Romanian Rhapsody

November 27, 2009

Imagine you're cycling along a back country road and you encounter a farmer who smiles and waves. He invites you into his home for a cool drink of water. Then once you've settled down into a chair with your beverage he asks, "Would you like to hear my daughter play the violin?"

You're stuck. You're a captive audience. Bring on the violin.

This is exactly what happened to Kat and me in Romania. We were a hundred miles away from the nearest city. I knew this was going to be painful. The violin is one of the sweetest instruments on the planet ... when it is played well. In the wrong hands, it sounds more like a dying animal.

We sat back in our chairs as his young daughter set up a music stand in the middle of the room. No matter what kind of noise came out of this instrument, we were going to have to smile and nod our heads with approval and admiration. I pulled out my tape recorder. The father beamed with pride.

The daughter ruffled some pages of music onto the stand and brought the violin up to her chin.

I prayed that this house concert would be short and sweet.

Ten seconds later, I wished it would never end.

Romanian Rhapsody

Our jaws dropped as the sweet melody filled the tiny room.

How could this be? In this little humble house in the middle of no where in Romania?

I learned that it wasn't the young girl's talent that was lacking ... it was my ability to see beyond the physical surroundings and my preconceptions that sorely needed a lesson or two.


Photo and audio recording by Willie Weir

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at


Josh Wedlake April 22, 2010, 7:37 AM

The music is great, we didn't get violins played to us, but we were invited into houses a few times to cook. In Romania everyone we met was so friendly and kind. We cycled from Berlin to Istanbul and made a film about the journey here: . Its great to read bout others' experiences.

john4ro December 26, 2009, 2:25 PM

Another Susan Boyle moment, eh?

W. December 26, 2009, 10:10 AM

Greetings from Romania. Thank you for coming.

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