Updated: Sep 1
In the early days of May, I took on a tour in Europe. France, Germany, then England.
It would once again be another 12 hours flight from Reunion Island to Paris.
I stayed overnight in Paris just to find a place to keep my big luggage. I usually travel light, but this time I was going on a huge tour with more then 12 concerts expected - so in there were mostly CDs and recyclables.
Usually in May, like every year before, I would be expecting Spring - my favorite temperatures of the year. (I even checked on Google to make sure I had prepared the right vestments for the season.
It was 8 degrees when I arrived in Paris!
I thought to myself - it's normal, to be a little colder in the mornings in Paris. It wasn't exactly the case.
On the train to Aix-La-Chapelle (Aachen) it started to feel like winter again. I wasn't prepared for this weather, neither did I have the outfit for the incoming snow.
It was - 2 degrees!!
Come on! It's MAY!
I arrived safely in the pretty little town of Monschau where I would be spending the next 3 days.
The weather started to get a little better. And I was all set for the upcoming concerts.
Like every other tour, the first concerts would usually be freshest. I practiced ALOT for the last couple of months. A new program with Chopin's F minor Fantasy, Gershwin Etudes by Earl Wild, Debussy's Ballade and some Rachmaninoff Preludes from Op.23.
Have you seen the movie Collide(2016)?
Many of the scenes were filmed in this town. Actually this is quite the favorite spot for TV/Movie scenes. Check them out if you haven't!
The organizers were very professional - I was never late for any meals or rehearsals whatsoever. There was a Steinway piano in the main hall, so there would be where I spend most of my time
Not to forget the amazing Mozart Chocolates. I missed them so much!
Two concerts in the same day.
Road trip to Windeck and back to Monschau - first time at 180km/hr by car 😎
Totally outstanding Organization by the Koltuns. Amazing audiences, double standing ovations and 4 encores.
I played Gershwin’s Liza,
Chopin Op.9 No.2 jan ekier,
Mozart Turkish March by Volodos, and
Gershwin’s Fascinating rhythm
Don’t think I’ll be able to sleep with this level of adrenaline 😂
If you read German, you can read the concert reviews HERE
from a previous post on Facebook
Took the next day off in Aachen
Aachen is Germany's most westerly city and, historically, one of Europe's most important due to its position near the Dutch and Belgian borders. Situated in a forest-ringed basin in the foothills of the Eifel and the Ardennes, Aachen has long been famous for its curative hot springs and spas, the hottest in Europe, which have been frequently visited by royalty over the centuries.
Paying a visit to these wonderfully relaxing spas is still one of the top things to do in Aachen.
Aachen developed from a Roman settlement and spa, subsequently becoming the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Emperor Charlemagne of the Frankish Empire, and, from 936 to 1531, the place where 31 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans
Sculpture with fountain "Puppenbrunnen" by Bonifatius Stirnberg
Thalys operates a train from Aachen Hbf to Paris Gard du Nord 3 times a day. Tickets cost 100€ - 210€
And Back to Paris
With my master Jean Marc Luisada last evening. Amazing to play through fantasy Op.49, followed by a really sumptuous fish dinner.
Cheers to great music and health!
You can see on the photos displayed around the restaurant - Emmanuel Macron the current French president dines in there frequently.
17 rue de l'Annonciation 75016 Paris
I have to say this was one of if not the best seafood experiences I ever had.
And let’s not forget - Special thanks to Steinway Paris, who are always so warm to welcome me at their gallery. I was so happy to practice there for all my concerts in Europe. My second home!
Although the weather wasn't ideal, I had great company throughout..
Reunited with my brother who's currently based in the UK.
I brought my brother and my god-parents to all my favorite restaurants!
Le Vieux Bistro was one of them. Affordable and delicious French food in the latin quartier.
Found out about this wonderful place last summer. They serve some of the best boeuf bourguignon and Margaret Canard.
Next up was a performance in Château de Bourgon. A 16th century castle. I had accepted to perform for our dear friends Isabelle and Alain as part of my concert tour in May. They are the most adorable people!
This would be my 3rd time performing in the castle. Best way to get out of the day-to-day city life.
Every time I arrive at the castle, I would look out the window. Such a glorious view!
(Would be even better to arrive on a horse!)
Let's not forget to eat like Kings!!
Isabelle is a fantastic cook, and Alain a true specialist of the Barbeque. Even the eggs in the mornings were perfect!
By the way, I think you can book their rooms. It should be on booking.com
On the morning of the concert, we were invited to 2 separate art events. An art exhibition in a church - église Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais in the neighboring town Jublains.
One of the early churches with a Thermal Bath. (Like seriously.. who goes to bathe in a church?) LOL - By the way the bath was right behind this photo. Couldn't get a clear shot everything was too dark.
Followed by a private viewing at another exhibition, of another famous Furniture sculptor (I'm really bad with names). Trust me you won't even want to know the price of the basic footstool ;)
There they are! the King and the Queen :)
While performing here in Mayenne, I learnt that my up coming concert in Venice was canceled. So I had to extend my stay in the UK for the next week.
Next part of this tour would be dedicated mostly to charity concerts in and around Liverpool and greater Manchester.
To help a dear friend who's currently a missionary in the UK. His wife was going through some very serious health issues and the church put together a series of concerts and masterclasses to raise funds for his family.
I believe I gave 40 masterclasses in one day, and performed in 7 back-to-back concerts.
I shared my testimony a couple of times. It was so moving to see the church coming together in times of need.
Quite exhausted towards the end of this trip, but I felt like God had a much bigger plan for me. I became ambassador for the Grace Foundation here in Liverpool, to help less fortunate children get music education.
We are now looking at a new summer music camp in Liverpool for 2020!
If you are in the UK and craving for Singaporean food. Check out this place
607 Smithdown Rd
Liverpool L15 5A
They have really authentic Singaporean Hawker food in their menu. The restaurant manager was a dedicated volunteer at the church, she offered me a sumptuous lunch - we ordered dumpling, satay, nasi lemak and laksa - Amazing food!
More photos of my visit in Liverpool
This trip had to end with one last drama...
The plan was to fly to Paris first, so that I could catch my flight back to Reunion the next afternoon. There was a problem checking in online, (since I'm a super last minute person) I haven't downloaded the e-ticket. I came to realize the ticket wasn't for Paris, I was going to Alicante (Spain). I had never made such a stupid mistake before this day.
Both flights were leaving at 8pm. I must have clicked on the wrong flight back at Mayenne...
I called the airline to try to change the destination. But in the UK, they don't answer calls after 5pm.. I was able to get a response by email - asking me to repurchase another ticket (thanks)
I quickly bought a second ticket - 100 sterling, one way ticket to Paris. (that was the last seat!)
Anyway spent the night in Paris. Had a Japanese lunch with my brothers.
Followed by a quick send-off meal at MacDonald's
And there we go for one last long haul!
Final flight destination - HOME