Saturday, March 31, 2012

SMCC Tour snapshots from Terry Fouché: Munich

First impressions from the SMCC 2012 Performance Tour: "Hallo aus Muenchen, Deutschland"

Happy faces and a great breakfast in Munich

Just wanted to let everyone at home know that the SMCC group has made it safely to Munich, and while we miss a few bags still, all are in a good mood after at least 6 hours of sleep and a great great breakfast feast. Pictures and more updates will come later today, warmest Sandra

Friday, March 30, 2012

Turkish Airlines Wait for SMCC

After much sweet talking by Incantato, Turkish Airlines agreed to hold the connecting flight for SMCC. A great big thank you goes out to one of the few great airlines out there.

Arrival delay in Istanbul - Updates to follow

Dear Parents and Friends of SMCC, due to the very late departure, it looks like the group will miss their connecting flight, however there is still a chance that Turkish Airlines will hold the plane for them. Just wanted to let you know that we are being in constant contact and if the group cannot continue to Germany today, they will be brought to a hotel near the airport in Istanbul and continue their journey the next morning. We will reschedule the activities in accordance. We are so sorry for the inconvenience. Auf Wiedersehen, Sandra

"Hallo Deutschland" - San Marino Chamber Choir is on its way to Munich, Bavaria

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Home away from home: Courtyard - Marriott Hotel, Munich

The four star hotel Courtyard by Marriott in Munich welcomes travelers from around the world.
The 230 air-conditioned rooms at the Courtyard will welcome you with stylish furniture and a flat screen TV. Other amenities include a complimentary tea/coffee station, a desk and a private bathroom with hairdryer, as well as air conditioning. WiFi is accessible in all areas of the hotel and a fitness room is available for use.The bright restaurant offers dishes from Germany and from all over the world. In good weather the travelers can dine on the garden terrace.

The Hotel is located just ten minutes from Munich's old town, and you reach the heart of a beautiful park located near the Maximilianeum after a 15-minute walk. From there the rest of the city is very accessible, including the English Garden with the Chinese Tower and other city highlights.
For more photos of the hotel and the surrounding city attractions, take a look at the photo gallery.

Home away from home: Schlosshotel Lisl, Bavaria

The Schlosshotel Lisl boasts a unique location right below the royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. If you look closely, you are able to distinguish the yellow castle of Hohenschwangau on the left sideand the white castle of Neuschwanstein in the top center of the photograph. The yellow arrow indicates the location of your hotel. 
The two large terraces near the hotel lobby offer a view of the castles, a sight which also can be enjoyed while enjoying breakfast from the buffet, if the weather permits. There is also the possibility of enjoying regional Bavarian and national foods in the hotel's restaurant or café. 
The hotel, housed in a 100-year old castle, offers 35 rooms equipped with a cable TV, radio, telephone, and private bathrooms. WiFi is also available in the hotel lobby and an elevator is available for guests to use. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home away from home: Volley Hotel, Istanbul

While staying in Istanbul the travelers from the San Marino Chamber Choir will be experiencing traditional Turkish hospitality at the superior four star Volley Hotel in a district called Üsküdar Altunizade, also known as the pearl of the Asian side of Istanbul.
The Volley Hotel Istanbul is considered a special class hotel as it provides many amenities of a five star property. 

Mr. Howard Cheung had the opportunity to personally select this hotel for the 2012 SMCC Incantato Tour. Hotel Volley is in a residential area, but only a short drive away from great shopping, the shoreline and many typical restaurants. Unlike most of Istanbul's tourist hotels, the Volley is a hotel for mainly Turkish guests and thus the group from San Marino, California will be in an authentic ambiance while traveling abroad. One of the highlights during the stay will be the extensive breakfast buffet with lots of local specialties, but also American staples like cereal and eggs.

Volley Hotel has its own restaurant and café, 60 fully equipped modern and spacious guest rooms, which received very high reviews, and also has a spa facility with a traditional Turkish bath, as well as outdoor and indoor swimming pools and a fitness centre. 

For a 360 degree tour of this fine hotel, click here.

