Michael Fuller writes: It was so good to come back home to London on Sunday night and have a day to recharge before heading off on tour again. But all those nice feelings evaporated when my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning and I realized how long it would be before we have another day off!

We were on the tube by 6:00am for the long, bleary-eyed trip across town to Heathrow. It's good to see all my friends in the orchestra again upon arrival at the airport and trade stories about our free day. ou'll all be pleased to know that Simon has purchased a lovely garden Gnome for his lovely garden! After shuffling on to a comfortable Lufthansa Airbus A320, and having some muesli and tea, I'm feeling re-energized and ready to start blogging!

First stop on our German odyssey is Hamburg, and we'll be playing Mahler's Fifth again along with the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto featuring soloist Janine Jansen. For me, Germany means three things, generally excellent concert halls, Schweinhaxe (the famous German pork knuckle), and great Hefeweizen beer! My wife is insisting that we break up all the carnivorous activity with some trips to Vapiano, the tasty Italian chain that you seem to find in every German city. That sounds like a good plan, and certainly my arteries will thank me!

I've been to Hamburg for brief visits on tours in the past, and this will be no exception. I imagine the only chance for sight-seeing will be if I decide to walk to the concert hall instead of catching the orchestra coach. We'll see how the afternoon nap goes, which begins...about...now.