Preparation for the great journey to India which became the Middle Eastern Journey.
Well this is me, my story, I am getting old, also older. Still learning photography and to write.
22nd of July passed for the 5th time since I set out on the great journey. And where am I, in Vienna, one full circle. Is the first time in 5 years that I spend the anniversary in Vienna, where it all started, that first day out into the unknown. One full circle, does it mean that there’s another 5 years in for me?
5 years ago I set out travelling west, now east. 5 years past, will it/I be similar in another 5 years - confidently I give myself another 5 years. Will I give myself another 5 years in 5 years? or have run out of money?
Picture of me is taken by Christina, alias Pipona from Lima. She joins me on this first leg down to Istanbul.
I finally manage to get the van through MOT, or how do you say - contrôle technique, TÜF or Pickerl in Austria. Then get the inside of the bus ready. A good clean, it has become ant infested over winter, curtains, bed, some wallpaper applied. Cozy! Have a leak in the gaz plumbing fixed. Fridge is not working. Who cares for now, may get it in Syria repaired. Fill up water, leaks, ah - will fix it one day. The next adventure on the FabTrek, I know what it takes for a long journey, not all needs to be perfect, India here it comes.
And - It almost feels like 5 years ago. Almost.
Friday late afternoon 30th of July, later then planned, the grand journey, so-long envisioned, to the east commences. Many days and weeks of not washing much, peeing in the bottle and looking for public toilets lie ahead.
East, straight out of Vienna by the East, north of the Danube, a cafe, a beer in Orth/Donau, try shake off the tensions. Shortly after, at Hainburg, we cross the big stream that so defines Austrians, in school one of the first things children learn is where the river off springs, where it goes, - and in a way this is our journey. We will cross the river many times Galati, where the mouth is and Ostrov, Romania, Belgrade, Serbia, We would follow through the Iron Gate, the gorge, the cut through of the Danube through the Carpathian mountains. And where ever you get down to the banks of the ever widening stream vegetation, wetlands, smell of water, stones and trees will be very similar. So will be the mosquitoes.
So on a bit south, leave Bratislava already in sight to the left, south to Neusiedl, Podersdorf, lake Neusiedl after sunset, into Hungary, first camp somewhere near Papa.
A new morning, new dawning.
02 Aug 2009 - Budapest, Hungary, journey in the hippie van.
The Balaton (wiki), largest lake in Europe is busy on a weekend, Honda Golden Wing meeting somewhere, at night like illuminated Christmas trees on wheels, one after another 10 sometimes 50. Keszthely to Siófok, a bit boring, all the same, but somewhere there's a place to take a first bath in the lake, who knows when you get the next chance.
Sunday Budapest (wiki). Budapest, just through the biggest economic downturn since fall of communism, I like it. Seems that the government is still overwhelmed with the task of/lacks the money to organising/regulating all and everything. Good so. Leaves space for the individual.
Travelling Eastern Europe…
What strikes you as Austrian is that 70 years ago a small country that Austria was (actually Austria then was part of the German Reich), Austrian participation/membership in those NS organizations that were responsible for the Holocaust killings, like SS and Einsatzgruppen was over proportionately high.
Travelling the Europe of the East down south to Greece this strikes especially. Every villages or city we come through the formerly sometimes up to 50% Jewish population was exterminated to a degree of 90 to 100%.
All of a sudden there remains little to be proud being Austrian.
Or as someone has put it his way the other day, "Really one wonders why after such attrocities Israel never declared war on Austria and Germany for what they have done"?
Or "... after such atrocities how could the Allied powers and the rest of the world allowe for Austria and Germany to maintain their sovereignty"?
03 Aug 2009, Slovakia, architecture is bad, but worse is to come.
It's communist period architecture accompanied by the over compensated ultra modern because-we-don't-know-what-we-do form ... that I mean.
In Slovakia, from Forints back to Euros, impressive how Slovakia, still somewhat shunned under Vladimír Mečiar’s (wiki) prime minister ship till about 10 years ago, joined the common currency club in such a short time.
Architecture in towns is harder to swallow; communism’s destructions not erasable in just 20 years, newly laid out plazas miss the aesthetics, no beauty in provinciality. Svolen, City Caffee terrace on 3rd floor overlooking pedestrian zone in the center, a strumming band from down mixes with the East tec pop from up, sunlight gives in to overcast, diffusion turns into confusion, after the 2nd Krusovice frustration sets in, how can I read pages on the Iphone when offline? Cannot be so complicated, I think Apple has lost it in the same way as Svolen.
We enter the Carpathian Mountains (wiki), green, green lush scenery, paradise mountains; the van struggles a bit climbing over 1000m in altitude.
Some Romani settlements, usually at the entrance of villages, desolate communal conkrete blocks (the old communist flats), missing windows, missing pavement, smoke rises at every corner, people besiege the through road offering what they've collect from the woods, black berries and raspberries, chanterelle and porcini, ghetto like, no assimilation, no integration, not the same chances. Antiziganism is strong in many European countries.
A goal for this first part of the trip is follow the Carpathians. Romani/Gypsies (wiki) have come to Europes even before the Ottomans, settled here/roamed here, were enslaved, deported and killed over 600 years. Worse, in the face of the Holocaust their plight over the years has only played a side story for the media, some say their sufferings was proportionately higher.
At noon we descend on Spisska Nova Vers (wiki), a medieval centre, a gothic church, a pleasant surprise. A cappuccino, a beer. Prices are just half of Viennas'.
So boring!? What do u think?