Cellospeak Travel

July 25, 2015

With a driving distance of more than 1200 miles, flying to Cellospeak was our only real option. Since flying with a cello is both expensive and potentially risky for the cello, I am renting a cello from A. Cavallo Violins. The Bryn Mawr A. Cavallo location is only open until 5 pm on Saturdays and flying from the Midwest we wouldn't arrive before 7 pm. So we came a day early.

Traveling the day ahead of a deadline is very relaxing. We had good flights with plenty of time between them for lunch in Dallas. Through Hotels.com we reserved a room at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott. After collecting our bags we strolled through an enclosed walkway to the hotel and checked in. We had dinner and then walked a bit on the hotel's treadmills to stretch our legs.

This morning we had a leisurely breakfast before checking out of the hotel. The SEPTA trains were quick and easy to navigate, and we arrived in Bryn Mawr at 12:30 pm. Roughly 4 hours before the rooms would be ready. At first this was frustrating as we were hot and thirsty. We called the university number we had been given but they weren't really prepared to help us. Eventually we discovered a deserted campus coffee shop and waited in air conditioned comfort for a while. At about 1:30 pm we went to Rhoads Hall, where we'll be staying this week, and were able to have our bags locked into a closet in one of the rooms.

Free of luggage we walked back to the town's business district and had lunch at Tango, a restaurant advertising "new American fare and Mexican dishes". Getting some much needed food and water did a lot to revive both of us.

After lunch we walked about 5 minutes to A. Cavallo where I picked up my rental cello. It's a beautiful instrument, valued at about $5000, making it almost three times as expensive as my cello. I also have a very nice wooden bow that feels quite a bit different than my Coda bow at home. Sibylle also picked up a viola for the week. With instruments in hand we walked back to the train station were we picked up a cab for the short ride to Rhoads hall. A cello isn't terribly heavy, but it is awkward to carry long distances.

The university was still finishing up preparing the dorm for our stay. The group that had been in it until this morning was apparently a little slow leaving and delayed the preparations. By 4:30 pm we had our room and were moved in. The room is actually setup for three people. The single hallway door opens to a 12 x 18 foot room, with two smaller rooms, attached, one on either side. The beds the staff had prepared were in the two outer rooms. Sibylle and I will rearrange the beds so that we have one double-wide bed in the center room.

Tomorrow the Cellospeak registration happens, when there will be more orientation and details about the workshop. Until then we are largely on our own.

It's been a long couple of days getting here, but not terribly stressful or exhausting. I'm tired this evening, but excited for what the rest of the week holds.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.