Karlshamn all the way and back again, a musical trip 15.07 – 17.07/2015 by Ebba Raab and Annika Petersson
All photos are taken by Ebba and Annika
I found out about the concert in Karlshamn in february/march by a friend who’s in the orchestra. I was still living in Newcastle by then and I did not know if I’d be able to go. But what a temptation it was! A while later I unfortunately had to move back home again but it meant that I could see the concert. Karlshamn is a place full of memories, my first concert took place there and a few months later I was there again.
Finding a Hotel
So I was looking around at hotels. That seemed a bit tricky. Nearly every single hotel was full because of the festival! I quickly booked a room at a hotel called Western Hotel. Then, I got in touch with Annika and we started talking.
About a week before the concert I got a call from Annika. Then I got a text from her saying: I’ve got a doubleroom at the most local hotel! I know from experience that it’s the best hotel in Karlshamn and quite difficult to get a room at.
I immediately called her. She had been calling earlier and been put on a list and now she had called again to see. There was a doubleroom available! We got lucky!
Then I started looking at trains. The trains in Sweden are really expensive if you’re travelling within Sweden ( travelling to Oslo is a lot cheaper…) so I decided to go by bus even if that would take a bit longer. I arrived in Karlshamn at 6 pm on Wednesday evening. Since I had been there 2 times earlier I thought I would know the town. Boy, was I wrong! I got lost quite fast.
Wow, did we find the best place to stay?
When I finally found the hotel, I was tired and warm but really happy. Then something caught my eye. About 10 meters ahead of me a boy (man?) stood outside of a car. He was wearing a blue striped t shirt and had brown hair. I was already quite certain who it was and when I saw he held a black violin case it was 110% certain. I called out: Alexander? He didn’t hear me and continued walking in to the hotel. Tried again, nothing. Tried for the 3d time: “Alexander” This time he heard me looked behind him, did a u-turn said: “Hi Ebba, how nice to see you again!” and gave me a long hug. “Are you going the concert?” I told him, “nooo”then reassured him I was joking. He said: “Nice! I’m really tired now so I have to sleep but I’ll see you there.” I told him: yeah I can see that you’re tired. By then Annika had walked up to me. She had been in sitting the lobby and waiting for me, but I had arrived a bit later than planned. She was sitting from a place so she couldn’t see the entrance and therefore couldn’t see us coming. The only thing she heard was: “ Hi Ebba and my respond. Annika and I had been talking a lot on the phone before the concert and Ebba is not exactly the most common name so quite easy to know that it was me. She told me afterwards that her first thought was: “Is he coming now as well?” Alexander looked at Annika and they greeted eachother. I’m quite sure she didn’t really expect her first meeting with Alexander to be in the hotel lobby! She greeted him and he said: “See you at the concert” and went up to his room. To be honest I did not think that my first meeting with Annika was going to be in front of him either.
By then, the hotel receptionists had a quite fun time seeing Annika totally BONKing and me just laugh about it. While checking in the receptionist had to maintain herself from laughing. We went up to the hotel-room where Annika and I acted like total fangirls, just meeting their idol. (it was over a year since I last saw him!) It took about 4 seconds for me to realize that: “Darn, I have to get down to the reception and ask for the wifi.” When we came down to the reception, I felt my whole face go red. The receptionists laughed and just said: “Hiiii…” in an almost teasing voice clearly trying (and failing) not to laugh. Absolutely not in a mean way, though! I managed to mumble “whats the wifi” and then went up again. We ended up having a really nice party listening and dancing and just laughing. After a couple of hours we realized we were starving and went to look for a restaurant.
When we were on our way back to the hotel room Annika looked through a window to the hotel’s restaurant and suddenly stopped. “Isn’t that him?” It was. He was eating dinner with the musical director and Stefan. We entered the lobby and just sat down, looking through the photos when we heard a familiar voice. I had my back to him but turned around and he spotted us, did another u-turn and came towards us. Annika BONKED (again) : “He’s coming here, he’s coming towards us, I’m gonna die!” I rose up from my seat, hugged him and, being the clumsy person I am, managed to hit the roof lamp with my head. He commented: Oi, are you okay? You get an extra hug for that. Always nice to get another one! Annika reached out his hand and Alexander grabbed it and then gave her a hug. She said: You might have seen me on facebook. He said: yeah, yeah I recognize you from somewhere but I don’t really know from where. Annika replied: Yeah on facebook and from the earlier meeting with Ebba. He asked us once again: Are you coming to the concert tomorrow?
