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! :)

Aug 20, 2012

Busking in Cologne

The last stop in Germany and for a long time the first bigger city we visited. We had really bad luck in the first day, but than everything turned out better than expected.:)
You can start playing every sharp hour till half as in many German cities like Dresden, Münster. Most of the people keep this rule but  If you're there for the first time the police will politely let you know what the rules are and that's it.
Best spot in Cologne
The old town was deserted

Our experiance:
1st day:
It was horrible. I think we walked at least 3 hours in the sun till we found a nice looking spot but nobody really payed more than some cents. The shopping streets were over crowded, and for the big squares we are too quiet. We even tried an underground passage where the acoustic was brilliant, but again maybe 2 people payed and the rest just looked at us like we are alians.:P We just found one place in the end where it was quite good to play. So in almost 4 hours we made just 15-17euros and we were really disappointed.
2nd day:
Much better! in an hour and a half 25 euros. We went back in the same place where we played last in the previous day (between the Dome and the Roman museum) and we played there an hour. We didn't care about the rules because we were desperate after the horrible first day and what we went through. It was a relief because we thought that we'll get stuck there for a bit longer.
Map of busking places in Cologne
Best places:
  • Hohe strasse (for bigger bands cause it's really loud)
  • Am Leystapel
  • Heinrich-Böll-Platz (The only good spots for us were the red dots on the map)
So if you have an unusual act and you are quite loud it's a good place for you. We still prefer to paly in smaller cities after all but for a couple of days I think you would enjoy Cologne.
Busking in Münster

We spent 4 days in this beautiful small German city, we played a little and enjoyed the sun.:)

You can play every hour sharp till half. A guy told us that you need a permit too, but nobody really cares. If you follow this rule and you don't disturbe anybody, you can't get in trouble.

Our experiance:
The first day we arrived we played 1 song and made 8 euros so we were really happy about it, but when we tried on Saturday in the same place we made nothing.
The street was too crowded and really close to us there were beggars in both sides. In every Saturday there's a very busy market here and everybody goes shopping. Compared to the city size we saw quite a lot of musicians with trumpets, violin, chello,double bass etc. Because of this it's quite hard to find a nice place but we found a nice bridge that leads to a church so we played there and made some money :)
On the bridge
Old busker man
The best day for us was Sunday, when the streets were quite empty and just a few people were walking. We chose the big shopping street to play around 6 and in a bit more than half an hour we made 17 euros. :)
Map of buksing paces in Münster
Best places:

  • Ludgeristrasse(the green dots were the best spots on the street)
  • Salzstrasse (for us it wasn't that good but it's worth to give it a try)
  • Spiegeltum bridge
In my opinion Münster is a really nice small city where you can enjoy the beautiful architecture and playing music at the same time. :)

Aug 16, 2012

Busking in Osnabrück

After Bremen we were still heading towards Köln and we stopped in a smaller city called Osnabrück. Because of the weather we didn't explore the city that well,, we just stayed in the center. The old part of the city is nice(but deserted) and quite small and there is a huge shopping area where most of the people are. We didn't see as many musicians as in any other city and there were not a lot of tourists either.
The center is quite nice but small

We didn't meet anybody who could tell us more about it, but nobody bothered us.
The man in the mirror :P
Nice accoustic plus light effect 

Our experiance:
We found a really good place where the acoustic was similar to singing in a church, but the money was average. The truth is that we didn't play much there either and most of the time it rained. So if you have to stop here probably you'll make enough money but if you can afford go to Münster which is 60 km away and the money is much better :)

Aug 12, 2012

Busking in Bremen

After Lübeck we wanted to go to Cologne but we found the distance quite big so we decided to stop in some cities before. After hitchhiking a lot in Skandinavia we use carpooling once again cause it's cheap and confortable.
Bremen , Am Markt

We didn't have the chance to ask somebody, but it seems pretty relaxed. We saw a lot of buskers playing on the streets, probably you have to move every half an hour but it seems nobody really cares. People like music so buskers are welcome :)
Our experiance:
After a long time we found a nice tunnel where we could play :D The acoustic is really nice. We made our average amount of money(10-15euros per half an hour) so we were satesfied with it. :) Lately we dont really struggle to make more than what we need, and it's really relaxing like this.
We didnt try to sing in any other places, but I made a map where I think busking would work(we saw others playing there).
Map for busking in Bremen
The green dot is where we played and the rest are where other musician played. I hope it's helpful for everyone. :) But I still write down the names of the places.

Places to busk in Bremen:
  • Am Markt (for bigger bands)
  • Schüttingenstrasse (both ends of the street)
  • The passage
  • next to the river (there are a lot of Caffé's)
  • Sögesstrasse
Bremen is a nice city for busking maybe not as good as Hamburg or bigger cities in Germany but its very relaxing to play here.:)
Visiting Oslo

We spent 3 days in the capital of Norway. Eveybody told us that the city is not that nice and it's a really small capital so our expectations were lower. But what we found was very different from what people had to say about the beautiful capital. :)

The hitchhiking was easy again. As usual it took 3 rides and not a lot of waiting :P The first impression of Oslo was unexpected in a good way. When we entered the city the road followed the fjord and we could see the small islands and green hills in the distance.
Oslo fjord
Walking street with grey clouds

The first day we took a walk. The center has really nice architecture, maybe not as impressive as in Budapest but defenetly not ugly. The walking streets are full of people and street performers. The only bad thing is that there are a lot of beggars everywhere(mostly gypsies) and nobody does anything against it. It's sad. And because begging doesn't work that well they grab an instrument and sing the same 2-3 songs over and over without any passion for 4-7 hours continiously... And this is why more and more people think that buskers are beggars and make busking harder and harder in most of the Europian countries.
Walking street
In Oslo amazingly we didn't saw really horrible performances. Maybe that's why it was one of the best city for busking :P

Anyway when we arrived it was the midsummer festival(23th of June) witch is one of the biggest holidays in Skandinavia(this is the longest day of the year). In Sweden it's bigger than Chiristmas. Everybody's drunk and in the city they are dancing around a huge penis shaped wooden sculpture which is decorated with flowers, and they sing songs about frogs(It's some viking tradition:P). In Norway they build large bonfires.
Bonfire on the water
Water,  Fire and Rainbow
On Sunday we went to the National Museum. On Sunday you can get in free in 4 Museums of Oslo. We were lucky because there was a temporary exibition with Munch and we could see some of his bigest works(like The Scream) and also we saw some Degas, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Auguste Rodin etc.
Van Gogh looking at The Thinker
There is a Munch Museum where they have the biggest collection of his works. If you like art it's a must visit place in Oslo. Unfortunately we didn't have time and money for that but we were satisfied with what we saw. :)
You can get a good panorama of the city and the Oslo fjord from the Opera House's rooftop. This is the first Opera House where you can walk on the roof top.
Opera House of Oslo
Oslo fjord
Tips on what you can do/see in Oslo:

  • walking in the city center and the port
  • Visit one of the islands
  • Opera House
  • Museums (on Sunday some of them are free)
  • Botanical Garden
The most expensive city we've ever been to. But again if you don't want to eat out you can always find relatively cheap supermarkets. Alcohol and tabaco related products prices are way too high so if you want to drink or you are a smoker you should buy them in Sweden or wherever you come from:p. A lot of Norwegian people go to Sweden just over the border to do their shopping.

Public transport:
We didn't use it cause everything is within walking distance in the center. you can buy ticket for 40 Norwegan crowns(5.4 euro!) But again the conrollers are visible if we are informed right... 

So thats all for now:) Enjoy Oslo and all it has to offer!

Aug 11, 2012

Without real darkness: Göteborg
(the First week)

The hichiking from Malmö to Göteborg  was quite easy. We started at around 11 in the morning and we were in Göteborg at 6-7. We needed three rides, but we did it in one day! :)

Göteborg is the second largest city in Sweden after Stockholm. And it feels big too:P
The weather was rainy and cold almost all week long. We stayed in the suburbes of Göteborg. The nature is really nice. If the weather is hot you can take a long walk in the hills. You can find huge rocks everywhere in the city.
In the woods
Sunny day :)
Later on we looked around in the center of the city. There is a huge shopping area, which is really boring for me but I like the old part of Göteborg and the parks. In the Haga district you can find nice wooden architecture. This is the oldest part of the city it's full of caffé's and bars. In a sunny day it's nice to get lost in the city and take a long walk. There is a huge park, called Slottsskogen, where there is a free zoo with seals, horses and dears in it :)
Haga district
City center
We visited the biggest science center in Skandinavia(Universeum). :)Our friend had tickets so we could get in for free(the entrance for adult is 195 SEK=23 euro, so it's expensive, but of course this is Sweden).
We really enjoyed ourselves. We saw moving dinosaurs, the mokeys jumped around us, and birds flew above our head. Plus there is a huge aquarium with a lot of fish and sharks.
Face to face :D
Worth to visit in Göteborg:
  • Haga district
  • City center
  • Woods in the suburbes
  • Slottsskogen park
  • Universeum (if you have money)
  • If you have time maybe you should visit one of the smallest cities(or villages?) close to Göteborg. They are beautiful mixture of rockie hills, water and islands. We didn't have the opportunity to do it but a lot of people recommended it.
Prices:Defenetly more expensive than any other non skandinavian country in Europe(exept Switzerland) but if you don't want to eat in expensive restaurants and spend your money in the shopping malls still you can find cheap supermarkets and you won't fell the differance that much. Alchohol and cigarettes cost a lot more and stronger alcoholes are sold just in specialized shops.

Public transport:
They don't sell tickets on the bus. They have a really weird(for me) card system and you can buy a ticket with your phone by SMS but I have know idea how it exactly works... Anyway the conrollers are recognizable, they wear uniforms... so you know what you have to do if you see them...:P

Göteborg is a nice Skandinavian city but 3-4 days is enough to look around in my opinion. :)