Actually, it’s more than that many miles to get from Sacramento to Gierle, Belgium, closer to 5500. But however you count it, we’re less than a week from leaving on our first European tour! After playing in rock bands for years this is something that each of us has had on his bucket list, and we’re stoked that the opportunity is finally here! July 3rd we head out to play twelve shows in eleven days in Belgium and the Netherlands. If you’ll be in Western Europe between July 5th and 15th, all of those shows are listed on our Shows page: drop by and help us create some memories!
Gierle is the town where we’ll be staying, in northern Belgium east of Antwerp. Every day a driver will take us out to a venue in some new town and then back again in the wee hours after we finish playing (and enjoying the local beers). The house we’ll be in is equipped with wi-fi, and we’re gonna take advantage of that to blog from Belgium. So come back to our site every couple of days (or just subscribe to our RSS feed) to see the photos, videos, and stories we post from our adventures in the Benelux! You can also follow us from town to town on this Google map showing all the locations where we’re playing on the tour.
Everyone gets something different out of traveling, and for me one of those things is language. I’ve been blessed with a pretty good ear for language, and if I have the chance before a trip I’ll study as much of the local language as I can. I never get close to fluency, but I learn enough basic expressions to get by. In addition to memorizing phrases and vocabulary, I like to learn conjugation and the other rules that make a language work. Then I can sometimes figure out the gist of what a sign says by applying those rules and some context, even if I’ve never seen the words before. I enjoy learning the sounds of a new language, trying it out on the locals, and feeling a little bit less dependent on the kindness (and English) of strangers.
Since most of our trip is in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium and in the Netherlands, I’ve been learning some Dutch. It’s a pretty easy language, sort of halfway between English and German, so a lot of words are very similar to what we’re used to in English. “My name is Paul, and I play bass guitar” in Dutch is “Mijn naam is Paul, en ik speel basgitaar.” The hardest part about speaking Dutch is the guttural pronunciation of ‘g’ and ‘ch’ that sounds like you’re about to spit up something really gross. It really slows me down. But there’s one key phrase I’ve got down cold, and will teach the rest of the guys too: “Een ander bier, alstublieft!” I’ll let you plug that one into Google Translate yourselves…
What do you want to see us blog about from Europe? Leave a comment below and we’ll try to make it happen.
Tot ziens (see you later),