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Huttenberg, Germany – July 13 (and then home)

We arose early (again…) and headed to Huttenberg where we were greeted by our gracious hosts, The Shining Bells. This is a club that was started by a missionary several years ago and now travels and tours as we do. They have 4 octaves of Schulmerich bells and we had a great time eating together, ringing together, and simply being together for our last night. Our concert lasted for 2 hours and we finished with three encores. What an enthusiastic audience! We sold all of the rest of our CDs and had a wonderful time with this warm family of ringers.

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Stadthagen, Germany – July 12

We had another early morning and a long bus ride to find Wiedensahl by about 1 pm. The Southminster Ringers had visited Wiedensahl on their 1992 tour and the ringers there were eagerly awaiting our arrival with a wonderful pasta lunch and a tour of their lovely church. We rang together for a while in the afternoon before we had to say farewell and get to our concert in Stadthagen and they had to pick up their brass instruments and play for a nearby festival. Busy day for all!

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Odense, Denmark – July 11

A travel day. We left at 7 am and said farewell to our wonderful Finnish hosts. Hope we see them very soon! We traveled (almost) forever to our hostel in Odense. We went through & over the great bridge/tunnel in Malmo (for a mere 161 Euros) and then another long bridge. Those were the exciting moments of the day. It will be another early morning tomorrow on our way to Germany.

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Stockholm, Sweden – July 9 & 10

We arrived (about 2 minutes ago) and have a whole day ahead of us. (and when we are off the boat).More news when we have a faster internet connection.

Finally (2 days later) we have internet again. We had a great tour of Stockholm! First was a visit to the Vasa (the ship that was salvaged from the harbor) and what a museum they have for it! 95% of the ship is intact and their restoration is incredible. Enjoy those photos!

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Turku, Finland – July 7 & 8

No photos yet since we can’t upload from our own computer here. At least there is internet access for a brief message though.

The ride to Turku was pretty uneventful and pretty fast – two hours. We arrived and ate (we seem to be doing a lot of that on this trip – everyone has been incredibly gracious in hosting meals for us). We performed a short concert at the Turku Cathedral (Mother church of Finland – some of the relics and artifacts go back to the 13th C.) at 2 pm. After checking into the hostel, we walked back to the cathedral for our evening concert and rehearsal. 7 pm concert was quite fine and the acoustics were unbelieveable!

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Helsinki, Finland (Day 2) – July 6

For once it was NOT an early morning! We arrived at the Vanha Kirkko (Old Church) in plenty of time – in fact, the building wasn’t open yet. The short concert went well and then we were all off for some time in the main part of the city. Our Finnish hosts and friends from Kuopio arrived around 4 pm and we met at Temppeliaukiokirkko to set up for the evening concert Wand to rehearse together. We combined forces for three pieces and they went well. What a great setting for music!

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Helsinki, Finland (Day 1) – July 5

Today was a total tourist day. We left Parnu at about 7:40 am and arrived in Tallinn around 9:45 for the 11 am ferry to Helsinki. The crossing was uneventful and we had a nice afternoon visiting the Tori (open air market) and other shops along the esplanade, made a visit to the fortress island, Suomenlinna, and then some time at our hostel before spending the rest of the evening at a small local amusement park. All are now asleep and ready for 2 concerts tomorrow. We will also be meeting our Kuopio ringers tomorrow afternoon and we will be ringing with them tomorrow evening at Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Church of the Rock). It was a warm day, but nothing like home!

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Parnu, Estonia (Day 3) – July 4

Happy Fourth of July! We were serenaded by some locals before we went to our banquet this evening – and they did a credible job on the Star Spangled Banner (probably better than we could have done). We worshipped this morning in a small Lutheran Church in Haademeeste. Our German friends played from the rear balcony near the organ while an Estonian ensemble rang from the front of the church. This was followed by a great lunch and then back to Parnu for the final group rehearsal and concert – and all went beautifully! Every group played a couple of solos and there were 5 massed ensemble pieces.

