Ella Smullen: Sleep is for the Weak

Photo: Avana Kelly

Day two of the tour!

Today was exhausting, but after our many miles of travel and walking around Brugge, my groupmates and I were closer than ever before. We had an hour long layover in Dublin after our transatlantic flight, then landed in Brussels. The focus of our day was Brugge, where we ate lunch, went on a walking tour, and took a boat ride through the canals.

It’s hard to define when today began. I couldn’t fall asleep on the plane and instead elected to play Mario Kart for the duration of the flight, so I’ve been on the move for over 30 hours. When disembarking from the plane, the catatonic stares and lethargic movements from everybody around me proved that my experience was one many of us shared.

We leapt straight into action in the morning, with my friends and me almost losing our lives to a cart carrying luggage while trying to board our flight to Brussels. After a short bus ride, we arrived in Brugge, where we planned to sightsee for the day. We ate at the restaurant Maximiliaan van Oostenrijk before embarking on a guided tour of the city. Unfortunately, we were subject to another dangerous vehicle in the form of horse drawn carriages that dominate the streets here. It seemed that every time we’d feel safe enough to walk side-by-side rather than in a single file line, a carriage would hurtle past with no intent on stopping.

While horses owned the roads, swans ran the waterways flowing throughout the city. During the tour I walked with my friends, trying to find some connection to make between our journey and how music brought us all together. While on the boat tour, another cellist pointed out swans swimming precariously close to the boat and reminded me of the second piece in our program, Black Swan. Our first concert is in Antwerp tomorrow, and I know that as we rehearse I’ll be thinking of the swans we almost ran over during our tour of the canals.

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