We assured him we were and, once again he told us how nice was going to be. That boy (man?) has such short memory sometimes! XD Alexander posed with a few people at the hotel and went up. Shortly after that Annika and I decided to go to bed as well, long day tomorrow! At least that was the plan, it ended up being much later than planned thanks to a comment about a flock of seagulls and an open window that made us howling with laughter (and me terrified of the damn birds, thank you Annika)
Did you sleep OK?
The day after I woke up with Annika playing music for me. So nice of her but I’m a horrible morningperson and Annika got some pillows thrown at her. During breakfast, (Annika spent 90% of the time searching for a person. Difficult to imagine who!) more and more young people with instruments showed up. We were on our way up when someone patted my shoulder: Susanne, a person in the orchestra and a friend of mine whom I had met on the 2nd trip to Karlshamn. She looked a bit nervous but really happy that it was finally the day! We hugged and had a short reunion before we went up to the hotelroom. Just as I were entering the elevator, I discovered that it was not empty and that someone was stepping out of it at the exact moment. Oops! I think it ended up like this: walking in to the eleva… OH take 2 big steps back to avoid colliding. Alexander looked a bit: Oh!! as well. He asked us if we had slept okay, then quickly joined the orchestra.
Meeting Stefan, Alexanders pianist
On our way to the rehearsal I noticed Stefan sitting in the lobby. He noticed me as well and said:
“Hi Stefan, how are you?”
“I’m fine, how about you?”
“Where did we last meet?”
“Uh, I think it was in Ås.”
“Yeah, I don’t remember, I just remember that I’ve seen you before.” I haven’t talked that much to Stefan before but he is really nice! Annika greeted him as well and we ended up walking to the concert together with him. (Annika had no clue who he was at the time! XD )
Then the whole orchestra started walking to the rehearsal with Alex in front. I think it must have been a quite funny sight. One guy followed by 20-30 people all carrying instruments. I especially remember one guy looking a bit confused at all the youngsters with the instruments, then spotting Alexander and his jaw just dropped.
At the rehearsal we met Ulli Cologne who said she stayed at the same place I had originally booked which was a bit outside of town.
The rehearsal was great. Something I never get tired of is seeing him so focused. At one part they performed and then in the middle Alexander said: No, that was out of tune. To me it sounded really good but the pitch perfect is something I really admire! Then he commented about a song: (don’t remember which one) remember that it’s moll dur not dur moll.
During a short pause I heard a girl playing a couple of tunes and told Annika: Oh, they’re gonna play Fairytale now, to which she replied: How on EARTH can you hear that? It was 2 tunes! After the rehearsal we went back to the hotel and rested for a while.
Since Annika is from Skåne and I’m from Stockholm there was a lot of friendly banter going on. Most of it was about her not being able to say candy due to her dialect. (well…. according to most people she can’t) The people from Skåne has almost a mix between swedish and danish. Or like we say here: It sounds like they have a potato down their throat.
The concert would start at 9 but there was a lot of activities already at 6 pm so Annika and I decided to be there at 7.
When we got there we met up with Krystyna. One of the first things she saw was my arm “have you gotten a sunburn again?” We laughed a bit about it, the last time in Karlshamn I had burnt my arm quite good. Gotta be more careful!
Annika and I had difficulties finding seats. Eventually Annika sat down at the third row while I sat down on the ground so I could get some photos.
There was a big parade before the concert with a lot of different performances. Everything from Polish folk dance til police music corps.
Then at 9 the concert started and it was really good and original! One of the songs I was really impressed by was “He’s a pirate”. It’s one of the themes from Pirates of the Caribbean. I know from experience it’s a tricky one to play and they did it really good! The audience kept growing.
