Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US!

Posted by: Piano World

Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/14/10 11:01 AM


Are You a Piano and/or Music Lover?

If You Are, This Unique European Piano Tour is for YOU!


Here is Your Opportunity to Combine a Wonderful European Tour with Your Love of Piano & Music!



Germany - Austria - 12 Days - 9 Cities - 4 Piano Manufacturers - Music Museums - Composer's Homes - Cathedrals - Castles - Concerts - Pianos - Music!



Come with us to Europe and watch how some of the worlds finest pianos are created, stroll through great composers homes, visit incredible musical instrument museums, attend live piano concerts (in a gorgeous castle with our very own "Piano Girl"), meet other Piano Forums members, stay in lovely hotels, eat in fine restaurants, Tour Castles & Cathedrals, take in all that Germany & Austria have to offer.

All this and lots more. THERE IS STILL TIME TO Join Us!
But you must act soon.

This Unique European Tour is open to anyone who loves music, you do not have to be a member of our Piano Forums to join us. Of course we'd love to have you join the Piano Forums too (membership is free).

Although visiting some of Europe's finest piano makers is central to our plans, we've expanded the tour to include SO MUCH MORE than piano shops see below.




Some Highlights from Your Itinerary (not in date order):

  • Hamburg Steinway Tour (Hamburg, Germany) Kyle Kirkland, Chairman of Steinway Musical Instruments has promised a memorable tour. (I wonder if that means I get to take a D home with me?)
  • Meet & Greet and Concert with Robin Meloy Goldsby (Author of The Piano Girl
    )(Cologne, Germany) Robin is one talented lady, and a member of our forums (see the long running "Let's Talk Weddings" thread).
  • Steingräber u. Söhne Tour (Bayreuth, Germany) Conducted by Udo Steingräber himself. A gentleman and world class piano designer.
  • Visit the Beethoven Museum in Bonn
  • PM City tour of Leipzig with Thomas Church
  • Mendelosohn Museum
  • Music Instruments Museum
  • Blüthner Tour (Leipzig, Germany) Tour to be conducted by Dr. Christian Blüthner. Dr. Blüthner has a fascinating bio, as does Blüthner piano.
  • Dinner at famous Auerbach-Keller
  • Germanisches National Museum, historic music instruments (Nuremberg, Germany)
  • Visit Wagner & Liszt Museum (Rothenburg, Germany)
  • Visit Deutsches Museum (one of worlds largest musical instrument collections)
  • Visit National Museum (possibly with behind scenes visit)
  • Bösendorfer Tour (Vienna, Austria)Thanks to the artist formerly known as Bosie Eric for putting us in touch with the right people.
  • Visit Mozart Haus, the birthplace of Mozart
  • Schonbrunn Palace Visit, Vienna (See 360 degree tour of the palace HERE )
  • Musical Vienna Tour (a city tour connected with composers and music)
  • We've also scheduled free time to explore on your own

We will of course try to get some hands on time playing pianos ourselves as well.
After all, there will be plenty of piano players in the group. I'm quite sure we will be
able to get a little playing in when we visit the piano manufacturers, but we'll have to seek out some other pianos too :-)


Plus ...
~ Panoramic Scenic Drives with Photo Stops
~ Walking Tours
~ Breakfast & Dinners Included
~ Lovely Hotels
~ Free Time to Explore on Your Own

The complete Itinerary, Pricing, and Additonal Details Below


Piano World European Tour 2011

Full Itinerary & Pricing

June 5, 11 Sun
Arrival Hamburg (transportation provided from Hamburg Airport (HAM) to hotel), city orientation tour, no entrance
Welcome cocktail, welcome dinner, o/n Hamburg Hotel Hafen
June 6, 11 Mon
Morning Tour of Hamburg Steinway, PM free
Dinner at local restaurant, o/n Hamburg Hotel Hafen
June 7, 11, Tue
Full day drive to Bonn via Cologne, to visit the Cathedral (also join up with Robin Meloy Goldsby – the Piano Girl)
Dinner at hotel, o/n Bonn Rhein Hotel Dreesen
June 8, 11 Wed
Morning visit to Beethoven museum, PM free, dinner at hotel, o/n Bonn
June 9, 11 Thu
Full-day drive to Leipzig, dinner at hotel, o/n Leipzig Radisson Blue
June 10, 11 Fri
Half-day Tour of Blüthner Piano with Dr. Blüthner, PM city tour with Thomas Church, Mendelsohn Museum, Music Instruments Museum, Dinner at famous Auerbach-Keller
o/n Leipzig Hotel Radisson Blue
June 11, 11 Sat
To Bayreuth, arrival around lunch time, Tour of Steingräber u. Söhne Piano
Dinner at Hotel, o/n Bayreuth Hotel Ramada Residenzschloß
June 12, 11 Sun
Full-day excursion to Nuremberg (Germanisches National Museum, collection of historic music instruments), continue to Rothenburg, walking tour
Dinner at hotel, o/n Bayreuth Hotel Ramada Residenzschloß
June 13, 11 Mon
Morning visit to Wagner and Liszt Museum, afternoon drive to Munich, prior check-in a panoramic city tour, photo stops, no inside visits, dinner at local restaurant nearby hotel, overnight Hotel Kings First Class Hotel
June 14, 11 Tue
Morning visit to the Deutsches Museum (which houses one of the world’s largest musical instrument collections, with a performance of the music of Mozart on an original piano of his time and comparative demonstrations on instruments from subsequent time periods) and the National theatre (where we have applied for a visit behind the scenes).
Afternoon drive to Salzburg, upon arrival we have a 2 hour walking tour with a local Salzburg guide (local guide is compulsory) and visit the Mozart Haus, the birthplace of Mozart.
Dinner at local restaurant nearby hotel, o/n Salzburg Hotel Austrotel
June 15, 11 Wed
Morning drive to Vienna, arrive around lunchtime, afternoon sightseeing incl. Castle Schönbrunn inside visit, dinner and overnight at centrally located Hotel (name coming up)
June 16, 11 Thu
Tour of Bösendorfer Piano
Afternoon “Musical Vienna”, a city tour connected with composers, with music, of which there are many in Vienna.
Farewell Dinner at local restaurant, maybe in Grinzing, where you dine with local wine and music in a wine village nearby Vienna
o/n Vienna
June 17, 11 Fri
Transfer to Vienna Airport. Auf Wiedersehen

Package includes:
  • All accommodations listed
  • Breakfast buffet and 3 course dinner daily
  • 1 glass of welcome cocktail upon arrival pre dinner
  • Deluxe motor coach with A/C, fridge, bathroom and reclining seats
  • English tour escort
  • Local guides
  • Entrance fees on tours included
  • Porterage at hotels and airports of once piece per person
  • Government tax, parking of coach, service charge at hotels and restaurants

Please keep in mind the pricing does not include airfare, as our members come not only from all over the U.S., but also around the world. We want you to be able to get the best flights and rates for your particular location/situation. However, if you need help with travel arrangements, our Travel Agency (Hills Travel, St. Petersburg, FL) will be happy to assist you.
Also, if you are traveling solo and would be interested in pairing up to save the single supplement, Hill's Travel ( our agent) offers room matching.

Not included:
  • International flights
  • Tips to driver, escort, restaurants
  • If the VAT increase, we have to increase same amount
  • Drinks (unless noted)

Pricing is below all the pictures
Please share this with your friends, post it on your Facebook/MySpace Page, Tweet it, do whatever you can to get the word out.
This is going to be an experience to remember. If you like music, and especially piano, this is your tour. Meet other Piano Forums Members from across the country and around the world (everyone will receive some Piano World Piano Forums goodies).







Please Help Us Spread the Word About This Tour

Note:
There were other piano companies who kindly approached us about visting.
We did the best we could with the time we have (taking into consideration travel and free time, and not wanting to overload people with technical piano talk). If this tour is a success, we will definitely plan on another and will visit some of the other piano makers.

Adding Pictures of some of the places we will be visiting.
Please see additional pictures further in this thread (on second page).

Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Day Shot


Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Night Shot



Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Piano Bar!



Lots More Pictures LATER IN THIS THREAD...


NOTE: The More People We Have, The LESS it Will Cost! (to a point) We currently have 23 people signed up making the base price $3860.00


NOTE: Our Travel Agency Will Be Handling ALL Payments.

For a breakdown on what the insurance policy covers, visit www.travelexinsurance.com or call 1-800-504-7883 (our ID # is 09-0477).

There is a PDF of the Tour Itinerary & Pricing Here:
Tour Itinerary and Pricing PDF

And a Press Release About the Tour Here:
http://www.pianoworld.com/Press_Room/Press_Releases/Piano_Tour_2011_Press_Release.html


We are looking forward to an exciting tour!!

Tour Arrangements Made Through Hills Travel, St. Petersburg, FL

Hill's Travel Service has been around for over 80 years helping make travel
dreams come true. With personal relationships with thousands of airlines,
cruise lines, hotels, resorts and premier destinations worldwide, you are
guaranteed the best pricing and service available. To learn more about Hills Travel or to contact them with questions...
visit www.hillstravel.com or contact
Elle / Hill's Travel
Trier, Germany
P: (877) 845 7437 ­ toll free
F: (727) 896 7167
Email: elle@hillstravel.com


See running list of people joining the tour in next post below.

SEE NEXT PAGE FOR MORE PICTURES
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/14/10 11:07 AM

LIST OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE JOINED THE TOUR:

For details, please see the post above.

If you plan join us on this historic tour, please email me directly webmaster@pianoworld.com AND CONTACT OUR TRAVEL AGENCY! elle@hillstravel.com Please include Piano Tour 2011 in the subject line
.

I will add your name(s) to the list below. If other people are coming with you, please include their name(s) as well.

We would also like to list where people are from, as this might entice others from
the same area to join us.


Can't wait to meet you all in Germany!

Planning to Join the Tour
IF YOUR NAME ISN'T ON THE LIST, and you want to join us, email me immediately!
Names In Bold Are Confirmed

Frank Baxter /FL
Kathleen (Kathy) Ford /FL
Ken Wallis /Australia
lillylady /MA
Jim Orr /IL
Jim & Sandy Fariss /England (2)
Lawrence & Sheila Dickenson /Canada (2)
Bob & Ruth Dell /CA (2)
Bart & Diane Kinlein /MD (2)
J. Eric Tkaczyk /NY
Barbara Altenburg /NJ
Dudley Rose /NJ
Kathy McAuliffe /DE
Sam Hagopian /MA
Ann C. (MO)
Rita / Canada
Barbara & Larry Wadsworth / FL (2)
Bo M. / Canada

We have CONFIRMED Deposits from 23 people so far (counting Kathy & me).


Please be sure to send me (via email) all the following information:

Your Name: (real name)
Your Forums Name:
Your Address: (will not be posted except state and/or country)
Your Phone: (will not be posted)
Name of anyone coming with you:

Let me know if you are going solo and might want to pair up
with someone else going solo. If someone else of the same gender asks about pairing
up I will share contact info with each of you.

Email me at webmaster@pianoworld.com subject 2011 Piano Tour

Updates Will Be Posted HERE:



Airport:
- Hamburg only has one int. airport, the code for this airport is HAM

- the tour includes airport pick up. We will try to schedule the transfer with the tranportation company so that everybody can take advantage of it. Since the majority of the flights from the US arrive in Germany in the morning we should be able to find a time which will be convenient for all of you.

HOTEL LIST

June 05 – 07 HAMBURG HOTEL HAFEN HAMBURG
Seewartenstrasse 9
20459 Hamburg
Tel. +49 (0) 40 – 31 113 70 600
Fax +49 (0) 40 – 31 113 70 603

June 07 – 09 BONN RHEINHOTEL DREESEN
Rheinstrasse 45-49
53179 Bonn
Tel. +49 (0) 228 – 82 02 0
Fax +49 (0) 228 – 82 02 153

June 09 – 11 LEIPZIG RADISSON BLU HOTEL
Augustusplatz 5-6
04109 Leipzig
Tel. +49 (0) 341 – 21 460
Fax +49 (0) 341 – 214 68 15

June 11 - 13 BAYREUTH RAMADA Residenzschloss Bayreuth
Erlanger Strasse 37
95444 Bayreuth
Tel. +49 (0) 921 – 75 85 0
Fax +49 (0) 921 – 75 85 601

June 13 – 14 MUNICH KINGS HOTEL FIRST CLASS
Dachauer Strasse 13
80335 München
Tel. +49 (0) 89 – 55 18 7802
Fax +49 (0) 89 – 55 18 7879

June 14 – 15 SALZBURG AUSTROTEL SALZBURG
Paris-Lodron-Strasse 1
A-5020 Salzburg
Tel. +43 (0)662 – 881688
Fax +43 (0)662 – 881687

June 15 – 17 VIENNA MERCURE WIEN WESTBAHNHOF
Felberstrasse 4
A-1150 Wien
Tel. +43 (1) 981110
Fax +43 (1) 98111930

From Forums member tnew (who lives in Austria)...
Vienna has the musicians corner at the Vienna central cemetary. That is where Brahms, both Strauss father and son, Beethoven, Schubert, and other muscians are laid to rest. There is a Mozart memorial there too, but he is actually buried in another cemetary in the city.


Posted by: StephenB

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/14/10 08:12 PM

This looks fantastic. I wish I could go.
Just one comment:
I wonder why Schimmel are not yet making it onto lists of this kind. Here in Melbourne we have a a major importer of Schimmel pianos and some of the local professionals have converted. Some claim the Schimmel is competitive with Steinway for quality nowadays. Certainly the Schimmel I get to play occasionally is the best instrument I ever touched.
Is Schimmel not yet big in N.America or are they still not regarded as top quality there?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/14/10 08:15 PM

See Additional Pictures Above and on Next Page

Austrotel Hotel - Salzburg



Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards - Munich


Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards Continued - Munich


Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards Continued - Munich


Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards Continued - Munich


Kings Hotel - Munich



Kings Hotel - Munich - Continued



Kings Hotel - Munich - Continued



Schöbrunn Palace:


Bayreuth Marketplace, Bayreuth Germany, home of Steingraeber


Additional Pictures Above, and on next page
Posted by: Rach22

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/14/10 11:20 PM

Tour looks fantastic - count me in!

Elaine Deschamps (Olympia, WA)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/14/10 11:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Rach22
Tour looks fantastic - count me in!

