Modern Times …

We have a winner. As I said to Mike, John and Ian whilst basking in the cold Autumn sunshine lying in one of the three outdoor whirlpools, “when we next come to Zurich, if we aren’t in this hotel I shall be extremely depressed”.  A fitting location then for our last overnight stay on the continent of this tour, the Norman Foster designed, recently renovated Dolder Grand is a gem of a hotel. Towering above Lake Zurich, the historic The Dolder Grand was reinvented in 2006 to form a luxury-class city resort. The scheme integrates a substantial new extension, more than doubling the hotel accommodation and reconnecting it to the surrounding forest and resort. Swiss tradition meets innovative British design.

Swiss tradition was evident once more on my breakfast tray. The finest Bircher Muesli of all. I set to the diary whilst sipping fresh Orange juice and tea. I guess I timed it right as I was about to brew up my last teabag in the pot. The view from my room is nothing short of spectacular, overlooking the Dolder golf course, the city and the lake below. I realized this last night just as soon as I’d figured out how to operate the room. There are no switches in this hotel, everything is touch sensitive and remote controlled. Wonderful if it works, which at the moment it does. Each room has a small remote control with a touch screen and from there you control the lights, the climate control, the curtains and blinds, the TV, DVD, etc. etc. It took a while for me to get to grips with it and at 2am last night when I was shown my room enthusiastically by a hotel employee, I just couldn’t be asked to even hear what he was saying and as usual, I preferred to figure things out for myself. I will be interested to read what Richard thought of his room. There was an instructional booklet but the print is small and to be perfectly frank, one shouldn’t need a manual to learn how to operate a hotel room. Once I figured out that the blinds could be opened part-way, the TV seemed to switch on by itself. Instinctively, I walked over to it and yanked out its mains supply thus disabling it completely. I never watch TV on the road unless there’s a Grand Prix on or Arsenal are playing. What I didn’t realize was that the TV also served as the main receiving station for the remote system. I had inadvertently rendered my room uncontrollable. Despite all this, the hotel is probably one of the nicest we’ve visited, certainly on this tour.

I wondered if there was a pool here. I couldn’t find any Spa literature in the room (it’s probably on the TV) so I called the front desk. I asked “is there a pool in the hotel”? The reception girl simply laughed and said yes. The sore throat and chest nonsense I endured yesterday now manifests itself as a head cold so I thought a swim might do some good. When I arrived at the Spa complex, I was flabbergasted. A delightful young girl showed me around the myriad of rooms and hallways and I spotted Mike and Ian outside in the Jacuzzi’s. Within a minute or so I joined them and basked in the sunshine. Then we went inside to the bead baths. Heated glass beads in a bath which you lie on and slowly sing into them. Very relaxing, so relaxing we started throwing beads at each other. I apologized to the lady with the dustpan and brush later. THEN it was to the snow room. A room that generates REAL snow. Absolutely genius. A mini snowball fight and then back outside into the jacuzzis. Three pools, one Very hot, one medium and one Ice cold. I persuaded Mike and John to do the ice dip. It’s addictive as I think I mentioned in a previous diary. We basked in the blissful baths for as long as we could but it was soon time to head off to the rooms and pack. The only think wrong with today was that it was about to end. A day off here would have been incredible.

The SNOW room….

Carl Mackenzie with his bus outside the venue..

Aboard the bus for the penultimate ride and off to the venue we joked about the complexity of the hotel electronics whilst agreeing it was an amazing stay.

The contrast between our show three days ago in Rome and tonight in Zurich couldn’t have been more stark. The Romans have no problem displaying their unadulterated passion and excitement at anything that moves on the stage and filming literally everything. Their smart phone memory cards must surely be groaning under the strain…. but the Swiss here in Zurich are quite a different thing. Not one single camera. I’m sure they enjoy the show as much, probably more so as there is less background chatter but there is a reserved atmosphere, almost as if they’re afraid to even stand up. I saw many people looking around at the end of our set to see if others were standing before they stood up. At one point during Speedway at Nazareth, it was all too much for one girl as she ran to the front and grabbed hold of the barrier with both arms, smiling. Within a second, a security ‘heavy’ was on her grappling with her arms, trying to release her desperate grip. I half expected for that to be the cue for everyone to come forward as this so often happens at our shows. I was so wrong. Instead, another security guard came and between the two of them the wrestled her away. I thought they were going to tear her arms from their sockets. I hope she’s ok. I thought it a trifle unnecessary. I was amazed to see that there was little or no reaction to this from the remaining seated audience who eventually stood up and applauded (us) as enthusiastically as any crowd. We waved our goodbyes and ambled back towards the dressing room where we all packed our bags and headed back to the bus. All except Mark of course who still had four songs to perform with Bob. The bus departed and Carl drove us to Zurich airport where we boarded the Embraer Legacy and waited for Mark to arrive in a car with Paul Crockford. At 11:04 we took off into the night heading for Luton. The extra hour gained by traveling back to the UK was most welcome as we landed at 11:30pm local time. Typically, the immigration at Luton kept us on the tarmac for seemingly ages. Welcome back to Britain I thought. It wasn’t long though and they let the Brits amongst us depart. It was another hour before the Americans were released, ridiculous but then so many things are in the Modern Times in which we live. My driver Jeff had me outside my house within an hour and a half. everyone was asleep so I downed a Lem-Sip and a nice cuppa tea before sinking into my OWN bed. There’s nothing like your OWN bed.