LUXEMBOURG One Year ago today David Duchovny Concert RV Trip recap
So when I last left you we were pulling over to sleep in a Belgium rest stop.
MAY 9, 2016
We woke mid morning, had some coffee and headed to Amsterdam.
It is now May 9, 2016. It was around this time I learned the power of a chocolate croissant and latte before driving. The combo sugar caffeine high was enough to drive the big box on wheels for 2-3 hours.
We role into Amsterdam, again the wrong camp site. But this time I realized it right away. We eventually end up across the river from central station – main Amsterdam hub for ferries, trains and buses.
There is a massive RV parking area that is dirt cheap if you are just parking ($20/night). You pay a little more for full services but this was the one night I had a hotel so we just parked.
We were in the new hipster area. As we walked to the ferry to central station I remarked how much I thought it looked like Brooklyn. Right across from the ferry was a bar called BROOKLYN.
We were staying at the hotel La Boheme. As an opera singer I was happy with the name. I did not like the tall steep 4-story steps, that seemed more like a ladder. However the view from our window was the Amsterdam Venue Melkweg and it reminded me of the typical Parisian roof top bohemian opera set.
We all met in the lobby at 4pm, at which time Hotel La Boheme offered a free cheese plate. They said a glass of wine was only $6. A bottle was $13.50. So that was easy math. So there I was with my cheese plate and wine, expecting some help. There was none.
So there I am eating cheese, consuming an entire bottle wine, when I hear, “Can you tell me how to find the Milky Way?”
“You looking for David Duchovny?” HICCUP
Either this is a David fan from San Francisco or the FBI caught up with me for a murder I did not commit or know about…
It was the latter.
So I walked my new friend to the theater.
“Walter!” The producers were yelling at me from across 3-4 lines of folks waiting to enter the theater. “My mom wants to join you in the RV.” Again I thought they were joking in Glasgow a few nights earlier.
**** SIDEBAR ****
AH listening to Norm McDonald new Stand-up on Netflix as I type and he said “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE” so now “HALF LIFE” is stuck in my head.
**** SIDEBAR ****
Amsterdam was awesome. I found a cheese shop and consumed mass quantities of free samples. There was a store of American and British products – basically junk like candy and chips – basically a really fancy 7-11 disguised as a gourmet store front.
After the concert we walked around looking for food. turns out Amsterdam is not a late night food town. We found one diner type place called Pancakes.
MAY 10, 2016
Next morning took a boat ride around the canals following an amazing free breakfast (I miss La Boheme and MIMI the cat as I hear the last notes of the Puccini Opera which is the same as Broadway’s Rent “MIMI”). Loved all that. Saw a lot of Amsterdam in that hour, including Anne Frank’s house and a bunch of bikes being dredged from the depths of the canals. beautiful town.
We headed back to the RV meeting band mom in Brooklyn. Next stop Cologne as the drive there was fairly routine minus seeing a few old windmills on the way out of town.
We arrive in Cologne thinking, WHAT A DIVE. The venue was not in the best part of town. The streets were over grown with vines, grasses and litter. The buildings were tagged more than 1980s NYC Subways.
There was already a long line at the venue which would get far longer by the time the doors opened. A great fan had hundreds of mini battery powered candles for all to light up during “Stars.”
Once inside I loved it. The venue was huge. You first enter a courtyard with bathrooms and beer garden, complete with sausage stand.
Inside was just a large old warehouse, similar to clubs in converted Chelsea Manhattan buildings used for similar purposes. Simple of almost elegant was the bar and stage.
But once the main room started filling up, the heat was unbearable. It’s now about showtime and I cannot stay with the group.
By the end of the show a few from our group had to bounce. I ended up at the beer garden, however I limited myself to two Brats – one with curry. With plans to drive straight thru to Paris that night, I feared even a sip of bee. I felt I dishonored the town by staying sober.
I will say I loved the music that night. Through the walls it almost felt like a CD. The problem with being down front all the time, you mostly hear David’s monitors, which mostly pump bass and drums. You barely here David and you hear next to no back up vocals.