Alexanders songs were: Europe Skies, Violin-fun, Bergrosa, Clair the lune, Hungarian suite and Fairytale to name some of them. I managed to get some photos while Annika filmed it.
After the concert we went to see if we could meet Alexander. After a while a securityguard came and told us he wouldn’t write any autographs. It was a bit sad but I understood his decision since it was really late and he would get up and leave the hotel at 8 the following morning.
Enjoying the Hotel Lobby and Elevator:)
Once again, we sat down at the hotel lobby. (It had become “our” spot, always the same chairs) Annika went to the bathroom and, of course, it was during that moment that Alexander showed up. He was with several friends and seemed to be in a really good mood.
He saw me and the first thing he said was: “Hi Ebba, thank you so much for singing along in all the songs!” Then he went to have some dinner at the hotel.
Annika came back and I told her what happened. We waited a bit at the hotel-lobby. Then Alexander rose from his seat and started walking. Annika managed to caught his eye and waved a bit with a present she had for him. He did another u-turn and came and talked to us. We both got an autograph and a picture with him. After that a dad came to Alexander, telling him his daughters was big fans but they were too shy asking if he could take a photo with them. Alexander went to the daughters to take photos while Annika and I went to the elevator. While waiting, Alexander finished writing and taking pictures and entered the elevator just as it was about to close. Annika managed to stop the elevator but it didn’t start. Alexander told her she had to get closer and her reply was (jokingly): Do I have to?
“ Yes, if you don’t it won’t go up.” He then asked us if we weren’t going to push a button. We said no, it’s already been pushed. Turned out we lived on the same floor. He looked at me and then saw my necklace. “Ooooh, really nice! And that dress Ebba, you look really good in it, you should wear blue more often.”
“ Thank you, I really like blue.”
“Yeah it is your colour.”
We continued to small-talk about Stille Natt, Hellige Natt, until we got to our hotel-room. Alexander was on his way in when he said: “Oh, wait this is not mine.” Then went back through the corridor and went inside a room 3 doors away. He had actually walked past his hotel-room and forgotten where it was! He can be so bird-brained sometimes! I guess that’s okay if you’re totally focused on something else.
We entered our hotel-room and had a nice time just chatting. A while later Annika felt she was a bit hungry so we went down to the hotel-lobby just to buy something small.
At the reception I suddenly heard the elevator and a voice saying “I’m just gonna buy something in the lobby”. I thought to myself: “Really?” and wondered if maybe I had heard wrong. I glanced behind me. Nope. “Annika, don’t look back.” When you want someone not to look back, telling them that is like telling a child in the defiant age that they are not allowed to do something. Annika, of course, did look back. Alexander was talking to the musical director about the concert and how she thought it went. Then he saw us. He told Mikaela: “Those two girls were at the concert ( di to jenterne var på konserten.)
I told Mikaela that we really liked the concert. She thanked us and wondered where we came from,. Annika told her Helsingborg and I told her Stockholm, to which she looked a bit surprised.
“When Ebba is coming to a concert, you know it’s gonna be good, she only comes to the good concerts” Alexander said and smiled. One of the nicest things I’ve ever heard!!
Shortly after that Alexander left the hotel and we decided to go to bed.
The morning after we woke up quite early and packed up our things. SO much had happened that it felt like a week. I had a hard time believing it was only 3 days…
We walked around in Karlshamn looking for presents. I didn’t find anything but Annika found some really nice babydragons from How to train your dragon 2.
Shortly after, we left for the trains and went to pick up our luggage.
The receptionists smiled and asked “Are you leaving now” and “Have you been here before?”
I told them I had but that it was Annikas first time. They said “maybe we see you again sometime” to which I replied: “Yeah, see you next time Alexander comes to Karlshamn.” They just laughed.
At the train station I hugged Annika goodbye (so sad!) got on the train and looked in my bag. Damn it! I had Annikas charger in it. I just waved with it to Annika and she had to run on the train before quickly getting out. I got home at around 10 pm, really tired (sleep was not the things we had done that much) and really happy!
This post is also available in Espanjol.