We woke up on the Monday morning sad to leave Poland but really excited to be going back to Germany. We missed breakfast, as it had to be an early start. Packing of the coach went well and we were soon on our way. We watched ‘I Robot’ on DVD and quite a lot of ‘Lord of the Rings’. We enjoyed these – which was convenient because they were the only two DVDs the drivers – the amazing Paul and AJ – could get to work on the coach DVD-player.
More ‘Risk’ was played, Cassius, Sam and I were the winners this time – and we took over most of the world. We had lots to talk about, books were read and we settled down for a long drive. We had a few stops when we could stretch our legs, go to the loo and stock up on food and snacks. Milk chocolate bars were very popular but didn’t last long – I think they must evaporate once they are opened.
We arrived at The Pilgerhaus in Vallendar very late. Most of us had fallen asleep on the journey. As we woke up somehow the conversation turned to Monty Python films and sketches and the mood was high. We met some of the friendly sisters of Schoenstatt and had a midnight feast of bread, cold meat and salad – it’s amazing how sitting on a coach doing nothing can make you hungry.
Our rooms were comfy, two beds and a wash hand basin in each, but no loo or shower. Upon further investigation we found that there were shared showers – about four or five, which meant that we had to set a limit of three minutes each in the shower to get everyone through before breakfast on shower days. I would have been happy to donate my time – are showers really necessary?
We always have a wakeup call from top chaperone, Barbara as she knocks on our doors and tells us what to do, what to wear, what we are going to do during the day, etc. If you were one of the later wake up calls the showers were freezing – certainly washed away the cobwebs and got us ready for the day. I don’t know why we had wardrobes in our rooms when most of our clothes fit on the bed and the floor.
Our chaperones were the previously mentioned famous Barbara, who is in charge of most of the Libera world, usually with the help of Eleanor who sadly could not come on this tour, and then, Alex G’s mum, Angelika. She was like Super-Girl in Poland, and was always striding up to security people and sorting things out – she took no nonsense. Of course, she speaks Polish so that helped rather a lot. Unfortunately, we didn’t speak a lot of German between us, though Cassius and MJ can manage quite well. We were helped by Sister Lourdes who not only spoke German and English, but also Mexican, so she could also talk to Finn and Lucas whose families come from there.
Breakfasts were amazing. There was a buffet with four different kinds of cereal, cold meats and salads, bread, scrambled eggs and tea. The best thing about brekkie was that there were unlimited supplies of honey, nutella, jam and fizzy apple juice – just what was needed, especially after the vicious cold shower.
We were in Schoenstatt to perform a Libera concert. We had to do a sound check. I really enjoy the sound checks, it gives you a chance to practice the songs with all of the choir and gives us a feeling of how it will be “on the night”.
During the sound check Sam C had to tell us to cover our ears quite a few times due to feedback from the speakers. I thought the cold showers had done the trick but there is nothing like a blast of feedback to wake you up. In some concerts we have the LED lighting but this time we just had spot lights and candles – kind of atmospheric.
Singing a solo for Libera is so exciting and I love every minute. I hadn’t really been nervous during the performances in Poland as the audiences were so huge they somehow seemed removed – also you can’t see a lot of the audience when there are bright lights. This concert seemed more personal. The audience was big, around a thousand, but as we only had a few lights you could see everybody – which was a little daunting. However, once you start to sing, all fears and butterflies leave you and the enjoyment and thrill kicks in and I absolutely love it and forget everything else.
During performances we always wear our white robes. They are actually quite comfy. When we sing in colder places it is quite useful to be able to slip your arms out of the sleeves and have them closer to your body to keep warm – I don’t think anybody notices and of course this is only done during practices.
Leisure time in Germany was awesome. We played a lot of pool and table tennis. Table football and air hockey was also popular. We are quite competitive amongst ourselves, especially when it comes to football and the games we play during our down time. We have quite a few pool stars and we practice our trick shots quite a lot. We organise tournaments amongst ourselves. In one of them I played MJ who had a perfect line, straight into the pocket and still managed to jump his ball and pot the white. I of course would not make such a basic error.
We had several trips out including a massive castle in Koblenz with a cable-car, adventure playground and an exhibition with stuffed ancient animals who apparently did not like flash cameras according to the guides. Some of us bought furry snowballs. We went to the famous Koblenz monument, and a large church where they had a shining brand new organ which hundreds of people donated money to, by buying a pipe each; they had a chart with literally every pipe listed.
Then another time we went to see the tallest cold-water Geyser in the world. Actually it didn’t spurt much when we were there – our garden hose goes nearly as high – maybe it was tired out from all the tourists – and as to the water that comes out, which you can sample, yuck. There was a nice boat trip on the way with ice cream.
We played a football tournament – 4 of our Libera teams – what skills were to be seen to be believed. And after a final Mass in the Pilgrims’ Church there was a big Peg game. This is a Libera invention involving coloured pegs – catching teams, blindfolded catchees, seekers, hospital workers and being given stupid things to do by JB – par example – ‘present a scene in a German fish shop with dancing – Rocco, you are the fish on the counter – start flapping’.
As we never quite manage to collect all the pegs in at the end of these games, and as we travel round the world, more and more of these pegs are spread around. One day they will rise, join together and hang out a very large amount of washing.
Some of my friends at school asked me about the tour and asked whether it was hard work and whether I minded the time it takes up. We work hard on tour but I absolutely love it. I love singing; in fact my little brother and sister think I suffer from “singing disease”. Libera for me is great. I work hard at school but Libera is an opportunity to relax and do something I absolutely love. When I sing I don’t think about anything else, it just fills my head with music – I would do it 25 hours a day! There is such a good sense of community, we can always knuckle down and perform and practice but we actually really enjoy being together too.