June 30, 2010

Pilgrimage to Troldhaugen

Today was again thrilling, as it was my first visit to Troldhaugen, Grieg's home, the Grieg Museum, & Troldsalen!

I'll write about it later, but for now here is a photo of my first visit to the recital hall known as Troldsalen, getting to know the Hamburg Steinway there.


Europe!  Finally!
It feels so wonderful to be back on this continent after such a long time.  I've always felt that I halfway belong here, which makes sense if you consider that both my parents are European and so much of my upbringing had European influence, not to mention the regular family vacations to Denmark throughout my childhood.

Travel went fairly smoothly to get here.  I started the journey with a headache, no doubt due to the overwhelm of so many details to attend to before leaving.  The airport limo was supremely comfortable though, so much so that I was able to doze off a bit.  Upon arriving at Pearson airport we (my daughter and I) learned that our first flight was overbooked.  Luckily we were prioritized due to the fact that we had connecting flights.  Whew.

The first leg of the journey was just to Halifax.  I guess I needed to be close to the sea air, because upon arrival I felt my headache beginning to lift.  Whew again.  We had a short stopover - enough time to update facebook statuses & buy some Starbucks snacks - and then boarded our Icelandair flight for Reykjavik.  I found it thrilling to hear Icelandic as soon as we entered the plane.  This leg of the journey was slightly under 4 hours and was a very comfortable flight.  Arriving in Iceland at 5 a.m. was again thrilling as it really began to feel like Europe.  A very civilized and quiet customs hall where we went through security and got our passports stamped, followed by an Icelandic breakfast in the terminal.

Then, one more Icelandair flight.  Under two hours to Bergen, Norway.  By now we are suitably surrounded by languages other than English.  I am surprised to find how much I can understand of Icelandic, particularly in written form.  This last flight of the day finds us dozing off for the duration.

Arrival in Bergen!  Everything has gone sooo smoothly for this trip.  I was very glad that I chose to book it in three shorter flights.  I find it so difficult to sit in an airplane for a trans-Atlantic flight.  I'm never good at just sitting, so this was ideal.

When we arrived in Bergen, it seemed that the passport check was optional, so we walked on by.  We got our luggage and then just walked out to the arrivals area through the "nothing to declare" exit.  There didn't seem to be anyone there not to declare anything to anyway.  Got bus info, found the bus immediately, boarded it, paid, and departed immediately for town.  This is when the thrill of finally being back in Europe really started to take hold.

We were dropped off by the Fishmarket, and made our way in the general direction of the hotel.  A bit of struggle pulling the very-overweight suitcase uphill on cobblestones, but that is all part of the travel adventure.  As is  not being able to check in immediately.  Oh well.  A little touring around the Bryggen neighbourhood and a bowl of the most-fantastic-seafood-chowder-of-life and we were ready for our afternoon nap.

Finding the prices (not surprisingly) here to be over the top, we decided to slum it for supper, and picked up 7-11 snacks to take back to our hotel room.  Snacks which cost ~ $47 CDN!

This afternoon we head to Troldhaugen!

June 20, 2010

Stratford audience

  1. Just back from playing my "Ravel meets Grieg" recital program on my favourite piano. SUCH a lovely audience tonight: the kind you want to wrap up in a nice little box & take with you for when you need support. There was even a rock concert whoop when I finished my final piece. Classical concerts need more whooping & hollering, in my humble opinion.
    People always ask about my encore; Daina #14 by Latvian composer, Janis Medins, a piece I've loved since I heard it as a kid when Arturs Ozolins (the pianist, not the hockey player) played it. I'm really hoping to purchase an actual published collection of Medins Dainas in Riga; it would be nice to have more legible scores than what I've got, and then hopefully I could learn the entire set and record them.


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