On to Europe


the Netherlands

While I have a few things lined up here – shows in Amsterdam and Istanbul, a street performance and interview in Muenster, Germany and finally a jam/writing session in Amsterdam – using the word “tour” is now a bit of a stretch. I tried my damnedest to book some additional shows in France and Germany, in particular, but only received a lot of emails back saying, “Like your music, but we’re all booked.” Do they really like the music? I think my future efforts to book shows in Europe will require me to start several months in advance.

Another Wedding

As I prepared to leave my job for this tour, I knew I would be cash strapped and, therefore, tried to make decisions – such as buying an inexpensive car that gets 40mpg – that would help me prolong this new life for as long as possible. Flying to Europe was never in the cards. That said, about 4 months prior to my departure, I found out that Anders Thomas, who was an exchange student from Detmold, Germany that lived with my family during my senior year, was getting married on my parents 40th wedding anniversary in Oberau, Austria. Anders is a close family friend. My brother, Ryan, and I have maintained contact with him over the years, seeing him more regularly than we might have thought possible, including celebrating his 30th birthday party – a ridiculously over-the-top, cowboy-themed affair complete with a makeshift saloon, mechanical bull and square dancing troupe – where we got to stay in a castle, Schloss Kaltenberg.

Initially, I thought I shouldn’t go, then the whole fam was going and I just couldn’t say no. I went ahead and was the first to buy my ticket. Then no one could go but me and my bro. Then it was me, my bro and my parents. And then, I decide, no, not wise and cancel my ticket. And then, a bit tipsy at the Maui wedding, buy a new one. In the end, my own hemming and hawing cost me a $300 cancellation fee, less what I oddly ended up saving from flying out of Vancouver instead of out East. Ticket prices to Europe when I was looking were $500+ more expensive to leave from Seattle or Portland.

A couple of wedding highlights: Absolutely, glad that I went. The wedding was in a beautiful location in the Austrian Alps a little more than an hour drive from Munich, where many of the guests lived. The night before the wedding was a traditional gathering, and all the men wore lederhosen and the women wore dirndls – my brother and parents, included. My brother met a girl in Innsbruck a couple of days before who joined us on Friday night…necessitating me sleeping in the vestibule of our hotel room. The actual wedding night, Ryan and I closed the place down – at 6am – and got a ride home with the DJ.

Bavarians have a tradition of breaking ceramic plates, cups, etc. and then having he bride and groom clean it all up (see second photo below). This was a lot of fun for all of us who weren’t getting married. A few other unique things: Anders had everyone randomly distributed throughout the dinner tables, which were named after fish. At each place setting, he had a small picture frame with a picture of the person whose seat it was. Some of these had multiple pictures inside. Mine were all from high school, including one of me heading to senior prom.

Anders and Bea

Anders und Bea

Anders' Wedding

Cleaning up

Ryan in Lederhosen

Ryan in lederhosen

Bavarian Band

Bavarian Family Band

There are a few more videos posted on my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/aboutagirlchicago

Touring with the Fam

Ascona, Ticino

Ascona, Ticino, Switzerland


Near Sisikon, Switzerland

After the wedding, my brother, parents and I headed to Innsbruck for a day, where we got a insiders tour from Ryan’s new friend. Then we headed to Switzerland – they all were flying out the following week from Zurich. In our final couple of days together we toured around Zurich and then headed south to Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton on the southern side of the Alps. I’d never been there. Our guide book described it as looking Italian but efficient like Northern Switzerland, which was about right. We stayed in Ascona on Lago Maggiore one night – gorgeous – and then did a wine tasting at Valsangiacomo in Mendrisio. One interesting type of wine they had – which is typical to Ticino – was Bianco di Merlot – a white merlot. Very good. I could see this being a big hit in the States.


Englischer Garten, Munich

Englischer Garten, Munich

At the wedding, I met a cute blonde girl named, Julia, who was serving to make some extra money as she finished her MD. Somehow we found out that we both spoke French and ended up speaking that all night. I left her a napkin before I left with my music and email addresses and told her that she should check them out and then send me an email saying, “Oui, Gabriel, j’ai tellement envie de prendre un verre avec toi!” (Yes, Gabriel, I would love to have a drink with you!). I got an email from her a couple of days later, so I headed to Munich to hang out with her for a few days. I was psyched!

The first night we met, we headed to a bar – all the shops were closed – to buy a bottle of wine (apparently you can do that in Germany). The bar was Italian, so I started speaking Italian with all the guys. They hooked me up with a 38 euro bottle of wine for 14 euros and threw in some peanuts and a few classes for us. We headed down to the Issar river and had a great time chatting and drinking wine for several hours (while they filmed some crime TV show on the bridge above us).

The next night I saw Julia was a couple of days later, after I returned from Turkey. We went to watch some Euro 2012 football at the Englischer Garten and then biked around town. That night the Italians made it out of the group stage. It seemed a ridiculously small achievement to get so excited about but all around Munich, Italians were driving around, honking and waving Italian flags outside their car windows. The video below gives you a little taste of their enthusiasm, along with some frighteningly bad French narration on my part.

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