So outside you heard it all – clean and mixed perfectly. And I had the most interesting conversation with a 28 year old German hipster. He was wasted (we later found his wallet after he left). “Hey man, whatever you do, you can’t vote for Trump”
“No worries, dude. No way he is getting elected.” Apparently common sense meant nothing this past fall and we currently suffer… I digress.
Also at the table was my fellow Duchovniac and friend from the Bronx (originally) and a 40yo lesbian biker that was also there cooling down after leaving her wife down in front of the stage to watch David. We bonded.
The candles made “Stars” extra special that night.
The guys were still playing when we see a car being escorted by a few security guards. Someone sitting next to me remarked “There goes David”
I did not believe them at first. It turned out that was the only exit and best safe way to get David out, before the usual stage door hounds crowded and other exit chances.
We waited for the crowd to dissipate a bit. We drove a bunch to the nearest subway and Burger King. I can proudly say I never ate fast food in Europe but with a bus full of Americans, one Canadian and one Hungarian and a bunch of Europeans in tow for the hour. Burger King had just closed. We were all spared that night.
But shortly I realized I was done. We were maybe up to about 24 hours of sleep and very little downtime in the past 6 days – since waking up at 6am May 6 in New Jersey. Two of our friends that joined us for the one leg got us the rest of the way to Paris. I slept for about 90 minutes on the floor of the RV before relieving the navigator position.
We pulled into the Parisian Campsite around 6amish. soon after we…
We woke around late lunch. We all showered and found snacks at the cafe and mini grocery on campus.
We later bused and metro-ed our way into town. We found a restaurant that was just a block form the venue we were to see David the following evening. I had fondue and escargot. Yummy. Great wine too. After a few wanted to stop by the store caddy corner across the street. Somehow- exhaustion and impatience together get ugly – we lost one of our own… meaning she thought we abandoned her so she took off on her own.
So some of us sat down outside for dessert and coffee while others walked to the Sacred Heart where apparently a bunch of strangers pray for other strangers which we learned almost a year later would make a great song – “Strangers in the Sacred Heart”
While I suffered through the best chocolate mousse of my life, the other went up and down the hill to and from the church. We really should have gotten some more European zone cell phones. We headed back to the campsite. She’s and adult. No need for the drama others were cursing.
It all worked out and everyone eventually found there way back to the hotel or campsite of choice that night. I crashed.
The next day we found our way around Paris via the hop on hop off buses. Being Paris, of course it started to pour. I risked pneumonia and stayed up top for a bit trying maximize my little tourism time.
We eventually got to the venue and saw a great show. This night we had some seats – assigned.
Laurice left before the encore to get some air. The venue had free internet and she was able to text me that a man was propositioning her outside. When I arrived outside, a small gypsy male was speaking to her in French. I do not speak well but understand enough words from my Opera training and knowledge of other Latin based languages.
Best I can tell he loves my wife and either wants me to pimp her out OR he wanted to borrow her. As my ability to speak French is more limited than my capacity to comprehend, I state.
no ménage à trois
Clearly not understanding my meaning of the word “NO!” he leans in for a kiss, which is when I grabbed him by the neck and planted him on the car parked behind us.
Au Revoir, Monsieur
Oh, Paris, you city of love
We gathered the troupes. As we walked back towards a metro we I could see my new friend soliciting donations at the very same cafe we dined the night before.
We walked back to the hotel our friends were staying. It was getting late. The night before we caught the very last bus – the charter that connected our campsite with the real world. Instead we called for a call. I think someone had UBER.
I crawled into bed and slept like a baby.
MAY 13 2016
I woke early and started driving south. NEXT STOP BARCELONA
Just barely out of town I stopped for gas and coffee. They had a coffee bar with THE BEST service of the entire tour. Coffee and Pan du Chocolate and i was ready for a drive.
This was a beautiful yet very stressful day.
In a normal car we had a nine hour drive ahead of us without stops.
With stops in the big box, it was a 15-hour day with about $120+ euros in tolls and about the same in gas.
We did stop for a late lunch/early dinner at a rest stop in the shadows of a castle. Pretty cool.
I freaked out driving through the French/Spanish border up in the mountains with bridges and cliffs I kept imagining our final fall. Again exhaustion was kicking in.
We finally hit our campsite just north of Barcelona.
MAY 14, 2016
To be continued….