It was time to say farewell to THE NETHERLANDS. Our journey to the jazz fest in MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND would be in excess of 12 hours. We were picked up by our 66 passenger, stretch luxury motor coach at 530am. The Staff at the Manhattan had prepared cute designer “breakfast bags” for each of us, luggage was loaded into the compartment and we were ready to roll. A big up to Sheila’s husband Darius for assisting our driver with loading up.
It was a rainy, dismal morning and we were taking our California sunshine with us. Even though we had a long ride ahead, this mode of transportation was the best choice plus those not sleeping would experience the beautiful countryside as we rolled through Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of France. We had 2 expert drivers who knew the better areas on this route for our “comfort stops’.
The closer we got to Switzerland the skies cleared up, the sun began to shine brightly. We rolled through several Swiss cities, ie, Basle and Lucerne. Those with concert tickets this evening for Lenny Kravitz were getting anxious because we still had to get luggage unloaded and checked in to our rooms. In booking this hotel, THE GRAND SUISSE MAJESTIC, of which I’ve stayed at on numerous occasions, my main objective was to pay extra to ensure ALL rooms at this joint were with views of the lovely LAKE GENEVA. Some were lucky enough to have a balcony so you know my popularity dropped with those that didn’t. I heard about it more than I can count. Heck, for some reason, the Queen didn’t get her upgrade to junior suite but I was thankful for my view of the lake. We all could have been doomed to a view of the train station across the street had I not been on my j-o-b.
This country had so many special memories for me: in 1983 it was the 1st European country I visited with my mother, it was where I met my mentor Dr Wesley Johnson (1932-2004). He was the most brilliant man I’ve ever known. For over 30 years he spent a month annually in Europe hitting Jazz Fests and other cultural sites and he knew Europe (eastern and western) like the back of his hand and I made it my business to learn as much as I could soak up. Lastly, my granddaughter Casey, now 21 and myself were here in Montreux when she was the tender age of 6. We saw George Clinton and another night we saw RUN DMC and it was a year before Jam Master Jay was murdered.
After I rested a but, I strolled towards my choice of restaurant for the evening; there was the bungy/trampoline jumper where Casey spent all her time and money 15 years ago.
Several in the group were making their way to the castle of Chillon, taking the Chocolate Train, shopping, going to Geneva, etc. Tuesday I made my way to MUSIC IN THE PARK. There was a tribute to drummer Art Blakey and the young folks performing rocked it. The French speaking vocalist on stage scatted like she went to the Ella Fitzgerald school of scatting. It was an awesome afternoon. This night’s concert would be SANTANA and I couldn’t wait.
This morning Sue and I would be on the JAZZ TRAIN to Gstaad. Jazz musicians would be performing on the GOLDEN PASS TRAIN there and back. It should be a very pleasurable experience.
It’s been a wonderful week and everyone seems to have had a great time. For some it’s been a reunion and others have made new friends that will last a lifetime.
Will Kattrax repeat this group tour next year? No, but if you want a customized Jazz tour here in Europe, I will be happy to set it up for you. I would hate to see you go through anyone else that may charge you triple. Just saying……