European Reflections...Part 2

With a head full of new ideas and a heart full of gratitude I am still processing my last month. The travels, the people, the food, the concerts...there’s so much to think about!

I had such an incredible experience, and I loved each place that I had a chance to visit.

My trip started in France on a river cruise with Bryan and his family. We traveled down the Rhone River by boat, stopping in little towns along the way. I drank more wine than I ever have in my life (you can’t get a bad glass!), walked an average of 10 miles a day, and found out that I love speaking French.

I made friends from Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Romania, got to sing with a talented musician named Miro, and enjoyed fresh river air coming through our open window each night.

After ten days, of what could arguably be called my first vacation in 10 years, I traveled to Barcelona.

My friends Montse and Antoni helped me set up concerts there and they were amazing! We met last summer in a sea of thousands of people at Seeger Fest, and I’m so glad that our paths crossed. They were the ones that originally got me thinking about a European tour.

I had five concerts in Barcelona and the surrounding area, and I loved it so much. I plugged into a community of people deeply involved in the Catalonian Independence movement, learned one of the most famous Catalonian folk songs (Rossinyol) and happily adapted to drinking a glass of wine with lunch each day.

Of course, I continued to joyfully walk 10 miles a day… 

Though I don’t speak Catalan, many people also speak Spanish in Barcelona, so I loved being able to communicate. Even more so, I loved being mistaken for a native speaker from Mexico! I was very proud of that, actually.

Introducing my songs and telling stories at each of these shows (you know…it’s part of my deal…) was such a fun challenge. It forced me to really think about what I was saying, and it pushed me to master new phrases in a language that I love!

I sang with two choirs, a trio, and sold out of my new album almost instantly. Also- folks in Barcelona LOVE sing alongs. So, the shows went really well.

Heading to Germany was really exciting. This place to me felt the most ‘new’. I knew very few people, and I had more free time (only three concerts in 10 days) so I had the chance to explore towns and travel.

I took the train throughout the country, and it was so great. First of all - the trains in Germany have wifi. Second, they’re clean. Third, you travel through the countryside! It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Germany in the fall looks a lot like Connecticut in the fall. The colors, the weather, the rivers, the narrow roads. I felt very at home, and I was really grateful for that.

I got to visit Frankfurt, Bollenborn, Heidelberg, Munich, Berlin (I saw the wall!), Hannover and Seelze. All by train and walking. (I maintained my 10 miles a day quite easily.)

I loved exploring so many towns and meeting so many new people…the only problem was that I do NOT understand German, and unfortunately, the language really does not want to stick in my brain. I have some basics down, but I have a lot of work to do before coming back!

My shows here were wonderful, and I sold out of my CDs. Amazing!

Upon arriving, I was told by one of my hosts not to try and get Germans to sing with me (he’s German himself). I was bummed, but decided to risk it anyway. To his surprise, everyone sang along! So much, that I ended up making my set even longer to keep the singing going!

So, Germany proves my theory that you can never doubt the power of a good old-fashioned Pete Seeger sing along.

A few last things that I observed and learned...

You can make friends anywhere.

I love walking, biking and public transportation.

I enjoy history when I can actually walk through it and see it.

I love learning new languages.

It’s always good to try local food and wine. (Turns out I love figs!)

Music connects us. Really. Truly.

The Rhone River in Tournon, France.

Overlooking Barcelona.

Walking around Munich.