Elaine Deschamps (Olympia, WA)



Great Elaine, glad to have you along.
Please help us spread the word, we want to fill up the big bus (or two) :-)
Posted by: Rach22

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/15/10 12:22 AM

Just posted a link to this page on my Facebook, so we'll see!
Posted by: JamesD

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/15/10 12:52 AM

Frank, add me to the list of those going: James Davis, Mississippi
Posted by: Jan Oliver

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/15/10 03:42 AM

What a great tour! I'd love to join you guys. Unfortunately it's in the middle of the semester, and I teach at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, so I can't just disappear for two weeks. smile But here's a thought: I was responsible for creating the interactive "Virtual Conductor" exhibit in the House of Music Vienna. The entire museum is a must-see for music lovers, and it's right downtown, near the cathedral (http://www.hausdermusik.com/en/sound-museum/16.htm). The Virtual Conductor lets you conduct the Vienna Philharmonic on a huge full-HD screen - you can even control their tempo, and if you do badly, they stop playing and throw insults at you. smile (http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/po). It's the museum's top attraction. I'd be happy to join you in Vienna and talk to the museum director to arrange a special tour for us.

Also, I live less than an hour from Bonn/Cologne and would love to meet up with you guys there on the 7th, to meet you all as well as Robin. Naturally, I'd be happy to pay my share towards any expenses. Let me know what you think!

- Jan
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/15/10 09:30 AM

Thanks Jan,

What a cool toy!

I'll have to see if we can fit it in our schedule somehow.
And yes, we will have to find a way for you to meet up with us while
we are in the neighborhood.

Best,

Frank B.
Piano World
Posted by: lemonlim

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/15/10 11:02 AM

Possible to include C. Bechstein?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/15/10 11:37 AM

Originally Posted By: lemonlim
Possible to include C. Bechstein?


I'm afraid not this time.

Our schedule is already very full and time is tight.

We have been approached by a number of piano companies about visiting. It will all depend upon the success of this tour.
If it fills up and goes well, we will most certainly look to put together another tour, visiting other piano and music related places.

In the meantime I would encourage any piano related companies who would like to be part of our next tour to please contact me so we know they are in fact interested in hosting us.
Posted by: eightyeight_keys

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/17/10 07:19 AM

Originally Posted By: StephenB
This looks fantastic. I wish I could go.
Just one comment:
I wonder why Schimmel are not yet making it onto lists of this kind. Here in Melbourne we have a a major importer of Schimmel pianos and some of the local professionals have converted. Some claim the Schimmel is competitive with Steinway for quality nowadays. Certainly the Schimmel I get to play occasionally is the best instrument I ever touched.
Is Schimmel not yet big in N.America or are they still not regarded as top quality there?
Hi Stephen! I also ask members of piano world in the USA the same question about Schimmel. They are highly promoted and highly regarded in Australia as excellent pianos - I certainly like the tone of them! Is there a thread on piano world where Schimmel pianos are discused at length? I will certainly consider this tour. Being located in Melbourne Australia, as the tour is leaving from the USA, can you provide me with a price departing from Sydney or Melbourne? MAny thanks,
Regards,
Michael
Posted by: Garbo

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/17/10 12:20 PM

We are very interested. Looks like a fabulous itinerary. What kind of response are you getting, as far as numbers? Camille and Gary Sindell
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/17/10 12:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Garbo
We are very interested. Looks like a fabulous itinerary. What kind of response are you getting, as far as numbers? Camille and Gary Sindell


Hi Camille & Gary,

We are posting names as people indicate they plan on joining the tour (above, in this same thread ... http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1474109.html#Post1474109 ).

I also have the Tour details posted as an event on my Facebook pages which currently shows 9 attending and 35 maybe (along with 700+ who haven't responded yet).

My assumption is some folks haven't stepped up yet because they are deciding if this will be their vacation trip in 2011 (hey, what a great way to spend it).
Others may be checking out airline prices (it's a bit early for that, and our travel agency will help if anyone wants them to).

Ideally I'd like to see 25-30 people join the tour, as that's where the best pricing for everyone comes in. And it would be fun to have a good sized group. And if we should end up with even more that would be great.

Can we add your names to the list?
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1474109.html#Post1474109

Best,

Frank B.
Founder / Host
Piano World
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/19/10 04:42 PM

$4400 + $550 ~ $5000 this is getting pretty steep to me.
Are there options for a cheaper trip, for instance by using cheaper hotels along the way?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/19/10 06:12 PM

Sorry wouter79, but we've put together the best overall package we could.
It includes lots of fun tours/visits and wonderful opportunities to see how fine pianos are built, plus lots of music.

Because we wanted everyone to be comfortable, we chose to stay at hotels that offer A/C and other amenities.

I realize it's not cheap, but we believe the tour offers a lot for the money. And keep in mind, once we have at least 25 people, the price drops to $3603 each (based on double occupancy, but we have some people who were traveling solo but are going to buddy up to avoid the "single" surcharge).
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/21/10 02:04 PM

I also hesitate because of the price. I think the hotels are generally first class, right? And the included dinners also raise the price.

I will keep it in mind still, if I have a bit more time to think it over. If I don't end up coming though, would I at least be able to meet with the group when you are in Vienna? It would be fantastic to meet you all.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/21/10 07:10 PM

Hi tnew,
Sure, we'd be happy to meet you.

I realize it seems like a lot of money, but we're providing a lot in return.
I don't know about the hotels being first class, but I'm pretty sure they are nice hotels (and air conditioned for us Americans who are used to A/C).

The idea of the dinners is to make it easier for everyone at the end of a long day of touring/site-seeing. Instead of having to scramble for dinner plans, they can relax knowing it's all taken care of.

I hope you do end up joining us for the full tour, but if not, let's plan on connecting while we're in Vienna.


Best,

Frank B.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/25/10 04:34 AM

Well we can't commit yet, but we are definitely interested. It's on our calendar, should know in about 60 days.
Bart & Diane Kinlein (Central Maryland)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/25/10 10:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
Well we can't commit yet, but we are definitely interested. It's on our calendar, should know in about 60 days.
Bart & Diane Kinlein (Central Maryland)


Bart & Diane, that's great, I hope you can join us.
I'm going to ad your names to the list but under a new category (Definite Maybe)

Best,

Frank B.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/26/10 11:34 AM

Remember folks, if you know you plan to join us, post here or send me an email.

If you want to join the tour but aren't sure yet, please let us know that too.
We now have to lists running in the thread above.

One for those who have already made the decision to join the tour, and those who would like to but need a little more time to decide.

Either way please let us know so we can get a rough idea of the number of participants.

We hope you can join us, this is going to be a fantastic adventure!

Frank B.
Founder & Host
Piano World
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/26/10 01:24 PM

Quote:
under a new category (Definite Maybe)


That works. Diane is having knee replcement surgery next Monday. How she recovers (we expect fully) will determine if we can make it.

But a 2 hour walking tour "compulsory"? That could be a non-starter!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/26/10 01:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
Quote:
under a new category (Definite Maybe)


That works. Diane is having knee replcement surgery next Monday. How she recovers (we expect fully) will determine if we can make it.

But a 2 hour walking tour "compulsory"? That could be a non-starter!


I'm sure you can sit out the walking tour (or do whatever you'd like).
The travel agent wrote the "compulsory" part, not me :-) Turns out the "local guide is compulsory", not the walk.

I hope all goes well for Diane, please keep us updated.

Best,

Frank B.
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/29/10 01:35 AM

I continue to have interest, although the price is a challenge for me.

No question about the value being offered, just out of our comfort range. I had mentioned earlier that we visited one of our sons in Thailand in January. My wife and I each had a small carry-on and no checked baggage. We stayed in a variety of accommodations from a tribal village to a beach bungalow to a high-rise apartment in downtown Bangkok and several levels in between. We found that the simple accommodations subtracted nothing from our experience. As the Motel 6 ad goes "Everything looks the same with your eyes closed."

Just my opinion FWIW.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/29/10 12:10 PM

Understood Keith, and I agree if it's something you are doing on your own, you can run with whatever is ok by you.
However putting together a tour for a varied group of people means trying to strike the optimal balance.
Sticking with the better known hotels gives us a little more confidence that the accommodations will be clean and comfortable, and able to handle the entire group at once.
Our goal is to make this a unique, pleasurable, and memorable experience for everyone who joins us on this adventure.

I hope you can join us if possible.
Deposits aren't due until Dec. 1st (25%), however we are trying to get an idea of how many people plan to take the tour.
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/29/10 05:31 PM

Maybe you can explain a bit about the costs?

A very quick breakdown suggests to me something like this per person per day (eg Ramada Hotel advertises with $82.10 lowest avg nightly rate) (and instead of a bus I took a standard rental car with 4 persons and guessed $200 would do per day):

hotel+breakfast $100 dinner $35 bus $50
Times 12 days I get $2220

I know I'm neglecting the entrance fees etc now but what is taking up the other $2000?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 07/30/10 07:47 PM

Originally Posted By: wouter79
Maybe you can explain a bit about the costs?

A very quick breakdown suggests to me something like this per person per day (eg Ramada Hotel advertises with $82.10 lowest avg nightly rate) (and instead of a bus I took a standard rental car with 4 persons and guessed $200 would do per day):

hotel+breakfast $100 dinner $35 bus $50
Times 12 days I get $2220

I know I'm neglecting the entrance fees etc now but what is taking up the other $2000?


Hi wouter79,
I sent your question to our travel agent figuring she could best answer your questions.
Her reply...


Thanks for the question. There are many hidden variables that many don't
think about when planning a trip like this. That's why so many people
utilize a travel agent, we think of it all for you!


When choosing hotels, we tried to find hotels that had a bit of history or
local feel and were located central to many of the sites within walking
distance to insure less time on the road. Because of this, hotels begin to
get a bit pricier. We did take advantage of some of the low advertized
rates when possible, but cannot take advantage of some of the lower rates as
they must be prepaid and we are offering payment options for the group.


A rental car is a nice option, but not really possible in a foreign country.
Not everyone is comfortable with driving somewhere new like this.
Therefore, we have chosen an air conditioned tour bus (with reclining seats,
a fridge and more) for the entire group. With this we have a driver the
entire time as well as a tour director.


Entrance fees and VAT and meals are actually more expensive that he
projected. Again, it's easy to quickly look at what it might cost but when
you really do break it down, the costs add up quickly. One thing to note is
that because there are so many people joining the tour, we were actually
able to bring the costs down a bit saving money for each traveler for a
really 5 star experience.


Here are some elements that must be included but were not listed in the
$2220 projected. VAT/Government taxes, welcome party for group, English
speaking tour director, local guides for private excursions, entrance fees
to Cologne Dom, Bonn Beethoven Museum, Thomas Church, Mendelsohn House,
Liszt Museum, Germanisces National Museum, Mozart Haus Birthplace, Castle
Schonbrunn, porterage at hotels and airports of one piece per person,
parking for motorcoach, gas for the motorcoach, service charges at hotels
and restaurants (often charged because of larger groups), hotel costs for
driver and tour director. You can see how it can add up quickly!


Thanks again for the question, I appreciate that you are protecting your
investments and hope you join the group on the tour!


Kimberly Winters
Travel Agent
Hill's Travel Service
A Virtuoso Agency
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St. Petersburg, FL 33704
727-896-7161
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/02/10 07:45 AM

Thanks for the reply on my question about the costs!

Apparently I did not state it clear enough but I estimated that the bus (including gas and driver) would not be more expensive than $50 per person. I only based that on costs for rental car for comparison.

It seems a 5-star trip is out of my budget...
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/03/10 09:28 AM

Sorry you won't be able to join us wouter79.
Keep in mind the more people we have the less it will cost everyone.

Quite a few people have expressed an interest in joining the tour and it's still early. The first payment isn't really due until the end of November (Dec. 1 actually).

We are hoping to have enough people by then to make it more affordable for everyone.
The sooner people raise their hand the better though, so we can get an idea of how many people will be going, which in turn helps determine the price.

I realize there are cheaper packages out there, but they are typically canned tours that go to the same places over and over.
This is a highly customized one-of-a-kind adventure, designed with our piano/music loving members in mind.

To those of you who may be on the fence about joining us, please let me know if we can put you on the Yes I'm Coming or Definitely Maybe list.

- Frank B.
Founder & Host
Piano World
Posted by: Glenn Treibitz

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/03/10 07:30 PM

This looks like great fun. I would love to go if I can work it into the schedule.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/03/10 08:00 PM

That would be great Glenn, would be happy to have you join us.

I believe it is going to be a fun adventure (don't tell anyone, we might learn something along the way too).

Please keep me posted.
Posted by: Mirela

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/06/10 04:33 PM

Oh Wooooow!

This is amazing!!! I wish I could go, but here in Romania my husband and I together only make an average of 4000 dollars per the whole year. Spending 10,000 on a 12 day vacation is definitely wishful thinking.

On the other hand, living in Europe, and Austria/Germany not being at such an incommensurable distance I am tempted to ask if it wasn't possible to have another group that would stay at the less pricier bed and breakfast kind of guesthouses (or even camping if possible) and join with your group for the visits and tours (of course paying their share for the guide and the normal entrance fees) but again... not using the A/C, refrigerator furnished bus.

Don't get me wrong, what your travel agent is offering is fantastic, and if I had the money I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to join in, it's money well spent.

I apologize if this may upset anyone, it is not my intention of doing that!
It's just that my jaw dropped just dreaming about the amazing places you're going to visit.


later edit>
Are you really going to stay and dine at Schloss Lerbach in the picture? [envy aaaaaaal over!!!!] If so, your travel agency is more than efficient! It's a work of art smile
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/06/10 09:50 PM

Quote:
On the other hand, living in Europe, and Austria/Germany not being at such an incommensurable distance I am tempted to ask if it wasn't possible to have another group that would stay at the less pricier bed and breakfast kind of guesthouses (or even camping if possible) and join with your group for the visits and tours (of course paying their share for the guide and the normal entrance fees) but again... not using the A/C, refrigerator furnished bus.


This would be my preference. I would rather meet real people like Mirela along the way rather than functionaries in the travel industry -- no matter how professional they may be. More expensive travel options have a strong tendency to create an insulated "bubble" that shields people from actual contact with the culture.

I understand that some people feel they need the "bubble" and do not question the value being offered for the price being asked. I just have a different price/value equation.
Posted by: LisztAddict

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/06/10 11:16 PM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Quote:
On the other hand, living in Europe, and Austria/Germany not being at such an incommensurable distance I am tempted to ask if it wasn't possible to have another group that would stay at the less pricier bed and breakfast kind of guesthouses (or even camping if possible) and join with your group for the visits and tours (of course paying their share for the guide and the normal entrance fees) but again... not using the A/C, refrigerator furnished bus.


