We met with Mr. Goldwyn on the set of MGM, and a Mr. Walker (I’ll never forget him) took us all around the lot, and showed us all of the small replicas of the 2001 Space Odyssey models that were used in the film with trick photography. Then we got to see the Premier of it that night in Hollywood! It was one of those amazing things that happen to you, that you never forget.

But what was weird today is..I realized that I could have been in that exhibit! I’m a relic, I guess now…still can’t believe that was 5 0 years ago!!! Anyway, I took some of the pictures of the exhibit and had a big chuckle, since I had been there when it all happened!

My father had a knack for getting to “important” events like that. I remember we got the “royal treatment” with limousines and everything for that trip, including meeting Mr. Goldwyn, seeing the lot and going to the premiere. It really was something! I also remember being jealous that one of my sisters got to go to the launching of Apollo 8 in Florida since my Dad’s roommate was Mike Collins. They got the royal treatment for that as well.

But I guess today reminded me that things happen for a reason…I ended up being a musician and composer in LA years later..probably because I was influenced by that trip in some way…at 8!

Anyway, tonight I walked nearby to a fun place called Oscar’s that was attached to the Frankfurter Hotel, a beautiful place. There was a beautiful young African American singer tonight with a DJ. We lost a giant today with Aretha Franklin’s passing, so I asked them to do a few numbers for Aretha, which the did. I thanked them as I was leaving.

Tomorrow I head to Stuttgart. Can’t wait to see Elke and have even more adventures and memories of my parents! Seems they have been with me a lot on this trip!!! Thanks Mom and Dad.

Guten Knaben, guten knacht!

Monika

P.S. Here are some pix from last night and today’s adventures!

 

Koln (Cologne)

Left Haarlem and Amsterdam today. Was kind of bittersweet, as I really did enjoy my time there, but I was/am also excited about continuing on my journey.  I took an ICE fast train (German) from Amsterdam and traveled south to Koln (Cologne in English), Germany.

Beautiful Cathedral stands in the center of everything! My hotel is not far from it, and I’m right on the “Alter Markt” which is basically where everyone “hangs out”. I just came back from strolling down to the Rhine River, then meandered back to my hotel, stopping for chocolate and a cappuccino on the way. Perfect!

I am going to be heading out later to a jazz club, walking distance, to hear a swing band. How fun is that, right? Not sure it’s the right venue for the band, but I’ll give it the old college try…and have fun while I’m at it listening to some great music!

Tomorrow is Frankfurt. Leaving pretty early so I don’t have to overpay on the train, and I’m looking forward to seeing Elke after many years in Stuttgart on Friday!

Here are some pix from today…

Monica

Haarlem Pix

OK. Not sure what happened yesterday, but I wasn’t able to load pictures from my phone onto my Google Photo Library of Haarlem for some reason…

So I put them on another blog I have…rather generic, with a random picture of a cat at the top (not mine, but a cute one.) The pictures from my day in Haarlem should be there.

http://www.monicasprivateblog.blogspot.com. Under Europe Trip 2018 Contd.

I’m hoping I won’t have any issues like this again going forward, but if I do, I’ll let you know where you can see pictures that don’t seem to be able to get up here on the WordPress blog directly.

The good news is…my phone is able to take these pictures and I usually can transfer them easily, so…let’s hope that continues as I continue throughout “the continent.” 🙂

Cheers,

Monica

Amsterday :)

Last full day in Holland. 😦

Went into Amsterdam today to continue to market the band, etc. Got everything done I was supposed to do for that, and had a little fun besides.

Brought my “wares” to 3 potential venues I was told about by folks I trust here. Had a lot of fun talking to club owners, checking out the spaces, etc.

For “fun,” I went to the Eye Museum, a wonderful modern Film museum. Beautiful modern structure right on the water! It didn’t rain today (surprise, surprise), but was a bit brisk and windy. Ate inside at the Museum’s Cafe, but it was still a spectacular view.

