Saturday, 9 August 2014

Personal: ESYO Tour 2014 to Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia - Part 1: Leipzig, Germany.

Hiya loves,

Today's blog post will be all about my trip to Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia. I have quite a lot of things to say about this amazing trip so I was thinking of doing it in three parts. Part 1 - Germany, Part 2 -Czech Republic and Part 3 - Slovakia. This is to make it easier for myself and you guys that want to know about one particular country or can't handle reading through pages and pages of writing. Yeah girl, I feel you.

Let's start with the reason why I went to those places in the first place, around 3 or 4 years ago I auditioned for the East Sussex String Chamber Orchestra and the East Sussex Youth Orchestra and I managed to get into both but up until this year in Easter was I able to afford partaking in ESYO. I decided it was the right time to join seeing as they were arranging a tour. I figured it would be an incredible first experience with them and I planned to be in the orchestra for a while.

There was over a year of preparation into this tour along with so many people fundraising and organising our venues and the itinerary. There were 2 courses that I did in Easter and Summer that lasted a week, 9:30 till 5 creating incredible music with everyone and rehearsing like mad getting everything ready in time for the two concerts we did and the tour we were about to embark on. Some of the repertoire included Joseph Suk's Scherzo Fantastique, The Three Cornered Hat by De Falla, and the Mahler along with another handful of pieces. I remember playing the Mahler in the first week of Easter, I sightread it and got incredibly lost - if you had told me we were going to take it on tour and actually play it incredible I would've been like WHATT, you joke big time.

On July 30th at approximately 6pm everyone arrived at Lewes ready to pack the coaches, there were around 92 of us that went - not including teachers (I think) there were 2 coaches, Coach A an Coach B (which we named the party coach) and an instrument van. I sat next to my good friend Pasha throughout the whole of tour and she was a delight! A couple of incidents happened on the coach during the trip though for one Coach A actually missed the ferry on the way there and had to wait an hour for the next one, we decided to wait for them but actually took a detour that made Coach A overtake us.

Then, to top it all off we had to get our tire changed which took around an hour and a half but it was okay because we managed to explore a gorgeous town that we found in Germany which is in the picture below. The girl in the picture is my good friend Heledd (pronounced Heleth) and she is one of the nicest, sweetest, purest, hilarious and most innocent girls you will ever meet doesn't she look so cute in this photo!

 So, what was supposed to be a 22 hour coach journey actually ended up being around 24 hour coach journey! Our itinerary stated that once we got into the hotel and checked in and unpacked a bit then we could take a tram in Leipzig and explore but no we weren't able to catch the tram into Leipzig to explore because our coach was majorly delayed so when we arrived at the Hotel Ramada in Leipzig we had just about enough time to unload our suitcases and instruments, check in, wash and change just in time for a quick drink and then go to dinner. The hotel was beautiful, it really was - it was lovely and spacious and beautifully decorated, ESYO also had the whole floor to ourselves so it was easy to find everyone. Our hotel room was also very lovely and had a gorgeous view overlooking the hotel, I took a few pictures to show you guys.

The photo above is indeed a hotel room selfie that me Ocean and Will took, the dress is what I wore to dinner. Let me tell you something about dinner, it was incredible, I might do a little food diary to go along with everything because you know I took countless photos of my food on tour, I have no shame.

The above photo is Pasha, Ellie and I before our tour of Leipzig, we had a big day ahead of us with rehearsal, concert and dinner. After breakfast - which was a buffet (an amazing buffet) we took the coach into Leipzig and was dropped off at the main train station that had 26 platforms, unbelievable I know, it also doubled as a huge supermarket which was amazing! We were then split into groups and taken on a tour, we were able to see countless churches, my favourite being St Thomas's Church where Johann Sebastian Bach was buried, (pictures will be below) it was just such an amazing experience to be laced in with streets that contained so much history to it. Beautiful, tall, extravagantly built buildings that withstood time itself and remained wonderful as ever - it was so breathtaking at times. One note about Germany is it's sanitary status -which is en pointe. Literally, so clean! I loved it, also the weather was so incredible to us all week, apart from one thunderstorm that happened on our way to dinner this same day but other than that it was incredibly and sometimes uncomfortably hot which was contradictary to the rain that we had previously been forecasted to have a week before so we were very grateful for that (but not grateful for the luggage room that would have been freed from thick woolly jumpers and trousers). Anyway, here are some of the photos of our tour of Leipzig that I took:

The tour was amazing, Leipzig was beautiful I seriously recommend visiting Leipzig if you are ever in Germany, the music that fills every street is marvellous, the sights are breathtaking, the smell of the restaurants are bakeries literally made my mouth drool and there were so many shopping opportunities I didn't even know where to start. After our tour we managed to grab lunch at a cute little bakery where everything was in containers that you had to lift the lid up of and choose what you wanted and place it on a tray, everything was also very cheap which helped a lot. 

We had to make it back to the coach at a certain time and surprisingly we were the first ones there which made a change seeing as we had to wait for a few people earlier that morning. After, we had took around an hour to get to the concert hall to rehearse for the concert in the evening, the venue was very quaint and beautiful and the same time.

After rehearsal we had dinner at a place 15 minutes away, the starter was soup, the mains were chicken and vegetables and the dessert was pannacotta (which I had actually already eaten the evening before at dinner but enjoyed all the same). After dinner we went straight to the concert hall, apparently getting lost on the way and had to awkwardly walk through the concert hall where the audience were sat to get changed into our concert dress and to grab our instruments. The concert went amazing and the audiences response was marvellous, they were so very friendly and welcoming it made the experience all the more enjoyable. 

Initially I wasn't able to create a video because movie maker was being weird but I have finally made one, added cheesy music to it and uploaded it to Youtube so here it is:

It was such a blessing to be able to share the stage surrounded by incredible musicians, I spent most of the trip just being deeply moved and inspired by these wonderfully gifted individuals. It was the music that brought us there at that moment and music that formed our friendships. So there it is, our first few days on tour for your eyes only. 

Stay tuned for the next two blog posts about Czech Republic and Slovakia,
God bless,
All my love,

1 comment:

  1. I have loved reading about your ESYO tour experiences - I was in the orchestra from 1994-2000 and was looking on the internet for things to include in a This is Your ESYO Life book for Colin's retirement gift from the orchestra at the 40th anniversary concert next weekend. Are you involved in that? Please may we use add some of your lovely photos and quotes? Katherine :-)