This would be my preference. I would rather meet real people like Mirela along the way rather than functionaries in the travel industry -- no matter how professional they may be.


Me too.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/07/10 11:33 AM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Quote:
On the other hand, living in Europe, and Austria/Germany not being at such an incommensurable distance I am tempted to ask if it wasn't possible to have another group that would stay at the less pricier bed and breakfast kind of guesthouses (or even camping if possible) and join with your group for the visits and tours (of course paying their share for the guide and the normal entrance fees) but again... not using the A/C, refrigerator furnished bus.


This would be my preference. I would rather meet real people like Mirela along the way rather than functionaries in the travel industry -- no matter how professional they may be. More expensive travel options have a strong tendency to create an insulated "bubble" that shields people from actual contact with the culture.

I understand that some people feel they need the "bubble" and do not question the value being offered for the price being asked. I just have a different price/value equation.


Understood, and if I planned on traveling alone or with a very small group of close friends I'd probably approach it differently too.

However we have been working months to put together a unique experience for what I hope is somewhere between 30-50 people from all across the country (and possibly around the world.)
We are trying to fit in an extensive list of exciting venues with a wide variety of experiences, while at the same time assuring everyone of a comfortable, safe, and clean travel experience.
There is a good chance we will have some children, and some folks in their 70's or older.
There will be experienced travelers, and folks who have never been out of the States.

We are doing our best to provide a memorable experience for everyone who joins us, which is why it's organized the way it is.

For those who aren't interested in this type of tour, or who simply cannot fit it into their budget...
Please see our complete itinerary. If you are able to meet up with us at any of our destinations while we are there please do so, we would love to meet you.
Heck, I would like to meet all 53,000+ forums members if I could. Unfortunately we can't get into trying to create numerous variations of our tour to accommodate the particular requests of our many valued members.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/17/10 04:09 PM

CONTINUED FROM FIRST THREAD IN THIS POST

Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Tower Bar



Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Willi's Pub


Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Terrace



Hotel Hafen - Hamburg - Stairway


Auerbach Keller Restaurant - Leipzig



Auerbach Keller Salon - Leipzig



Auerbach Keller Restaurant - Leipzig


Rhein Hotel (Rheinhotel) Dreesen - Outside


Rhein Hotel (Rheinhotel) Dreesen - Restaurant View


Rhein Hotel (Rheinhotel) Dreesen - Neighborhood


See Additional Pictures In Next Post and in First Post of this Thread
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/17/10 04:17 PM

See Additional Pictures Above and in First Post in this Thread

Austrotel Hotel - Salzburg




Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards - Munich


Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards Continued - Munich


Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards Continued - Munich


Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards Continued - Munich


Kings Hotel - Munich



Kings Hotel - Munich - Continued



Kings Hotel - Munich - Continued



Additional Pictures Above, Below, and in First Post in this Thread
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/17/10 04:23 PM

Additional Pictures Above and in First Post in this Thread

Mendelssohn Haus - Leipzig


Mendelssohn Haus - Leipzig - Continued


Mendelssohn Haus - Leipzig - Continued


Mendelssohn Haus - Leipzig - Continued


NOTE:
The pictures in the above posts and at the start of this thread are only a part
of what we will be seeing/visiting on this tour. Please read the first two posts in this thread carefully as they contain the primary details.

We also may add more pictures later so keep an eye on this thread.
And by all means, join us on this unique adventure if you can!

Posted by: wouter79

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/19/10 04:47 PM

"I am tempted to ask if it wasn't possible to have another group that would stay at the less pricier bed and breakfast kind of guesthouses"

I would like to join the cheap version too but maybe we should discuss such in a different thread.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/20/10 08:39 AM

Originally Posted By: wouter79
"I am tempted to ask if it wasn't possible to have another group that would stay at the less pricier bed and breakfast kind of guesthouses"

I would like to join the cheap version too but maybe we should discuss such in a different thread.


I'll consider a budget tour in the future, but for this time around putting together the tour we are offering now is enough of a challenge for me :-)

Coordinating with four piano factories wasn't easy (Ex: Steingraeber is postponing the start of their family vacation to host us, Steinway will just be returning from their vacation period). Robin (Goldsby/the Piano Girl) has blocked out time for us even though it's the busiest wedding time for her). And there are hundreds of little details that, although handled by our travel agency, required my involvement.


I'm hoping that 2011 will also bring another huge Cape Cod Piano Forums Party (it's up to our hosts) and a Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory tour. And of course I will be attending NAMM in Anaheim in Jan. And in between it's my job to run Piano World (and do some occasional tuning and playing).
Posted by: apple*

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/22/10 02:56 PM

that Deutsches Museum Hall of Keyboards looks incredibly awesome.

(just chiming in)
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/23/10 08:54 AM

Those pics are making me drool! I can't wait!!!

This for me will be the trip of a lifetime, and to spend it with like minded music friends will only make it tiptop. Sure this is a class act tour. I wouldn't want it any other way. I won't have to think about a thing but getting up on time and where the evening cocktails are being served!!!

< Must sell more hybrid daylilies, she says under her breath... >

Will be traveling from Boston or that might be actually NYC. Shall we try to coordinate times to travel together? I am sure it will be a long anxious flight.

< Must have a big yard sale this fall....and next spring too, she says under her breath >

Hope some from Europe will plan a weekend or couple of days to join us.

Hope some more on the fence will sell their second car and join us.

Hope more old PW friends and newbies decide to come!

< Might have to sell a kidney or two, she says under her breath, but it will be worth it! right Frank? >
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/23/10 02:21 PM

"Might have to sell a kidney or two, she says under her breath,"

Now, why didn't I think of that?
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/24/10 12:51 AM

I'm anxious that we will have the numbers to make this work. Many express deep interest in this trip of a lifetime, but will they be there when it is time to put our money where our mouth is?

I understand that a half dozen years ago the Steingraeber and Sohne dealer in Florida tried to offer a similar travel adventure. it never happened because the numbers weren't there.

How can we make our deposit of 25% if we don't know how many are going and that number determines the final cost????

I really feel we need a sooner deadline than Dec. 1 and $1000 - $1500 need to be on the table very soon so we can see if this is really a go! Other trip/tours that I have participated in and led usually required a significant downpayment at least one year in advance.

If this trip flops (and we won't know that until after 12/1/2010) I will be very disappointed because I will have lost out on other opportunities to travel in 2011 because deadlines for those trips will have past.

I'm eager to hear what others are thinking. Please share. I proposed the above discussion to Frank but have not had a response back. He may be away.

Bachsky
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/24/10 01:24 PM

Bachsky,

It's true we won't know for sure until Dec. 1st, although everyone is encouraged to contact our travel agent right away if they are interested (contact Kimberly Winters at 727-896-7161 or
Kimberly@hillstravel.com ). And of course everyone is welcome to submit a deposit ahead of time.

For the record, deposits made before Dec. 1st will be fully refundable up to Nov. 30, after Dec. 1st, you will still have until March 1st to get all but a $100.00 handling fee returned (although we of course hope your intention all along is to join us).

This is a once-in-a-lifetime, unique, and exclusive tour. It is not a typical canned tour repeated over and over. In addition to the folks who have already said they want to join the tour, and the people who asked to be on the definitely/maybe list, there are a number of other people thinking seriously about joining us.

Re-read the itinerary, check out the pictures, share this all with friends and family, help us find other music lovers to join us, and make sure you get on board yourself.

This will be a trip to remember for a lifetime.
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/24/10 03:44 PM

Frank,

Of course I plan to join the tour, its a great idea and a vary unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You have my name on your "for sure" list. And currently the "for sure" list is not long enough to make the trip work.

That's nice to say I can have a full refund before Nov. 30. But we will not know before Nov. 30 if the trip will really happen or not. So if the trip fails/folds/flops (and we learn that after Dec. 1) I understand the $100 handling fee, but I resent the fact that others (by not putting their money where their mouth is) have taken both my $100 away from me and my opportunity to possibly participate in other alternate travel experiences where the deadline will have passed by Dec. 1.

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse. I'm just disappointed that we won't know sooner if this dream trip will really happen.

Terry
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/24/10 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Bachsky
Frank,

Of course I plan to join the tour, its a great idea and a vary unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You have my name on your "for sure" list. And currently the "for sure" list is not long enough to make the trip work.

Terry


Understood. Working on that Terry.

The trip is still 10 months away. I presume even the people who want to go think that might be a bit to far out to commit their deposit. I'm hoping people will at least contact Kimberly (our agent) to let her know they plan to go. And... will start sending in deposits soon.

In the meantime, everyone who is planning on going, or who would have liked to have joined us can still help us find other participants.

Most people have Facebook accounts, and/or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or email lists. Plus friends at work, in social circles, etc.
Think about people you know who may enjoy this unique trip, then invite them to read the thread. Who knows, you just might come across some new recruits :-)
Posted by: Geo K

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/26/10 10:06 AM

Hello Frank,

I have been keeping an eye on this wonderful trip since your first announcement. The pictures you recently posted on this forum is making it very hard for us not to go but like a few others my wife is a school teaher and taking two weeks off before the end of the school year is impossible. We would have loved to join the group and help with the cost. Hopefully we can make the next trip.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 08/26/10 11:02 AM

Hi George,

That's unfortunate, would have been happy to have you two along.
Our timing is do in part to trying to work around holidays in Europe, factory shut-downs, availability dates, weather, etc.

We thought parents might consider taking their students out of school at the end of the year if necessary, figuring it would be a wonderful education in and of itself.
However, have to admit we didn't figure in that teachers would not have the same flexibility.

Depending on the success of this tour we will most certainly consider something similar in the future, and will keep these points in mind.
Posted by: PFMcT

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/01/10 02:23 PM

Not sure I can join you either, but FWIW I think you guys have *exactly* the right idea on the type of tour and accommodations. It sounds like the kind of extraordinary event that people lucky enough to go will remember for the rest of their lives. Now all I have to do is convince my wife ... who's not a piano player but does love the great composers. Still, with two kids in college, its going to be an uphill battle. smile Can't say I'm a definite maybe, but put me down for "working on it." smile
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/01/10 02:53 PM

PFMcT,
Working on it is good, and I understand your position.

But you are right, this trip should create memories to last a lifetime.

Nobody is more excited then I am (I love pianos, music, old architecture, and history).
I hope you can join us.

Best,

Frank B.
Founder / Host
Piano World
Posted by: Bill Potuchek

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/06/10 06:14 PM

I have been following the posts and as a travel professional I can tell you that Frank and the agent have worked hard to provide a fantastic trip. I am a little surprised that the agent hasn't agreed to go to assist in case of problems etc. as I always travel with groups as you know with the Piano Cruise we did last year and had a lot of fun. I am sure the pricing and the numbers have a lot to do with the busses you must charter. With fewer people the trip probably can go but at a higher price. If November comes and the numbers are not there then ask your agent for a repricing and it should not be a whole lot more.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/07/10 05:27 PM

We have 15 definite, 8 definite/maybe (want to go, will let us know as soon as possible), and lots of interested people.

Come on folks, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
It's going to be so much fun sharing this experience with others who
love piano and music.
Heck, the scenery, people, and history alone would be worth the trip, but add to that the private tours and the magical music...

Remember, the more people who sign up the better the pricing becomes.

Make this your big special trip in 2011, and tell your friends about it.

Looking forward to meeting all of you.
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/13/10 11:37 AM

I am interested in going on this trip and the big decision point for me is if I will be able to afford financially to go. I like the idea of dinners included, the tour bus, and everything arranged in advance. It sounds like a dream trip forme!!!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/13/10 11:51 AM

Hi qtpi,

I hope you can join us.

As you know, the more people the better the pricing gets.
I'm hoping we can get to the third column (lowest pricing).

Either way it's going to be an experience to remember.
Posted by: Tweedpipe

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/14/10 02:46 PM

After much deliberation, unfortunately I won't be able to make this 2011 European Piano Tour.
Hopefully something similar in 2012 - (including a Sauter factory tour) may be workable.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/14/10 03:23 PM

Sorry to hear you won't be joining us Tweedpipe.
The next tour will depend on the success of the 2011 tour.

I'm hoping we get to have our big 4 house 4 piano forums party in 2011 too (that's up to our hosts). And we do expect to resume our tours of the Mason & Hamlin factory in 2011 as well.

Likely 2012 will be another cruise (somewhere other than the Caribbean) with the next European tour being 2013.
Posted by: Strings & Wood

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/25/10 02:58 PM

Please put me and my wife Melanie on the "Definite Maybe" list.
thxs,
Carl
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/25/10 03:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Strings & Wood
Please put me and my wife Melanie on the "Definite Maybe" list.
thxs,
Carl


Hi Carl,

Great, happy to add you and Melanie to the list.
If you two do join us (and we hope you do) I'll be sure to remember your wife's name. My daughter's name is Melanie:-)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/26/10 09:21 AM

We've had more people added to the Joining Us list, and added more to the Definitely Maybe list (people who want to join us but couldn't commit quite yet).

You have until Dec. 1 to get your deposits in, but please let us know now if you plan on, or hope to join us so we can get a head count.

This is going to be a unique and exciting experience to see some of the most beautiful parts of Europe combined with your love of music and the piano.

We will be traveling in comfort on a bus made for touring (with an English speaking guide).
Although piano and music are the focus, we will also be sure to take in the incredible scenery, architecture, food, and people of the areas we visit.
And yes, there will be plenty of opportunities for picture taking (and shopping if you are so inclined).

What are you waiting for? Exclusive and unique trips like this don't come along every day. Go ahead, add your names to the list.

If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to read the first 2 sections of this thread ad they contain all the details.
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1474102.html


See you in Germany!

Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/28/10 05:39 PM

Bump...

Keeping this in front of our friends, hoping we can add your name(s) to the list!
Posted by: ThePawn

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 09/28/10 07:40 PM

I would love to go. This trip looks spectacular! Alas, my finances will probably not allow for it. I will tell anyone that would be interested and can afford to go for you.

