“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train” - Oscar Wilde

Judann Weichselbraun

Mariahilferstrasse and Stiftkirche, Judann Weichselbraun. | Judann.w@chello.at

Early in November, I found myself in the Budapest airport en route to Odessa in the Ukraine. After passing through security at Ferihegy Airport, Terminal 2, I started strolling around the building. Not that it has significantly changed in the six weeks since my last trip, far from it. But I had not had much sleep, and I was worried I might miss my flight if I closed my eyes sitting down.

In a quieter section near Gates 11 to 19, I thought I heard the faint sound of a trumpet. Pleasant as “musak” goes, so I headed that way, figuring it would help keep me awake. To my surprise, there were two musicians sitting in the waiting area, instruments out, playing quietly together. It turned out to be Tim Leopold (trumpet) and Ben Herrington (trombone) from the New York-based Meridian Arts Ensemble, a brass quintet with percussion, on their way to Timisoara, Romania.

“We have been travelling for two days,” Herrington said, “with our first flight cancelled, so after arriving in Budapest we felt like warming up the chops.”

Indeed, their colleagues were already on location and preparing for the upcoming performances of Saturday, Nov. 3 at Capitol Hall, Timisoara, as part of the American Romanian Music Festival, where they would perform a wide range of 20th Century Brass Repertoire, commissioned works and arrangements and hold a master class held for young Romanian musicians.

They went back to rehearsing, muting their instruments as much as possible while I took some pictures and a few travellers stopped to listen. The time passed very quickly, and I made a mental note to look for their CD when I got back to Vienna.  Musicians, I thought, will always find a way to communicate.

 — Matthias Wurz


People say it’s hard meeting your boyfriend’s family for the first time. Imagine meeting the extended family all at the same time. And then not being able to speak to them — they’re Serbian, I’m Icelandic, the downside of dating someone from another country.

I also have bad eyesight (-3,75) so I use lenses, which I left in the night before I was going to meet everyone. When I took them out in the morning, my eyes were killing me, everything blurry and flashes of light.

Bad move. At least that’s what I thought until I met the family. Normally I would feel the silence and not being able to talk. But now, instead of seeing them staring at me and freaking out, I saw only shapes, which made me calmer and therefore more approachable. It was easy.

Later that night we went out to dinner, just the two of us, had a lovely time – and then ran out of gas on the way back. No problem. I was surprisingly calm. No stomach ache like the one I normally get, worrying and wondering what to do. This time, I just entertained myself looking at the bright, shiny lights and deciding it all felt quite romantic, lost in the countryside.

It turned out to be a successful day without my lenses. Who knew that being practically blind would be so relaxing and entertaining?  

— Anna Claessen

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