Last year, our courier Dexter Sherwood accompanied Maxwelltown High School from Dumfriesshire on their concert tour to Belgium. When the group booked their tour to the Rhineland in 2015, they specifically requested that Dexter accompany them and he was more than happy to oblige! This year, as last year, the group took on tour a number of ensembles including a guitar group, a singing group, a wind band and bagpipes (always very popular in Germany) and were looking forward to three outdoor concerts. Dexter sent us this report when he got home after the tour
After an early start we made our way from the UK to Kamp Bornhofen via Dover and a change of driver. We arrived at the Rheinhotel Wagner on time, giving every tired body a chance to relax before dinner and bed.
After breakfast, we boarded the coach and headed to Cologne where the group were free to explore the Cathedral and the pedestrianised shopping streets. The teachers were particularly impressed with the size and variety of cakes available from the café opposite the Cathedral!
After a quick bite of lunch, we departed for the first concert of the tour in Linz am Rhein. German efficiency never ceases to amaze me; the venue had arranged for a van to help us transport the heavier equipment to the venue and it arrived at the coach park exactly on time. We transferred the kit quickly into the van and the young musicians followed on foot to the beautiful town square in Linz. A fantastic stage had been erected and the concert went off without a hitch. In fact, I must say the group played even better than last year! Encores were demanded from a very happy audience and we departed with a very happy group on board! We made a stop at a bowling alley which was great fun before it was back to the hotel for dinner and bed.
This morning we headed off to the impressive Andernach Geyser (the world’s highest cold water geyser) and more cakes. After the Geyser we were off to the Tauris swimming complex for a swim and a late lunch. In the afternoon, there was time to relax before dinner and this evening’s concert in the centre of Kamp Bornhofen. The Nikolausplatz is a more intimate space and Louise Shankland, the party leader told me at the end of the tour that this was one of the highlights of the tour – “the locals were very welcoming and our music was very well received.” Best of all, it wasn’t far back to the hotel for bed!
The sun was shining when we woke up this morning which made our cruise on the Rhine even more attractive. Sailing past the Loreley rock is always the highlight of the cruise and everyone was on deck, in the sun, to appreciate it. We left the boat at Kaub and continued by coach to Rüdesheim, one of the most famous and most visited towns on the Rhine.
One of Rüdesheim’s most unusual attractions is Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum which the group really enjoyed. The instruments here really are like nothing the kids (or teachers) had ever seen before!
After lunch, we set up for the final concert of the tour in Rüdesheim Market Square. Once again the group excelled and were applauded heartily when they finished, earning themselves not just kudos but a few euros to boost the coffers from some very appreciative members of the public. Happy and tired, we boarded the coach and headed back to the hotel for dinner.
As we weren’t leaving until mid-afternoon, we enjoyed some free time in Kamp Bornhofen. Some members of the group walked up the castles to explore whilst others took advantage of the local pools for a swim. Around 3pm, we boarded the coach and bade farewell to the Rheinhotel Wagner which had been such a great base for our excellent tour!