Regards,
Jason
Posted by: piqué

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/01/10 03:15 AM

frank, what an incredible trip you've put together. clearly a lot of careful thought and planning went into this.

i did a similar tour in 2005 alone, and i can tell you the logistics were extremely challenging to do this on the cheap and figure out everything yourself. just the service of having it all planned out is worth a lot of coin.

if my financial situation improves significantly by next spring, i'd love to join you, but i am pretty sure it won't have improved enough to make a dec. 1 commitment.

to all those who are posting that the trip could be more affordable--certainly it could, but to plan such a trip on your own is incredibly complicated and time consuming--what is your time worth?

it can be very affordable to travel in europe, but that also presents a whole host of other challenges.

i just want to say that i've been to bayreuth and the steingraeber factory--the most exquisite pianos! and the factory itself is like stepping back in time--everything is done by hand. the city is so beautiful.

i've also been to the deustche museum and have played the mozart era piano there. the curator is an incredibly gracious person and the visit to this piano collection alone is worth going on the trip for.

i've been to several of the other stops on the tour, but missed out on going to vienna, and that alone would make me jump on going on this trip, if i could.

so while i, being a poor freelancer, cannot manage the costs right now, i certainly see the incredible VALUE that frank is offering. and i encourage people who are on the fence to consider it from this perspective.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/01/10 10:24 AM

Thanks Pique', I hope you get the opportunity to join us.

Yes, I think it's going to be a very special tour.

Half the fun for me is getting to share it with others who also like the piano.
But even if you aren't a piano lover, this is going to be a fun trip.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/06/10 03:31 PM

Come on folks, we only need a couple more people to move us into the next price bracket where everyone will save over $500.00 !

And a few more after that will get everyone even more savings.

You know you want to join this unique tour.

DO IT!
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/07/10 07:37 AM

Anyone else extending their stay?

I have been searching Vienna area for a possible continued stay until Sun. There is something to do both east and west of Vienna. Will probably fly out of Munich as there is a direct route to Boston from there.

It would be nice to visit a cathedral/church on Sun to hear a nice old church organ. Looks like that would be Bayreuth on the 12th (and for extended stay, either Vienna or Salzburg). Anyone else interested or know about an early morning service and church?

Edit
The old church in Bayreuth is All Saints Church - Schlosskirche. Martin Luther's tomb is there. Didn't see anything about the organ yet. Service is at 10

Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/07/10 08:34 AM

We are considering an extra day or two.
Thinking about heading up to Estonia to visit Indrek's place.

We have members who live in Vienna, perhaps they will chime in with more details about the churches and pipe organs.

I love the sound of a big pipe organ, it's a shame they let the one at the Hammond Castle fall into disrepair. I heard it played by Virgil Fox and E. Power Biggs (separate concerts) years ago. Amazing.
Posted by: piqué

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/07/10 01:10 PM

how far is talinn from vienna? would you take a train?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/07/10 01:50 PM

Was thinking of flying, but the train would be an interesting idea.

I'll check with Indrek to see what he suggests.
Posted by: cruiser

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/07/10 02:42 PM

My 60th birthday is in January 2011 and I'm taking early retirement at the end of March. You know what?... I'm thinking this tour would make a wonderful treat to myself in this special year. And, as I live in northern Germany, the logistics wouldn't be too difficult.

Please count me in as a definite maybe for the time being... I'm just off to do some Euro-Dollar conversions or, could I pay directly in Euros?

Cheers!
Mike
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/07/10 02:55 PM

Hi Mike,

What a great treat, I like your thinking.

Hmmmn, do you also read & speak German? :-)

We'd be happy to have you join us.
You can check directly with our travel agent about the Euro/dollar question.

Tour Arrangements Made Through Hills Travel, St. Petersburg, FL

Hill's Travel Service has been around for over 80 years helping make travel
dreams come true. With personal relationships with thousands of airlines,
cruise lines, hotels, resorts and premier destinations worldwide, you are
guaranteed the best pricing and service available. To learn more about Hills Travel or to contact them with questions...
visit www.hillstravel.com or contact Kimberly Winters at 727-896-7161 or
Kimberly@hillstravel.com .


Putting you down as a definite maybe, please let us know when we can move you up to a "Joining the Tour" status :-)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/11/10 09:59 AM

For those of you who plan on joining us on the tour (come on, you know you want to)...

There is an interesting and fun thread about Learning German, and about the cultural differences of Germany & Austria vs America HERE
Posted by: cruiser

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/12/10 04:26 AM

Alas, having done the calculations, this wonderful tour is out of my financially reach and so I must confine my participation to the Hamburg element, where I hope to join you all for the Steinway visit.

Also, I'm already planning a return trip to New York (went there in February this year) and another visit to Carnegie hall.

My very best wishes to all participants for what will, I've no doubt, be an unforgettable experience.

Viele Grüße
Michael
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/12/10 11:53 AM

Sorry to hear you won't be joining the full tour Michael.

Looking forward to meeting you in Hamburg though, and perhaps we'll meet
up in NY some time.

Speaking of the financial calculations, we only need a few more people to
make it into the next price category, where EVERYONE SAVES $530.00!

Come on folks, this is an adventure of a lifetime ... JOIN US!
Posted by: ryawarr

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/13/10 09:02 PM

I'm still trying to make this work, so I am a maybe (with spouse). Will there be some fine beers tasted during the trip:)

Sounds like fun!
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/14/10 07:17 AM

Originally Posted By: ryawarr
I'm still trying to make this work, so I am a maybe (with spouse). Will there be some fine beers tasted during the trip:)

Sounds like fun!


Great ryawarr!

I see this is your first post. Tell us a little about yourself somewhere here on PW! I see you own a Schimmel from your sign-in. I bet there will be more than one beer tasting evening! Me? I wanna try the wines!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/18/10 12:07 PM

By the way, if any of you know of any travel, social sites, other piano/music sites, etc. where you can mention this one-of-a-kind tour, please feel free to help us promote it.

We would certainly appreciate the help, and you'd be doing piano/music lovers a favor by letting them know about this adventure.

The more people we have the better the pricing for everyone.

(think Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, travel sites, etc.).

Note that you can also use the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of the page to help us spread the word.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give us in spreading the word about this unique fun-filled adventure for piano and music lovers.

Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/19/10 01:11 PM

Please note that although the first payment is due by Dec. 1st, you will still have until March 1st to change your mind.

(cancellations between Dec.1 and March 1 will be subject to a $100.00 handling fee).

Come on folks, you know you want to join us. Just look over the itinerary and check out some of the pictures. This is going to be a very memorable adventure.

Join us, and please tell your friends about the piano & music tour of Europe.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/20/10 09:02 PM

Quote:
Come on folks, we only need a couple more people to move us into the next price bracket where everyone will save over $500.00 !


Those of us going could each pay a little for a couple of "ghost" tour members so we could each save the $500!
Posted by: eweiss

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/20/10 09:09 PM

If you really want to promote this tour, post the tour page link http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1474102.html on Facebook. That's what I did. smile
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/20/10 10:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
Quote:
Come on folks, we only need a couple more people to move us into the next price bracket where everyone will save over $500.00 !


Those of us going could each pay a little for a couple of "ghost" tour members so we could each save the $500!


A thought, but I'd rather have real people joining us.
Believe me there are lots of people on the sidelines trying to decide if this should be their big trip. Look at the itinerary folks, of course it should you should join us!

Some people are even planning on arriving early and/or leaving later to visit other places while they are in Europe. In fact Kathy and I are considering staying a little extra to jump up to Estonia so we can visit our friend Indrek's piano shop.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/21/10 02:01 AM

Quote:
A thought, but I'd rather have real people joining us.

Agree 100%. And I do think we will have significantly more enthusiasts join us. My wife and I are really looking forward to this trip!
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/27/10 02:35 PM

TIP:

Watch for flight savings.

I have been watching for a few weeks. Checked Expedia, Travelocity, Trip Advisor and the airlines themselves.

I was surprised to see that Travelocity today was just the best I have seen for my first choice. - almost $300 savings over the airlines themselves.

Also note the changes in time. Leave USA Sat, get there Sun. I had to book for Fri leaving to get there on Sat. If I left on Sat I would not have arrived until Sunday later than our Sun beginning outing.

Yes I will need to book an overnight on Sat in Hamburg but better to have that and another day to enjoy Germany than to pay the airlines for a Sat expensive flight, right?

If anyone else has Sat free, let me know. I might enjoy traveling around with you!

BTW, I am not comfortable with paying extra price for a single with this tour. More on that later.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/28/10 08:58 AM

By the way everyone, you should know that Udo Steingraeber and his family are postponing the start of their vacation just to accommodate us.

I told him they didn't need to do that, he insisted.

A real gentleman and a great representative of the family business.

This is Udo with with his C212
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/28/10 01:49 PM

Udo is so classy that I bet he'll gift us all with a new 212 and the rest of you will be sooooo jealous!

(she dreams!!!)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/29/10 10:20 AM

Originally Posted By: lilylady
Udo is so classy that I bet he'll gift us all with a new 212 and the rest of you will be sooooo jealous!

(she dreams!!!)


I'm gonna need a bigger carry-on.
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/30/10 11:39 AM

Frank- is Hills travel teh same travel group who arranges the cruises?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 10/30/10 12:56 PM

Originally Posted By: qtpi
Frank- is Hills travel teh same travel group who arranges the cruises?


No, the cruise was arranged by a guy I ran into while we were driving to Key West one weekend, his is a one person operation.
Although he did ok, for a number of reasons I will not be using him next time.

We chose Hills because they have experience in Europe and in fact have people over there (and they are based in St. Petersburg, FL 20 minutes from my house). They have a good reputation and seem to really know their stuff.
Posted by: Bunneh

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/01/10 10:42 AM

Just a small pointer, your picture titled "Bayreuth" on the first page does in fact show a picture of lovely Heidelberg, also my hometown! Pictured is the Heidelberg castle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidelberg_Castle

May I suggest this picture of Bayreuth as a replacement? smile
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Marktplatz_Bayreuth.JPG
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/01/10 10:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Bunneh
Just a small pointer, your picture titled "Bayreuth" on the first page does in fact show a picture of lovely Heidelberg, also my hometown! Pictured is the Heidelberg castle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidelberg_Castle

May I suggest this picture of Bayreuth as a replacement? smile
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Marktplatz_Bayreuth.JPG


Oops, thanks Bunneh good catch.

I had done a search on Google/Images and presumed it was Bayreuth.
I'll make the switch.
Love your home town though :-)
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/01/10 01:07 PM

Frank, do we know yet what hotel we are staying at in Vienna? I am booking an extra night and trying to confirm arrangements for the extended two days.

Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/01/10 01:21 PM

I am extending on both ends.

Hamburg arrival will be Sat. Two wonderful smaller towns have been explored online to do that day. Lubeck northeast and Luneburg just south. Both should take 30-45 public transportation. I have chosen to go to Luneburg and stay overnight at a hotel on the river there.

Vienna area intrigues me so I will stay 2 days and leave from Munich on Sunday. First day, Fri, to the east is a wonderful castle with beautiful formal gardens recently restored. Should be a quiet day after the hustle bustle of the tour.

Then my piece de resistance is a tour on the Danube from Melk (abbey) to Durnstein or Kelms, which will take all of Sat. I'll return to Melk overnight with a train to Salzburg in the morn with lunch there and a short tour of something we might have missed and then onto Munich for the flight home at 4.

These might be of interest to others.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/01/10 04:53 PM

Originally Posted By: lilylady
Frank, do we know yet what hotel we are staying at in Vienna? I am booking an extra night and trying to confirm arrangements for the extended two days.


Hi LL,
Good question, I don't know yet, I'll have to check with Hill's.

We are thinking of extending a day or two also, might jump up to Estonia to visit
Indrek's place. Cutting it close though as they start their holiday on Sat.

BTW, anyone who is going (or interested in going) is welcome to contact Hill's
directly too if you have any questions. They are more than happy to help.
(see below)Just make sure you tell them it's about the Piano World European Tour.

Tour Arrangements Made Through Hills Travel, St. Petersburg, FL

Hill's Travel Service has been around for over 80 years helping make travel
dreams come true. With personal relationships with thousands of airlines,
cruise lines, hotels, resorts and premier destinations worldwide, you are
guaranteed the best pricing and service available. To learn more about Hills Travel or to contact them with questions...
visit www.hillstravel.com or contact Kimberly Winters at 727-896-7161 or
Kimberly@hillstravel.com .
Posted by: apple*

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/01/10 09:03 PM

i have checked, and they won't take one of my kidneys frown
Posted by: Kraver

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/03/10 12:05 PM

My wife and I are considering this trip (Charles and Juliana Kraver from Chandler AZ). How close to the start point (Hamburg) or the stop point (Vienna) is Paris (I have a sister living there) or Brustles (I have a brother living there). I should probably just google map this question. What VISA stuff do US citizens with a passport need to travel in the EU?

My mother-in-law has also shown interest (Jia Hui Wang from Chandler AZ/Shanghai China). She has is a Chinese citizen with a US green card. What VISA stuff would she need to travel in the EU?

Do any of the committed or definite maybes speak Mandarin, Shanghaiese or Cantonese? Her english if very limited. Obviously my wife could translate but it would add to the experience if others spoke one of these Chinese dialects. Plus it might provide her an obvious roommate.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/03/10 02:10 PM

Hi Chuck,

That's wonderful, we would love to have you, your wife, and your mother-in-law join us on the tour.

I would recommend checking with our travel agent, I know if they don't have the answers they will certainly get them for you. I've also asked them to monitor this thread to help us answer any questions.

Contact Kimberly Winters at 727-896-7161 or Kimberly@hillstravel.com .

I intend to create a list soon with as many of the details as I can about things like the visa, electric adapters, cell phone use, wireless Internet access, etc.

There are actually some pretty good suggestions and facts in the thread I started a while back about

Learning German for the Trip

Please let me know when I can add your names to the list of people joining the tour.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/04/10 04:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Kraver
My wife and I are considering this trip (Charles and Juliana Kraver from Chandler AZ). How close to the start point (Hamburg) or the stop point (Vienna) is Paris (I have a sister living there) or Brustles (I have a brother living there). I should probably just google map this question. What VISA stuff do US citizens with a passport need to travel in the EU?

My mother-in-law has also shown interest (Jia Hui Wang from Chandler AZ/Shanghai China). She has is a Chinese citizen with a US green card. What VISA stuff would she need to travel in the EU?

Do any of the committed or definite maybes speak Mandarin, Shanghaiese or Cantonese? Her english if very limited. Obviously my wife could translate but it would add to the experience if others spoke one of these Chinese dialects. Plus it might provide her an obvious roommate.


Hi Chuck,

I did check with our Travel Agency, our agency contact in Germany provided the following...

