So after three chilly days in Vienna, we set sail for sunnier climes, aboard our own chartered Airbus.  As there were far more seats than people we were able to spread out and relax on the flight;  however, our arrival at Madrid airport was somewhat chaotic as we were

The OAE's charter plane

The OAE's charter plane

delivered to the wrong terminal by the shuttle bus that picked us up when we disembarked.  After making sure that no-one had gone to the loo and been left behind (this involves banging loudly on the door and shouting), we got on another bus and made it safely to the baggage reclaim.  There were were met by our excellent agents, Carmen Prieto and Ines de Labra.

It was great to see blue sky – the weather in Spain had been shocking during the previous week and there was still snow to be seen on the hills around the city, but now it was fine and warm.  After a rather short turn around we were back at work playing at the Auditorio in Madrid.  One of our players was confused by the time change between Madrid and Vienna (the fact that there isn’t one) and was left behind when the bus took everyone to the rehearsal.  He was a bit shamefaced on arriving by taxi.  Hopefully he bought the rest of his section a beer.

OAE's bus

OAE's bus

After the concert the orchestra dispersed to enjoy the many delights that Madrid has to offer, in the way of tapas and wine I suspect.  Megan will be able to tell more about this than I can, as she is a lot younger and has more energy.

On Wednesday morning we rejoined our plane for the short hop to Valencia.  Apart from the computer at check-in not working, resulting in a pile-up of grumpy musicians, this was quite smooth.  It was even warmer in Valencia and the palm trees along the roadside give the place a really Southern European look.  The flight crew from our plane came to watch us rehearsing and told us that it was their first time looking after an orchestra.  They were thrilled to see posters of Simon Rattle by the roadside, having not long before been offering him muffins.

Poster in Valencia

Poster in Valencia

Emergency repairs were needed during the rehearsal when a crucial piece of Andrew Clark’s horn fell off, but some gaffer tape saved the day.  As he had made the horn himself, he was slightly embarrassed.

Another thrilling concert was followed by a lot of tapas and even Simon joined in when he had escaped the scrum of fans wanting to meet him after the performance.

Tomorrow we will be travelling home in order to perform in Birmingham – and a chance to pick up some clean underwear before we dash off again to Germany for the last leg of the tour!

Philippa Brownsword, Orchestra Manager