Picking up instruments from WaldkraiburgSeptember 21, 2015 in Germany
Up at 630am and in the shower. Water was almost hot enough by the time I finished my shower. Plenty of choice for breakfast. I stuck basically with eggs, bread and fruit. The meats looked a little greasy for my taste. While most of the band went to Ferto Lake for a water trip, a band of hardy souls set off at 8 for Waldkraiburg to tour the Miraphone factory and collect the lower brass instruments that are being loaned to us.
We were asked to take our passports because of the current flood of Syrian refugees and the consequent closing of many of the borders. In total, the 800 km round trip would take us north of Sopron into Austria (close to Vienna), then west a long way across Austria into Germany. We went through a city on the Austrian side of the border called Braunhaus, which is known principally because it is the birthplace of Hitler. Waldkraiburg is a little east of Munich.
At the first border crossing (Hungary/ Austria), we nervously clutched our passports as the policeman approached the bus. Our driver said 'musicians from Australia', and the policeman winced and and waved vigorously as if to say get out of here quickly, they might start to play!
We were allowed a couple of pee pee stops along the way, not lunch as such, but we were glad we picked up a couple of bread rolls from a Landzeit roadside stop. These places are quite a bit different from your Aussie road stop, with a huge choice of well prepared and fresh foods, all with an appropriate price tag - and souvenirs of course! Not everyone chose to pick up food as it was a bit early for lunch, but given the distance to travel, we didn't have a formal lunch stop until after the Miraphone stop which was about 4 pm, when some people were mighty hungry!
We struck up a conversation with the Musik Land person who was accompanying us. Her name was Anika, and the wife of our Musik Land contact, Norbert. Her parents play clarinet in the Dorog Band, and I think started the company. We shared many stories about our families and our music along the way in the bus. She speaks fluent Hungarian, German and Italian, but said her English was not too good. It was fine according to us, with just a couple of moments when we had to explain what we meant in further detail.
After about 5 hours we arrived in Waldkraiberg. Rae's contact was not there, but we were made most welcome. We were first shown the display room, which I can only describe as tuba heaven. Soon we were met by Joseph, a very amiable and well spoken young man who showed us around the factory, starting with raw materials through cutting metal, moulding it, trimming, soldering and joining, assembling, polishing, washing etc. No production line stuff here but tender crafting. We were told all the workers are musicians. Garry and Bill, both of whom have worked on instruments asked the most questions.
After the tour we were given a drink, and it was time to check out the instruments we were being loaned. Most of the guys had brought their mouthpieces with them. In total 3 basses and two euphoniums were loaned to us, all for nothing!
And so it was time to leave to return to Sopron. We left at around 3.30, with a stop at McDonalds for dinner and Landzeit later for a refuelling stop, returning to the Hotel at around 9.15, where they had a cold dinner waiting for us.Read more