Journal - Napló
|Posted on July 17, 2009 at 6:20 PM|
We are now experienced horsecart hitch hikers. Since Magyarkanizsa we have travelled
more than fifty kilometres this way. It started when we met Karesz at an internet café. He had horses that where going south to a horse show the next day and offered us a ride. We where
invited to stay athis place for the night. We spent the evening with him and his friends amongst horses, goats, pigs, cats, rabbits and his dog called Sausage. Going to bed that night we set our alarm clocks for three o clock the following morning. We had been reminded again and again that we had to be ready for departure no later than three thirty. Stumbling into the backyard through the rain that morning we were greeted by an old man who had already been waiting an hour. He was starting his day like so many others here in the Balkans, with some home made booze. As it turned out, nobody else showed up for another two hours. Naturally so they argued as it was raining. But it was ok, I had a nap on the horse cart and Peter in the stables. The ride to the horse show took us through the beautiful country landscape of northern Serbia. Travelling by horse cart really gives you time to absorb your surroundings. I almost managed to stay awake the entire trip, but in the end I had to surrender. I slept an hour at the back of the cart as we were doing the last kilometres.
We arrived, put up our hammocks ans waited for the stunt of the day.Thirty horses in front of one cart. Apparently the record was fifty one, but those horses knew each other. These thirty horses where complete strangers to each other. It was quite a sight and they managed well. It is amazing what meeting a stranger can lead to.
That night we found an abandoned house which we appropriated for the night. Other than the fact that Peter had some problems climbing up to the second floor, it was a perfect place to sleep. We started hitch hiking bright and early the next day and after only five minutes we got a ride, with a horse cart.
We got to Belgrade with missions in strict priority. 1. Toilet, 2. Drink, 3. Internet. We figured that an internet café would serve all our needs well. Thereason we needed internet was to surf some couches. Couchsurfing is a community on the internet where people can offer a free couch to travellers. For us it is a blessing. Not only is it free accommodation, but through the open minded and friendly people who host us we can get all sorts of useful information. Not to mention that we find people to share the good times with. I got a tip from a couch surfer called Marko that there was going to be a meeting of couchsurfers at seven that day. I got that tip at quarter to seven. So I ran out the door rushing to find the meeting point in a city I had just arrived in. I found them and as one thing led to another, we had friendly company for the evening and a couch to sleep at for the night. Now we have moved to Marko's place and are enjoying his amazing hospitality.
Wednesday we were out following up on a tip we had got about an interesting sight here in Belgrade. There is an architecturally unique aqua land at the bank of the Danube river that has been closed down for many years. We where walking around for a long time trying to get in somehow. After meeting the ground keeper and charming him with the two Russian sentences I know we where instantly on good terms and he showed us all around. As we where heading back to the city Peter realized that he had lost his Passport somewhere. We spend half an hour retracing our steps, searching all over the aqua land ruins without luck. We resigned to check again where he had first discovered that his passport was missing. There he finds it lying on the ground in plain sight. The plastic folder he had his passport in was also carrying a bag full of four leaf-clovers. He had got them from his sister for good luck on the trip. They certainly worked their magic that day.
We have so many assumptions about what people are like in places that are unknown to us. Serbians for instance, somehow I had got the impression that they where very hard and unwelcoming. Peter had told me that he wanted to watch out a bit in Serbia because of some tension between Hungarian minorities living in Serbia and Serbians. So we entered Serbia with an eye open for trouble. We never found any. It is amazing how wonderfully friendly people here are. This is in fact one of the things I love most about travelling to new places. You are confronted with the stereotypical ideas you have about people in particular places and then these stereotypical ideas are shattered. I am not saying that it is always a negative image that will turn positive, it might also be the other way around. But the fact remains that there is way to much we think we know, which in fact we do not have a clue about. And it seems to me that more often than not, an image of something dangerous will be replaced with a memory of something beautiful.