Brasov was the bomb!
We hit the rhythm road and drove into the mountains of the Transilvania region. It was a beautiful and bumpy ride on old roads and winding hairpin curves as we wove our way up to Brasov.
Our accommodations were right in the middle of town, and our beautiful hotel was appropriately named Bella Muzica. A beautiful old structure with a old feel reaching to the future.
Food was the first order of business! Fortunately a terrific restaurant was in the basement of our hotel which used to be a part of a tunnel system built by the Romans. The food was fantastic. I had a traditional beef dish (that was not salty..I avoid salt) and some grilled trout that was wonderful. They also gave us complimentary shots of “Romanian Whiskey” made from plums. I politely toasted and then didn’t drink the shot although I tried some later by accident (explanation coming)
Brasov is beautiful. The gothic architecture is so amazing and imposing. It is a very old city, has cobble stone streets, and a wide variety of architectural influences that I tried to shoot…but really it was just too beautiful for me to capture with my trusty point and shoot, but I did walk and take some of the town in, and I found a grocery store and stocked up on grapefruit and nuts, then went to soundcheck.
Some Town Photos:
Soundcheck was groovy. Backstage in the dressing room I changed and ate some of the things they put out for us to snack on. The was juice, coke and water(or so I thought). Imagine my surprise when I poured a glass of water, took a big gulp only to discover that it was home made plum clear plum Romanian whiskey – a gift from the presenter of the concert. It was actually pretty good – but a unexpected surprise as it was in a unmarked water bottle!
The show was so much fun. Everyone was in top form. Eli worked his magic, Kate McGarry(grammy nominated jazz vocalist, and one of my favorite voices period.) sang so soulfully, Tuba-ist Chanell Critchlow held it down and kept it swinging. The audience really participated, sang, clapped(on 1 & 3 at first, but 2&4 by the end of the show) and stayed with us both sets energetically. It was a packed house which was nice too. There was a real strong togetherness feel in the room. I truly felt the connection – fostered in part by our insistence on breaking the fourth wall between us and the audience. Creating this connection is one of the main reasons why I play music, and another reason why I am grateful to have this experience with the Rhythm Road cultural diplomacy program.
(THANKYOU Genu Ariseanu for the wonderful concert photographs ariseanu.deviantart.com)
After the show we signed some autographs, talked with people and then went to a nice local restaurant with a sweetheart couple who lingered after the show – Catalin & Carolina. We emerged from the restaurant to find a crisp evening and a pretty full moon over Transylvania. We toyed with the idea of going to Draculas castle right then and there… but clearer heads prevailed and we decided to get some sleep.
I just need to say that I couldn’t be on the road with nicer people..Peter our driver who speaks no english, but he smiles alot and is very professional as a driver. I actually slept on the bus – which I usually don’t do when I tour because I feel like I always have to be paying attention to things.
There is also Emil who is our sound man and is super nice, helpful and funny
and Alexis from Rhythm Road who is a real team player and part of the band already
Brasov was a beautiful experience, the perfect place to kick off the tour. Today we packed up and started the long drive to Baia Mare which is in the prefecture called Maramures shown here at the top of the map. It was supposed to be a 7 hour drive, but we stopped for a long lunch and the roads were so twisty and turny that we had to drive slow, so the trip took 11 hours…but no matter as we didn’t have a show tonight.
I honestly didn’t mind the long trip at all especially because the country side was breathtaking! We wound our way through mountains, hills and down into valleys that were lush green and gold wide open spaces. It was a beautiful sunny day in the high 70’s. I very much enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture photos from the moving bus. I think I got some beautiful ones, but oh the ones that got away!!!
Tomorrow morning we have a press interview with the local media and then we will go do our first workshop/clinic with a student group in the afternoon.
Please enoy some of the images from my journey today. Thankyou for checking in on me, and I bid you all a very good night.
Images Between Brasov & Baia Mare