Couplet 5: Through Austria to Bayern and some reflections on being a busker, and in particular, a Busker (or Beggar?) in Germany.
Here we are in one of the many internet cafés that become our temporary office. The folks who run these places are usually very friendly and kind. And you can stay and surf as long as you want for the price of a cup of coffee.

There are many small towns along the Danube but as you can see from these photos they are pretty sleepy early in the day. Most of them we came to, looked around, and headed out for the next.

But then we arrived in Regensburg. We are amazed at the number of beautiful squares and cobble stoned streets just perfect for baroque busking. Then we discover the Steinerebrücke, the old stone bridge over the Danube. It's love at first site!
The views from the bridge beautiful. The river is full of passenger ships that sail all the ways from Amsterdam on the Rhine, through canals to the Danube, and down to Budapest and beyond.
The weather is starting to turn to Autumn and the air is cool and clean. The bridge is only for Füssgänger (pedestrians) and the occasional mounted Polizei. At sunset the music and the big sky blend together.
Mackie keeps a sharp look-out for any of the many many Dackels that cross the bridge.
When we travel on to Nüremburg the weather has changed and there is a real chill in the air. We thought that this would knock out any busker competition. But we hadn't counted on this string quartet from Russia. I think that this must be like summer weather for them. As the weather turns colder we learn that other buskers have open-finger-tip gloves just as we do.
There are bridges here in Nüremberg as well and we realize that bridges are the busker's Buddhist Ferry Boats: we aren't going anywhere ourselves, just helping others to cross to the other side.
When we arrive in Würzburg we settle into our new "camp", just around the corner from another heavenly bridge.
In fact, this bridge is lined with statues of Heiligen (saints) all along the way. Playing and singing to the saints provides both Devine Inspiration and rewards of a more worldly sort. Sometimes.

Sometimes Gurdyman plays a no-one is stopping, no-one is passing by, pitch. That should be filmed! My best work and only Ani is there to witness it.

We pass this fountain on the way to the bridge. Is that Eve about to bite that apple? This Teufel certainly is flexible. But that's always been one of his strong points, hasn't it?
And all around the churches show reminders of the inevitable end.
So we leave Hungary and head for Vienna.

It's only natural that we remember those many other times over the last 28 years that we stopped in Vienna on the way to or from Hungary. Ahh, the old days, staying at Pali's and Geza's incredible apartment, cooking up huge meals for the seemingly non-stop gala evenings with crowds of Hungarian artists and intellectuals traveling through, busking on the Kärtnerstrasse in front of the Cathedral. But those days are no more.

We could see Pali just for a beer, and hardly manage to find parking and sleep in Detleff for the night. So strict are the Viennese parking regulations that we would need to park Detlef far far from the center of the city. We think it's better to move on to Linz.

In Linz, however, the only street to busk on is a main tram thoroughfare. We say, let's keep moving and head into Germany, into Bayern.

We spurn the Autobahn and take the small road that follows the Duna, Donau, Danube.

Here is Jürgen! He has a shoe repair shop and fixes all our shoes and belts and bags that are, by now, falling apart.

In the winter he travels India by motorcycle.

We arrive at Otto's and Petra's house. We last saw them over two years before when, with their help, we adopted Mackie. Otto helped to rebuild our bed in Detlef, so that we could use the storage space beneath it, freeing up our little bathroom for the first time in all our travels.

We try out the little wagon that I dream to have for carrying our instruments when we go busking. And Mackie could be comfortabe in it as well.

Then we leave Otto's and Petra's and head up to the airport in Frankfurt: Ani is going to Boston for two weeks to be with Julien and Gaspar. That, we suppose will be another Couplet of our Folia Itinerant.

Before we close this Couplet I would like to share with you some thoughts on being a Busker in Europe, or is it simply a Beggar in Germany.

We arrive at Otto's and Petra's house. We last saw them over two years before when, with their help, we adopted Mackie. Otto helped to rebuild our bed in Detlef, so that we could use the storage space beneath it, freeing up our little bathroom for the first time in all our travels.

We try out the little wagon that I dream to have for carrying our instruments when we go busking. And Mackie could be comfortabe in it as well.

Then we leave Otto's and Petra's and head up to the airport in Frankfurt: Ani is going to Boston for two weeks to be with Julien and Gaspar. That, we suppose will be another Couplet of our Folia Itinerant.

Before we close this Couplet I would like to share with you some thoughts on being a Busker in Europe, or is it simply, A Beggar in Germany?

Looking at this little picture, left, I can only ask: Where's Mackie?
These Great Pale Klezmorin are playing at my great-grandparents 60th wedding anniversary in May of 1879, near Gronö, Poland. The contra player (second from left) was in love with Tante Mitzi, who for her own safety had to hide that summer at her cousins in Warsaw. That is how she met Itzrak…

How do I know this?

Answer: I don't know this. In fact, I just made it up. That's how my mind works.

But Why?

I ask myself why, standing and busking on these bridges, I feel so deeply connected with the street performers of generations past who have stood in exactly the same spot.

(to be continued)

Regensburg