It has been a few days since I arrived here in Kiefersfelden, and they have just flown by. Peter, Beca, and I took the train from Budapest early in the morning on the 1st to Salzburg, where The Sound of Music took place. After much confusion, we found our train that took us over the border to Rosenheim and then on to Kiefersfelden. We thought we were going to be able to relax, but no sooner had we walked in the door than we saw Steven O'Leary come bouncing up ready to show us around. We quickly tossed our belongings into our room, changed quickly, and hopped in Bruce Earnest's car. He took us up the side of the mountain to the famous Hechtsee; it is a mountain lake about 3 miles outside of Kiefersfelden. Since then we have walked up there on our own. We follow the mountain stream running into the town up a small trail along the side of the mountain until we crossed over a bridge and came to a beautiful waterfall.
We followed the steps zig-zagging all the way up the side of the mountain. The top of the water fall led us past a small dam, and suddenly we were standing on the edge of a spectacular mountain lake. The crystal clear water spread out in the distance between the rising slopes. The lake actually straddles the border between Austria and Germany, and on the far side of the lake access is owned by a Count! We didn't go over there because they charge a Euro to use their diving boards, so we walked around the side to a large boulder and jumped from there. The water was cold but refreshing in the sun, and we could see far down below us.
After a wonderful time of swimming we started the trek back down the mountain. We have spent the last couple days exploring the town. We have found some wonderful places to eat around the town. The Cafe Gluck is a favorite for us all. Our lodgings, the Hotel zur Post, has a fantastic restaurant and bar.
Today was when a majority of the IPAI participants have come rolling in. It has been a whirlwind of greeting people and learning names and faces. We had a large dinner tonight to meet everyone, followed by a guided tour around the town with Bruce's wife, Darla. Tomorrow we hit the ground running with auditions and masterclasses, followed by rehearsals...I am very nervous!
By the way, we have also been watching the World Cup games in the bar here. The fans here are awesome! GO GERMANY!!!