By Sofia Talvik | The best part about touring is when you have time to explore the area where you're playing. I was excited to put Michigan as my 44th state on my list of visited states and decided to get an early start from Maumee, OH, so I would have time to do a quick drive through Detroit as well as catch some quality time in Jackson.
Arriving in Jackson I was surprised that the weather was so much cooler than what I left behind in Maumee so I pulled on a pair of jeans and my boots and we headed out for the adventures of the day. We started off at Sandhill crane winery where we did a tasting of their different wines. I was adviced to start off with the drier wines and then move on to the sweeter ones, but soon got confused about how many we were trying and ended up in the sweet section much earlier than I should have. So I did a daring move and went back from sweet to dry. I was fine! Phew!
My favorite of the wines was surprisingly a Riesling. I usually think of Riesling as a sweet wine, but this was dry and had a very fresh and light taste. I live in Germany nowadays so it's always interesting to taste how different wines can be despite coming from the same grape. After the tasting we went on a tour of the vineyard and got a little lesson in how the grapes grow and how they are prepared. I learned that it takes 5 years before you can harvest the grapes so I quickly buried my own plans of growing grapes on my balcony back home. Luckily I live in a wine country so I don't have to make my own wine even though it seemed fascinating. With a bottle of the Riesling tucked under my arm we headed out to Haenle nature reserve where we got a tour of the Michigan wildlife and nature. Unfortunately we didn't see any cranes although we did hear some in the distance.
The skies were gray but at least it didn't rain. I almost grabbed some seeds from the big blue grass to take back home to my balcony when I remembered our guide's words about invasive species and how they are fighting to get rid of some of the plants that are threatening the local flora. I didn't want to be the reason Germany becomes covered in big blue in a few years, although it would have been a pretty souvenir to get a Michigan plant for home.
Time was running too fast, so before long we were heading back to Jackson downtown and it was time for me to set up and sound check. At the encores after the concert a gentlemen asked me to sing the Swedish national hymn. I was put on the spot. I haven't sung it since I was a student, so I was afraid I wouldn't remember all the words. My husband quickly pulled up the lyrics on his phone and I ended the evening in this very unusual way. Next time I play in Jackson I guess I'll have to plan it so I get to see the thousands of cranes that comes here to mate. I'm certain that would be quite the experience!