Concert Tour of Denmark and Sweden
June 19–29, 2019
I traveled with a group from Davidson United Methodist Church. Kevin Turner, our most excellent director, emphasized that is was a concert tour during which we would get to do some sightseeing, and not a sightseeing trip during which we would do some singing and handbell ringing. Keep that in mind as you view my pictures and it seems that the travelogue is somewhat spotty. I did not ring with the handbells. The initial practices didn't work with my schedule at the time. While I've directed handbell choirs, I've never rung in one, so I would have needed the full round of practices to play well enough. I'm not that good a singer, either, and I'm more a baritone than anything else. But I enjoy singing and am used to attempting any of the male vocal parts as needed. In this choir I was a second tenor.
We gathered at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Tuesday night for an overnight flight to London Heathrow. In the morning there, after walking several miles, we boarded a bus to another terminal for them to inflict various indignities upon us for a few hours. They freaked out over my 2.5 ml bottle of eye drops, to which of course in Charlotte the TSA had not paid any attention. I fared better than a lot of folks. Two years ago I promised myself, some time after the first two hours of standing in line, that I would never fly into Heathrow again. So I broke that promise twice for this trip, and will again in November, which might be after Brexit, so probably much worse, and there will be an overnight stay along with it.
But on with the summary of the trip. The British Airways flight took us to Copenhagen, where we quickly showed our passports and picked up our bags and gathered to meet our tour host Pilar, who took us to the bus we would use for the whole trip. We settled into our hotel, and then a bunch of us headed down the street, past the nearby train station, to Tivoli Gardens. So that's where my pictures start.
On Thursday the 20th we had guided sightseeing tour of the city, and then a little free time after lunch. We had a rehearsal at 5 pm and then our first concert at 7:00.
Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and went on the bus for a tour of the opera house. Some of us took the water taxi across to have lunch. When we got back to the bus, we left for the ride across the country and then almost as far north as one could go to the town of Strandby. There we met our hosts who would house us for three nights. The summer solstice arrived late that afternoon while we were still somewhat south of there.
On Saturday we had an excursion to Skagen and the tip of Denmark, and came back for a cookout at the church that evening. Sunday we sang at the worship service at the largest Methodist church in Denmark and again that night on the beach for the Sankt Hans Aften celebration.
On Monday the 24th we took the ferry to Gothenburg, Sweden, and then got back on the bus to head to Örebro. On Tuesday we had a walking tour of the town that ended with a tour of the castle. We sang the "Irish Blessing" in a reverberant courtyard there. The performance is documented somewhere on social media. We had a rehearsal, a meal, and a concert at a church that evening.
We took the bus to Stockholm on Wednesday and had time for some sightseeing. Thursday was our half-day city tour and a visit to the Vasa ship museum. Then we were free to enjoy Stockholm at our leisure. Three of us met up that evening for a Bach organ concert at the cathedral.
Friday's noon concert was our final one. We had some free time, and then our farewell dinner at a fancy restaurant. Saturday morning we left the hotel at 4:20 am, just in case we wouldn't be jetlagged enough when we got home. I sarcastically put 0.6ml of liquid medicine in its own plastic bag, so I was ready for them in London. We arrived in Charlotte on time, but immigration was so backed up that we spent an extra 15 minutes on the plane waiting for the line to thin down a bit. Fortunately, I had signed up for Global Entry, so I avoided the line with 200+ people in it, and in short order picked up my bag and caught my ride home.
Much more interesting than this summary (I hope) will be the pages of pictures linked below: