Dec 9, 2012

The way back home

After Brugge we went back to Gent and stayed there another week to have time to make the CD-s and we decided to head towards Germany again and slowly go home before the winter cought up with us. France and Spain can wait till next Spring :P
the end is close :(
We went back to the places where we knew it's good for busking like Brussels and Liége, but we were unlucky and we both cought a cold plus the weather turned really bad. For more than two weeks we couldn't play at all so we spent all our savings. In Maastricht it was raining all the time and I got a bit deppressed about the situation but we had to move on. On the way back we met some old friends of ours, we've made on the road and it gave us such a warm feeling to meet these people again. :)
On the train to Berlin
In Germany we went all the way up to Lübeck through Aachen, Köln, Münster and Bremen again hoping that we would get a couch in Hamburg for at least a week but we weren't lucky so in the end we stayed in Lübeck for 3 weeks again. Our friends made it really easy and comfortable for us to stay there for such a long time. Hope one day we can do something for them. :)

We left Lübeck with a hundred euros and went back to Berlin where we stayed for four days to make money for Prague! :) We were really excited because this was the first time that we could see the capital of Czech Republic and we 've been planning for so long to visit it :)

Busking in Brugge


Unfortunately we spent just two days in Brugge which is one of the most beautiful city in Belgium and in Europe. Most of the time we just walked and got lost on the streets of Brugge and we didn't play that much. So this post will be more about travelling than street music. Sorry about that!

You have to apply for a permit, which you have to pay for. I think it's quite easy to get it though we played without it but just for an hour.

Our experiance:
It was great! :) We took a bus from Gent to Brugge for 2 euros (though it takes two hours, but you can find trains for 5 euros or so and it's there in 20 minutes) and as soon as we were there we started discovering the city by ourselves. :) It's like you're walking in a fairy tale. Beautiful! :) I cannot describe it in words so here are some pictures:

sunset in Brugge

We saw some really old windmills at the edge of the city center and it was already dark when we got to the center again. The buildings were lit up and the channels reflected the pretty lights. We were hypnotized by the athmospere. We couldn't make as many pictures as we would have liked cause the camera's battery was almost empty but still we made some pretty pictures in my opinion. :)
the beautiful Brugge
One of the main square in Brugge
The last day we tried to play a little in the center right before a bridge in a really narrow street. It could've been better. We made 18 euros in an hour but it was enough to cover our travelling costs :)

It was a really nice small trip, we will never forget :)

Oct 25, 2012

Busking in Gent

It was quite easy to hitchhike from Utrecht to Gent. :) Though the first lift took us to a different direction in the end everything turned out to be great!
You need a permission for playing. You can get it from Monday to Friday in the city hall for 10 euros per day. You can play in every spot for two hours which is great but still 10 euros per day is a bit too much...
The best place we found
Bridge to the city center
Our experiance:
first we tried to play on Friday night/late afternoon so we didn't have the chance to get the permit so we decided to do it without it. First we tried in a shopping area in front of the "fnac", but it wasn't good (5 euro per half an hour). We were a bit dissapointed but fortunately we din't give up and we played under a huge construction(Probably it's gonna be a market place, but I'm not quite sure about that) and our luck changed for better. We made around 25-30 euros per hour. This is a really great place.
The only thing is that on weekdays it's under construction and you can't play there. Just Friday to Sunday.
Just once we got stopped by the police, but after 15 minutes we went back and it was alright :).
Beautiful sunset

Best places:
  • Poeljemarkt (we played here)
  • Veldstraat (where the Fnac is, but it wasn't that good)
  • Korenmarkt (we saw people playing there)
  • Mageleinstraat(a gypsy played there so we couln't try it)

We stayed in Gent almost two weeks thanks to our friend and we had a really great time. We recorded some songs in the meantime and we had time to really relax again. Thank you Johan!
Busking in Utrecht

Utrecht is a really quiet, small city in Netherlands. It has nice channels and typical Flamish architecture. One or two days is enough to see and enjoy the city. :)
Pathetic... You are allowed to play 15 minutes and than you have to move. The good news is that nobody cares :)

Our experiance:
Wasn't that good. The turist season just ended and the school didn't start yet so the city was quite empty this time of year. The average was 5 euros per half an hour wich is really really bad. We tried different spots on the walking streets but nothing seemed to work out. But I have to say it was still better than Antwerpen :P
Little Channel
close up :)
So we spent most of our time thinking about where we'll go next. Back to Germany or back to Belgium. Fortunately our friend, Johan wrote us, so in the end we decided to go to Gent, and it was a really good choise :)

Oct 17, 2012

Busking in Amsterdam

We were thinking a lot about whether we should go to Amsterdam or not, cause we heard a lot of storries about police giving big fines or taking instruments away first time without warning, but it's a must see city and we just went there :D
It's quite illegal. You can get a permission and probably the rules are strickt but if you really want to play in the center you're probably gonna need it otherwise the police will fine you. But again we didn't meet any of them so we can't say it for sure.
beautiful channels
we bought some flag stickers and we decorated the guitar :)

Our experiance:
It's a beautiful city. It was so refreshing to see something so different than before. :) We could really apprechiate the channels and the brick houses.:)
We tried out only two places(we were here for 3 days) which were really good. One of them is in a park under a bridge which has good acoustic and we sang there a few times. There was another place close by, where you could play with big chess pieces on the street. So all and all in Amsterdam you can make good money but be careful with the police.

We met a chellist guy, who has played in Amsterdam for years and he told us that he had to go to jail for a few days cause he couldn't pay the fines that he got for playing music on the street. But he lives in Amsterdam, so if you stay just for a few days I don't think so you can get in big trouble.
Me on the bridge :P
Best places:
Busking places for Amsterdam

  • Rembrant square (that's the official busking place)
  • Vondel Park (we played here)
  • Max Euweplein (where the big chessboard is)

So we really enjoyed paying here and being here :)
Busking in Antwerpen

Antwerpen is a beautiful city in Belgium with the biggest train station in Europe. But for us the athmosephere wasn't the best and we couldn't enjoy it that much
The same as in Leuven. You have to get a paper for free from the city hall witch contains the rules for street music/street performances. But again the police didn't really care that much, and if you are polite nothing bad can happen.
tiny valentin and the big gate :)
The biggest train station in Europe

Our experiance.
First we tried the big shopping streets which starst from the Central Station and goes towards to the center. It's really crowded and people seem not to care too much about street music. It's a really noisy street also.(I have to mention a pianist who plays in Antwerp on the streets with a real! piano and he is quite good :)). So we couldn't find the right spot on that street. In the center there are too many terrases and we didn't want to play in front of them. We saw some musicians playing in front of a church gate and we gave it a try too, and it was quite good at the first time, second time it was quite bad... People just seemed a bit posh.
We stayed just for 3 days so we didn't find the right spot for us. We had bad luck.

Maybe if you are loud or you are with a band can be good :)

Oct 8, 2012

Busking law changed in Vienna

About two month ago a journalist, Sophia Chung (from The Vienna Review) contacted us and asked some questions about street music in Vienna for her article. She informed us that there have been new laws passed last month further limiting street musicians in Vienna. There are now regulations on noise level, number of musicians, and stricter laws on when/where/how long people can play. The laws were tightened because people living in the first district complained of noise and crowd levels.

You can read the entire article here:
Playing for time- A busker in Vienna

Oct 5, 2012

Busking in Brussels
Sunset in Brussels

It's a huge city compared to the ones we've been lately. We had to get used to the crowd again, and I think Brussel is the most culturaly mixed city we have ever been to. The money was really good and we enjoyed most of our stay :)

You need a permit. I don't know exactly where and how can you get is but it seems pretty relaxed. Probably if you are playing in the very center of Brussels with amplifier the police will ask you about the permit after a while. But in our experiance they didn't really care, there were at least 3 times when they passed us by but they didn't even look at us.
The best place ever in Brussels :P
Crowd at the Belgium Beer Festival

Our experiance:
The first day was horrible. We couldn't really find a place. We walked a lot looking for a place but we didn't find anything. For our music the walking streets in the center were too loud and crowded without an amplifier, and in the metro stations the radio was on. So after this our spirit was quite down but we had to try it on the next days again.
And after that horrible day it was much better! :) We found a place between the central station and the city center where the acoustic is really good and the "traffic" is good also. :P So after that we were really happy. we made about 50 euros in 2-3 hours on Saturday and the rest of the days were nice too :P

Than a month later we went back to this place. The money was the same, though we had problems with the gipsys. They played in front of the central station, like for the hole day and didn't let anybody else play... And you can't even talk with them. So we just waited for our "turn" and finally after 6 we got the place and we sang there an hour. Than drunk homeless people interrupted us... That day was a bit too much for me and I felt like I want to quit the whole busking thing and find a boring job instead. But on Sunday everything was perfect. No hobos, no gipsys, good money :) So it was a perfect last day! Busking is fun, but it can be really tiring like anything else.

Busking palces in Brussels

Best places:
  • City center anywhere (if you are amplified or loud enough)
  • Gare Centraal entrance to the city center
  • The red dots are where we saw musicians
We haven't tried any other places in Brussels, but it's a big city and the distances are quite big so we sticked with the places what we knew already.
Brussels can be stressful, but you can make a lot of money if you find the right spot for the right kind of music.

Oct 3, 2012

First song on Youtube

Finally we finished with the CD and we thought maybe we should put some songs on youtube. As I mentioned before all the songs are cover songs but probably in the future there will be original ones too. It was a really good experiance for us to see how recording works, and that we have a lot to learn :D

Big Big Thanks to Johan De Pue who recorded, mixed and mastered it. :) Without him we couldn't do it! Here is the first song along with the cover of the album:)!

Busking in Leuven

Leuven is a really nice small city close to Brussels and we thought before we go to the capital we should give this smaller city a try. :) We were there right before the school started so the city was quite deserted but still it wasn't bad.
on the way to the center

You need a permit which you can get for free.(The place where you can get its called Stadkontor and is very close to the train station) It's a piece of paper with the laws (only in dutch) and you have to have it with you if you are busking. You can stay in one spot for an hour than you have to change the place (200m). That is the basic law. :)
Grote Markt
Beautiful city hall

Our experiance:
We arrived on Sunday but we couldn't play because there was a festival or something like that going on in the center but the next days (mondays are usually bad) we tried to play in the shopping/walking streets. The average was around 10-15 euros per hour so it wasn't that good. But given that it was the begining of the week it might be better at weekends.

Best places:
Busking Places in Leuven
  •  Grote Markt (for big bands)
  • Diestes straat (Big walking street, that's where we played)
  • Vaarstraat (somebody told us that it can be good)
I know it's not a lot of information but I hope it is still helpful :)

Sep 25, 2012

It's time for a bit of change

I didn't update for a long time so I thought it's time to give some signs that we are still alive. :P The last weeks we've spent in Netherlands and Belgium (Update from each city coming soon also :P) and the weather turned colder. We decided to make our way back home slowly (it will take about two months) through Germany and Austria again.
pretending to play the douple bass :)

Right now we're in Gent and we're about to leave in some hours to Brussels. We've stayed here a bit more than a week and we felt like it's time to record some stuff :) Our Friend, Johan has a small "studio" at his home, and he let us use it (BIG thanks for that!!!) so the last days we were working on our very first semi-professional "album"(just cover songs). Because of the time limit we couldn't make it perfect but soon everybody can decide it him/herself how good it is. :P

So now here are some pictures from the process and later on we'll post some of songs:)
Valentin recording
Without inspiration :P
We're not really playing together but nice picture :P

Aug 29, 2012

Busking in Liége

Our first stop in Belgium, not far from Maastrich, was Liége. Everybody told us that we should just skip it and go straight to Brussels, 'cause Liége is quite boring and ugly. And we met some buskers(a whole band) in Maastricht who told us that it was horrrible for them. So we waren't sure that it's a good idea to go...

Actually we really enjoyed the city and busking too :)
There is an audition every month where you have to perform, and if you pass, you'll get a "busking card" and it's valid for one year. It's quite easy to get it. After the first year you have to go back for another audition but than for 3 years you don't have to go back. And it's all for free :) You are allowed to play one hour in one place than you have to move. And anyway if you don't play too loud and follow the one hour rule the police doesn't really care if you have a permit or not. It happened 3 times that they just passed us without any commentary.

Our experiance:
It was really good! :) First we were a bit sceptical about playing here, we didn't expect much. Than after the first 50 minutes we had already 30 euros. :) It seemed that the people in Liége are really willing to give money to street musicians even if they have just small change.
The next day we played half an hour and got a bit more than 10 euros, but unfortunately we couldn't play more cause in the square there was a market with loud music.
Tony Haven
Valentin :)
We met a guy who plays lap tapping acoustic guitar(he was really good) and for him it was okay too. Probably the Spanish guys weren't succesful because they are too loud and the police always stopped them...

