The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Highland Dance Company of NZ - Germany trip - day 1 - 23rd Jan 2014

Hallo from Germany

The Highland Dance Company of New Zealand have made it to Germany to take part in the German Musikparade 2014.

Our trip started in Christchurch on Monday where we met to rehearse our item to be performed throughout Germany. We rehearsed in the morning, and in the afternoon we met and practiced with the Nelson Celtic Pipe Band who are accompanying us on the trip. It is great to have a live band to perform with and we went out to dinner with the band to get to know each other.

We then began the long journey to Frankfurt which involved a 10 hour flight to Singapore, a 6 hour stopover and then a 13 hour flight to Frankfurt arriving at 5:30 am. Thankfully most of us managed to get a good sleep on the 2nd flight and we were pretty excited to get to Germany.

It was certainly cold, although not as bad as many of us expected, and it was also very dark with the sun not rising until about 8:00 am. We couldn't check into our hotel until after lunch so we had a team meeting at a bakery near our hotel, tasting brezels and other tasty pastry treats before navigating a bus and train to Old Frankfurt. Here lay our first challenge - public transport in an unfamiliar place with a foreign language. Thankfully, a friendly bus driver stopped in the middle of the street after noticing our bewildered faces as we realised it was his bus we needed to catch! Not only that, he then gave all of us a freebie trip! (Apparently he couldn't understand our botched German pronunciation & took pity on us).

It was actually great to be out in the fresh air and getting to know our surroundings. Many of the team checked out some of many churches and historical buildings close by while others sampled the retail offerings. With every trip we get reminded how expensive shopping is in NZ! After a few hours meandering we had our first taste of German food, with lunch at a restaurant based in the original Frankfurt police station - most were adventurous enough to try the sauerkraut. And a hearty helping of meat - schnitzel, veal sausage & pork loin rib... All in super sized portions!

On arrival back to our hotel this afternoon we were finally able to check in, then we had what will be the first of many rehearsals. Despite little sleep in the past 36 hours the team did remarkably well, especially given the only space at the hotel that we could use was the smokers room... Ugh. A few run throughs was all it took to make Julie & Robyn feel confident that we will nail our performance when we join the entire 400-strong Musikparade company tomorrow for our first rehearsal, followed by our first show tomorrow night. We can't wait!

For now, bed seems like a heavenly long-lost friend, so we will sign out & reacquaint ourselves. Bliss.

Auf weidersehen & gute nacht!
Kate & Sara

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