Day 3: Desinic & Predgrada

  1. imageEverywhere we go, we are so honored with the preparation of meals, attention to both wonderful flavors and presentation. This day included several stops, beginning first the Veliki Tabor Castle, then the Bezanec Castle and a concert in Predgrada, followed with dinner at the Hunting Lodge.

The Veliki Tabor Castle is under renovation and we sang on two levels of the gallery. Toward the end of the singing, it began to pour.

Dinner at the Hunters’ Lodge was a great event that began with a welcome drink of a local spirit. It is the local custom to greet visitors with a small shot glass of a local spirit. At the end of dinner, Dustin gave a moving speech and then dedicated his pitch pipe to the woman who was the leader/director of the choir that sang for us. Dustin was moved by her dedication and explained that his pitch pipe had been handed over to him by his mentor 10 years ago and it was his turn to hand it over to a young musician. It was an emotional experience to witness.

Here are just two pictures of what the groupies do during rehearsal:

Find the best coffee and/or do Yoga!



Day 2: Samobar

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” Anais Nin

Sunday, June 26. The first part of the morning was spent in Zagreb. We took a walking tour of the Historic Center of town and learned about the lower town and upper town. Below is a replica of the town:



It’s Official! Tour Croatia 2016 Has Begun!

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”  African proverb

As I write this tonight, I can hear sounds of cheering in the hotel as well as on the street (cheering or shouting) – EuroSoccer 2016 is big here. The Croatian team is playing.

It was the first full day in Zagreb for most of us. The day was free for our own pursuits until dinner at 7:30, other than a small group rehearsal and a team meeting. Three of the last 5 singers arrived after dinner tonight at 9pm. Two more to join us in Samobar. In the middle of dinner, 3 other singers arrived after having to spend 24 hours in the Paris airport due to a strike. Oh the survival stories… Still missing: one keyboard. Purportedly found in the Toronto luggage system and promised to be at the church where the concert is by 5pm tomorrow (Sunday)

Below is photo from official welcoming dinner and toast at the Mareda Grill. Second photo is of hotel where we began our trip.




The First Departure

It’s the day before our tour officially begins. Three of us left Bellingham, Washington at 10 am on Thursday, June 23. We had plenty of time to arrive 3 hours before departure, check-in with bags to check, passports in hand. The Canadian airport employees are so helpful! They greeted us and asked where we were headed and directed us to the kiosk, where another employee came to make sure we weren’t having any difficulty. The three of us split up to two different kiosks. When Alicia and I found Linda, we were told that our departing flight was delayed and we’d miss connections to Munich if we didn’t get on the next outbound flight. We had 15 minutes to get new boarding passes and new luggage tags! We ended up checking 3 bags – the mic stands, the first aid kits and other accessories I’ve learned a group this large needs, and my own back pack. Thankful to have checked my bag so I don’t have quite so much to run with through the next two airports should our timing be close again. Phew! We made it onto the flight. And so it begins. I learned a long time ago that once you step out of your home, the adventure begins and it’s best to go with the flow!

The Gathering

I love to travel, but hate to arrive. Albert Einstein

I think a number of us felt quite differently from Dr. Einstein today! We are here! Such wonderful words to declare!

The stories of missed flights for a variety of reasons including these two: a strike of employees in Belgium and a bomb threat in Paris. Then there are a few items that seem to have gone on a bit of a walk: a guitar and a keyboard. We are confident the instruments will find their way to us and the travelers who are still in transit will eventually arrive!

It was fun to be standing at our gate in Munich, Linda, Alicia and I, to turn and see George, LaVonne, Jim and Dave arrive to fly the last leg of the trip with us! And then to arrive at the Hotel Laguna and be greeted with hugs from Charlie! Yes! We are here! As we signed in, Geof and Liz came into the lobby and soon there was a party to head out to dinner, across the street for a meal that sounded so good, yet we were hot and tired and just couldn’t eat much. The restaurant owner asked if something was wrong. When we replied we’d been traveling for two days he laughed and said he understood and was glad it wasn’t the food! People have been arriving in small groups all evening. Two people had been biking all day and told us about a market that is on top of a hill with a lovely view. Two more have been to museums. Others headed out for pizza nearby. We are really here and Tour begins tomorrow!