Tales from the Road – Tourguides, mistrels and the Black Plague
After safely landing thanks to the magical powers of Alan Hanson and Gary Lineker we were met by our friend Siggy. Siggy is the main reason I learned to play the harp. I remember being beside a campfire at an OBOD camp, stars twinkly and doing their thing, just chilling, when I heard a voice say, “Can I play my harp by your fire?” At that moment I fell in love with the instrument, and when Siggy said people could have a go at playing the harp the next day, well, I jumped at the chance!
It was 31 degrees in Vienna, so the only real choice was to head straight to a bar on the banks of the Danube for an ice-cold beer. On the way we passed a few massive video screens where the football was shown, and then we were sitting by the river, supping on some lovely Austrian llllllager.
The next day we went on a wonderful tour of the city led by Siggy, who not only is a fabulous musician, but is also a qualified Vienna tour guide! There were two highlights for me. The first was seeing the house where Strauss, Beethoven and, my personal favourite, Mozart, met together. The other was a wishing well in honour of an Austrian minstrel who used to play his music in a bar, but during one of the times of the plague nobody came to see him play, so he got completely drunk. The next morning as he lay in a stupor, he was collected with all of the other plague victims and thrown into a mass grave. Luckily (I guess!) he came around before the grave was filled in (can you imagine what that must have been like!) and he crawled out, and back to the city. Amazingly he never contracted the disease, and this gave the people of Vienna their hope back. If you look closely through the grate in the picture, you can just about see him looking up at you. I dropped him an offering asking for a blessing for my concert, and it landed straight in his bucket. What a lovely bloke 🙂