During Michael’s first year at University of Michigan he was in a Tuba and Euphonium quartet. They submitted a recording of themselves to ITEC (International Tuba Euphonium Conference) and low and behold, they were invited to compete! ITEC only accepted 10 applicants in the whole world so this in itself was just incredible. So we knew we HAD to make this trip happen. They were able to get some funding from the University and we packed up and went to the airport. If you’ve ever wondered what it costs to check a Tuba, it’s $350. We didn’t have a choice but to check it. The thing is huge! But that’s ok. It was more than worth it.
We flew into Linz, Austria with a layover in Frankfurt which proved to be quite interesting. The last flight to Linz was full of tuba players. It was so great! The conveyer belt loading luggage onto the plane was loading tuba, after tuba, after tuba, after tuba. There were so many instruments that one man was told he could not bring his due to space. This man was Oystein Baadsvik…one of the best tuba players in the world. He was performing a concert at this conference THAT NIGHT so it was imperative that he had his instrument. He was pleading with the flight attendants for a long time. He ended up taking his tuba out of his hard case and bringing it aboard the plane in its soft case (which is much smaller). When this happened, the tuba plane cheered and clapped for him. What a nightmare for this guy! He actually left his tuba case on the tarmac people.
We LOVE Linz, Austria. It was an amazing experience. The city is so charming and we were there long enough that we felt like a local. We ate at this one restaurant, Rivas, almost every day because the food was so good. I’m pretty sure the waiters knew us (and our order) by the end of the trip. They have this salami pizza which is just incredible. I think it’s called the “Milano” or something like that. Large, thin slices of salami. SO. GOOD. Ok I need to move on or I’m going to get hungry.
The conference was neat. Michael practiced with his quartet at the local music school (or Musikschule) and competed a few days later at the Brucknerhaus. When the results arrive, Michael’s group had advanced to the final round! Woo hoo!! So on to more practicing (and more sightseeing for me!). They ended up finishing second overall in this international competition. They were beat by a group from Wales. How awesome is that? I could brag about him on here for days. He’s that good people!
If you want to hear them, here’s a YouTube link to a video I recorded for them: The Blue and Maize Quartet Michael’s on the back right.
Anyway. While we here, we did take a day trip to Salzburg and a day trip to Vienna. If you ever go to Austria (which you should!) give yourself more than a day for Vienna. It was a crazy whirlwind trip!
The Danube River!
He’s going to kill me for posting this!
Michael told me to walk down the stairs like I’m walking down the aisle. So I did.
Did I mention that Michael was Thor in a previous life??
So I found in a travel book that you can see Mozart’s house in Linz. We walked all over the place trying to find it. Nobody knew where it was. We finally stumbled upon this. This….is all you get to see. We’ll wait to see the real one in Salzburg!
Love these two! Robert was here for the ITEC conference as part of Michael’s tuba/euphonium quartet. BUT they were also on their HONEYMOON! And they’re having dinner with US! They came to Europe a week before us, met us in Linz for the conference, then went on to Rome afterwards. I feel so special!
OK. So one day we decided to get on the metro and ride it around and just look at stuff. We randomly decided to get off and low and behold, we stumbled on to a wine festival. This group of guys were performing a traditional Austrian slap dance and I HAD to get a picture. This was definitely a highlight of the trip! And it was so random!
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