Where am I going next? Christmas Markets on the Rhine!

Well, it’s official. My next trip is a Christmas Markets on the Rhine river cruise. Why another Christmas Markets trip? Why NOT! I’m a certified Christmas-aholic and love to experience what other countries do.

I’ve been getting the travel bug lately and somehow this Rhine river cruise was calling me. My last two big trips were Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. All fabulous experiences, but I need something a little more western this time. It was just too easy to pick up the phone and call – first Amawaterways, since they were my first river cruise experience. Nothing, other than over Christmas. Nope, sorry, no can do! Then a call to Grand Circle and, bingo, I got one starting with the pre-cruise on 11/24 in Brussels for 3 nights that includes Bruges, then Antwerp and Delft on the way to the River Concerto in Amsterdam on 11/27 where we embark for an 11 night cruise up the Rhine.

Being me, I’m adding extra days and flying nonstop LAX-Amsterdam on KLM’s Economy Plus – more legroom! This gives me a chance to spend some time in Amsterdam, seeing museums, windmills and going to Utrecht to visit my cousin, Mike. And of course I’m doing the post-cruise extension in Basel and will probably head back into Alsace to visit Colmar on one of the 3 days there. And my flight home is on an Air France Airbus 380 in Premium Economy on the upper deck. I wasn’t expecting the newest jumbo jet – how cool is that? It all fell together so easily.

I love planning trips!!!

Here’s a shot I took in Vienna at their big Christkindlemarkt by the Rathaus.

Vienna's Rathaus and Christkindlemarkt. The lights are gorgeous.

Where to go next? Morocco or back to Turkey?

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http://www.oattravel.com/Trips/2013/Morocco-Sahara-Odyssey-2013.aspx

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http://www.oattravel.com/Trips/2013/Turkeys-Sacred-Lands-and-Ancient-Civilizations-2013.aspx

Hmmmmm, which one? My last big trip was Turkey and I was left wanting lots more. I mean LOTS! But Morocco is also calling. I don’t know! Once the reverse mortgage goes through I’ll decide.

The Sound of Music, after all these years!

After falling in love with the Sound of Music movie the year it opened (you do the math!), I am finally going to be doing the musical next month playing Sister Berthe, the stern (aka mean) nun. It has been a dream of mine to be in the show. My Fair Lady was my first show EVER and now finally this dream show has fallen into my lap.

A friend recommended me to play the Mother Abbess, but I do not have the vocal chops to hit the high notes in Climb Ev’ry Mountain! My friend is playing Captain von Trapp. We first met as cast members in Amadeus in 2008 and reconnected on Facebook recently. I am so grateful he thought of me! It is a great big humungous adventure for me to be back on stage singing! Never thought that would every happen again…

OK, the show is a children’s musical theatre production and gives kids a chance to perform, but they bring in adults for the adult roles. Hence, an opportunity opened up!!

I’ve been searching for my autograph book from 1966 with the autographs of the SOM7 kids from the first anniversary show at the Fox Wilshire in Los Angeles. I was sure it was in my desk. Rats! But there’s more memorabilia around to be found, including 8×10 stills, original movie poster and program.

This 2008 photo is from the cemetery that inspired the set of the cemetery at the end of SOM.
These are the catacombs in the side of the mountain.

Where did the travel bug come from?

Where did I get this travel bug? It’s not a disease, for crying out loud! Simple. I went to visit family in Ohio the summer before starting high school, they took me to see “The Sound of Music” and I fell in love with everything about the movie. I wanted to visit Salzburg, learn German, sing, act and have Julie Andrews as a step mother! Yes, I had a real mother, but Julie seemed much nicer and more fun…. It was the crux of my young life – this movie really set me on the path of acting and was the seed of my passion for travel.

I drove my cousins nuts playing the soundtrack multiple times a day and singing all the songs constantly. “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot” were also new discoveries for me. To put it bluntly, I fell in love with musical theater. Am I still as passionate about musicals? Kind of. The obsession is gone, but the love is there.

Yes, of course I made it to Salzburg. Both in 1978 and in 2008. These pictures are from my last Salzburg visit in December 2008 on the Christmas Markets Danube River Cruise. And I learned German, too. Singing, acting, yes. Julie, no, she never was my stepmother.

Here we are, Salzburg! I think a photo of a SOM tour poster is an appropriate start.

There goes our group through the statues, all in SOM.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059742/