This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Europe Tour 2013

This is Europe trip number...I've lost count. My first trip was the summer of 1972 with the Merced Community College Concert Choir. It was the first time I'd ever been out of the country and the first time I had ever been in an airplane.  I was a freshman in college and been invited to audition and join the college's choir on its trip to the UK and the Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
The cost of the trip as I recall was all of $100. Even then it was a lot of money for me to come up with, I managed through my jobs and the generosity of grandparents to make it happen. The choir also did a lot of fundraising to get the cost down to that small amount. Long story short, I went and despite being young and naive in the way I personally experienced the trip, it was life changing.

Our director LGC and members of the WWU Concert Choir
waiting for our flight at SeaTac.
Fast forward to 1976. I was now a member of the choir at CSC, Stanislaus in Turlock, California. This time we went on a grand tour of Europe. England, again, but also Belgium, Germany, Austria and France. We, and by that I mean Leslie and I, (we were already together by then) had decided to extend our trip on our own by another week or so, an option we would take on most all of our tours to Europe thereafter. We drove with a friend through more parts of France and added the country of Switzerland when we toured through the Jungfrau and some of the major cities.

Our world travel went through a bit of a dry spell after that until Leslie started teaching at the university level. Then the tours began in earnest--every 3 years on average. Our last one was a fantastic tour of Argentina and Uruguay.

Members of the WWU Concert Choir about to board
 our flight to Venice, Italy.
Now, here we are on a plane headed for Europe once again. 40 folks in all. A Lufthansa flight from Seattle over the polar route to Frankfurt after which will follow a short hop over the Alps to Venice where the tour will actually begin.

The choir will sing a Palm Sunday mass in Saint Marks Cathedral, then board a bus that will take us through Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, exciting for us since these are three countries we have never been to.

Each stop along the way will include a concert with another local choir. After our tour 3 years ago to Argentina and Uruguay, Leslie was convinced it was a great way to tour. Her students meet other people, they sing songs for each other including traditional music from their countries. It was an amazing experience to watch. We hope to replicate that experience with this tour.

The tour is short though. It is during WWU's Spring break so it only lasts 12 days including the travel to and from, and there is no opportunity to extend our stay. So it will be short and sweet.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be documenting the trip here on A Fork in the Road so subscribe now and don't miss a single episode.