Ruud, Henriette (Mirusia's Mum) and Ineke

Ineke's Wonderful Weekend in Brussels and André's Concert

We had a great weekend in Gemma and Nand's home (near Antwerp) and in Brussels. We had the company of three Viennese maids of honor from the Imperial Family of Sisi and Franz Josef: Lady Monique, Janny and Thea. They rented their ball gowns to have that very special feeling of being a princess! We had great fun helping them dress up. They had lots of petticoats and hoops on that made it hard to go to the bathroom, or to enter a car .... Unfortunately we did not have an elegant footman and a carriage available!

The Romantic Viennese night was wonderful as usual. Standing ovations for the Platin tenors and Mirusia. We have seen the concert several times by now, but every time it is a wonderful feeling to be there. The palace was smaller than in Toronto. Toronto had the full glory!! Stadiums are not built for concerts, so it is unavoidable there is an echo. Even Andre's crew could not get rid of it! Because Belgium is a bilingual country, Andre talked in French and Dutch. Sometimes he started the sentence in French and ended the same sentence in Dutch! The real world champion figure skaters, Aljona and Robin were there, the Viennese ballet with Jurgen and Simona as star dancers, Suzan as Sisi, horses, carriage ...

Rumors we heard (talking to some people of the crew): Andre has 4 castles now. Technicians are working on them to make them more and more suitable for traveling, to shorten the time of building it up and tearing it down.

Kerstin has a Baby Daughter!! And Heidi Pitti (choir) also has a Baby Daughter.

The day of the concert was a cold and rainy Saturday! The Boudewijn Stadium is open air (33.000 people in the audience) and the ladies froze in their ball gowns. Fortunately though, it was dry at night for the concert! The ladies drew a lot of attention, people wanted to take pictures with them, they were interviewed by Belgian and Dutch TV, telling them all the time they did it just for fun to uplift the Viennese atmosphere, being great fans of Andre and his music.

At the end of the concert we waited to let the flow of people depart. A few Dutch women approached the ball gown ladies and I asked them who they are, for I did not know them and apparently they were great fans and guess what?? The biggest surprise of the evening ~ it was Mirusia's mother Henriette (from Holland, living in Brisbane Australia), with her Australian friend, her Dutch sister and her Dutch mother in a wheelchair! Wow! Was that a surprise! I have often mailed to Henriette but never met her and she recognized Ruud and I immediately. She gave me permission to post her photo. Mirusia came to get her, to lead her to Andre behind the scenes. How exciting! I just asked if we could follow them, but that was a joke....... (However???)

Driving home in another hour, we returned to Gemma's house, where we all stayed overnight. We were cold and hungry and we sat down eating Belgian waffles, tart and slices of bread, drinking coffee, tea and wine, at 3 AM!! Nand even put on the heating system of the house! I had never been eating and drinking in the middle of the night before in my whole life!

The next day was a beautiful sunny day and we left again for Holland. We hade a great time and Gemma and Nand are wonderful people, just as the Dutch Rieu-girlzzz. Great friends forever ~ Amigos para siempre!! ... Thanks to Andre!

Janny, Thea, Henriette, Monique and Mirusia's Grandmother

The photos are from Ineke and Monique. Monique wanted to add many thanks to their wonderful Belgian friends Gemma and Nand, who made the weekend unforgettable !!