Have you ever had a dream/desire so strong
that you’ve been so confidant/determined that one day it will come true?
Well for me that dream & so much more came true half way through last year when I got to spend one glorious week in Maastricht experiencing Andre Rieu’s series of hometown concerts on the beautiful Vrijthof square.
But for now let’s start at the beginning
From the moment I stepped off that bus & tripped over my suitcase from excitement landing right in front of the set up process surrounding the square, I immediately felt like I was in what I like to call the Maastricht bubble which only grows over time.
Allow me to share with you my week….
Day 1: After tripping over my suitcase & composing myself I just had to take a peak at the set up progress on the square on the way to the hotel.
Day 2: Consisted of a walk around & exploring the charming city of Maastricht. Of course it ended with a brief stop to look at Andre’s castle to.
Day 3: The long awaited Dress rehearsal – The moment where everything sunk in, became just that bit more surreal & felt like I was walking in some beautiful dream & that if I where to dare close my eyes or look away it would all disappear.
It’s all the little things along the way like how relaxed, easy going, warm, welcoming & approachable the orchestra members are. Vincenzo one of the violinists in the orchestra recognised me from previous concerts in Australia & came over to chat and asked if I wanted a photo to which I of course said “yes please”. He then afterwards jokingly said “Now you can go back home to Australia”
Day 4: Even if my friend & I weren’t in the square yet we joined in from our hotel balcony overlooking the square which was just as good & photos simply don’t do justice. There is nothing quite like the Vrijthof square at concert time. Everything is alive & buzzing with atmosphere full of excitement, joy & anticipation.
Day 5: The big VIP & concert day – It’s fair to say I felt like a true princess thanks to Andre Rieu travel – The royal proceedings were as follows. Checked in to the most stunning five star hotel where myself & the rest of the group were welcomed with a lunch reception out in the courtyard. Afterwards we were then escorted by Andre’s company buses to his castle for a tour lead by his son Pierre & then it was on to cake & coffee in the castle courtyard. As we were on a strict time schedule we were then escorted back to the hotel to get ready for our three course dinner/evening entertainment before being lead into the square by a marching band (yes a marching band) where we took our seats front row centre for a night we shall never forget. A massive highlight for me was the high five from Andre & other orchestra members as they came marching in.
Day 6: The Johann Strauss orchestra are seriously people of many talents (as if traveling the world for most of the year isn’t busy enough) many of you may not know that aside from that many of them also have their own business whether that be making their own head pieces & jewellery right down to brewing/making their own coffee etc yup they do it all. For me personally it was so special to be able to see, witness, purchase & try some of these things & support them outside of the orchestra.
Day 7: Never in my wildest dreams did I think this Aussie girl would ever make it to Maastricht let alone meeting the people I did, being singled out by orchestra members… you name it I was very blessed & overwhelmed to say the least. Then to top it off a lovely lady approached me & blessed me with a free concert ticket to go a third time. I’m still in disbelief even today.
Day 8: The final concert night & memories that will last a life time. To this day I still look back in awe & shed a tear of joy & thankfulness – ‘greatful’ is a massive understatement.
Having said that though in all honesty if you’re like me & love classical music/theatre then I know without a shadow of a doubt you’ll love Andre & his amazing Johann Strauss orchestra. Whether it be the lovely selections of waltzes, polkas, operas etc, the stunning dresses the female orchestra members/soloists wear, dancing in the aisles or just the stage set up & atmosphere… You’re in for a real treat or as Andre would say “a night you’ll never forget”.
Day 9: They say a picture is worth a thousand words & in this case I think my face says it all. It sure wasn’t easy leaving beautiful Maastricht nor Andre & his orchestra let alone going back to reality & having your beautiful Maastricht bubble popped. Maastricht has such a charm/beauty & the people are ever so friendly that you can’t help but fall in love with it & want to go back one day.