==================================================================
Regarding the questions of Charles and Juliana Kraver here the answers:

- Vienna and Hamburg are both not close to Paris: Vienna is about 11 hours ride and Hamburg about 7 (train or car)

- Brussels is a little bit closer - 5 h 30min from Hamburg and 10h from Vienna

- for US citizens a visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days

- as far as the visa requirements for Chinese are concerned I would kindly ask to contact the Chinese Embassy

- I am not aware if any of the participants speak Mandarin, Shanghaies or Cantonese

Please let me know if I can assist Charles and Juliana any further.


Best regards,


Elle

Hill's Travel Service

Saint Petersburg, USA

Trier, Germany

P: (877) 845 7437 – toll free
F: (727) 896 7167
Email: elle@hillstravel.com
=========================================================
Also Chuck I would add that I hope everyone who plans to join the tour, or is even thinking about it will keep an eye on this thread (and by all means let us know as soon as you decide so we can get you on the list). We may come up with someone yet who can help to make your mother-in-law's participation more pleasant (no mother-in-law jokes now people).
Posted by: Kwartvleugel

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/11/10 02:17 PM

Quote:
- Vienna and Hamburg are both not close to Paris: Vienna is about 11 hours ride and Hamburg about 7 (train or car)

- Brussels is a little bit closer - 5 h 30min from Hamburg and 10h from Vienna




In spite of the german "no speed limit" on the Autobahn that seems quite optimistic to me and probably is calculated without the necessary breaks (and european traffic jam).

These are more or less the distances by car.
Hamburg - Paris : 900 km.
Hamburg - Brussels : 600 km.
Vienna - Paris : 1200 km.
Vienna - Brussels : 1100 km.
Posted by: Strings & Wood

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/13/10 09:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano World
Please note that although the first payment is due by Dec. 1st, you will still have until March 1st to change your mind.

(cancellations between Dec.1 and March 1 will be subject to a $100.00 handling fee).

Come on folks, you know you want to join us. Just look over the itinerary and check out some of the pictures. This is going to be a very memorable adventure.

Join us, and please tell your friends about the piano & music tour of Europe.



We are on the fence, only because we have just purchase a new home. With this tidbit of information, I am certain we will move to the "going" list; and please add my mother-in law, Cathy to the list. Could we get an update on where we are number wise?
Thanks
Carl
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/13/10 11:46 PM

Hi Carl,

Glad to hear you are planning to join us, looking forward to meeting you, your wife and your mother-in-law.

While I definitely want everyone who plans on going on the tour to let me know, I'd appreciate it if you would also contact Kimberly (Contact Kimberly Winters at 727-896-7161 or Kimberly@hillstravel.com ) as it helps them track things on their end if they hear directly from our participants.

Best,

Frank Baxter
Piano World
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/18/10 01:01 AM

Early on in this thread I may have written "people need to put their money where their mouth is: or maybe I said that in a PM to Frank. Well, anyway I just sent in my deposit to confirm my place on this wonderful opportunity. I'm encouraging others to do the same.

In recent weeks many churches have been encouraging their members to make their pledges of contributions for the upcoming year. One over enthusiastic young preacher got carried away in his stewardship sermon and called out from the pulpit: "I upped my pledge...up yours!"

I don't know if he got his point across, but the sooner more of us step up to making our financial commitment to this trip the sooner we will know what the bottom line cost will be. That information will me helpful to me in my planning and I think that would be the case for many others too.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/18/10 06:52 PM

The latest update brings us to 31 who say they want to join the tour.

If everyone does indeed come through, we will be in the last (lowest) price bracket.

We still have at least 13 people who are undecided. Now is the Time!
Posted by: BritishJim

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/20/10 08:54 AM

I wrote to Kimberly Winters at the beginning of November asking about the 25% deposit. I got this e-mail from Elle Baumann:

Thank you for your e-mail. I will contact the tour operator and verify this information and will get back to you shortly

Elle
Hill's Travel Service


How much do I need to send in (there are two of us), who do I make I the check for and where to send it?

-Jim & Sandy
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/20/10 09:10 AM

Hi Jim & Sandy,

The reason we weren't asking for deposits until the start of Dec. was to
allow time to bring as many people on board as possible.

As you know, the more people the better the pricing (up to a point).

In addition some of the places on the tour wouldn't lock in prices too far ahead.

We had set Dec. 1 as the original lock down date for deposits, now extended slightly to Mid Dec. because we've gotten other people raising their hands.

I will be working with Elle this coming week to get the details we need.
As soon as we have them, Elle will be sending an email to everyone who plans to join the tour, and I will be posting the updates on the Forums.

Thanks for your patience, glad to hear your anxious to get this settled and reserve your spot.

Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/21/10 10:07 PM

Hello...we don't need people "raising their hands"...we need people making financial commitments to the tour!
Posted by: Munich

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/24/10 02:22 AM

Hello, what a wonderful Trip - I wish I could join you but I have no money left after booking several journeys.
I am German and new on this forum. I know many of the places you will visit for sightseeing. When I saw your plans on the trip for June 12th I wondered how that will be possible and checked the time you need for transportation. By the way both cities -Nuremberg and Rothenburg are extremely beautiful and interesting. But on that day you will spent about 4 hours in the bus: 1 hour from Bayreuth where you stay overnight to Nuremberg, 1h 15 min. from Nuremberg to Rothenburg, 1hour 50 minutes from Rothenburg to Bayreuth. In the towns your program will be extremely tight. You might regret not to have more time there.

I thought I should tell you that so that you can check once more wether this is really what you want!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 11/24/10 09:24 AM

Hello Munich, and welcome to the forums.

Thank you for your comments.

I know we are cutting some things a bit close, we may need to adjust.
There is so much to see and do, we could have a month and not see it all.

But we have only 12 days, which no doubt will go by very quickly.
The tour will give everyone a chance to experience a little bit of a lot of things.
Some who, like myself, have never been to Europe will want to take it all in with the thought that they will return one day to spend more time with the places and people they liked the most.

Looking forward to seeing your beautiful country.

Best,

Frank Baxter
Founder / Host
Piano World
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 12/01/10 06:50 PM

Hello Frank, Elle and All,

I sent my deposit in today. Frank and/or Elle, can you let me know when enough deposits have been received that the trip is a definite go? Airfare is nonrefunadable and I want to get my airfare after enough folks are signed up and paid, so that the trip is a sure thing.

Really looking forward to it! Are we going to be doing any Bach- related excursions?

Also will we be able to see Beethoven's grave?

Yours in Piano,
Posted by: musdan

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 12/01/10 11:23 PM

Frank, you've put together a great trip - I'll be with all of you in spirit, just can't afford it at this time.

I know all PW travelers will have a great time and wonderful memories.

If time permits, keep us posted on your travels.

Bon Voyage smile
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 12/06/10 10:36 AM

Think about it ...

This Trip Would Make a Christmas Present of a Lifetime!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 12/07/10 01:46 PM

If you haven't done so already, it's time to...

Join The Piano Tour Now! Please Read On...
Do you know what a Catch 22 is?
Well that's what we are experiencing right now. Why?

Because a number of people have indicated they want to join the tour...
ONCE THEY KNOW WE HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE!

Well, if you are sitting on the sidelines waiting, you may well be the one(s) creating the challenge.
We need YOU to join us now so we will have "enough" people.

We Have Enough People IF...
You make the commitment to join the rest of us. You know you want to be part of this adventure.
It will be like no other tour/trip you've ever seen. Fun, educational, mesmerizing, musical, stimulating, interesting, unique.

Did You Realize?
We will be treated to private tours of top European piano manufacturers conducted by:
Steingräber u. Söhne Tour (Bayreuth, Germany) Conducted by Udo Steingräber himself. A gentleman and world class piano designer.
Blüthner Tour (Leipzig, Germany) Tour to be conducted by Dr. Christian Blüthner. Dr. Blüthner has a fascinating bio, as does Blüthner piano.
Hamburg Steinway Tour (Hamburg, Germany) Kyle Kirkland, Chairman of Steinway Musical Instruments has promised a memorable tour.
Bösendorfer Tour (Vienna, Austria)Thanks to the artist formerly known as Bosie Eric for putting us in touch with the right people.

And that we will enjoy a private concert (in a castle no less) by Pianist/Composer/Author Robin Meloy Goldsby (author of The Piano Girl, Rhythm, and ...)

Plus we will be touring composer's homes, music museums, cathedrals, and castles.
Not to mention staying in beautiful classic European hotels and dining in wonderful restaurants.

All this plus lots more, including traveling in a comfortable tour bus with our own guide (leave the driving to them), breakfast and dinner included so you don't have to think about it (of course you can do your own thing if you prefer), time to yourself to do tourist stuff (or nothing).

NOTE: We have single travelers who are interested in pairing up to save the "single" fees. Make sure you
let Elle (our travel agent) know if you are either looking for a travel mate or are willing to consider pairing up with someone.
Same gender only, we aren't match making here you know :-)

Please Don't Wait Any Longer - Commit Today! (this would make a great Christmas present :-)

Elle is our contact at Hills Travel (our travel agency). She can accept credit cards, or you
can mail a check. She is also available to answer any questions. Get your deposit in and hold your spot!

Hill's Travel Service
Saint Petersburg, USA
Trier, Germany
P: (877) 845 7437 ­ toll free
F: (727) 896 7167
Email: elle@hillstravel.com

We are so looking forward to meeting up with everyone in Germany!

Have a Very Merry Christmas & a Happy and Safe New Year!

Musically Yours,
Frank & Kathy
P.S.
We will be at the NAMM show (Anaheim, CA) Jan 12-17.
Hope to catch up with those of you who will be attending the show.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 12/21/10 12:03 PM

Have you sent your deposit yet?

You'll hate yourself if you miss this tour!
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 12/31/10 01:41 PM

I'm wondering about arrival times in Hamburg. I would hate to have a flight delay and miss meeting up with the group on Sunday evening. Is anyone planning on flying in on Saturday?
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/01/11 10:01 AM

Yes Agilita, I am arriving a day early and will stay just south of the city in a small charming town. I'll travel on to Hamburg early on Sun. Don't we have something going on Sunday?
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/01/11 10:43 PM

Sorry to miss Sunday night meeting; My 50th high school reunion is Saturday night, and the best I can do is 7:30 Monday AM at the Hamburg airport. I've let Elle know about this.
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/03/11 01:48 PM

Lilylady,

What is the "charming town"? I think I'll plan a Saturday arrival. Not sure what I'll do with the extra time. I need to get a guide book and do a little reading.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/04/11 07:46 AM

When willl second payment be due?
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/04/11 03:07 PM

Bart, the pdf with the pricing said this:

"25% of entire amount is due by December 1st. Another 25% is due on March 1st, 2011, with final payment due by April 4, 2011"

Since the first payment was extended until mid-December, I don't know if the other deadlines will change or not.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/05/11 08:03 AM

Quote:
Since the first payment was extended until mid-December, I don't know if the other deadlines will change or not.


Why I asked the question. Hope it is.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/05/11 02:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Agilita
Lilylady,

What is the "charming town"? I think I'll plan a Saturday arrival. Not sure what I'll do with the extra time. I need to get a guide book and do a little reading.



Lüneburg, Germany which is south of Hamburg, I think by about 1/2 hr / hr. ???

The other wonderful choice could be Lubeck which is northeast of the city.

Look up stuff on the internet. Easier than reading a book. Trip Advisor became my nightly visits! Lots on what to do before and aft.

I am also staying in Vienna area for the weekend after the tour. Traveling up the Danube to Melk and then on to Salsburg/Munich for the jet home, and traveling east to a castle and gardens on Fri. So much to see and do while in the area!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 01/18/11 12:49 PM

Had a couple people at the NAMM show express an interest in joining us.
I hope they do, but they will need to get their deposits in a.s.a.p.

More later when I get through the emails and stuff from NAMM.

lilylady you have the right idea. You will be in Europe anyway, make the best of it :-)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/01/11 11:42 PM

Come on folks, we have 17 people who have sent their deposits, but we would still love to have some more piano/music lovers join us.

You know this is a super special tour like no other.
Please join us, it's going to be a trip of a lifetime!
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/02/11 12:20 PM

What happened to the number 30 that were reported committed? As I've said in the past we will never know if this trip happens unless people put their money where their mouth is.

Frank, when will you decide to "pull the plug" on doing this trip. The longer we're dangling out here the fewer the opportunities for us to make alternate travel plans. I don't want to get stuck with an airplane ticket if this trip doesn't happen!
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/02/11 01:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Bachsky
What happened to the number 30 that were reported committed? As I've said in the past we will never know if this trip happens unless people put their money where their mouth is.

Frank, when will you decide to "pull the plug" on doing this trip. The longer we're dangling out here the fewer the opportunities for us to make alternate travel plans. I don't want to get stuck with an airplane ticket if this trip doesn't happen!


Well, we've been told that if we have 15, that's enough to guarantee the trip, so that should be settled.

And your post reminded me of an example showing the difference between being involved and being committed. In a ham and eggs breakfast, the hen is involved, but the pig is committed.

See you in June.
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/02/11 02:26 PM

From talking with Elle and Hills Travel, I understand the trip will happen. Frank, with your party, is the number of people 19? That would mean we have the middle price? I am very excited and really looking forward to it!!
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/02/11 08:39 PM

Thanks Palindrome and Qtpi for your positive input. I really want to hear more from Frank and Elle. Nothing has been posted lately about the trip. Like the pig, I'm committed HOWEVER I don't want my "goose cooked" (in other words - no tour because there weren't the numbers needed to make it happen. And if it is a go I need to know how many dollars I have to have ready and by when. I'm just used to having more concrete information in hand - I'm getting uneasy about lack of details shared with potential participants.
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/03/11 12:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Bachsky
Thanks Palindrome and Qtpi for your positive input. I really want to hear more from Frank and Elle. Nothing has been posted lately about the trip. Like the pig, I'm committed HOWEVER I don't want my "goose cooked" (in other words - no tour because there weren't the numbers needed to make it happen. And if it is a go I need to know how many dollars I have to have ready and by when. I'm just used to having more concrete information in hand - I'm getting uneasy about lack of details shared with potential participants.


Quite reasonable, given the date, in my opinion. Have you e-mailed Elle? She's been quite quick to respond to my questions.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/03/11 06:42 PM

The tour is definitely on.

Like anything of this type we've had people swear they were joining us, only to have to back out because of personal issues, job losses, etc..

That said there are still some people who we are hoping will come through from the original lists.

And we still have additional people interested in joining us, we will be happy to add them if they get their deposits in quickly.

We have 15 confirmed deposits, plus Kathy & myself.

