Turtles Vacation All Over The World
As the Turtles come together for another year of concerts, collaborations and extensive travel, we thought it would be fun to let you know what we’ve doing, and where we’ve been during the winter vacation between the end of our concert season mid-December until the beginning of the new year.
Mark spent the week of Christmas visiting with his entire immediate family of 13, while staying in a beautiful 3-story house in the idyllic town of Morro Bay, California. Morro Bay is a 4-hour drive south of the San Francisco Bay Area where the Turtles make their home. The week’s activities featured long walks to the beach, an adventure in first-time sea kayaking which included getting dunked in the cold Pacific Ocean, and eating breakfasts most mornings sitting outside at the local coffee shop. While walking to Morro Rock, He saw groups of Harbor seals sunning themselves in the bay, and kayaked close to a large group of California sea lions all hanging out together near the boats anchored out in the water. All in all, an extremely relaxing time connecting with family before returning to the upcoming concert season of 2013.
This is the front of the main meditation hall at Spirit Rock, in Woodacre, California, a little town in the outskirts of Marin County. I am always looking for time to do retreats there, which they offer primarily in the Buddhist vipassana style, basically means sitting and walking all day and night from 6AM until 10PM, no cell phones, no reading, no talking, no nothing! The perfect holiday antidote for the crazy life of a touring musician, and I do love it, I try to get here once a year if I can. This was a five-day retreat, on the short side, but nonetheless still a challenge for me. Seems like every time I do one of these, the first night I wake up in a panic, mind made up to jump in my car and split. But I get through it, and by the end, I get what I came for, which actually seems to change every time. I got down to La Jolla later to do a more traditional vacation with my father and his wife, that was more fun in the rich man’s sun, but I will probably be remembering my solitary grind more strongly, which will likely get more and more easy seeming as I remember it. Until the next time…
Mateusz’s Trip Home To Poland
Mateusz flew home to Poland to spend Christmas with his family. He spent almost 3 weeks in his home in Nieporet, 15 miles away from Warsaw. After half a year in wonderful California he finally could feel winter climate… In Mateusz’s home country it was cold, windy and snowy but in his house like always, everybody felt the really warm atmosphere. He had a great time with his parents, brother, grandma and all his cousins. They sang and played Polish Christmas songs together for hours. Mateusz’s mother prepared a delicious dinner with twelve traditional Polish dishes for Christmas Eve. Later all of them went to church for Midnight Mass.
One day before Mateusz was to leave Poland for San Francisco, he celebrated his Grandma’s 99th birthday. It was big, long party. One of his cousins composed a special fanfare for this occasion. Now they are waiting to celebrate her 100 birthdays next year!
Benjamin’s Trip to Switzerland
Benjamin spent his Christmas holidays with his family in Lantsch/Lenz, a very tiny mountain village in Graubünden, Switzerland. Although he is from Germany, he has spent almost every single Christmas at his family’s Swiss ski vacation hut, built by his grandfather in the early 70s.
Benjamin started to ski even before he started playing the viola. When he was three years old his mother was already racing down the slopes with him – his skis between hers – sort of how you’d imagine a kangaroo mum and kid skiing if they could do that. If Benjamin didn’t grow up in the flat lands of Bochum, Germany but in the mountains, he’d have probably become a professional ski racer. But faith apparently wanted him to become a jazz violist.
When Benjamin wasn’t on the slopes, he was either eating (Cheese fondue or Ulber Pommes preferably), playing games with his family (which are lot’s of fun but always tend to get extremely competitive for some reason) or playing the viola. And somehow he also managed to finish a Turtle Island chart for the upcoming collaboration with Michael Doucet.