Busking places in Liége
Best places:
  • Rues Des Dominicains
  • Pont d'lle
  • corner of the Saint Paul Chatedral(bit loud)
It's not the most beautiful place to visit in Belgium but you can meet really nice people and enjoy the city :)

Aug 23, 2012

Busking in Maastricht

After staying a month in Germany we left to Netherlands. The first stop was Maastricht were we spent 5 great days :)
Sunset in Maastricht
One of our hosts in Maastricht found out in an official site how things work. But unfortunately it's only in Dutch... Basicly it says that if your performance contains "noise" you have to have a permit. If you are individual musician just with instrument you don't need an audition (exept if you play with accordion,trumpets and loud instruments ). If you sing at the same time while playing an instrument or you are in a group you have to go for an audition. You're not allowed to use amplifier. You are not allowed to play in front of caffé's and ask for money afterwards. If you get the permit there are places where you are allowed to play half an hour than you have to change your place.

It doesn't say anything about having to pay for the permit. Somebody said it's 20 euros per day but I think it's ridiculous. And there is a woman on the street who had two flower-shaped spoons and she's just clapping with them and she got a permit...

So if you just read this you might get pretty scared, but we didn't meet anybody who had big problems playing on the streets without permit. We actually never met any policeman. Of course we heard stories that somebody got fined because he didn't have a permit, but if they catch you at the first time, and you are polite I don't think so that they will give you a fine immediately.
the mall

Our experiance:
It was good! :) The first days were extremely hot so we just played in the evenings. After 6pm 90% of the shops are closed and in 20 minutes everybody disappears amazingly fast from the streets. So we played in a deserted place where at least the acoustic was good. For us most of the time it is better like this. The average was around 15euros/40minutes which is good for us :P
Cafe de pieter

We were invited by a great!! musician/bartender  to play in a small pub in the center and in the end it turned out to be an open mic :) Almost everybody had some musical talent in the bar. We had such a great time!
And we also met wonderful musicians on the street! A whole band with drums and amplifier and blowing instruments. Though they didn't have a permit either, they didn't have problems at all with locals(I mean shops) or police. :)
busking places in Maastricht
Best places to play:
  • Grote straat
  • Kleine straat
  • Maastrichter burgstraat
  • Hoender straat mall entrance(that's where we played= the green dot)
  • The walking bridge
  • If you just chose one of the walking streets can be okay I think

In Maastricht we felt that we were really welcomed and it was very relaxing. We met wonderful people who made are stay even better! :)

Aug 22, 2012

The Norwegian fjords

Our real goal in Norway was to get to one of the fjords. We found a really nice area in Google maps witch is called Aurland and we decided to go there :D It's about half way between Oslo and Bergen(maybe a bit closer to Bergen). It's situated next to one of the branches of Sognefjord, Norway's biggest fjord.
Aurland fjord

It was a bit hard to get out of Oslo, because the hitchhiking place was far from the center. We arrived there late so we had to camp one night close to the road, but we found a really nice and quiet place.
In all of Skandinavia there is law called "every man's right". It says that you can camp anywhere if you are 150 m away from the closest buildnig even if it's a privat property. Though it's polite if you ask the owner to camp on his land. Usually nobody says no and everybody is kind.
Huge fern in the wild
So after camping we started hitchhiking in the morning and it was quite easy. Once we had to wait a lot(like an hour and a half or more) but we didn't have to wait more than half an hour for the other two rides(yes, it was 3 rides again :P) At last an older truck driver stopped for us who slowed down  wherever we wanted to take pictures and even payed for our dinner.:) It was amazing that these kinds of people exist in the world, who without any expectations help you with whatever it is that you may need.
freezing a bit above 1000m
the longest car tunnel and our angel
The way to Aurland is amazing. Everywhere you see mountains, snow, waterfalls next to the road. We had to cross the longest car tunnel in the world (24,5 km long). we stopped in the middle and stared at it for a while and 20 minutes after that we finally reached our destination.
Finding a campingplace was kinda hard because everything around us was privat property and the campingplace costs 200 crowns(about 20 euros:o).. The first day we camped next to a river, but the second day we asked around locals if they know where should we camp. The first women we asked offered us her place next to the fjord.
first camping place
second camping place

We got lucky with the weather cause we had 2 wonderful sunny days and we could discover the beautiful fjord.:) The second day we went to hike on the mountain where you can get an amazing view of the fjord. It was a hard hike, but it's worth it! if you are lazy there is a view point where you can go up by car.:p
Crossing the waterfall
lonley boat
The next days it rained a bit and most of the time it was cloudy but we still enjoyed the whole experiance.We ate wild berries, took long walks next to the fjords. The only bad thing is that I caught a cold and I needed a whole month to recover completely...
click here for more pictures

Anyway we stayed here 5 wonderful days that I will never forget! This was the most amazing thing we've ever done! I can just recommend everybody that before you die you must visit Norway and the beautiful fjords! :)