I put it that way because as the tour organizers we were hoping to get a little break on our part of the tour.
I'm self employed and Kathy only works part time.

We were also hoping to reach the magic 19 number to drop the pricing for everyone.

However, any way you look at it, the tour is a go!

Anyone with questions is more than welcome to contact me and/or Elle (our travel agent) anytme. You can also contact the main Hill's Travel office in St. Petersburg (FL).

My email is frank_baxter@pianoworld.com
My phone number is the main Piano World number.

Elle is at:
Hill's Travel Service
Saint Petersburg, USA
Trier, Germany
P: (877) 845 7437 ­ toll free
F: (727) 896 7167
Email: elle@hillstravel.com

Looking forward to meeting everyone in Germany in June!

By all means, if you think you might no someone who would enjoy the tour, please tell them all about it and get them on board.
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/03/11 08:11 PM

Thank you for the solid information, Frank. I needed to hear something like this because there had been little posting since the first of the year. I am looking forward to the great experience you have planned. Thank you for all your efforts. Terry
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/07/11 12:25 PM

Terry- I understand. I must have asked at least 5 times is the tour definitely on before I got my airfare, because I did not want to lose the money I spent on that. Once I heard it's a go, I did get the air reservations and the travel insurance. I am hoping more people sign on, but I couldn't imagine a better trip- I love pianos and have always wanted to see Germany. I have been listening to the Pimmsleur German tapes and counting the days!

Kathy
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/07/11 12:40 PM

Originally Posted By: qtpi
Terry- I understand. I must have asked at least 5 times is the tour definitely on before I got my airfare, because I did not want to lose the money I spent on that. Once I heard it's a go, I did get the air reservations and the travel insurance. I am hoping more people sign on, but I couldn't imagine a better trip- I love pianos and have always wanted to see Germany. I have been listening to the Pimmsleur German tapes and counting the days!

Kathy


Me too :-)

We had every intention from day one to make the tour work, but we had to reach a critical minimum number of commitments (read: sent money) before we could be absolutely sure.

We had quite a few people claim they were going, only to drop out for one reason or another. Thankfully it's all working out, and I do expect we'll have a few more people join yet. But even if we don't, we're going!

I'm as excited as anyone. I've never been to Europe, and I love pianos, so I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning.

Looking forward to meeting up with all of you in Germany.
And please do keep spreading the word, you never know who might decide to join us.
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/07/11 11:43 PM

I am tempted, but realize I have a lot of expensive projects coming up this year. I really wish I could do it.

However, I for sure wish to join the group while they are in Vienna.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/08/11 09:32 AM

tnew, I wish you could join us for the entire tour, but at least we can meet up in Vienna.
Best idea would be to contact Elle, our travel agent about meeting up in Austria.
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/08/11 11:55 PM

I have sent her an email and see what she says. I would love to join on the two days of tours and I am always happy for a visit to a Heuriger.

Sorry, Heuriger meaning wine garden restaurant, of which Grinzing is famous for.
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/09/11 01:48 PM

I know that there was previous discussion about cell phones but I happened on this while surfing for info on Germany:

http://www.travel.org/cellphone-germany.html
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/09/11 01:55 PM

Thanks Agilita,

Phones and Internet service in Europe concern me.
I realize Germany and many other countries have good service, but as this article points out that's primarily for residents.

I wonder if it would be better to use a high-speed Internet connection and Skype?
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/10/11 10:33 AM

I'm afraid that I'm not techy enough to answer that. My two little granddaughters use Skype-their parents call the oldest one "the Skype monster". One night they were talking with their other grandmother in Boston and with an aunt who was in Guatemala at the time. They could all see and talk to one another. It amazes me.
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/11/11 12:12 AM

The tour books very nice hotels that I would be shocked if they didn't have wireless internet. If I were on the tour, I would be using skype from my laptop. I have been very successful with skype last year with calls to Europe from Africa, S. America and even Asia. I personally think hotels should give free internet access, which more than half do. But a few hotels out there see it as a source of income and charge their guests per hour (means you get a password from the reception to access the connection). So, wifi is extensively spread over both austria and germany. I doubt you will have a problem.

Second preferred method is to use international calling cards (sometimes pre paid, sometimes rechargeable). They usually give a list of access numbers that allow you to make a single 'local call' to activate, and then charge you a per minute fee that is usually quite reasonable. You can get such cards within germany/austria, or maybe even find an international one in the US before you leave. I did this quite a bit in Argentina with great success. Bought 200 peso (30 euro?) card with local activation numbers which were free from the hotel room, dialed to Austria, and this gave me about 100 minutes of calling. Roaming would have cost me probably 6 euro or more a minute.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/11/11 12:41 AM

Thanks tnew, good information.

I've never been to Europe so this is all new to me.
I can't tell you how excited I am though to visit Austria and Germany.

And I already know I will want to go back and visit other countries (Italy and Ireland are on my "bucket" list). If I had the resources I would travel all the time. There are so many wonderful sights to see, and people to meet.

Although I love living in America, I sometimes envy you for living in Europe where you can access so many different cultures and so much history in such a short distance.

Thanks again, all advice is welcomed.

Best,

Frank B.
Piano World
Posted by: BritishJim

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/13/11 09:06 AM

As an American couple living in England, I'd like to mention a few things I see asked. Questions about internet service or cell phone for example. Yes, we cannot do without these things anymore but also think about this trip we are about to take on, some of you to Europe for the first time. This trip will keep you very busy, there is a lot covered in a short time. The idea is to have fun and see sights, not worry about your e-mail or facebook page, you have a lifetime to deal with that, this will be the only time you will ever do a trip like this, think more about having a good camera than internet service.

Now, what about cell phone & internet? We use a pay-as-you-go cell phone and it has worked everywhere in the world (and I do travel the world), most likely your phone will work as well. For the few times you need to make or receive a call, it is worth the small extra cost. Most hotels will have internet and if you're spending more than an hour a day on the computer (or cell phone) on this trip, you might as well stay home.

Some have asked about learning German, I've been learning for about 2 years using Rosetta Stone and an on-line program called Rocket German, and even then I only understand about 15% of what someone is saying BUT I usually can work out what they said from the words I know. I do not recommend buying Rosetta Stone unless you make a long term commitment, with the time we have left before the tour starts it is not worth the cost. Your trip will be a lot more fun if you learn just three simple words, hello, goodbye, thank you. The Rocket German course has a free 6 day sample that is perfect for 3 months we have left to learn some common everyday real German. http://learn.rocketlanguages.com/german/premium

Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/14/11 09:08 PM

Thanks Jim, good points.

And I agree, anyone who feels compelled to be on their iPhone/iPad/computer rather than take in all this trip has to offer, probably isn't on the right trip.

That said, I have nobody to run Piano World if I don't.
While we have very capable moderators on the forums, and I'm lucky to have a woman in CT who takes care of filling orders from our online store... I'm the person who runs Piano World.

I intend to keep my Internet time to a minimum (although I'll also be anxious to post about the tour), but I will definitely need to have access.
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/15/11 11:18 PM

I have reserved a place for the two days in Vienna! Ok, true I have seen the sights before, but it's really the chance to get to know the people from PW that I look forward to.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/15/11 11:21 PM

That's great tnew, looking forward to meeting you!

Best,

Frank B.
Piano World
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/18/11 10:04 AM

I assume that we're still supposed to have the next 25% installment due on March 1st? The same amount as the first deposit?
Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/19/11 03:23 PM

Thank you for posing this question. I'm tired of assumptions. I hear nothing from the travel agent and I have made my initial deposit and want to go on this trip. I don't believe I should have to keep begging the question. They should be sending invoices and keeping track of their clients.

Can someone please get the ball rolling on the way to go about doing professional business. They have my address and number and I hear nothing! I'm not a happy camper at this point.

Bachsky
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/20/11 08:40 AM

+1
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/20/11 08:44 PM

Bachsky,
I know Elle has sent out emails to everyone who signed up for the tour.
Are you saying you haven't received any of them?

Or are you saying you contacted her and she didn't reply?
I ask because I know she is very good about answering inquiries, usually within one day (have to allow a little time for the time difference, she is in Germany).

As for the payments, the schedule is posted in the pdf, and was sent in the emails she sent out before. The only thing that changed was we pushed back the initial deposit because we had a few people who needed to be sure they could join us before they sent their deposits in, which they did.

The rest of the schedule has not changed.

When I last heard from Elle (a couple of days ago) she said she was going to work on a new email this weekend and send it out this week. It would contain updates and details about the next payment.

I've also asked her (and the agency) to keep an eye on this thread. If she is she should see your post(s), if she isn't/doesn't I will remind her she agreed to watch this thread.

As I've mentioned before, if anyone feels they are not getting the response they expect from our travel agency, let me know. I will make sure you get the answers you are looking for. I have personally found them to be very responsive, as have others I've spoken with.

I've posted my contact info before, but if you don't have it, my direct email is frank_baxter@pianoworld.com my phone is the same as the main Piano World number (860) 741-2625 the agency emails and 800 #s are posted earlier in this thread.

I don't want anyone to feel they aren't being taken care of, every one of you are important to me and to the tour.

I want this to be a tour to remember, for all the right reasons.

Do not wait until you are perturbed about something, call the agency directly, email me, call me, whatever it takes.

I am on the road right now so I only have limited access to email and the internet, but I will be back in the office on Wednesday. In the meantime I'll try to keep an eye on things but I'm visiting my sister and she only has dial up.

With over 1000 emails to get through, on a slow computer, on a dial up connection, I'm not going to be able to keep up.

Keep a positive attitude folks, this is going to be a fun trip!

Posted by: Bachsky

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/21/11 11:28 PM

Frank,

Thank you for the positive response. I did hear from Elle today and she was most helpful. I'm sorry for my anxiousness, but I am used to more detail in print from the travel agents that I have worked with in the past.

I think I am squared away now.

I hope you have had a pleasant visit with your sister and that you won't be overwhelmed with a backlog of emails when you return.

Bachsky
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 02/28/11 08:36 AM

I know there are stil a few people out there who would like to join us.
We can still get you in if you contact Elle or me right away.

This is not just a "piano tour", it is also an exciting and fun filled European tour that happens to be built around a love of pianos and music.

You will be traveling in comfort, with a guide and driver who know their way around. Your tour mates will all be folks like yourself who have an affection for the piano and for music.

You will have 12 full days of fun and adventure traveling through some of the prettiest and most historic areas of Germany and Austria.

Some of our tour members are even arriving early and/or leaving later to take in additional sights and sounds while they are in Europe.

Come on, you won't ever do it any younger!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/04/11 12:08 AM

Posted some updated on the first page, check them out.

Listed the people who have sent their deposits in, and added a list
of the hotels we will be staying in.

Still like to add some more participants if you're interested.

We only need one more, and the price will drop over $1000.00 per couple!
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/04/11 07:41 AM

In case it helps for time in Vienna, you can find public transport information in english at this link:
Wienerlinien

You can find a map of the subway (U-bahn) under the 'downloads' link at the top of the page.

I see you are staying at Westbahnhof which is on the U3 subway line. It's convenient since it takes you directly to Stephansplatz (Stephans cathedral) which is at the heart of the town center in the 1st district. Everything in the first district is within walking distance then. More museums than anyone will probably have time to visit.

It is also possible to walk from the hotel to Mariahilferstrasse which is a popular shopping street. It is quite a walk from one end (westbahnhof) to the other (ringstrasse) but still doable. Lots and lots of shops along that stretch.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/04/11 12:01 PM

Well, obviously if we don't get another person, we should all chip in to buy another one (about $200 per person) and save $300 per person. That's always the weird thing about setting thresholds for price drops.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/07/11 07:59 AM

So here's the math, using the rates quoted on page 1 -

19 persons at $4,391 = $83,429

20 persons at $3,860 = $77,200

There's just no way it can cost more IN ABSOLUTE dollars for 19 than for 20. It should be somewhat less because of a smaller bus (again based on page 1) and fewer meals.

A reasonable rate would be to divide the $77,200 by 19 resulting in $4,063. I know this may have to be adjusted for currency fluctuations, but that's another matter.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/08/11 09:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
Well, obviously if we don't get another person, we should all chip in to buy another one (about $200 per person) and save $300 per person. That's always the weird thing about setting thresholds for price drops.


Would that it were that simple Bart.

Tours are like cruises, they count on more actual people, not just hard dollar amounts.
Why? Because people tend to spend additional money over and above the package, on souvenirs, drinks, tips, etc. Same reason cruise ships will sometimes discount cabins, because they want to get the bodies on board.

We still have a few people who claim to be interested in the tour, and I'm still doing more promoting. I wouldn't be surprised if we picked up more participants.
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/16/11 12:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano World
Tours are like cruises, they count on more actual people, not just hard dollar amounts.
Why? Because people tend to spend additional money over and above the package, on souvenirs, drinks, tips, etc. Same reason cruise ships will sometimes discount cabins, because they want to get the bodies on board.


The following story, circa 1955, made the features page of the Chicago Tribune. My grandmother (born ca. 1875) arranged a dinner at a hotel for a charitable group she was involved in, at a price of about $4.00 per person. Her niece held an event at the same hotel, same menu, for only $2.50. My grandmother called the hotel manager to complain. He responded, "These young people order drinks, and I make money on that. All you oldsters ever do is ask for more rolls and butter."
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/17/11 03:55 PM

Good example Palindrome :-)

Come on folks, there is still a little time left to jump on board.
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 02:38 PM

I have a bag question !! I've noted that we're allowed only one bag? (I'm assuming that an additional carry-on that we handle ourselves is going to be OK.) I'm going to be gone a little over two weeks and a friend who travels to Germany every other year advised me that it may still be a little cool there in June and to plan layers to wear. I'm trying to figure out what and how to pack. And, I'm sure that I'll buy a few items along the way and need a little extra space to accomodate shopping.

What size suitcase are you planning to bring? And, maybe the question should be asked-is there a size restriction? Or, just airline size and weight restrictions?
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 03:21 PM

I just drove past your Vienna hotel yesterday. They are renovating the Westbahnhof across the street so the view won't be very pretty outside the street front windows frown But the courtyard rooms should be nice.

It can range from hot to cold in June, and all between. I suggest equal number of short sleeves and long sleeves, a couple pullovers plus a wind breaker or not too thick raincoat with a hood (no fun being soaked if it rains). Also hat and sunglasses for the sunny days. Oh, and good walking shoes.

