Sunday, June 8, 2008

Arriving in England and a concert at sea

I have been trying to set up this blog ever since we arrived on the ship. I think I now know all the things to do wrong, so maybe this time I can get it right. Unfortunately, I've lost everything I wrote before. (Don't even ask how... It's too frustrating a story.) So now I will try to summarize events again and post a few photo albums.

Saturday, June 7

We arrived at London's Heathrow airport about 7am after a thankfully uneventful flight. From there we were bussed to a hotel to have breakfast and wait for another bus which then took us to Dover where we boarded the ship and enjoyed the view of the famed "white cliffs of Dover" until the ship set sail about 6pm.

Here are some pictures of our first day in Europe:

[Instructions: You can view the small pictures right here on this page by clicking the right arrow triangle in the middle of the picture. If you want to see the larger pictures, click the link in the lower left corner of the image where it says "2008-06-07 Dover...". I won't repeat these instructions every time I post an album.]

At 8:30pm we joined our table for dinner where we were seated with the head of Classical Action, Charlie Hamlen, whom we have known since hosting two of their fundraising concerts in our home in the past couple of years. We were also joined by a delightful young couple, Leila Josefowics, an internationally acclaimed violinist, and her boyfriend, Dominik Weber.

Sunday, June 8

Being so exhausted by the trip, Andrew and I both slept over fourteen hours, not waking up until 1pm. Unfortunately, that foreshadowed a pretty difficult time with jet lag for the next few days. More about that later.

Since this was an "at sea" day, sailing toward Oslo, Norway, we fortunately did not miss anything by sleeping so late. In the afternoon, we attended an incredible concert given by Leila, on violin of course, and Jake Heggie on piano. Jake, also played at our Classical Action concert, last November, and is himself an internationally acclaimed composer, whose most recent work was an opera which premiered in Houston in February.

Leila started playing violin when she was three years old and held her first solo performance with full orchestra at the age of eight. She signed with a managing director at the age of 12, and that first director was in fact Charlie Hamlen. Today at the age of 31, she travels all over the world, giving solo performances with all the great symphony orchestras. She has also mentioned that three different composers are currently creating new works for her specifically to debut.

For a glimpse of the afternoon performance, try viewing this video:
Liela Josefowicz and Jake Heggie

Here are some more pictures from this day, including the sunset at 10:30pm and some pictures of Andrew in his tuxedo on the deck.

I'll have to continue this later. It is now Thursday afternoon and I hope to be able to post pictures and tell you about our time in Oslo on Monday and Copenhagen on Tuesday. Wednesday and today have been "at sea" days. Weather conditions prevented us from stopping in Ronne, Denmark, and forced the ship to take a longer route to St. Petersburg, where we will land tomorrow morning.

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