The Exhibit on display was rather weird, naturally! 🙂 A local filmmaker and video artist named Alex Van Warmerdam had all kinds of films and moving videos. Some of it was pretty far out there, but some of it was pretty darn funny. And clever.

Interestingly enough, his brother was the composer for most of his works. That was interesting, especially since I also saw an exhibit there with another film with a brother as the composer…wonder if that’s a “thing” here…i.e., keeping it all in the family.

Anyway, I was also entitled to a film which I decided to see…it was also weird. It was in Spanish, with Dutch subtitles! I actually understood most of the Spanish, thank God. But those subtitles got really annoying at times…trying to remember what words meant in Spanish, and then seeing them in Dutch. Quite an experience! Musically, I liked the composer’s work. He definitely added a lot to it. Had a Latin flair, naturally, but was also very innovative.

I was intrigued by all the American films and stars that they seem to idolize in Europe. Folks wear a lot of American clothes too here. I have seen more NY Yankee hats here than I’ve seen in New York!

I’m heading to Germany tomorrow…have very much enjoyed my time here in Amsterdam. It is a beautiful city, and the people really do seem very “laid back.” Hope we get a few gigs here…I’d like to come back and play here if possible. I think folks here would actually appreciate what we do. There seems to be a lot of interest in different types of jazz in Amsterdam, which was encouraging.

I was able to load pictures from my Google Media Library tonight (it didn’t work last night for some reason). Here are some pix from today’s adventures!

Haarlem Day

About to crash out…but wanted to at least check in.

I’ve been marketing the band and myself as a composer/musician today. Went to the Philharmonic in Haarlem today just to see it, but the lady at the place and I started to speak to each other (she let me peak in to see the famous organ and pipes!), and I ended up getting the name of a contact to possibly play at the smaller venue there upstairs, which is supposed to be beautiful, and also caters to jazz! So, that was cool.

I then went to another place that was pretty famous..Cafe Stiels. It’s been around for over 20 years, which speaks for itself! Definitely a bar feel, but the guy said lots of folks play there…all kinds of genres. I gave him my info as well, and he told me who to contact to play there.

Had some lunch nearby in the shopping area at a wonderful little place run by a family. Great food, and they had an adorable little black cat that kept coming by and saying hello. I missed my guys seeing him…but it was nice that they had a cat in the restaurant! At one point, a family came in with a dog, and all hell broke loose. Everyone laughed! It was that kind of a place.

I also was in dire need of some more clothes and a better bag. My Coleman just hasn’t really cut it on this trip. The wheels are not strong enough. I probably overpaid way too much, but I got a really strong Samsonite bag today at a large store that had everything from soup to nuts. Also got some clothes, and they gave me a free coffee, which I drank upstairs in their cafe on the top floor. Nice views of Haarlem from there.

Finally met my hosts today. We had a nice hour chatting about a lot of things! It was nice to hear how they came about doing AirBnB, and I told them I might be doing the same. So, that was nice.

I meandered out for dinner around 8. Thought I’d hit this one place my hosts were talking about, called “Brownies and Downie’s!” They were closed, but I found a fabulous Thai restaurant on the same block. Delicious food. Stopped by the Cafe Stiel on the way home. It was too early to hear anyone. The Netherlands have late hours for the clubs. So, I thanked him for giving me the name of the booking person, and thought I’d be home in a jiffy.

No such luck! Got lost getting home, and ended up on the opposite side of town (!). Luckily, there was a nice hotel and restaurant that was still open. The young gentleman at the Front Desk was very helpful. Gave me a map, which got me back on track. I was home in no time!

Tomorrow is Amsterdam. More marketing for the band and possibly work as a film composer. Looking forward to more exploring!!!

Bummer…just tried to add today’s pictures to this, and it’s telling me they can’t load my “media library”…whatever THAT means! Oy…will try to figure this out tomorrow and see if I can get the pictures up. Hope this doesn’t continue as I’ve only been gone a week and a half! Lots more pictures to come!!!

Monica