I'm not so strong so I like to take as small a bag as possible in case there are any stairs. But most airlines allow one or two bags up to 23kg (total) + plus a carry-on. I personally like small carry-ons because they fit better into overhead bins on the plane. Probably not good to get too large a bag because if it comes overweight, the fees can be enormous now days. And unfortunately the rules are not always applied consistently from airport to airport (even on the same airline). If you find out at check-in that you are over the limit, you typically have to leave the que, move to another one at the ticketing counter to pay and get a receipt, and return back to the check-in line again with proof of payment. It can be tedious. Probably better to get to the airport early if you plan on having excess luggage.

Sorry for jumping in, but I am really excited for all of you. It's going to be a great trip!
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 04:26 PM

While some airlines may allow 2 bags, I understood that the tour would only transport one piece?

But, you bring up another concern-that of weight. Thanks for the clothing recommendations.
Posted by: BritishJim

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 05:34 PM

What about laundry service? Will there be an opportunity during the tour for those that want to send out their clothes to get cleaned? Or is it use the sink in the hotel room?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 06:04 PM

Good questions folks, I'm going to ask Elle to help with the answers.
I'm on the road right now, but back in my office tomorrow.

I'd like to pull together a master list that answers as many questions as possible, about such things as:

Baggage Limits

Laundry Facilities

Cell Phone Usage (roaming, international, etc.)

Hi Speed Internet Connections

Airport Fees (I heard that in London they require cash for a "departure" fee?).

Visa - Do U.S. Citizens need one anywhere?

How about our friends coming in from Canada, Australia, U.K., etc.

Euros - Should we convert some cash to Euros?

Kathy and I haven't booked our flights yet. Better to wait a while, or do it now?

And I'm still hoping we may pick up some more tour participants. One more would put us in the bracket to save over $500.00 each. If you know anybody who you think would enjoy this unique tour, please tell them to join us now!

Anyway, back to the thoughts at hand.
I will email Elle when I get back in the office, but don't forget you are all welcome to contact her anytime you have questions about our tour (and of course you're welcome to contact me).

Getting more excited every day.

And as some of you know, I'm combining the tour with getting my new piano (we are going to build the travel into our tour trip).
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 06:17 PM

I plan on using a small bag and after rolling up clothes, using some of those 'squeeze out the air' plastic bags to help condense the volume. Also layering what I am wearing on the plane!

Another soft light tote to carry my purse, laptop (if I bring it - I would rather not), cameras, small umbrella, book, magazines etc.

I don't want to check luggage.

And you?
Posted by: Greyhound

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/21/11 07:03 PM

I'm not on the trip but just a quick "heads-up" regarding international air travel & carry-on luggage. Please check with your airline regarding carry-on size. Some carriers are more strict than others. Another factor is if you're traveling coach, business, first-class. We've had the same carry-on be accepted by British Air but rejected by Air France. Air France was extremely strict, it had to fit completely within their "box", the wheels stuck out & they rejected it. Have fun!!!!
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/22/11 12:47 AM

I have never encountered airport fees of any sort in London, other than what was already charged in the ticket price. Maybe there are certain circumstances where it isn't included and has to be paid separately?

Just as a side topic, London Heathrow is one of the least favored airports amongst frequent travelers, along with Charles Du Gaul in Paris.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/22/11 10:09 PM

And from Elle, our travel agent in Germany...

To the questions on the forum: I took a look and this is what I'd suggest-

Please post there that there will be a detailed final letter covering all questions.
Based on my experience with groups (and I book quite few in the past) this is the best way to cover everything.
I usually collect all the questions and approx. 5-4
weeks before departure send out a loooooong letter with all instructions.

Otherwise I will answer the same questions several times and some of them
still won't be covered and some people will not get the answers.

This is because not everybody is checking the forum on a regular basis and will miss the answers. It was great of you to summarize what people are asking. I have
copied the questions into the sheet where I've been already collecting them.

Please let them know that all of them will be covered in the final letter.

Thank you for your help Frank!

Best,


Elle
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/23/11 04:16 PM

For those not on Facebook, Robin Meloy Goldsby announced the German edition of her new book which is not available in English until May. The title translated is something like "Waltz of the Asparagus Humans". I asked if I could get it signed if I managed to get one before we leave for Germany. She replied not to schlepp one over that she would have some available for the Pianoworld Tour!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/23/11 04:32 PM

Good point Agilita, thanks for the post.

And yes, it is Waltz of the Asparagus People.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy (manuscript, not finished book).

Robin has done it again.

The book is a hilarious, one of those rare books that makes you
laugh out loud, a lot.

By all means buy one while we are in Germany and get it signed by the author.
Then save it for the plane ride home :-)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/23/11 08:39 PM

I found out we have someone else seriously interested in joining us for the tour. I thought I'd share with you the note I sent her, in case you were thinking of jumping on board....


Elle shared with me the exciting news that you are interested in joining us on the European Piano Tour!

The tour is going to be so much fun!

We are going to travel through some of the most beautiful and historic places Germany and Austria have to offer.

The piano factory tours are going to be a wonderful experience, learning firsthand how some of Europe's finest pianos
are crafted, right from the people who build them. At Blüthner Herr Christian Blüthner himself will be conducting the tour,
and at Steingraeber Herr Udo Steingraeber will show us their shop. We are starting the tour off with a visit to the Steinway Piano Factory in Hamburg, and will wind up on the other end with a tour of the Bosendorfer Piano Factory in Vienna.

Then there are the music museums, hand picked because they contain amazing pianos, some over 200 years old (along with other incredible historical instruments).

And of course we will be visiting composer's homes, cathedrals, and castles.
Even the hotels we will be staying at are classic, as are a number of the restaurants we will be dining at.

A special treat will be meeting and hearing Robin Meloy Goldsby (author of The Piano Girl) play. She has promised to have copies of her
new book Waltz of the Asparagus People available when we visit, and will be happy to sign copies for us.

Then there is the sheer beauty of the towns and cities, and the people in them. I've a feeling a lot of pictures will be taken on this trip :-)

Once you arrive in Hamburg, the rest of the tour is taken care of. We will be traveling in a modern tour bus with rest room and fridge (and a/c).
Guided by our on board English speaking tour guide as we are all whisked from one enchanted town to another.

Breakfast and dinner are included each day so you won't have to wonder where to eat (although you of course don't have to eat with us if you choose).

This will be a magical trip, one that will give you a lifetime of memories.

I hope you decide to be part of the Piano World Piano & Music Lovers European Tour!
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/24/11 08:31 AM

For personal happiness, most seasoned travelers recommend traveling light.
"Take half the clothes and twice the money" is the way some have put it.

A year ago January, my wife & I were on a 2.5 week trip to Thailand with stopovers both ways in Korea. (And it was cold in Korea!) One wheeled carry-on and one small daypack were sufficient for us.

There are traveler sites on the internet that provide suggestions on how to do this.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/24/11 08:59 AM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
For personal happiness, most seasoned travelers recommend traveling light.
"Take half the clothes and twice the money" is the way some have put it.

A year ago January, my wife & I were on a 2.5 week trip to Thailand with stopovers both ways in Korea. (And it was cold in Korea!) One wheeled carry-on and one small daypack were sufficient for us.

There are traveler sites on the internet that provide suggestions on how to do this.


My sister and her husband travel like that.

I on the other hand tend to reverse the adage.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/24/11 09:53 AM

A while back the Times had an article on how to pack like a pro. The main advice was to adopt the "roll your clothes up rather than fold and stack them" technique. I was initially skeptical that (a) it would save much space and (b) keep your clothes less wrinkled, but after using that method for all my trips since then, I'm a convert.

Here's a photo slide show from the article showing how a flight attendant gets 10 days' worth of clothes in a carry-on.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/24/11 12:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Monica K.
A while back the Times had an article on how to pack like a pro. The main advice was to adopt the "roll your clothes up rather than fold and stack them" technique. I was initially skeptical that (a) it would save much space and (b) keep your clothes less wrinkled, but after using that method for all my trips since then, I'm a convert.

Here's a photo slide show from the article showing how a flight attendant gets 10 days' worth of clothes in a carry-on.


I'm really good at packing and I tend to travel light - I read up on the roll rather than fold technique but it didn't work well for me. the technique I saw though was to roll your clothes together - which was a pain when you wanted to get a specific item out of the rolled bundle. This woman's idea looks like it could work quite well.

I have been following the COUNT DOWN at the top of the forums - you guys must be getting really excited about your big trip!
Heck, I'M excited.
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/24/11 03:20 PM

My friend who travels to Germany frequently tells me that she always brings back bottles of wine in her suitcase. She said that she just packs her clothes around them and they're always fine. Thought I'd pass that along although I'm a little leary of trying it. I have visions of going to the baggage pick-up and having a dripping suitcase.

Thanks to all for the packing suggestions. (Monica, thanks for posting-I haven't had time to watch the video but will.)
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/25/11 03:31 PM

Bottles of wine in the suitcase? I wouldn't try it. I have had four suitcases destroyed by airport handlers. Too much risk of breaking. There is also a limit on how much alcohol one can import from one country to the next.

I believe most german wines don't travel or age well and are usually enjoyed rather new. California wines are so much nicer.

Austria is famous for schnaps, particularly Marillenschnaps/apricot schnaps but can be a whole variety of fruits and even almonds. They tend to be pretty strong though.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/29/11 04:51 PM

One thing we've discovered while pricing flights, if you haven't already tried this...

It's cheaper to set up with round trip and a one way versus a three point trip.
In other words, it's cheaper to set up round trip to/from Hamburg and a one way from Vienna back to Hamburg than it is to set up all three points as one trip.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/29/11 07:44 PM

We have a 20th person seriously interested in the tour, but there is a slight catch.
I've sent an email to everyone who has signed up, please read it and get back to me as soon as possible.

The countdown clock shows only 68 days left!

Yikes!
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/30/11 02:30 PM

Did anyone else read "Twist and Stout" about Hamburg in last weekend's NYT travel mag:

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/twist-and-stout/

Evidently our hotel will be near the area where the Beatles hung out in the 60s. And there's a music store there (the article has a picture of a T-shirt in a music store). The article also mentions that Hamburg was Brahms birthplace. His birthplace was evidently destroyed in WW II but I checked online and there's a Brahms museum in Hamburg. Now to figure out if it's anywhere near the hotel.

Edit, correcting typo.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/30/11 04:09 PM

Interesting.

Just don't forget we are already visiting a number of museums and composer's homes :-)
A partial list from our itinerary...

Morning visit to Beethoven museum

Mendelsohn Museum, Music Instruments Museum

Germanisches National Museum

Morning visit to Wagner and Liszt Museum

Morning visit to the Deutsches Museum

visit the Mozart Haus, the birthplace of Mozart
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 03/30/11 06:06 PM

I would love to go see the Brahms museum!!! Also Beethoven's funeral markers- and the statues of Beethoven!!!!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/04/11 03:28 PM

From Rita, our 20th tour member ...

Just as an FYI for other members of the tour in case anyone is looking...At the Aldstadt Hotel (#1 on Tripadvisor), they have a Bösendorfer room...yes, you can have a beautiful
Bösendorfer grand in your room if staying in Vienna past the tour date. But there's only one such room. Still available currently.
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/04/11 05:36 PM

And how much is that room with a Bosendorfer? laugh
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/04/11 05:49 PM

$199.00 EUR
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/05/11 06:55 AM

Oh! I just want to mention that Vienna has the musicians corner at the Vienna central cemetary. That is where Brahms, both Strauss father and son, Beethoven, Schubert, and other muscians are laid to rest. There is a Mozart memorial there too, but he is actually buried in another cemetary in the city. I went there once, but don't really like cemetaries.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/05/11 08:11 AM

Interesting. Any idea how far it is from our hotel?
June 15 – 17 VIENNA MERCURE WIEN WESTBAHNHOF
Felberstrasse 4
A-1150 Wien
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/05/11 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Agilita
And how much is that room with a Bosendorfer? laugh


I wonder if it can be played at midnight or 6 AM!

Piano party anyone?

Not finding it. Other rooms 240-320 fri or sat nites and not available

I looked into the cemetery for the weekend...it is doable and was planning on visiting. (only visiting mind you!)
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/05/11 11:16 PM

The cemetary (Zentralfriedhof) is 25 min. by public transport from the hotel.

From the train station across the street from the hotel, (westbahnhof):

Underground train U3 in the direction of simmering,
Getting off at the Landstrasse stop.

At the Landstrasse stop, going upstairs following the S signs for the Schnellbahn, and take the S7 (schnellbahn #7) in direction Flughafen Wien or Wolfstal.
Getting off at Zentralfriedhof stop.

Cost is 3.80 euro round trip. Or you can take a taxi, but probably costs some 20 euro.

A nice general website is:

http://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/sights/from-s-to-z/central-cemetery
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/06/11 04:06 AM

Count me in for a visit to the Cemetary!
Posted by: Agilita

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/06/11 10:55 AM

Does everyone from U.S. have their passport? Or have them renewed if need be? Just happened to think, if we have a government shut down, you probably couldn't get one processed.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/06/11 11:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Agilita
Does everyone from U.S. have their passport? Or have them renewed if need be? Just happened to think, if we have a government shut down, you probably couldn't get one processed.


Good point.
And even if we don't have a shut down, it takes time to get them processed. Some countries require your passport be valid at least 30 days passed your stay there.

We've also registered our trips with the Dept. of State.
Not a bad idea. Then you know where the consulates are and they have a record of who you are.
Posted by: qtpi

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/18/11 01:59 AM

THere is a Bach museum in Liepzig- Is there enough time to take that in? It looked pretty good- I would love to see some of his original manuscripts.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/27/11 05:12 PM

I'm most happy for you all who will visit the rich cultural traditions of Europe.

If anyone happens to stray from pianos and also 'spot' a pipe organ -or a few-: take photos of prospect, console or innards, listen or record, talk with knowledgeable professionals or even test/play - I'd be glad to get this experience shared !!

Best wishes to all !
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/27/11 05:59 PM

Originally Posted By: ROMagister
I'm most happy for you all who will visit the rich cultural traditions of Europe.

If anyone happens to stray from pianos and also 'spot' a pipe organ -or a few-: take photos of prospect, console or innards, listen or record, talk with knowledgeable professionals or even test/play - I'd be glad to get this experience shared !!

Best wishes to all !


A very real possibility ROMagister.

I'm certainly fascinated by pipe organs, as is Kathy.
No doubt there are others on our tour as well.

Not much point in my playing one as my classical organ is limited to about two measures of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor. After that I'm strictly an old rock and roll player.