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Parnu, Estonia (Day 2) – July 3

What a great day! Morning rehearsal with all ringers and then Southminster Ringers with Agapella (from Parnu) to ring on bells instead of chimes for a change. They were great! Afternoon rehearsal and then things got to be very organized by the minute: 4:30 pm – move the bells, 5:15 pm – dinner back at the hostel, 6 pm – attend a concert by the Tallin ensemble Arsis, 7 pm – dress for our concert on the bus, 7:30 pm – set up the bells in the church (as soon as the worship service in the Orthodox Church was done) and 8 pm CONCERT. FABULOUS CONCERT!! Standing room only again and the ringers did an amazing performance!

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Parnu, Estonia – July 2

After a short trip to Parnu (3 hours) we found our hostel, found our German friends, met up with a couple of Pittsburghers who came to join us and spent some time changing money and finding lunch. Then off to the Sports Hall to set up for the festival and meet the rest of the ringers.

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Riga, Latvia – July 1

Leaving our country house (in Lithuania) was hard. What a beautiful setting for a country house and it would be a great retreat for the outdoorsy type. Kayaking, etc… We did eventually manage to leave, travel down a few dirt roads and then on to Riga. We arrived in time for our concert at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church (beautiful acoustics – it served as a concert hall in the Soviet era). A few minutes in the old town, a visit to the Dom (cathedral) and then on through rush hour traffic to our Canada Day party. Great rooftop site with the best view of Riga. We ate, played, tried to warm up, played some more, and said goodbye to our gracious hosts.

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Kedainiai, Lithuania – June 30

What an amazing reception we received here in Kedainiai! We were met by our host, Rimas, who is the director of the Cultural Museum here in the Kedainiai region. We set up our bells and tables in the old Calvinist Church which also is the crypt for the Radzivill family (the Calvinist branch), toured the crypt and then went off to an amazing lunch. We had some time in the town to explore before the evening concert and took great advantage of the beautiful day. The bus was our changing room, but it was around the corner in a small parking area and we could see the audience pouring in while we were getting ready.

The concert was special since many concerts had been cancelled for the preparation for the State Funeral for their first president which was to be the following day. We were fortunate to be allowed to continue with our concert and included a minute of silence and prayer at the beginning of the concert as well as a dedication to the memory of the former president (With God).

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Suwalki, Poland – June 29

Sorry for the lack of posts (Karen – you caused me to lose a bet…) but there was NO internet connection in Suwalki, we were in a remote area for our stay in Lithuania (remote is not an exaggeration, but it was BEAUTIFUL), and our internet connection here in Riga is not the fastest, but we are trying!

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Lodz – June 28

Morning – rehearsal with the Zelow ringers – ringing together. Afternoon – Concert in Lodz. Back home for the evening and cleaning up for a VERY early departure in the morning.

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Zelow – June 27

10 am – Worship / 11:55 am – Procession through Zelow / 4:00 pm – Concert / Soccer, Chubba-Chubba-Can-Can, Barbecue, Frisbee, etc…. Busy AND fun!!

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Konin / Lichen – June 26

We had a later start than usual this morning with a 9:30 departure for the largest Bascillica in Poland (only 6 years old) followed by a magnificent meal and then an afternoon concert in one of the smallest congregations in Poland. The concert was a Chopin celebration and the audience loved our Chopin Preludes. (played each twice)

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Poznan – June 25

Arrived after noon in Poznan, set up for the concert and then took a tour of the Old Town. Fantastic concert at 6 pm and then off to dinner and the Soccer watching. Great visit to this beautiful town – and we hope to be back soon!

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Berlin – afternoon

Volleyball, practice, volleyball, more practice (outside), cookout, stella ella olla, and done!

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Berlin – June 24

If you don’t happen to see your ringer in the photo, rest assured they are here somewhere!  We arrived on time and collapsed onto the bus.  We changed money, ate lunch and are now crashed at the hostel.  The rest of the afternoon will be for practice and a cookout with Bells Angels tonight.

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Travel Day

Everyone arrived on time for the morning departure and after briefly organizing bell cases and passports, posing for photos and killing a little time for: The forgotten passport was found and we were able to proceed on with the rest of our preparations. Dr. Merry led us in prayer and good wishes from the congregation and we […]

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Bon Voyage

The ringers played their Bon Voyage concert last night to an enthus cure of vitiligo iastic audience!  The ringers are now busy packing and weighing their packing options!  Departure is on Wednesday, June 23.  Everyone meets at the church at 9 am for the last minute details (and to pick up the bells) and the flight leaves at […]

Southminster Ringers, 799 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15228