Greetings from Istanbul and Dr. Gary Unruh

We are sure you all know Dr. Gary Unruh who just send us this picture from Istanbul. Can you tell us what it shows? First one to get it right gets extra ice-cream

Thursday, March 22, 2012

San Marino Chamber Choir - Confirmed Flight Schedule

Departure for Europe:
Thursday, March 29, 2012 Turkish Airlines TK 10 leaves Los Angeles (LAX) at 6:20 pm
arrives in Istanbul (IST) at 5:10 pm on Friday, March 30, 2012
Connection: Friday, March 30, 2012 Turkish Airlines TK 1637 leaves Istanbul (IST) at 7.40 pm arrives in Munich (MUC) at 9.30 pm

On tour flight departs:
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Turkish Airlines TK 1636 leaves Munich (MUC) at 6:55 pm arrives in Istanbul (IST) at 10:25 pm

Return to US:
Sunday, April 8, 2012 Turkish Airlines TK 9 leaves Istanbul (IST) at 12:45 pm arrives in Los Angeles (LAX) at 4:30 pm

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SMCC versus ManU? Another fun Turkish Airlines commercial

Get you taste buds ready - Yummy Munich

Having been presented with a day off in Munich, I seized the opportunity to explore the food scene, outside of the café’s, restaurants, and imbisstube. My first stop was Dallmayr, just off Marienplatz. This is the Harrod’s Food Hall equivalent in Munich. The shop is well laid out with separated sections for tea, coffee, chocolates, cakes, bread, fruit and vegetables, cheese, fish, and meat. There is even a cigar room, although well sealed to prevent tainting the food, and a wine, Champagne, and schnapps department.
I found the emporium, for that is what it really is, absolutely crammed with people – a mixture of tourists and locals. Bavarians buying their bread and meat; tourists admiring the exquisite display of petit four and hors d’ouevre, handmade chocolates and marzipan creations and breathing deeply the aroma of the freshly ground coffee being packaged behind the counter. With all these people the store had a cluttered feel, although not at all stuffy or overcrowded. The staff are friendly and the prices reasonable, given that Munich lies in the most expensive part of Bavaria and probably the whole of Germany.
In the centre of the main grocery thoroughfare sits a fountain and a pool where fresh lobsters live. The sound of trickling water has the welcome effect of relaxing the shoppers somewhat. After dragging myself away from the delights of Dallmayr and, surprisingly, with some cash left in my wallet, I set out to find a tiny shop I had come across one Sunday. Of course, it had been closed then, but the window display was so tempting that I had to visit again during opening hours. My memory served me well and I found the little shop just as I had remembered it, and thankfully with it’s door open. The window of Spanisches Fruchthaus was crammed with every kind of dried and candied fruit imaginable, various sorts of nuts, Greek Lokuum and fresh fruit arranged in baskets, boxes and jars providing a fantastic array of colour. Here you could feast your eyes on the brilliant pinks and yellow of dried papaya and mango, the deep gold of dates in oblong white boxes or filled with marzipan and stored in large jars, baskets of shining, glazed apricots, cherries, and plums.
Inside the tiny, little shop at Rindermarkt 16 was a high glass counter on one side, within which were stored dried apple rings dipped in white chocolate, whole black cherries in bitter plain chocolate, real fruit jellies in tiny paper cases, orange and lemon slices caramelized or half-coated in chocolate. Behind the counter on ceiling-high white shelves stood more jars filled with an assortment of nougat, lokkum and jellies. The opposing wall held pre-wrapped boxes of chocolates, pralines, nougat, candied fruit and baskets of Spanish wine and liquors along with a small selection of fresh fruit. While this shop is of the type where you’d love to browse for hours, its size just doesn’t allow. A few moments to gaze in wonder before deciding on a purchase is all that the space constraints and busy staff will permit. On the positive side, on each visit there’s always something new to discover.
For purposes of lengthy browsing, the Viktualienmarkt on Saturdays is the place to be. Here you can happily wander around the market stalls for as long as you please before settling on what purchases to make, be it for immediate consumption or to take home for later. The stalls sell the market usuals like fruit and vegetables, as well as olives and olive oil and wines. Adjacent to the trading area are numerous stehcafes (standing cafes) where Leberkase Semmeln, various Wurst and Breze’n are sold. To try the authentic Bavarian fare, go for a Weisswurst breakfast - white sausage with sweet, wholegran mustard, and a Weissbier.
One famous brewery in the Munich area is Andechs. Here the beer is brewed by the Andechser monks. The monastry also owns a restaurant behind the Cathedral of Our Lady (between Stachus and Marienplatz U-Bahn stops). Andechs am Dom is situated in a pretty little corner with a cosy wooden interior. Outdoor seating also available under large, white, canvass parasols. Unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of dining here but I have heard that the food is excellent. If it is anything like the food at the restaurant adjacent to the monastery, it is not to be missed.