Rehearsing and performing incredible music with some of my best friends is a stunning location with (mostly) gorgeous weather; my orchestra’s recent tour to Switzerland was one of the best trips of my life.
The coach journey there was very long. The ferry we were meant to catch left Dover while we were still at Maidstone service station but we made up some time through France and Switzerland and didn’t arrive in Teufen too late. The French service stations were very nice and I bought lots of biscuits and smoothies (to stay healthy…).They also had very nice views including this one of a chateau on a hill.
The Swiss service station we stopped at for lunch on Friday was my favourite. Besides from the frequent signposts to the erotic megastore it had amazing food which was very welcome after nearly twenty hours on a coach.
When we eventually arrived we had a rehearsal straight away which I think most of us slept through. The hostel where we were staying was a lot more roomy than I was expecting, there were a lot of mattresses on the floors so that everyone could fit but there was a good amount of space. The main thing that everyone noticed immediately was the number of flies absolutely everywhere. We had the shutters closed on the windows in our room the entire time but I still had to sleep with my head under a blanket to stop them landing on my face all night.
The beginning of the tour was mostly spent rehearsing but we found time for lots of trips to Spar and Migros (the food in the hostel was somewhat questionable, the highlights were curry with grapes and glacé cherries and chopped frankfurters with grated cheese in a white sauce). Luckily Spar and Migros were very good and we bought a lot of biscuits, chocolate, mangos and these purple crisps.We also explored the town and climbed the two hills either side of the valley where we were staying.I made my friends walk up one hill backwards as it’s so much better for you. I’m not sure how much they appreciated it but the bench at the top was definitely worth it…
Switzerland is very well signposted, even if you don’t speak any German (we were in the German speaking part). My genius moment was working out what this meant.Footpath, of course.
We went on several outings to places which were very nice but I have no idea where they were. We went up Säntis which is a very tall mountain which I’m sure had amazing views from the top but there was blanket cloud. We went to a town by a lake where we swam and ate very good ice cream.We also went to the swimming pool in Teufen and spent a long time working out the fastest way to go down the water slide (4 people at once, backwards). We played an outdoor concert one day and went swimming in the lake again beforehand but this time the lakebed was very weeds and when you put your foot down it was a gamble whether you would get lake grass or sandy mud, neither of which was particularly nice!
Our last concert was in a vineyard and we walked up to a tiny chapel at the top of one of the fields and spent ages singing German hymns in four part harmony. We have a wild old time at music camp!Actually we do have a pretty wild time and the amount of drama that unfolds from seventy people living in the same building for nearly two weeks is quite incredible.
The coach journey home was much quicker and less jolly than the one there. Lots of people who have been in the orchestra for years are leaving so there were lots of tears and emotions running high. We ended up catching a ferry at 2 a.m. which wasn’t particularly fun and the parents who came to pick up their offspring at 4 a.m. were crazy. After lots of emotional goodbyes I managed to catch the train all to way to my grandparents house in Suffolk without collapsing from exhaustion which I am very proud of.