But we will try to get some pictures and education while we're happily taking in Germany and Austria.
Posted by: YourGuide

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 04/28/11 01:28 AM

Still trying to digest what I am seeing here :-O
Posted by: HwyStar

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/01/11 12:58 PM

Quick question all: I have my birth certificate, drivers license and social security card... How long does it take to get a passport?

Is there time for me to go since I have never gotten a passport before? My wife needs hers renewed but she thinks that takes less time to accomplish.

On-line; via travel.state.gov, it is saying 2-3 weeks for expedited service...
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/01/11 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: HwyStar
Quick question all: I have my birth certificate, drivers license and social security card... How long does it take to get a passport?

Is there time for me to go since I have never gotten a passport before? My wife needs hers renewed but she thinks that takes less time to accomplish.

On-line; via travel.state.gov, it is saying 2-3 weeks for expedited service...


My sister used the expedited service to renew hers, took about 2-1/2 weeks.

I don't know about where you are, but when I applied (I was in CT at the time) they required the "long form" birth certificate, certified with the city seal on it.

We'd love to have you join the tour, but you'll really need to get on the passport thing pronto.
You'd also need to let Elle (our travel agent) know (elle@hillstravel.com) right away so they can make arrangements for your hotel rooms/meals etc.

Please keep us posted!
Posted by: HwyStar

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/01/11 01:42 PM

I will be back in Reno on Tuesday and will get to the post office that same day. I will check with them to see what the requirements are. I think I have the birth certificate short form...

Thanks Frank and I will let Elle know as soon as I find out my status.

To tour all four "super brands" on the same trip... What a treat!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Music Lovers Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/07/11 11:32 AM

JUST ADDED TO OUR TOUR, courtesy of our own Robin Meloy Goldsby (the Piano Girl). And yes, we're going to fit it in the matter what.

Hi Frank,

A bit of unexpected good news.

The WDR (Westdeutsche Rundfunk) is Germany's public broadcasting network of radio and television stations, similar to the BBC, except bigger. This is where my husband works. The WDR supports a symphony orchestra, a pops orchestra, a choir, and a big band (John's band).

They have a lovely piano atelier and selection room, which house some of the finest instruments in the country, used by some of the world's most renowned concert artists.

John says they have a very valuable collection of historic "Beethoven" pianos, cembelo, harpsicord, etc... Plus the main concert Steinways and 1 concert Bechstein.

So., long story longer, the esteemed Hans Giese (head piano technician for the WDR) has offered to show your group the piano atelier (yes, you'll be able to play most of the instruments). The WDR is directly across from the Dom Cathedral, which you will be touring (according to the info I have) on June 7th. It would be very easy to just walk to the WDR from the Cathedral and check out these amazing instruments. The radio orchestra system in Germany is an amazing part of the cultural scene here, and I think your group will get a kick out of seeing their piano atelier.

Question of timing: What time are you touring the Dom? The optimal time for Herr Giese would be sometime between 2 and 4. You could spend an hour in the atelier before heading to your hotel in Bonn.

Let me know what you think and we will make arrangements. If there's no time, that's okay, but I thought this would be a marvelous opportunity for everyone.

Best,
Robin
Posted by: Jan Oliver

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/25/11 07:19 AM

Hi Frank,

only a few more days...! I wanted to catch up with you on our earlier posts from last year. Coming from nearby Aachen, I would love to join you on Tue Jun 7 for the Cologne evening event with Robin, maybe also for the Cathedral visit. What time do you expect these to be? And do you have an idea if you'd like to include the tour of the House Of Music in Vienna that I offered to help coordinate, with its interactive exhibit to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic?

Best,

- Jan
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/27/11 04:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Jan Oliver
Hi Frank,

only a few more days...! I wanted to catch up with you on our earlier posts from last year. Coming from nearby Aachen, I would love to join you on Tue Jun 7 for the Cologne evening event with Robin, maybe also for the Cathedral visit. What time do you expect these to be? And do you have an idea if you'd like to include the tour of the House Of Music in Vienna that I offered to help coordinate, with its interactive exhibit to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic?

Best,

- Jan


Hi Jan,

I wish we could visit the House of Music in Vienna, but I believe our schedules are too tight. Here is the Cologne/Bonn scheduling, followed by our Salzburg/Vienna schedule.

7 June
07:00h depart for long distance transfer to Cologne
13:45h estimate arrival time
14:00h WDR Tour (contact Hans Giese) - Westdeutscher Rundfunk
Funkhaus am Wallrafplatz, Eingang: Pilzbau
An Der Rechtschule 3, 50667 Cologne, Germany


15:30h guided visit to Cologne Cathedral (duration about 1 hour)
17:00h continue to the city of Bonn
18:00h estimate time of arrival – check in
19:00h dinner at hotel

8 June
10:00h pre-booked guided visit to Beethoven museum (duration 45 minutes)
Balance of the morning at leisure
14:30h departure from hotel to Schlosshotel Lerbach -about 50 minutes drive
Adress: Lerbacher Weg, 51465 Bergisch Gladbach,
17:30h drive back to Bonn
18:30h dinner at hotel

And here is our Salzburg / Vienna Schedule (in between we have Leipzig, Bayreuth, and Munich)

14 June
09:15h pre-booked visit behind the scenes at Munich Nationaltheater (Opera House),
duration about 1 hour.
10:30h inside visit to Cuvillies-Theater – one of the most important Rococo theaters
in Germany.
Afterwards walking tour of historic Munich city center
Time for lunch on your own
13:30h Afternoon drive to Salzburg, check-in at your hotel
16:00h Have a 2 hour walking tour with a local Salzburg guide and visit the Mozart
House, the birthplace of Mozart.
19:00h Reserved dinner at Restaurant Stieglbräu (walking distance)
Rainerstr. 14, A – 5020 Salzburg

15 June
09:00h departure for drive to Vienna, stop for lunch en route (at own expense)
-possibly stop at “Sound of music” chapel at Lake Mondsee

14.30h Meeting point for Tracy Newton: Entrance at Technisches Museum
Local Guide Wien: Renate Bauer
14.30h Meet with the local guide at the Technisches Museum for special guided
tour of the Piano Collection with audio sample.
16:00h visit to Castle Schoenbrunn, duration about 1 ½ hours
18:00h estimate arrival time at your hotel – check-in

19:30h dine with local wine and music in a wine village
Reserved dinner at Weingut Reinprecht
Cobenzlgasse 22, A – 1190 Wien

16 June
08:30h Meet in hotel lobby, bus drive to Wiener Neustadt (driving about 55 minutes)
09:30h Morning technical visit at Bösendorfer factory
Adress: L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH
Gymelsdorfergasse 42, A – 2700 Wiener Neustadt
Transfer back to your hotel / or city center

15.00h Meet with your local guide in Vienna for afternoon city tour of Vienna.
Meeting point: Schwedenplatz
Combined driving/ walking tour through city center “Musical Vienna”

18:00h end of city tour
19:00h Dinner at your hotel

Most of us are departing on the 17th.
In fact Kathy and I will be catching a 6:30 a.m. flight out.
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/28/11 12:15 AM

I hope some will have a little extra time to spend in Vienna before leaving. There is so so much more to do for those that do. There is an impossibly long list of museums:

http://www.wien.gv.at/ma53/museen/museen.htm

Also music venues, parks, and lots of possible excursions less than an hour away easily by public transport.

By the way, there is a Mozart haus in Vienna too, where he lived during his financially better times. It is in the city center near to the Stephans cathedral.

Here's a link to the technical museum:

http://www.tmw.at/

And for Schoenbrunn palace:

http://www.schoenbrunn.at/en/home.html
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/28/11 12:52 AM

Arrghh, so much to see, so little time.

Kathy and I have to start our adventure on 30 May, which means by the time we return to Florida in the U.S. we will have been away almost three weeks.

I have a business to run, and Kathy has a job.
Otherwise I can assure you we would love to be able to spend more time in Germany and Austria (Italy and Greece are definitely on our bucket list too).

Thanks for the the links and info tnew, I believe a few people are in fact staying extra days.

And I've no doubt we will be back, when finances allow.
Posted by: Jan Oliver

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/30/11 05:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano World
Originally Posted By: Jan Oliver
Hi Frank,

only a few more days...! I wanted to catch up with you on our earlier posts from last year. Coming from nearby Aachen, I would love to join you on Tue Jun 7 for the Cologne evening event with Robin, maybe also for the Cathedral visit. What time do you expect these to be? And do you have an idea if you'd like to include the tour of the House Of Music in Vienna that I offered to help coordinate, with its interactive exhibit to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic?

Best,

- Jan


Hi Jan,

I wish we could visit the House of Music in Vienna, but I believe our schedules are too tight. Here is the Cologne/Bonn scheduling, followed by our Salzburg/Vienna schedule.

7 June
07:00h depart for long distance transfer to Cologne
13:45h estimate arrival time
14:00h WDR Tour (contact Hans Giese) - Westdeutscher Rundfunk
Funkhaus am Wallrafplatz, Eingang: Pilzbau
An Der Rechtschule 3, 50667 Cologne, Germany


15:30h guided visit to Cologne Cathedral (duration about 1 hour)
17:00h continue to the city of Bonn
18:00h estimate time of arrival – check in
19:00h dinner at hotel

8 June
10:00h pre-booked guided visit to Beethoven museum (duration 45 minutes)
Balance of the morning at leisure
14:30h departure from hotel to Schlosshotel Lerbach -about 50 minutes drive
Adress: Lerbacher Weg, 51465 Bergisch Gladbach,
17:30h drive back to Bonn
18:30h dinner at hotel
...


Hi Frank,

thanks for the travel details! I won't make it to Vienna, but I will meet up with you all in Cologne on the 7th at 2pm at the WDR tour entrance you mention then. I would love to join you folks on Tue and Wed in Cologne/Bonn, including Robin's concert of course. (I'm already on her asparagus book and will make sure to bring both books along for signing!)

As a local (and without jetlag) ;), I hope I can make myself useful. And of course I'll be perfectly happy to pay my share towards any expenses.

One slight catch: I just wanted to book those two nights at the Rheinhotel Dreesen in Bonn where you are staying, but they said they're sold out. Looks like there's a climate summit going on. Do you still have any room contingencies at the hotel? I'd just need a single room for the same two nights as you guys.

Have a safe trip, and looking forward to meeting everybody!

- Jan
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 05/31/11 08:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Jan Oliver
Originally Posted By: Piano World
Originally Posted By: Jan Oliver
Hi Frank,

only a few more days...! I wanted to catch up with you on our earlier posts from last year. Coming from nearby Aachen, I would love to join you on Tue Jun 7 for the Cologne evening event with Robin, maybe also for the Cathedral visit. What time do you expect these to be? And do you have an idea if you'd like to include the tour of the House Of Music in Vienna that I offered to help coordinate, with its interactive exhibit to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic?

Best,

- Jan


Hi Jan,

I wish we could visit the House of Music in Vienna, but I believe our schedules are too tight. Here is the Cologne/Bonn scheduling, followed by our Salzburg/Vienna schedule.

7 June
07:00h depart for long distance transfer to Cologne
13:45h estimate arrival time
14:00h WDR Tour (contact Hans Giese) - Westdeutscher Rundfunk
Funkhaus am Wallrafplatz, Eingang: Pilzbau
An Der Rechtschule 3, 50667 Cologne, Germany


15:30h guided visit to Cologne Cathedral (duration about 1 hour)
17:00h continue to the city of Bonn
18:00h estimate time of arrival – check in
19:00h dinner at hotel

8 June
10:00h pre-booked guided visit to Beethoven museum (duration 45 minutes)
Balance of the morning at leisure
14:30h departure from hotel to Schlosshotel Lerbach -about 50 minutes drive
Adress: Lerbacher Weg, 51465 Bergisch Gladbach,
17:30h drive back to Bonn
18:30h dinner at hotel
...


Hi Frank,

thanks for the travel details! I won't make it to Vienna, but I will meet up with you all in Cologne on the 7th at 2pm at the WDR tour entrance you mention then. I would love to join you folks on Tue and Wed in Cologne/Bonn, including Robin's concert of course. (I'm already on her asparagus book and will make sure to bring both books along for signing!)

As a local (and without jetlag) ;), I hope I can make myself useful. And of course I'll be perfectly happy to pay my share towards any expenses.

One slight catch: I just wanted to book those two nights at the Rheinhotel Dreesen in Bonn where you are staying, but they said they're sold out. Looks like there's a climate summit going on. Do you still have any room contingencies at the hotel? I'd just need a single room for the same two nights as you guys.

Have a safe trip, and looking forward to meeting everybody!

- Jan


Hi Jan,

Best bet would be to contact our travel agency rep, Elle. elle@hillstravel.com

Kathy and I are already starting our adventure, which means I'll have limited Internet access for a while.
Posted by: tnew

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 06/01/11 07:34 AM

I wish everyone a great time on this trip!

Be sure to bring a rain jacket because there can be some passing thunderstorms with high winds, though it has been pretty dry for this time of year so far. And the temperatures are varying quite a bit at the moment, anywhere from the 80s F to 60s F.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 06/01/11 03:26 PM

Re the e-coli infection in Germany - Probably others more familiar with the situation than I, but I am currently in England staying with my daughter's family which includes my German son-in-law. He follows it closely because his parents still live there.

Basically you should not eat any raw vegetables until the source of the infection is confirmed. Thought to be cucumbers from Spain but not certain. Also has not shown up elsewhere (with rare exception) reason unkniown. I'm sure we'll hear more, but if you are arriving early be cautious. A SERIOUS STRAIN WHICH HAS CAUSED NUMEROUS DEATHS!
Posted by: musdan

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 06/02/11 07:52 PM




BON VOYAGE to all PW travelers. Hope you have great weather, I know you will enjoy the tour.

Let us know all about your trip when you get back - wish I could be with you, I'll be with you in spirit. smile
Posted by: Jan Oliver

Re: Piano & Musical Tour - Europe 2011 - JOIN US! - 06/04/11 11:16 AM

Quote:

Hi Jan,

Best bet would be to contact our travel agency rep, Elle. elle@hillstravel.com

Kathy and I are already starting our adventure, which means I'll have limited Internet access for a while.


Hi Frank,

thanks - I already contacted Elle, paid my share via bank transfer, and will see you Tue at 2pm at the WDR entrance. I'll be there early, just call or SMS me if there's any change of plans. My cell is . I really hope joining you in Lerbach works out too - looking forward to meeting Robin!

Enjoy Hamburg!

- Jan