“Join a choir – see the world.” It’s true! My passport has collected several stamps in the past nine years: Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, and Cuba. This time: South Africa. The choir is already there, but I stayed behind a few days to take care of some work. Now just waiting to board the big bird for a stopover: Istanbul.
On the road to Ljubljana
Back on the bus, we are excited to see what Slovenia would bring. It’s a long bus ride: five hours, including the border crossing. Arrival in Ljubljana was expected about 5:30, with an evening in the old city.
But, the travel gods had other plans for us.
When we reached the border, the line to clear immigration was immense, and was not moving. Since we were in the special line for tour buses, with a grassy area nearby, many were getting off the bus to stretch. There was a group of college-aged students out on the grass, and suddenly they started singing.
Well, that was it – we were all soon off of our busses, and the directors met. This was a group of Turkish college students, on their way to Perugia. Their conductor had studied ancient Christian music of Anatolia, and the music they sang was very interesting – very different harmonies and rhythms compared to the bundle of Renaissance music in our folders. So, of course, we sang for each other. It is magical how two different cultures can meet and connect so quickly, on the side of the road. It was a particularly poignant exchange, considering recent events in Istanbul: who knows what they will face when they return home. Every embassy should have their own music group – imagine what a different world this could be.
It took three hours to clear the border – apparently the agents there are not amused with losing their jobs once Croatia implements the Schengen agreement. We were not amused either, arriving in Ljubljana about 10:00pm.
It must have looked like the circus had come to town. Nearly 90 of us lined up at the Lufthansa ticket counter, ranging in age from pre-teen to retirement age, all dressed for travel, with a variety of colored suitcases, carry-on totes, backpacks, hats and even a wind wand. (Still can’t believe that the wind wand made it through security…)
Long haul flights are never fun, but at least we had on-demand movies and TV to try alleviate some of the figgeties that come with confinement. We were delighted to find that we were also sharing the flight with Peninsula Youth Symphony, heading to Germany for a one-week tour.