From half two this afternoon, I will be enduring a 24-hour coach journey to Lake Garda for my orchestra's summer tour. We're going by coach because musical instruments and planes don't get on very well, but that doesn't mean I like it.
When I went on tour two years ago, with a different group, I spent the whole journey home doubled over in pain. I had no money left, so couldn't buy any food on the journey - and I hadn't had any English money at all, so was stuck for dinner. The food in Italy hadn't agreed with me, not with the dodgy hotel food we got, and I was having what we came to call Apple Juice Withdrawal Symptoms. Add to that travel sickness and various other stomach pains ... I wasn't getting on very well.
In fact, the journey there wasn't brilliant either. I hadn't realised how cold it would be on our nowhere-near-luxury-coach when we were going through Switzerland at night, and I was wearing shorts. Sure, I had a jumper, but if I put that over my legs then my arms got cold. I managed to fall asleep eventually but it was pretty hard...
This year, I've learned from my mistakes. I no longer get travel sick, mostly, so I'll be fine reading on the coach and all that. I'm also taking mints for if I do get stomach trouble. I'm taking a blanket, to help me sleep, and though I don't have a pillow small enough I can fold up my spare jumper as a cushion instead. I'm taking some English money for the journey home, cereal bars in case the food is dodgy, and of course painkillers are high on my list of things still to pack!
I'm looking forward to this tour. Last time, I had to teach myself the piccolo in a week, since it arrived exactly seven days before we left and I'd discovered that the piccolo player wasn't going on tour. This time, I know how to play all my instruments, and so long as the first flautist remembers to return my flute stand I'll be fine!
I hope to keep you updated, but I don't know if there'll be any sort of computer in the hotel. I might even go as far as to find an internet cafe, just to get my fix. So stay tuned for updates, but don't be disappointed if they don't come - I'll be writing in my notebook, and I'll type them all up the day I get home (Friday).
Have a nice week!