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Piano hitchhikers aiming for Hungary stuck in Besançon

Two piano-playing friends from Bordeaux who are attempting to hitchhike, with their piano, to a music festival in Hungary, have so far reached Besançon.

Marc Mezergue and Vincent Pires, who met at school, still have 1 300 km to go in their 2 300 km challenge to hitchhike from Bordeaux to Budapest, and have been stuck next to the Ecole Valentin toll (péage) near Besançon, in the Franche-Comté close to the Swiss border, since Tuesday.

They are sleeping under canvas - in a tent big enough to shelter the piano too - and have been lucky enough to be offered favours from locals, including a Thermos of coffee, a delivery of breakfast doughnuts, and a nearby shower.

The friends, who are scheduled to play at the Sziget music festival in Budapest on August 9, bought their piano for just €50 second-hand, and have modified it so it has wheels and suspension, allowing it to ride behind a car and absorb bumps and shocks.

The journey has attracted interest on social media and in the press, with Mezergue admitting to newspaper website France Bleu that the duo “will need to re-tune the piano in Budapest, if we get there”.

The idea to do a ‘piano-hitchhike’ previously came to Mezergue when he needed to take his piano to Paris to continue his musicology studies, and discovered hiring a van would be too expensive.

Despite failing in his Paris attempt, the musician has not given up on the concept. “We have already travelled a third of the way in five days, which is pretty good,” Mezergue explained.  

In the event that they do make it to Budapest, the friends will still need to arrange their return travel, although they envisage leaving the piano behind this time.

This is not the duo’s first hitchhiking adventure; they have previously managed to get from Bordeaux to Le Cap Ferret, and from Bordeaux to Barcelona - although they did not have a piano with them for those trips.

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