A SHORT JOURNAL OF RUSTY'S EUROPE 2008 TRIP
I started out in Milan visiting Monika Ploner. We focused on the key elements of travel in Italy -- gelato! In between eating gobs of ice cream we did manage to see some of the historic sights. Also, to my delight, I discovered that Milan is the "Stripey Sock Capitol of the World."
Then, hopped aboard a train for Florence, to meet up with old friend Andrea Mugnai (tapper) and his family. I taught several tap classes in this beautiful city. I also got a chance to roam around the countryside on foot and bike.
Though the Gelato quest continued, the Mugnai family fed me, and fed me, and fed me. Soon I was waddling around town, wondering "How much pasta can a person actually eat before exploding?"
After four lovely days in Florence, it was time to board a train again, this time off to Genoa.
GENOA AND ON THE ROAD
Oy! If I have to get these suitcases on and off one more train!!! Thank goodness Swing Brother Swing Organizers Silvia and Bruno were there to meet me. After a scrumptious meal in their town, I taught two classes to a very enthusiastic and experienced group of Lindy Hoppers. What fun.
Then onward to Bologna and the "Swing Brother Swing" festival. There were many other international teachers, including Kevin & Emily. The three of us were given a PT Cruiser to drive the 4 hour trek from Genoa to Bologna. Guess who drove? Yup. And, may I say, once you've driven (survived driving) in Italy, YOU'VE DRIVEN!
We couldn't resist stopping at the Lamborghini factory!
SWING BROTHER SWING - BOLOGNA
So, this was the first ever Swing Brother Swing Festival, and they had 500 students from all over the world. It was just fantastic. There were scads of teachers, including the incomparable Frankie Manning and his son Chazz Young. I had 141 students in one of the classes! Everyone had a great time, and I got to meet so many fun people. Those Italians really know how to party and pick a girl off her feet!
AUSTRIA AND GERMANY FOR A DAY
Needing a bit of rest and relaxation after the mammoth teaching schedule of the past weeks, it was time for some visiting and siteseeing. First I, again, boarded a train up to Innsbruck, Austria to visit Monika and her family at her home town. If you've never been to Innsbruck, may I recommend it! The Alps tower over this charming sparkling city, and then you can always go up the mountain for a tremendous view!
After twenty four hours in Innsbruck, I boarded the train to Munich. I was just there for two hours for a train change, and who should come and visit me but Christina Von Scheidt (who runs much of the Lindy scene there). She was on her way to class and came over for a 15 minute hug and chat. Then back on board, this time the night train to Paris.
PARIS AND NORMANDY, FRANCE
As some of you may remember, I have cousins all over the world. So if you can keep this one straight, my cousin Ann from Hawaii, met me at the Paris train station, and we boarded another train to our cousins who live near Giverny, France. Got it? We spent a lovely time siteseeing around the Normandy countryside. A real highlight for me this time was to finally get to Omaha Beach, and see one of the landing spots of D Day. The expansive graveyard explained in a way no words could the great sacrifice for freedom.
Then on to my LAST train (yahooooooo!!!... don't get me wrong, I love trains, I just hated my bags by this time) on to Belgium to visit my filmmaker friend, Lieven DeBrauwer in Gent. We took a lovely road trip to the coastal town Oostende and ate the mandatory mussels (yum yum). And what should we find there -- but the Swing Cafe. I was wondering where that was!
So that I wouldn't have to schlep my bags on to a train one more time, Lieven was an angel and actually drove me to Holland! There I had a fantastic five days, three of utter relaxing and siteseeing around the countryside, and two days of workshop -- tap tap tap.
I particularly love this last picture of all the tap shoes around my thank you gift (CHEESE!).
For those of you who have nothing but time, or need a vicarious vacation, you can see more of my photos on our scrapbook page! Click HERE and go to scrapbooks 140, 141, 142, and 143. Happy viewing!