Monday 23rd June, Bristol - Paris
Today I drove from Bristol to Paris, without Satnav. I feel like a very clever cookie. Turns out my Satnav doesn't believe in France, or Germany, or Denmark, or indeed any of the countries it was going to take me to. This is going to be interesting. Lots of people tried to make me sing songs for them on the ferry, which felt like a good start to a busking trip. One lady sang the Titanic song at me, which did not feel like a good start to a boat trip.
Tuesday 24th June, Paris
I like Paris. It took me 3 hours to find anyone busking, apparently because the police don't like buskers in June. This news was delivered to me by a nice old man drinking wine out of a paper bag on a park bench. I sold him a CD. Another man tried to give me a massive Eiffel tower statue. I sold him a CD too. Three ladies on three separate occasions picked up gold rings from the floor and tried to give them to me. I couldn't work out if this was a magic trick or a joke I didn't get. I did not sell them CDs.
During my search for a busking spot, I saw lots of nice things, like Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. I set up to play near a nice miming man on the bridge to the Eiffel Tower but he scarpered pretty quick and I got scared of being told off. Went to play on the Champs Elise instead, which was good, although my clever French sign was lost on the predominantly English speaking crowd.
Wednesday 25th June, Paris - Luxembourg - Frankfurt
I did a lot of driving today. Things I like about driving in Europe are: driving faster, seeing lots of lovely expanses of landscape, and falling out of my car at every toll gate/ticket machine because I'm on the wrong side. I've only done one roundabout the wrong way, and that's ok cuz it was only a small one and I've done that once in the UK too. Luxembourg was beautiful, should have done a busk there but I only had a couple of hours and I got distracted by looking at pretty things. Got to Frankfurt pretty late, was in a dodgy hostel and it didn't seem like the place for a good busk so decided to go somewhere else in the morning.
Thursday 26th June, Frankfurt - Heidelberg
It took a long time to get to Heidelberg, mostly because I hadn't decided on a place to go that wasn't Frankfurt. During the drive, I remembered that Lisa, who I met on the New Zealand busking trip (and who introduced me to collecting badges) lived in Heidelberg and said it was lush. It really was. Totally beautiful town, and great busking on the pedestrianised Hauptstraße. It was Germany vs USA in the world cup tonight. A lot of people were driving around beeping their horns. One man celebrated at me in the street. I kept very still on account of being very English.
Friday 27th June, Heidelberg - Fusion Festival
Had another lush busky morning in Heidelberg, then drove 10 hours to Fusion. Totally immense festival, and I got to catch up with all my housemates too, which was very lovely indeed.
Sunday 29th June, Fusion Festival - somewhere in Denmark
It was raining at Fusion today so I decided to get on the road. I didn't have a place to go but did need to get to Copenhagen by tomorrow afternoon... It got a bit hairy when my phone was almost out of battery around 11pm, all the hostels were shut and I had no Satnav or directions or Danish money..... I think I was somewhere near Flensburg and I pretty much drove into a place to sleep. With a double bed and my own bathroom (haven't showered since Thursday...!) and a telly. Nice one, Gods of letting me have a sleep.
Monday 30th June,
somewhere in Denmark - Copenhagen
Today I met a lot of very happy Danish people. One petrol station attendant in particular seemed so happy with his job that I would be suprised if he ever left that forecort. The joy on his face when a car drove in and he got to fill it up with petrol and wipe its windscreen and wave it goodbye was amazing.
Anyway. Drove to Odense (which is famous for Hans Christian Anderson), did a bit of busking, where a very homeless looking man gave me 50 kr, which was nice. Headed to Copenhagen over the most amazing bridges to meet my parents, as it's my lovely Mum's lovely birthday tomorrow, so we are having a little holiday.
Tuesday 1st July / Wednesday 2nd July, Copenhagen
Had a lovely couple of days with my parents sightseeing, eating, boat riding, shopping and birthday celebrating. Did being a tourist very well indeed. My favourite thing was my Dad's sunglasses, which he got from a cinema when he went to see a film in 3D.
Thursday 3rd July, Denmark - Hamburg
This morning I drove to Flensburg to do some busking. I thought I was still in Denmark and got confused when someone bought a CD for 5 Euros. Realised I was in Germany and my sign was now very wrong. Drove back to Denmark to spend all my Danish change on petrol.
Headed to Hamburg to pick up the lovely Lindsay, who is coming to sing her way home with me. Stayed in St Pauli, which was lush and reminded me a lot of Stokes Croft in Bristol. We did a spot of busking by the river outside a snazzy bar called Hamburg del Mar. We went for drinks on the Reeperbahn, where there were a lot of flashy lights and brits abroad. One man in our hostel was from Essex and asked us about a thousand times if we had heard of Essex. He also claimed you could get a good McDonalds in Hamburg.
Friday 4th July, Hamburg - Bremen
Me and Lindsay played some songs in a very sunny park, then drove to Bremen... found out we couldn't busk in the centre, which was a shame cuz it would have been perfect, so we played some songs on the waterfront steps. My sign was upside down for quite a long time. We watched the Germany vs France game and Germany won. I'm feeling like a rather lucky world cup mascot. We had a mega pizza / pasta combo and fell asleep.
Saturday 5th July, Bremen - Groningen - Amsterdam
I like Bremen a lot, it's a big shame we couldn't stay longer. We went busking in the morning near our hostel, and another very homeless looking man gave us €20. Lovely.
Drove to Groningen, which was PERFECT for busking, but raining. We did a sing outside a shop, and a very nice man came back to his shop, put the lid down so we didn't get wet and offered us drinks. Met some lovely people here, definitely coming back!
Stopped in a little Dutch town for more bread and cheese and nuts (which has become our staple diet), and a man was doing very loud karaoke by a supermarket. It was ok.
Got to Amsterdam for the evening, and watched the Holland vs Costa Rica match, where Holland won on penalties. Was pretty exciting, and again we are feeling like very lucky charms.
Sunday 6th July, Amsterdam
We were a bit hungover today so everything took a long time. We did manage to do a spot of busking, again in the rain, and a lot of people looked at us like we were idiots. We finally changed our sign to English, which we probably should have done from the start.
Monday 7th July, Amsterdam - Haarlem - Ghent
We drove to Haarlem this morning, after being told it was good for busking. It was very good for busking - people were literally fighting to give us money during Emmylou. Although we only managed 2 and a half songs before some very friendly policemen asked us if we had permits. We did not have permits. So we went to the council office to get permits. They told us there were no permits as they had over 300 applications, and most of them were accordian players and people were a bit fed up of accordian players. We left Haarlem, with enough money for our parking and coffee.
Tried to go busking in a town on the way to Ghent but there was literally no-one there, so we ate cheese sandwiches instead.
Tuesday 8th July, Ghent - Bruges
Ghent was very ace, but too rainy for a busk, so we did a shop and ate more cheese.
Bruges was lovely but equally rainy... and full of tourists where we weren't allowed to busk and empty of people where we were allowed. So we wrote a busking song on a park bench, on account of it being our last day. It was essentially us singing our sign and telling people we liked them.
Wednesday 9th July, Bruges - Bristol
We stopped off at two supermarkets in France to spend our leftover busking change on red wine. This involved a lot of counting out 1 cents and 2 cents and 5 cents, which I think the checkout ladies liked a lot. The drive back to Bristol was pretty good, and we finished our alphabet animal game.
Definitely going to do this again, but next time, I'm going to plan it! Less driving and more time in each place would probably be a good idea. Had an amazing trip though, MASSIVE thanks to France and Germany and Denmark and Holland and Belgium for being so ace.