Thursday, 24 July 2014

Traveling to ISAM 2014

Next up some blog posts about the composition master class called the International Summer Academy of Music 2014 that I attended last summer. It's a two week master class for composers, pianists and organists, held in a former castle like monastery, nowadays called Landes Akademie Baden-Württemberg, in a small village called Ochsenhausen. Many warm memomires from last summer!
Thursday the 24th of July 2014 and oh my what a long day it has been! Tomorrow the International Summer Academy of Music will begin here in Ochsenhausen, so I have spent the whole day traveling from Finland, via Copenhagen and Stuttgart traveling to Ochsenhausen.

So I slept exactly 3h last night, due to packing so long, got up a bit before 8 and washed my hair. I tried to read the newspaper but my eyes were so tired and hurt so much I could only keep one eye open at a time, so reading the newspaper went even slower and I gave up after having read the comic strips.

Today hasn’t been my lucky day. Just when I was in a hurry to leave for the airport I dropped a bottle of washing fluid, without a lid on, so a big part of the fluid went on the floor. I tried to wipe it up with a sheet that anyway was going to be washed but anyway managed to step into the washing fluid so I had to change socks.

I left home slightly too late so I didn’t manage to catch the bus I had planned to get, but took the 9.30 bus to the airport. I arrived at around 10.05 and tried immediately to check in on a machine but it said “contact staff”. So I did and he friendly pointed out that my flight was BOOKED FOR TOMORROW!!!! Oh my dear God! I have to be at the course by tomorrow, so the staff from SAS was friendly and called in a woman who could help me with re-booking, who actually was having her lunch break. By this time it was about 10.20 and my flight was supposed to leave at 10.55 for Copenhagen (and from there a connecting flight to Stuttgart). The lady warned me that it might be too little time, and so it turned out to be: she couldn’t print out a boarding pass later than 30 minutes before take off, and by the time she was going to print it was 28 minutes to take off, so it didn’t work. But she was very nice and re-booked me on a different flight to Copenhagen which still got me on good time to catch my connecting flight to Stuttgart! Obviously this whole ticket change cost me a lot, 79 euros for changing the ticket, 60 euros penalty fees and 25 euros service fee, so altogether 164 euros additional… But I still am forever grateful to the nice woman from SAS who managed to re-book me!

So at 12 I flew to Copenhagen. I had forgotten what horrible nausea I get when flying… and my ears always hurt badly, so I asked the steward if he could bring me some “Mickey mouse ears” on which he laughed out loud (in a friendly way) but anyway was kind enough to bring them. In Copenhagen I had a overpriced lunch, 17 euros for a small piece of fish and potatoes and vegetables, which were all cold by the time I had managed to queue with my dish and pay.

Copenhagen airport is huge, it took me a long while to walk to the next gate. It’s funny how much I can enjoy the smell of freshly baked croissants and buns although I can’t eat them anymore… Or maybe that’s exactly why I nowadays get satisfied by the mere smell of them?

To Stuttgart - we took off at 15.40 in a small propeller airplane with only 28 seats in it. Most of the time I used to write my blog.

I was quite late out of the airport area and immediately took a train to Stuttgart's main railway station, which takes about a good half an hour. At the main railway station I had good time finding the right track, buying an underpriced salad for 3,50 and a two photo-magazines for only 3,50 euros each! Oh I love the prices in Germany…!

On the train from Stuttgart to Ulm I happened to sit with two lovely middle aged ladies who I had just met earlier on the train ride and I joined in on their discussions and we had a great time together and time just flew past! We discussed how nicely the Finnish school system works, how they as Germans always expect the trains to work although they nowadays seem to be increasingly having technical problems very frequently, about languages and how times have changed since they went to school.

Arriving in Ulm at 21 o’clock I had only 5 minutes to change to my connecting train to Ochsenhausen, with my suitcase, backpack, two handbags and one photo-magazine bag, so obviously I missed the train.

I had to change track and there was no elevator at this train station (that I at least knew of). A girl saw me struggling with trying to get the luggage belt to work, which would pull up my suitcase, but it didn’t, and she was so nice and helped me to carry one of my handbags. But then a homeless person saw us struggling and came and helped push up by bag. He was so nice and polite! Then he continued rummaging in the bins for empty bottles, but he wasn’t being very lucky and looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. I was thinking of giving him some money and some of my snack food (fruit) but wasn’t sure if that would insult his dignity and before I had decided if I would give him money or not, he had already turned back and waved at me and wished me a good journey and disappeared. I regret not having given him anything as a thank you for his help!

I arrived 10 minutes after schedule in Ochsenhausen at 22. I had asked to be picked up, but no one was to be seen. I got worried; had my ride left? Or had anybody come at all? I tried to call the only number I had, but all my phone said was “this number does not exist”. After having waited for about half an hour and asked everyone (about 3 people) standing on the train station if they were from the International Summer Academy of Music, I began to get a bit desperate. I called my mother but just when I was almost going to surrender and take a taxi, a small bus drived up beside me with the text “Ochsenhausem Musik” on it’s side! I can’t describe how happy and relieved I was!

Out jumped a friendly middle aged man who drove me all the way, 23 km to the Castle and told me about all the cute villages we passed. In his village (which we also passed) there is only one bakery and one butcher, no other shop. But there are 4 or 5 “Gasthäuser” (bars)! I couldn’t believe my ears! But he said there was a shop in the next village, about 4 km away. But so many Gasthäuser!

It was completely dark and then we arrived: AT A TREMENDOUS BEAUTIFUL CASTLE!
I knew my Japanese composer friend Sayo Kosugi had told be about it and I had seen one picture but it was even bigger than in the picture! The man who had picked me up was the housekeeper and he was so nice and showed me around!

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